The membership of the Centre County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame has elected 11 candidates to be inducted at the annual banquet on Oct. 7.
It will be the second class to be inducted and is a diverse group that includes three women, three Bald Eagle Area alumni, three State College graduates, three Penns Valley grads and one Bellefonte alum.
Those elected in balloting are State High products Barry Parkhill, Jim Williams and Nan Sichler Moerschbacher. The BEA products chosen are Dick Rhoades, Alex Murnyack and Ron Bracken while Penns Valley is represented by Dana McDonald, Carol Fultz and the late Cal Emery. Ken “Foxy” Moyer is the Bellefonte representative. The late Fran Fisher is the 11th selection.
“Our first two classes represent men and women, a heralded sports announcer, award-winning sports writers, outstanding coaches and athletes who participated in football, soccer, wrestling, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, softball, track and field and fly fishing,” Hall of Fame president Ron Pifer said.
“We congratulate the 2018 induction class. There are many deserving individuals in Centre County. They are elected following Pennsylvania State Hall of Fame guidelines. We are only in our second year, and we know that it is important to recognize excellence in sports in Centre County for the individuals, families and friends.”
Here’s a closer look at each selection:
▪ Alex Murnyack is a 1960 BEA graduate and a 1964 graduate of Clarion. He earned 10 letters in high school and nine letters at Clarion. After never having wrestled in high school, he earned two letters in wrestling at Clarion and was a PSAC runner-up. He was a second-team PSAC selection in football and had the highest batting average in the PSAC West his senior year. He was the head wrestling coach at Brockway for three years and was the head baseball coach at BEA from 1979-2001, where he also served as an assistant coach in football and wrestling. His baseball teams won District 6 titles in 1982, 1986 and 1996 — and his 1982 team placed third in the PIAA tournament. He is a member of the Clarion and BEA Halls of Fame.
▪ Carol Fultz is a graduate of Penns Valley and was a four-year letterwinner in basketball and softball. She had a .617 career batting average in softball. In basketball she scored 1,371 points. She also placed seventh in the PIAA track meet in the javelin. At Penn State she was a four-year letterwinner and four-year starter at second base. She also lettered three years in basketball and co-captained the 1983-84 team. She is the only Penn State athlete to make the NCAA Round of 16 in two sports. She coached softball at Penns Valley, where her teams went 122-75, and basketball, where the Lady Rams were 12-12. She later played in the Centre County Women’s Softball League. She is a member of the District 6 Softball Hall of Fame.
▪ Dick Rhoades is a BEA graduate who went on to wrestle at Stevens Trade and then Lock Haven University. He was the head wrestling coach at BEA for 32 years, compiling a 386-97-9 record. He coached five undefeated teams, and his 1997 squad boasted a 20-win wrestler at every weight class and had an average dual meet score of 54-6. The 1998-99 team won the PIAA Dual and Tournament team titles, won the Beast of the East (the only public school to do that) and was named the No. 1 team in the country. He produced 77 District 6 champions, 44 Northwest Regional champions and five state champions. He had 101 PIAA qualifiers, 44 medalists and 15 finalists. He is a member of the BEA, District 6, Pennsylvania Wrestling coaches and National Wrestling coaches Halls of Fame as well as the Lock Haven Wrestling Hall of Fame.
▪ Nan Sichler Moerschbacher was a member of two State College PIAA runners-up in softball. She had a .663 batting average her senior year. She was the first scholarship softball player at Penn State, where she was a three-year team captain and a starting shortstop for four years. She was a three-time Atlantic 10 selection and the MVP in 1988. She still holds Penn State’s highest career batting average (.369). She only struck out 12 times in 621 at-bats. She played in the Centre County Women’s Softall League for 24 yeas and is a member of the District 6 Softball Hall of Fame.
▪ Barry Parkhill was a first-team all-state basketball selection in 1969. He went to Virginia and became a second-team All-ACC choice as a sophomore and first-team choice as a junior. He was named the ACC Athlete of the Year as a junior and was an All-America selection who finished third in the voting for National Player of the Year. As a senior he was a second-team All-ACC pick, an All-American and a first-round choice by the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA and Virginia Squires of the ABA. Chosen for the All-ACC Anniversary team, he was also named to the Virginia Hall of Fame. He played three years in the ABA, two with the Squires and one with the St. Louis Spirit. He was an assistant coach at Navy and a head coach at William & Mary.
▪ Dana McDonald earned 12 letters at Penns Valley and won the James Snyder Award. She was a four-time Mountain League MVP in basketball and an all-state choice in 1989. She still holds the Centre County scoring record — including both boys and girls — with 2,269 points. She was named one of the top 30 players in the country in 1989. She went on to play at Duke, where she was a four-year letterwinner and team captain and MVP in 1993.
▪ Jim Williams was an all-state football selection his senior year at State College and went on to become a two-year starter at center for Penn State. After graduating he became an assistant at Bellefonte before taking the head coaching position at State College, where he posted a 65-13 record in eight seasons. His teams put together a 36-game winning streak and won five straight Western Conference titles. Williams joined the Penn State staff in 1976 and spent 16 years as a defensive coach and 12 as an administrative assistant.
▪ Ken “Foxy” Moyer won a PIAA wrestling title in 1953. He went on to wrestle at Stevens Trade, where he was undefeated in dual meets and won two national Prep School Tournaments. He also won a Middle Atlantic AAU Open championship and the Outstanding Individual Wrestler award. He’s a member of the Bellefonte and District 6 Wrestling Halls of Fame.
▪ Ron Bracken had a 41-year career at the Centre Daily Times as a sports writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. During that time he won 17 state writing awards and two national writing awards, authored two books and was named District 6 Man of the Year in wrestling and the winner of the Fran Fisher Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism sponsored by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame — of which he was the first president of the Central Pennsylvania Chapter. He is a member of five Halls of Fame (BEA, District 6, Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches and National Wrestling Coaches) as well as the District 6 Softball Hall of Fame. At BEA he was a member of the 1961 baseball team that won the Central Penn League title, the first team championship in BEA history.
▪ Cal Emery lettered in soccer, basketball and baseball at Centre Hall High school. The 1953 team finished as the state Class C runner-up. He went on to play baseball at Penn State and led the Nittany Lions to the 1957 College World Series, where he was named the MVP. After his senior year he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and had a 14-year career, most of which was spent in Triple-A ball. He went on to become a manager in both the Philadelphia and Cleveland farm systems, winning league titles in both organizations. He was the 1975 Manager of the Year in the Carolina League. He later became a hitting coach for the Chicago White Sox and then spent the rest of his career as a scout.
▪ Fran Fisher began broadcasting Penn State football in 1966 and served as the play-by-play announcer from 1970-1983 and 1993-97. He also served as a broadcaster for Penn State basketball, wrestling, swimming and gymnastics and was a co-host on the popular TV Quarterbacks show with Joe Paterno. He was the host for the Paterno Call-In radio show. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Induction ceremonies will be held at the State College Ramada Inn on Oct. 7.