By Steve Svetovich
The Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame inducted 11 new members last month at the University of Scranton DeNaples Center.
The inductees included Kevin Borrelli, Ryan Castsllani, Kristin Maile, Melissa E. “Missy” Rose McTiernan, Jared NEPA, Tom Parry, Tom Rudzinski, Mike Sokoloski, Joe Tuzze, Bill Zinsky and Scott Walsh who received the media award.
The 34th annual induction ceremonial was held October 2. Bob Walsh is Chapter President. WNEP-TV sportscaster Jim Coles served as toastmaster for the ceremony.
Judy Igoe Carr performed the Welcome. Alice Foley provided the Benediction. Walsh provided the Toastmaster Introduction and Introduction of Inductees. Walsh served as chairman for the dinner. Ed Ludwig is president of the Northeastern Chapter. Jerry Valonis is vice president. Judy Igoe Carr is secretary. Tom “Doc” Dougherty is treasurer.
Cole, serving as toastmaster, said he has interviewed all of the inductees on the Dias. “I would not be here as an athlete ever,” he joked. “My dad took me to football games when I was younger. He took me to see the a Blakely Bears. We are all just local people from the area trying to do the best we can.”
Borrelli, the former standout Mid Valley and Dusquesne University cross country/track runner, was the first inductee to speak. “I went to camps and clinics all the time. We would do what we could to get better. Running was my thing, so I went after it. Running is a very simple sport. If you want to win, you work hard. In college, instead of being a star I became a member of a team. Running opened up all sorts of doors for me with coaching. I got a running high from coaching.
“It was great when an ex student called me and said, ‘Hey coach, you want to go for a run?’ Or when I get a wedding invitation from a former student. I met my wife at my first cross country match in seventh grade.”
Former Valley View All Region running back Ryan Castellani, who played football at Wagner College, was the next inductee to speak. “Football was everything growing up in my family,” he said. “I thank my wife and kids, the committee and the inductees. I thank my former coach at Valley View, Frank Pazzaglia, for believing in me. I thank all the coaches who helped me succeed. The coaching and opportunities coach Pazzaglia gave me helped me in everyday life.
“I overcame adversity in college. I had an operation to my right eye. I thank my family for supporting me. My dad felt that giving in was not an option. I thank my late brother-in-law Randy Kordish for standing by me. My brothers Rob and Randy set the bar for me. If it were not for those two, I would not be here today.
“The advice I can give to young athletes is to go for it. Shoot for the stars and don’t look back.”
Kristen Maile, the former Forest City and University of Scranton volleyball player, was next. “I grew up talking sports at the family table. I am thankful to all my coaches and teammates who were a part of my volleyball career. I thank my mom and dad. My dad is here, but my mom is battling health issues at home. My dad has been with me every step of the way. He was at every volleyball game I performed in. And later I was very proud to become an athletic director.”
Missy Rose McTiernan, the former Scranton Prep and University of Connecticut basketball star, was next. “I thank my former teammates who always put team goals first. I thank Dan Kennedy who coached me at Prep. I thank Gino Auriemma who coached me at U Conn. I was so proud to be a Huskie. It formulated my life. I especially thank my parents. This award represents so much. I thank my husband Bob who never really liked basketball, but now is a basketball junkie.”
Former Carbondale Area and Colgate football star Jared NEPA was next. “I thank my family for pushing me to become better. I thank my coaches, including John Lasavage at Carbondale. I quote John Wooden in his book, ‘The Pyramid of Success’ which defines success as becoming the best person you can be. You know, my dad would ask me how many practice shots I took on the basketball court. If I told him 200, he would say he was sure someone out there took 250. I thank my dad for that drive he gave me.”
Former Lakeland basketball star and Lackawanna Trail basketball coach Tom a Parry said, “I wanted to not only develop a basketball program at Trail that was competitive, but one that was consistent year in and year out. I was not afraid to work hard and put the time in.”
Former coach/official Tom Rudzinski thanked his wife “for often taking a back seat” to his activities with sports. “I am an emotional guy. As a coach, you are only as good as your players. I was very lucky to have a fantastic group. Without them, I would not be here. The quote by Vince Lombardi that winning is not everything, but the only thing, is probably a quote he wishes he did not make. For me, if at one moment I consider that I made an impact in a player’s life, then I know I succeeded.”
Former Scott High School and East Stroudsburg golf/baseball/basketball great Mike Sokoloski was next. “I remember what Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Phil Neikro once said. He said if he ever saw a turtle make it across the street siting on the side of a fence, you knew it needed help. To be a success, you need a lot of help along the way. My dad was a quiet person. He told me to succeed in sports, you have to practice and work hard. My dad set the foundation for me. He told me that applied to everything. It applied to sports, work, academics, religion.”
Former Carbondale football star Joe Tuzze was next. “I thank my dad for standing by me side by side. I thank my mom for throwing pitches to me even though line drives were coming right back. She didn’t want me to play football. She played the loving mom by keeping us safe and helping us accomplish our goals. I can tell many great stories about my mom. I thank my dad for pushing me, supporting me and taking me to every camp. He made it happen. He was my role model. I owe him everything.”
Golfing great Bill Zinsky passed away in 2014. His son accepted for him. He called him “an exceptional golfer and honorable man who was a gentleman on and off the course” He recalled Fathers Day tournaments with his dad. “This one’s for you, dad.”
Scranton Times-Tribune sports writer/editor Scott Walsh received the media award. He thanked former Scranton Times sports editor John McCormack for giving him his first opportunity. “Since high school, I knew I wanted to be a sports writer. I have met a lot of interesting people, but never thought I would be in this Hall of Fame. I am grateful and humbled by it. I thank my colleagues and bosses in the sports department. I thank my wife Andrea and my family. I thank my dad who took me to ball games and gave me a passion for sports.”