- Last Updated on Monday, 29 February 2016 03:06
The Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame will hold its 23rd annual banquet at The Willow Room in Rostraver Township on Friday, June 17, at 5:30 p.m. This year, eight new inductees will be welcomed into the mythical Sports Hall of Fame conceived by newspapermen Floyd France and John Bunardzya.
With the Class of 2016, the total number of inductees is now 236. The original Mon Valley Sports Writers Hall of Fame started in 1951 with the selection of Stan Musial and Bert Rechichar.
The Class of 2016 is comprised of: Brigadier General Dave Papak; Bobby Burns; Jim Edwards; John Ballein; Ken Kulak; Dr. Joseph Fedorchik; Attorney Keith Bassi; and the late Wilbert Otto “Barney” Wolfe.
The MMVASHOF selection committee includes Chairman Brian Herman; Carl Crawley, Jr.; Dale Hamer; Tom Jenkins; Bill Kubin; Randy Marino; Stan Milchovich; Steve Russell; and Bill Hughes.
The Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame is one of 28 chapters of The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, which is made up of four geographical regions. Organized with its induction class in 1963, the state ceremonial dinner rotates between the four regions. The Mid Mon Valley chapter has inducted 20 members into the State Hall of Fame.
The Mid Mon Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to welcome these Mon Valley sports standouts.
Along with the Hall of Fame inductees, eighteen senior scholar athletes from local Mon Valley high schools will also be honored. Those high schools include Belle Vernon Area, Bentworth, Brownsville, California, Charleroi, Elizabeth Forward, Monessen, Ringgold, and Yough.
Tickets are $40 and seating is limited. To reserve tickets contact Steve Russell, Hall of Fame General Chairman, at 724-258-3823 or email at:firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsorships are appreciated for the banquet program book.
Brigadier General Dave Papak: A 1971 Mon Valley Catholic graduate, Papak was a two-sport letterman athlete in football and basketball and was captain of both teams as a senior. Papak garnered both an All Catholic selection and Pennsylvania Big 33 Team selection as a defensive lineman and offensive tight end. He received an appointment to the US Naval Academy. He started 33 consecutive games as a defensive tackle from 1973 to 1975 and won ‘Defensive Player of the Game’ in the 1973 Army-Navy game. He received All East honorable mention in 1975. Commissioned in June 1976, Papak retired as Brigadier General of the U.S. Marine Corps and has received numerous appointments and honors.
Bobby Burns: A 1957 Monessen High School graduate, Bobby was a three-letter athlete in football, basketball and track and garnered All Big 6 Conference First team honors. Bobby learned much as a receiver from his famed Hall of Fame coaches – Armand Niccolai and junior high mentor Joe Gladys – eventually becoming a coach and scout. At California University of Pennsylvania, Bobby would become a NAIA All-American in 1962. His coaching career started at Michigan State as an assistant football coach in 1964. His 17-year career took him to Holy Cross, Colgate, Cincinnati University, Boston University and Boston College. The remainder of his career was a success in the BLESTO scouting combine along with work for the Patriots, Browns and Redskins.
Jim Edwards: A 1982 Charleroi High School graduate, Edwards earned stardom in football and wrestling. As a phenomenal running back scoring 23 touchdowns each of his junior and senior seasons, Edwards was a unanimous choice for All Conference and won state Honorable Mention. Jimmy won the WPIAL wrestling title his senior year. He earned a scholarship in football at Indiana State in Terre Haute and was a three-year starter for the Sycamores.
Attorney Keith Bassi: A 1974 Ringgold High School graduate, Keith was the starting fullback and played in the same backfield as Joe Montana. Bassi would receive All Big 10 Conference and All WPIAL honors and received Ringgold’s top academic athlete award. Bassi’s efforts at Yale University as a middle guard would be instrumental in two Ivy League championships his last two years. Bassi was selected Yale’s Most Valuable Player in 1977. He would graduate from Yale in 1978 and earn his Juris Doctorate in 1981 at Duquesne University.
Dr. John Ballein: A 1979 Bentworth High School graduate, John was a multifaceted athlete in football, baseball and wrestling. This led John to Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he was an outstanding linebacker. With high school head coaching stints in his background, Ballein began his career as a graduate assistant coach in 1987 on Frank Beamer’s first Virginia Tech staff. Today he holds the position of Associate Athletic Director for football operations as Coach Frank Beamer’s go-to man.
Dr. Joe Fedorchik: A 1966 Bellmar High School graduate, Fedorchik was the product of two Mon Valley groundbreaking gymnastic instructors, John DeMillion and Bud Giannini. Fedorchik was a two-time gymnastic WPIAL individual champion in 1965 and 1966 along with a 1966 state PIAA gold. A 1971 Michigan State University graduate, he helped the 1968 Spartans win a Big Ten gymnastic championship. At the University of Michigan, Joe received his M.D. degree in1977. He specializes in cardiovascular-thoracic surgery.
Ken Kulak: A 1958 California Area High School graduate, Ken was a triple letterman, earning nine letters in football, basketball and baseball. A three- year starting quarterback he could run, pass and punt. He was named to the All Washington County team. Ken carried his talents to Cal U football as the starting quarterback and became the leading NAIA small college quarterback in the country. He played semi-pro football for the Pittsburgh Ironman following college. Ken capped his career coaching his high school alma mater for five years.
Wilbert “Barney” Wolfe: Born January 9, 1876 in California, Pennsylvania, Wilbert is considered a pioneer among Mon Valley baseball products who crashed the big leagues. His career started on the sandlot fields as a pitcher and in 1903 he was picked up by the American League New York Highlanders, future Yankees, performing in 20 games. In 1904 Barney was traded to the Washington Senators. In 1905 he had his best year with a 2.57 ERA.
Click on "Gallery" to see photos of the new inductees.