Chris Shovlin stopped by Teleforum with Frank Sparks this morning to talk about the 2018 Class of the Midland Hall of Fame presented by Joe Spanik. The event gets underway on Sunday July 1,2018 in Alumni Hall at 10th Street and Beaver Avenue on the Lincoln Park campus. Doors open at Noon with the program beginning at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now through June 27th at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center Box Office and by phone at 724-576-4644 Option 2 during regular business hours and on-line http://www.lincolnparkarts.org/events at any time. Cash, major credit cards, and checks are being accepted. Make checks payable to Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center – memo MSHOF. NO TICKETS WILL BE SOLD AT THE DOOR.
Congratulations to the 2018 Midland Sports Hall of Fame scholarship recipients, Sydney Barney and Nicholas Gengarella. Each has been selected to receive a $1,000 college scholarship.
This years class is:
HARRY ALSTON ‘41 – A three-year member of the football team, he became a starter as a junior playing a pivotal role on the undefeated 1940 Leopards team that went 7-0-1 (Midland and Ellwood City played to a scoreless tie). A standout blocker and runner, Harry was named to play in the East-West Beaver County All-Star Game. It is nearly impossible to mention Harry without including his younger brother Dave, who together, became the first African-American football players in Penn State history. A year older than Harry, Dave refused to go to Kindergarten until Harry was old enough to attend the following year. Harry did not want to go to State College, but when Dave chose to become a Nittany Lion, their father insisted that Harry go with him. Harry found racism rampant at Penn State and the surrounding region in the 1940’s and described his time there as a horrible experience. Following their freshman season, Dave died during what was supposed to be a routine tonsillectomy. Harry left school, enlisted in the Navy, and served as a Petty Officer in the Pacific during World War II. Later, Alston attended the University of Pittsburgh on the G.I. Bill and became an officer with the United Steelworkers Union at Crucible Steel.
COACH IVAN DYE – He is one of only two football coaches in the history of Midland High School to lead a team through an entire season undefeated and untied (fellow 2018 inductee “Rusty” Lomond is the other). That season was 1970 when the Leopards went a perfect 10-0. Despite that, Midland was not eligible to play for a WPIAL Football Championship because of the antiquated Gardner Points System. One newspaper’s headline proclaimed the Leopards “10-0 – Nowhere To Go”. Coach Dye’s 1970 club registered the most single-season wins in MHS history, just ahead of the 9-0 squad of 1931. A graduate of Muskingum College, he was on the basketball staff at Roseville High School and the football staff that guided Dillonvale High School to a conference title in Ohio. He started as an assistant coach at Midland with a team that went 9-1 and was elevated to Head Coach when Joe Hamilton left for New Brighton. In all, Coach Dye rolled up a record of 32-14 with two trips to the WPIAL Final. He left Midland to become Head Coach at St. Mary’s High School.
MAL EVANS ‘55 – He was an expert ball-handler and scorer with exceptional defensive abilities; a three-year varsity star and one of the best all-around basketball players of his era. Maldwyn “Mal” Evans helped lead Midland to back-to-back Section 8 basketball titles and into the WPIAL semifinals where the Leopards fell to defending champion and powerhouse Farrell. A true leader, Mal was President of the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes at MHS and co-captain of the basketball team as a senior. Evans was a unanimous All-Section selection and was named to play in the East-West All-Star Game. He was also named to the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph All-WPIAL Class A All-Star and UPI Class A All-State teams. Mal was the Most Valuable Player in the 1955 American Legion Tournament; his teams were crowned champions in consecutive years. Evans enlisted in the US Air Force right out of high school and enjoyed a distinguished career in business.
HOWARD “CAB” LEAK ‘69 – A relentless competitor, “Cab” was not just one of the fiercest fullbacks and middle linebackers in Beaver County in the late 1960’s, but one of the speediest as well. In 1968, as the Class B Midwestern Athletic Conference Backfield Player of the Year and Pittsburgh Press All-WPIAL Honorable Mention, he gained nearly 900 yards on the ground with Midland playing five Class A opponents. Leak scored touchdowns in clusters. He had four in one game versus Monaca; breaking tackles on runs up the middle and around end. He was also Pittsburgh Press Honorable Mention in basketball; an acrobatic guard averaging double figures in scoring. Leak was on the 1969 team that earned a berth in the WPIAL playoffs. He captained both the football and basketball teams and was a sprinter on the Track team at MHS. After two years at Slippery Rock State College, he became a tank operator in the US Army.
COACH W.P. “RUSTY” LOMOND – Born in Newfoundland, he graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Maryland, then came to Midland as a coach and teacher. His 1931 football team won the Beaver County Championship with a perfect 9-0 record, scoring 205 points and allowing only 6 (to Aliquippa in what his players for the rest of their lives claimed was a broken play). Coach Lomond befriended and became a disciple of Knute Rockne, so his teams adopted a system identical to Notre Dame’s and ran it to near perfection which landed many of Midland’s players scholarship offers from the top college football programs of the day. While at MHS, the “Crucibles” or “Steelers” as they were nicknamed then, went 66-36-12 under Lomond. In his final season in 1937, Midland was 9-1 losing only to the eventual county champion New Brighton. “Rusty” accepted an offer to rebuild a Clairton High School club that had gone 1-8 the year prior to his arrival. In 1938, he led the “Cobras” to a 9-1 mark in his only season. Coach Lomond fell ill and died the following March.
MILAN “FATSO” LONA ’57 – Though he was heavily recruited to play football by some of the top programs in the nation, Milan displayed tremendous skills during a four-year high school career in Track and Field. In 1954, Lona set the record for the Mile Run at the Beaver County Championships with a time of 3:04. In 1955, he and teammates James Petties, Monte Williams, and Harry Blair set the record in the 880 Yard Relay at 1:34. Then in 1956, “Fatso” (as he was nicknamed) finished the 880 Yard Dash with at time of 2:05 to set yet another Beaver County record. He also took gold at the WPIAL Track and Field Championships. In all, he participated in both team and individual events in the 100, 220, 440, 880, Mile, and Broad Jump. A speedy and shifty halfback and returner, Lona was offered a full ride to play football from the Ohio State University. He also played at the University of Toledo. Lona died in an industrial accident while his crew was painting the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in 1972.
AL MONACO, JR. ‘65 – Named All-Conference in both football and baseball during his junior and senior seasons while playing for the Leopards, he was named to the Prep All-America Football Team by Coach & Athlete magazine in 1965. Al was one of only 100 high school players in the nation and one of just 6 in Pennsylvania to be so honored. Monaco was voted Midland’s top lineman and team co-captain, 1st Team All-Midwestern Athletic Conference, and All-WPIAL. In addition, he was President of the senior class, Vice President of the Tri-Hi Y Club, and an All-America scholastic choice. After considering offers from a number of schools, he joined teammate Tom Wuchina in signing to play football at Vanderbilt University. Monaco’s father, Al Sr., was inducted into the Midland Sports Hall of Fame as an individual in 2017 and as a member of the 1931 football team in 2016.
JAN SAMUELS ‘67 – A member of Midland’s 1965 PIAA State Championship Basketball team, he was a three-sport standout. On the court, Jan was a sharp-shooting guard selected to the Holiday Tournament All-Star Team. On the diamond, Samuels was a four-year starter who played several positions including pitcher, catcher, infielder, and outfielder. He also played American Legion baseball. As a sophomore at MHS, Jan batted .316. That year, he and senior Norm Van Lier were invited to participate in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ tryout camp. On the football field, Samuels was First Team All-MAC at quarterback and led the 1966 team to a 9-1 slate. Recruited heavily for both athletics and academics, Jan chose to play quarterback at the University of Findlay where he immediately became a starter and was named freshman of the Year. He was the MVP in the 1967 Shriners Bowl game versus Austin Peay. Despite a broken ankle during his sophomore season, Samuels was a three-year starter, running Findlay’s no-huddle offense to perfection. Today, Jan is retired after a distinguished 35 year career in education administration.
BILL SHOVLIN ‘49 – He served four terms as the Mayor of Midland and prior to that, Bill Shovlin was a member of Borough Council who chaired the community’s playground and swimming pool committees; a staunch supporter of sports and activities for kids. In the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, he served as a coach and the Commissioner of Little League Baseball. When Midland’s Little League had to move to a new field in the 1970’s, Bill took the lead in its construction and dedication to longtime youth baseball advocate, Lawrence “Lunch” Andres. A 1949 graduate of Midland High School and President of the Tri-Hi Y, Shovlin played basketball for the legendary Ed McCluskey and softball for some of the top Midland CIO teams under Tony Verzilli in the 1950’s and 60’s. He, along with Don Migliore an Pete Benedict, founded the Midland Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Today, the picnic shelter, park, and complex at 13th Street are named William F. Shovlin Park in his honor.
JOE TIRRENO ‘72 – Midland’s football and basketball teams of the early 1970’s had the most combined successes in school history and he was one of several common denominators. Joe earned 10 letters and was a starter in eight of those seasons. Tirreno was a hard-charging running back and defensive standout on the undefeated 1970 MHS Football team and played a key role as a guard on the 1971 WPIAL and PIAA State Championship Basketball squad along with playing shortstop for some of the most successful baseball teams Midland has seen. In the 1971 WPIAL Football Championship game, Joe scored Midland’s only touchdown. He notched 60 points on the season and was named a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette WPIAL Class B All-Star. So good an athlete was Tirreno, that he played both football and basketball at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania where he helped springboard the Red Raiders into a contender in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. A four-year football starter, he played linebacker as a freshman then moved to wingback for the remainder of his career. Tirreno caught 40 passes for 5 TD’s and rushed for 4 others as a senior when he was named All-PSAC. Joe played one season of basketball at Shippensburg, trying out on a dare, and subsequently starting on a team that finished second in the conference to perennial national power Cheney State which was coached by the legendary John Chaney.
FRED VUICH ‘73 – If you are a sports fan; particularly if you favor professional golf, you have undoubtedly seen his work. Fred is one of the top sports photographers in the world. One of his most memorable photos in particular was his Sports Illustrated cover shot of Tiger Woods at the top of his backswing on the 18th hole with a large gallery ringing the tee area at The Masters in 2001. What was remarkable is that Vuich got the shot using a camera with a silent electromagnetic shutter so as not to distract the players since almost all golf photography is done after impact. That picture garnered Fred the 2002 World Press Photo Gold Medal. So trusted is Fred that Augusta National actually shipped him Arnold Palmer’s green jacket to use in a photo shoot with the legend. Fred hand carried the jacket to a course in Hawaii where the two western Pennsylvanians met for the session. Fred’s world-renowned work also includes Major League Baseball, the NFL, NHL, NCAA and more.