For the past 60 years, the Pa Sports Hall of Fame has honored and inducted over 753 incredible men and women who have made a lasting impact in Pennsylvania through extraordinary athletic achievement and contributions. Whether these activities have been achieved on or off the field, we honor them. And through our future virtual museum we will educate and celebrate their achievements for years to come.
Laila Brock is a graduate of Washington (PA) High School and Penn State University, starring on the oval in track at both schools
She won a combined six sprint/relay PIAA gold medals in her junior and senior seasons at Wash High. In her 1996 senior season she won the -100, -200 and -400 meter dashes and ran the anchor leg on her gold medal winning 4 x -100 relay team at the PIAA championship meet. The combination of winning gold in four races had never been accomplished by any female sprinter in the 23 years that the PIAA has contested championships in these events.
As a junior in 1995 she won the WPIAL -100 and -200 meter dashes and also anchored the 4 X -100 meter relay in 50.8 seconds. Her time of
12.2 seconds in the -100 meter sprint set a state record.
She followed that by winning the gold in the -200 meter sprint in the 1995 PIAA Championships, setting a state record of 24.92 seconds.
At the 1995 state meet she also took a silver in the 100- meter sprint and anchored the state champion 4 X -100 meter relay team.
At Penn State she ran relay races and was captain of the Penn State Track and Field Team.
Since graduating from Penn State she has continued her involvement in sports as an executive working for sports-related enterprises, including serving on the College Football Playoff’s senior staff and currently serves as vice president of sponsorships, sales and operations for Pitt Sports Marketing through JMI Sports.
Jim earned nine letters in football, basketball, swimming, and track at Connellsville High School (1954-1957).
Named Honorable Mention All-State as a senior (1956) and All-Fayette County First Team in football both as a junior and senior (1955-56).
Jim was the fullback in the famed "Three C's" backfield at Pitt along with Fred Cox of Monongahela High School and Bob Clemens of Munhall High School (1957-1960).
In 1960 game vs. Notre Dame, was voted “Outstanding Running Back” by coaches and teammates
He was First Team All-East his junior and senior years (1959-60) and was UPI Honorable Mention All-American as a senior.
He was drafted in 1961 in the third round by the Washington Redskins and played 3 NFL seasons with them. Was also drafted that same year by the New York Titans of the AFL.
Was named the game MVP of 1963 Shrine Charities Pro Football game ( Redskins vs Colts)
Played for the Wheeling Ironmen of the Continental Football League and was their MVP in the 1966 season.
Jim has been inducted into both the Western and Fayette County Chapters of PA Sports Hall of Fame, the Connellsville High School Sports Hall of Fame , and the Minor League Pro Football Hall of Fame
Dennis is the all-time winning coach (264) in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
Won nine PSAC East titles and made four NCAA playoff appearances.
In 2018, he was the NCAA active leader in career wins (264).
At East Stroudsburg State his entire career, he led the nation in games coached (471) at that level,
Ranked sixteenth in NCAA history (all divisions) in career wins and seventh in games coached.
Retired in 2018 with two games remaining during his 45th season as a head coach, which was then seventh longest head coaching tenure in NCAA history.
Ranks fifth in years coached at one school and his 264 wins at one school is ranked tenth in NCAA history.
Mentored 24 Associated Press Little All-Americans, 6 AFLA All-Americans, and 6 Finalist for the Harlon Trophy.
Albert "Al" Jacks
At Peabody High School he quarterbacked the 1953 Dragons to an undefeated season, a Pittsburgh City League championship and he was named the 1953 City League MVP
He was the starting quarterback at Penn State in 1957 and 1958 under coach Rip Engle.
Al began his coaching career as a Graduate Assistant at Penn State in 1959 and then served as the backfield coach at Slippery Rock State College from 1960 to 1962.
In 1963 he was named the Head Football Coach at Clarion State College and stayed until his retirement in 1981.
Coach Jack’s career Clarion record was 128 - 44 – 5 (winning percentage of 72.9%). Beginning with the 1964 team and continuing through the 1981 season under his leadership, Clarion registered 18 consecutive winning seasons, longest active streak in NCAA Division II at the time of his retirement.
During his head coaching tenure, Clarion won 4 PSAC West titles and 3 PSAC championships.
Clarion’s 1980 team was named the ECAC “Team of the Year”.
From 1963 -1996 he was a member of the teaching faculty at Clarion and a Department Chair for 17 years.
He received the Clarion University Distinguished Service Award in 1997 and was inducted into the Western Chapter of the PA Sports HOF in 1979 and the Clarion University Sports HOF in 1989.
Stu Jackson was a graduate of Reading High School and Seattle University.
He played basketball at the University of Oregon and Seattle University.
Stu remained on the West Coast with coaching stints at Oregon (1981- 83) and Washington State (1983-85) and was an associate coach with Rick Pitino at Providence College (1985– 87).
Jackson was named the head coach at the New York Knicks in 1989 at age 33, the second youngest head coach in NBA history.
He was the head coach of the Wisconson Badgers for the1992–93 and1993–94 seasons, leading the Badgers to the 1994 NCAA Tournament.
General Manager of the Vancouver Grizzlies for their first five seasons.
Stu then became an Executive Vice-President of Basketball Operations for the NBA
Dee Kantner is a Reading native and graduate from Exeter High School.
At Exeter, she earned 13 varsity letters (four in Field Hockey, four in Basketball, four in Track and one in Cross Country).
NCAA Division I Referee (1984 – present).
NCAA – Referee for 24 Final Four Tournament games.
NCAA – Referee for 15 National Championship games.
In 1997 she was awarded the Naismith Award for Officiating.
She was one of the first women to officiate in the NBA 1997-2002.
FIBA – Referee for 1998 FIBA World Championship for women.
Olympics –Basketball referee for 2000 Summer Games in Athens, Greece.
In 2019 Dee was Inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall
Dick played both ways (halfback and cornerback) on the 1957 Ohio State Buckeye’s national championship team and scored 2 rushing TD’s in a come-from-behind victory over arch-rival Michigan.
Drafted by Cleveland and cut, he joined the Detroit Lions and played 14 seasons as a Lion’s defensive back.
His career statistics include 185 games played, 62 interceptions (then a Lion’s record and 10th all-time in the NFL), 762 interception return yards, 4 interceptions returned for touchdowns, 9 recovered fumbles (one returned for a touchdown) and 3 Pro Bowl appearances.
His 171 consecutive starts is second in NFL history to Ronde Barber for a defensive secondary defender.
All four Lions secondary starters from that era, Dick ‘Night Train” Lane, Yale Larry, Lem Barney and Dick LeBeau are enshrined in the Pro Football HOF in Canton, an unprecedented honor.
Upon his retirement as a player, he first coached for 2 years with the Philadelphia Eagles followed by 2 years with the Green Bay Packers.
He spent 11 seasons in Cincinnati helping the Bengals reach 2 Super Bowl appearances (XVI and XXIII).
As defensive coordinator he helped lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to 4 Super Bowl appearances and 2 Super Bowl victories (XL and XLIII).
He was inducted into the Western Chapter of the PA Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton in 2010.
As a star on the gridiron for Southern Columbia Area Jerry Marks ran for 7,075 career yards, which broke the Pennsylvania state record in 1987.
He became the first ever Tiger football player to be selected as a 1st Team All-State honoree.
Marks was also the school’s first ever 2x PIAA wrestling champion. He had a record of 74 - 1 over his final two years, winning state titles in the 167-pound and 185-pound weight classes.
In college he was a starting running back at Bloomsburg University. In a game at Mansfield, he carried the ball a school record 59 times for 300 yards.
Marks eventually came back to coach wrestling for the Tigers and turned the program into a state-power.
He was named Pa’s Class 2A Wrestling Coach of the Year on multiple occasions during his tenure at his alma-mater.
In 2019 his program won the PIAA 2A Individual Team State Championship.
Additionally, the Tigers finished as the runner-up in the PIAA 2A Team Dual State Championship three times.
A graduate of Montoursville High School where she scored 3,215 points finishing as the then third leading scorer in Pennsylvania girls basketball history.
Kelly became a star at Penn State University and the all-time leading scorer in the Big-Ten Conference with 2,919 points at the time.
She also held Big-Ten offensive records in most categories, was a 2X Big Ten Player of the year, and led the nation in scoring her sophomore year. She was a 3X Kodak All- American.
The two-time Associated Press first team All-American led the Lady Lions to two Conference Championships, two Sweet 16 appearances, and a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament with a trip to the Elite Eight.
Kelly received the 2005 NCAA Top Eight Award and her Penn State jersey (#13) was retired in 2004.
She was selected in the second round in the 2004 WNBA draft by the Charlotte Sting.
When the Sting folded in 2007 she was selected in the dispersal draft by the Phoenix Mercury, contributing to the Mercury’s 2 WNBA championships in 2007 and 2009.
During the off-season she played in Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Italy, and later played for the San Antonio Silver Stars and the Atlanta Dream before retiring in 2014.
Coach James Roth of Southern Columbia Area is Pennsylvania’s all-time winningest high school football coach with 471 victories and still counting after the 2021 season.
He has set records for Pennsylvania’s most PIAA Football State Championships with 12 in20 state final appearances. He has a record 29 District IV titles.
Since his career started in1984 he has the top winning percentage of any coach in the United States. In 38 seasons, he has never had a losing record.
In 2020, Roth was named the Max-Preps Small School National Coach of the Year and his Tigers were picked as the Max-Preps Small School National Champions.
From 2018-2020, Southern Columbia Area won three consecutive High School Football America (HSFA) Small School National Championships.
Roth’s program broke the state’s regular season winning streak with 93 straight victories from 2011 to 2021. During that time frame the Tigers won 65 games in a row overall which was the longest streak in the nation at the time.
Robert "Bobby" Del Greco
A Pittsburgh native, Bobby was drafted by and played for the Pirates from 1952 – 1956.
He played for 17 seasons with the Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals (1956), Chicago Cubs (1957), New York Yankees (1957 and 1958) Philadelphia Phillies (1960, 1961 and 1965) and Philadelphia Athletics (1962 and 1963).
He was a member of the 1957 and 1958 New York Yankees teams that each captured American League pennants.
His career batting totals include 95 doubles, 11 triples and 43 home runs.
Throughout his career, Bob was highly praised as an exceptional defensive outfielder.
He was 2nd in MLB in outfielder fielding percentage in 1956 (.987)
He was in Top 10 in MLB in double plays involving an outfielder for 3 seasons
He was in Top 10 in MLB for assists by an outfielder for 4 seasons
Marty played football (All-State First Team in 1960) and basketball (1960-61 Class AA State Champions) at Fort Cherry High School in Washington County, Pennsylvania.
Played college football at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a 1964 Second Team All-American and played in the 1965 College All-Star Game vs. the Cleveland Browns
He played professional football for the Buffalo Bills and Boston Patriots.
In 1975-76 he was the New York Giants Linebacker Coach and in 1977 he was the Giants Defensive Coordinator.
In 1980, he served as Defensive Coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.
He was the Cleveland Browns head coach in 1984 -1988, and the K.C. Chiefs head coach from 1989 – 1998.
Was the Washington Redskins Head Coach 2000 – 2001 and San Diego Chargers head coach from 2002 – 2006.
AFC Coach of the Year in 1986 AND 2004 and the NFL Coach of the Year in 2004.
He posted a winning record in 19 of his 21 seasons as an NFL head coach and his teams were in the playoffs in 13 of those 21 seasons.
He is the only NFL Coach with at least 200 wins who is not in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Former Bishop Hoban High School (Wilkes Barre, PA), James Madison University and WNBA Washington Mystics/Connecticut Sun basketball player, she capped her collegiate career by being named to the Colonial Athletic Association Silver Anniversary All-Star Team. Was the CAA Player of the Year for the 2006-07 season and was first player at James Madison to amass 1000 points and 1000 rebounds in a playing career.
Former Penn State Defensive Coordinator and Nittany Lions Interim Head Football Coach in 2011. During his 36 year collegiate coaching career, he developed 20 First Team All-Americans, 67 All-Conference players and coached 50+ players onto NFL rosters. He was named the Associated Press Collegiate Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 2005 and was awarded a similar honor by Rivals.com in 2008.
Former Susquehanna Township High School (Harrisburg, PA) , Hofstra University and New Orleans Saints wide receiver who retired as the Saints all-time leader in pass receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. Caught 7 passes for 83 yards in the Saints Super Bowl XLIV victory over the Colts. His 10 year New Orleans Saints career stats include 711 receptions for 9759 yards and 72 touchdowns. He is also the Saints career leader in receiving yards per catch (13.7 yds), most seasons with 100 receptions (6), most 100 yard receiving games (28) and most games played by a wide receiver (146).
Mary Ellen Boylan Jutca
Former Immaculate Conception High School (Washington, PA) and Villanova University basketball player who was the Philadelphia area's 3-time "Big 5" Women's MVP in 1974, 1975 and 1976. Was the first female inducted into the Villanova Wildcats Varsity Club Sports Hall of Fame in 1985. In addition to her collegiate basketball career, she was also the Wildcats 2 year tennis captain in 1975 and 1976. In her senior year, the Philadelphia Inquirer called her "possibly the best athlete, male or female in Philadelphia" and "Spires" (the University newspaper) named her "the best female athlete ever to attend Villanova".
Former Ft. Le Boeuf High School (Erie County), Penn State University and Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints short yardage running back. In track he was a three time PIAA discus champion and his throw of 206' 3" was a 20 year state record. He also was a 2 time PIAA shot put champion and at Penn State was the NCAA discus champion his sophomore year. The Erie Times named him among the top 10 of "Erie's Best Athletes of the 20th Century".
Former Academy of New Church High School (Bryn Athyn, PA), Temple University and Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns football player, he was named First Team All-American Offensive Guard for the Temple Owls in 1981. Was also the NCAA Power Lifting Champion in 1981 and was a first round selection (9th overall) by the Steelers in the 1986 NFL draft, where he was a 5 year starter at guard followed by two years as a starting guard for the Cleveland Browns.
Retired Upper St. Clair High School football coach, he has recorded the most victories (406) in WPIAL football history during his 49 year scholastic head football coaching career. His 1989 Panthers were the first PIAA AAAA championship team to go undefeated at 15-0 and his 2006 USC team was first PIAA AAAA team to go undefeated at 16-0. Was previously inducted into the PA. High School Football Coaches Assn and the WPIAL Halls of Fame.
Former Dunmore High School (Dunmore, PA), University of Notre Dame and Miami Dolphins offensive lineman (Center) who was selected by Sporting News as a scholastic Honorable Mention All-American, and was a four year starter at center for the Fighting Irish where he was named Second Team All-American by both The Football News and the Associated Press. At Miami he was Dan Marino's starting center for 140 games, and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2001.
R. J. Umberger
Former Plum High School (Plum Borough, PA.), Ohio State Buckeyes and Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers center and left winger, he was drafted in the first round (pick # 16) in the 2001 draft by the Vancouver Canucks and played 11 seasons in the NHL. With the Plum Mustangs he scored an impressive 116 points in only 16 games. Previously inducted into the Plum High School and the Ohio State Sports Halls of Fame.
Betty Mullen Brey
Former NCAA, Pan Am Games and Olympic Games champion, she was a Silver Medalist in the 400 Freestyle at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, a Gold and a Silver Medalist at the 1951 Pan Am Games and both a Gold and a Silver Medalist at the 1955 Pan Am Games. She set a new American and World record in the 100 yard Butterfly at the 1955 NCAA Championships and was inducted into the Purdue University and Indiana University (Indiana) Halls of Fame..
James "Lash" Nesser
Former Uniontown St. John's High School and Uniontown (Red Raiders) High School (Uniontown, PA) head basketball coach whose teams won 680 games between 1948 and 1976. His 1965 St. John's team won the PCIAA championship and his 1962 and 1976 teams both made the PCIAA Final Four. His 1981 Uniontown Red Raiders team won both the WPIAL 9District 7) and the PIAA (State) championships.
Former Canonsburg High School (Canonsburg, PA), University of Pittsburgh and U.S. Olympic Team wrestler, he won three straight WPIAL crowns and was the 145 pound PIAA champion in 1950. At Pitt he was the 167 pound NCAA champion in 1954 and was a four-time Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association champion. He was previously inducted into the Southwestern PA Wrestling, the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Officials, the Pitt Golden Panthers and the National Wrestling Halls of Fame as well as the Canon-MacMillan School; District Hall of Honor. Officiated at 5 NCAA Championship tournaments and wrestled for the USA in the 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics.
Hard work, determination and a never give up attitude were instilled in Ron Sepic by his parents and those attributes served Sepic well in athletic competition and in life.
Sepic made the sacrifice to be a great player.
“I was always a goal setter,” Sepic said. “I did that in everything I did. When practicing I'd go up to the playground. It would be, ‘Can I make it around the world?’ I wouldn't go home until I made it all the way around, and it had to be a swish.
“When you're doing that for hours at a time, eventually you have to get pretty good at shooting.”
Sepic was a star football and basketball player at Uniontown High School in the 1960s.
The Uniontown playground system was an incubator for Red Raider stars and the two junior highs — Ben Franklin and Lafayette — also were big factors in Uniontown's athletic success.
“We had a great feeder system,” Sepic said. “The playground system, the junior high school system and in grade school we had the Saturday morning basketball league. One of the things we did in the junior highs in football and basketball was that they had us running a lot of the plays and the system that the high school teams were being taught by Bill Power and Abe Everhart. When we got to the high school we were pretty much ready to go.”
The Red Raiders were a dominant football power and won a WPIAL title in Sepic's junior season, posting a 10-0 mark. In basketball, Sepic was a part of a Uniontown juggernaut that lost a total of five games in three years and captured a state championship in 1962.
Sepic has fond memories of his high school coaches.
“Bill Power was a very smart football coach,” Sepic said. “He was very well organized. His scouting program was excellent, as was the team concept of how he broke the team down into different groups. I thought he was just a great organizer. He was never a man that really lost his temper. You wanted to play for him out of respect and that was the same thing with Abe in basketball. He was the same way. Abe was a guy that you wanted to play for. You didn't fear him, but you respected him. You knew that they both knew what they were doing and they got the most out of their athletes.”
The basketball Raiders posted a 29-2 record on their way to a state championship in 1962. Uniontown defeated Norristown 70-57 in the state title game.
Uniontown lost to Bethlehem on Jan. 27, 1962. From there the Red Raiders went on to win 36 games in a row before they ran into John Naponick and Norwin in the 1963 WPIAL basketball playoffs.
Sepic was All-County in football and basketball and also garnered first-team All-State honors in both sports as well, being named to the Parade High School All-American basketball squad in 1963.
He was heavily recruited in both football and basketball when he graduated from Uniontown in 1963.
“It came down to Ohio State, Duke and West Virginia because I thought they would be the closest. Duke was too far and Ohio State was the closest of the Big Ten schools. I was torn between playing football or basketball, but Woody Hayes only threw the ball about three times a game and I was a tight end, so I knew I was going to be a blocking end. I wanted to have my hands on that leather and I chose basketball.”
The Buckeyes were a basketball power, but didn't match their earlier success when Sepic played in Columbus
“We were pretty good,” Sepic said. “We didn't have the big man because; actually, my junior year I played guard. I started as a sophomore after about the third game. We played Michigan, who was the No. 1 team in the country. They had Cazzie Russell and Bill Buntin. We played them toward the end of the season, and I guarded Russell, who was about 6-5. They moved me out to guard. I had played forward all year long. We beat them and the next year I played guard. My senior year I played both forward and guard.
“We never made the NCAA tournament. At that time you had to win the Big Ten. They didn't take the number of teams that they do now.”
Sepic was the Buckeyes’ captain in 1967 and tallied 1,107 points in 72 games for an average of 15.4 points per game.
Pro football and pro basketball came knocking after Sepic's senior season at Ohio State.
The Washington Redskins drafted Sepic in football, even though he didn't play in college. The NBA Cincinnati Royals drafted him and he made the final cut to six rookies.
“In those days we didn't have agents, and the Redskins' camp started in July. I had been accepted to dental school and I had to let them know by July if I was going to go to dental school or play pro ball. I was considering playing either one, but I knew I couldn't go to the rookie camp for football with dental school.
“Always in the back of my mind were mom and dad saying you have to get an education. My wife, Susan, and I were married and we had our first son, Ron Jr. I told the Royals if I get a no-cut contract I'll play pro basketball and I was going to give up a year of dental school. They said no to the no-cut contract and I said I'm going to dental school.
“The education paid off. From dental school I went on to become an orthodontist in Uniontown and it's been a great life.”
He married his high school sweetheart, the former Susan McMillan, and they were married for 45 years. They have two sons, Ron Jr. and Chris, and a daughter, Lynn.
He died March 28, 2020, at age 75 after a battle with cancer.