History of Penn Hills Sports Hall of Fame
Back in 1983, Clarence Frank and Jack Schafer were both having a meal at Mr. Steak Restaurant on Rodi Road. Clarence had been involved in Penn Hills Sports his entire life and Jack Schafer, then the Penn Hills Parks and Recreation Director, had seen years of Penn Hills sports himself. After a great meal, the owner Charlie Dieble joined them, and yes, they talked sports as they often did.
They started talking about the past and the great athletes that the people of Penn Hills were fortunate to see play and the dedicated coaches and trainers throughout the years. “Remember George Karl, Bill Fralic, Hubie Bryant and Andy Urbanic?” Story after story flowed across the table. The one thing they had in common was PENN HILLS.
At one point, Jack said to the gentlemen, “Why doesn’t Penn Hills have a Sports Hall of Fame?” “I don’t know,” Clarence replied, “but it sounds like a good idea!”
Clarence became the first Chairman of the newly formed committee, and by the spring of 1984 the first class of inductees was honored at a banquet held at the same Mr. Steak Restaurant where the idea originated. The first six inductees included George Karl, Ralph Heck, Bob Goin, George Roman, Leonard Gallo Sr., and Glen Davis.
As the years went on, the crowds increased and the banquet was subsequently moved to St. Gerard Majella Church; then to the Harley House Hotel at the end of Rodi Road (currently the Comfort Inn). In 2005, after Mike Birmingham became Chairman, another venue change was necessary due to space limitations. The celebration was moved to Churchill Valley Country Club then to the present location, the Green Oaks Country Club in Verona, Pennsylvania.
The Penn Hills Sports Hall of Fame is made up of an exceptional group of athletes and quality people. Indeed, the founding members could not have been more correct — the people of Penn Hills have been very fortunate!