New­est Hall class in­ducted

Women take cen­ter stage at ban­quet

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Neil Geoghe­gan ngeoghe­gan@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @NeilMGeoghe­gan on Twit­ter

DOWNINGTOWN >> It’s been around for nearly 150 years, so it’s easy to take for granted the im­pact West Ch­ester Univer­sity has had on Ch­ester County ath­let­ics.

From West Ch­ester Nor­mal, to West Ch­ester Teach­ers, to West Ch­ester State and be­yond, WCU’s con­tri­bu­tion has been all-en­com­pass­ing. And that point was brought home on Satur­day evening dur­ing the Ch­ester County Sports Hall of Fame’s yearly ban­quet at Downingtown Coun­try Club.

“Some­times, Ch­ester County takes (WCU) for granted, but I never did,” said for­mer women’s bas­ket­ball coach Deirdre Kane. “It is a mag­i­cal place.”

Ex­actly half of the 16 in­ductees for the 2016 class at­tended and/

or coached at West Ch­ester. The ninth group en­shrined since the 2008 de­but was high­lighted by Kane and Ronn Jenk­ins (div­ing), who is also a WCU coach­ing leg­end.

“I am over­whelmed and taken aback. I came to one other (CCSHOF) ban­quet prior to this and looked at the in­ductees and re­al­ized they only put heavy hit­ters in this hall of fame,” Jenk­ins said. “I am very hum­bled.

“I put in a great four years at West Ch­ester. It was a small school, a to­tal of 1,600 un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents. Now it’s al­most 10-times that num­ber.

“I went to Buck­nell for a few years af­ter grad­u­a­tion, and when I can back here, I said I was go­ing to stay three years. Since then I’ve watched the univer­sity and the town just bloom. Now I’ve been here 44 years. I never thought that would hap­pen.”

The largest ever en­shrined by the CCSHOF, the 2016 class also in­cludes Danny Hale -- an All-Con­fer­ence player in the 1960s who went on to win 40 of 53 games as WCU head coach from 1984-88 -- and for­mer West Ch­ester star ath­letes like Ramzee Stan­ton (bas­ket­ball) and Cather­ine Walsh Hay (swim­ming), who went on coach Villa Maria to six state cham­pi­onships.

“Ch­ester County is one of the strong­est coun­ties in Penn­syl­va­nia ath­let­i­cally,” Walsh Hay said.

“When I went to West Ch­ester, I grad­u­ated in a class of 400, and I had teach­ers like Dick Yoder and many oth­ers who have been pre­vi­ously in­ducted into this hall of fame. We were given an ed­u­ca­tion that was as good as any in the na­tion in phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion. We were well pre­pared to be teach­ers as well as coaches.”

In ad­di­tion, the 2016 con­tin­gent fea­tures for­mer Golden Rams stu­dents who also went on to lo­cal high school coach­ing ex­cel­lence, like Re­nee Tal­ley (Coatesville) and Jen O’Don­nell (West Ch­ester Hen­der­son and East), who is also an in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned lacrosse of­fi­cial.

“When I was hired, I was kind of an out­sider be­cause I did not at­tend West Ch­ester,” said Kane, who won 447 games in 27 sea­sons. “But the work ethic and sense of tra­di­tion was there among the play­ers be­fore I cracked the whip once. That was handed down. The pride that the coaches, ad­min­is­tra­tors and pro­fes­sors ex­hib­ited was un­be­liev­able.

“I was born in South Philly, raised in New Jersey, went to col­lege in Ohio and my first coach­ing job was in Mary­land,” Kane con­tin­ued. “But I never fully re­al­ized un­til today that Ch­ester County is truly home.”

For­mer WCU stu­dent, teacher and ad­min­is­tra­tor, Eli­nor Z. Tay­lor, was one of three peo­ple to be in­ducted posthu­mously. The oth­ers: drag rac­ing leg­end Bill ‘Grumpy’ Jenk­ins and West Ch­ester East/Wake For­est field hockey great, Maria White­head. Tay­lor was a key fig­ure in sup­port of women’s ath­let­ics prior to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Ti­tle IX.

The rest of the in­di­vid­ual in­ductees in­cluded lo­cal bas­ket­ball leg­ends Tora Su­ber and Amanda Brown Streeter; W.C. Hen­der­son field hockey and lacrosse coach­ing icon Kim Jack­son; triath­lete Ken­neth Glah; and steeplechase trainer Jonathan Shep­pard. And the Coatesville girls’ bas­ket­ball team that won the 199394 state cham­pi­onship (and was coached by Tal­ley) be­came the fourth team to be hon­ored by the hall of fame.

In ad­di­tion to the four teams, the all-time list of in­ductees is now up to 114 in­di­vid­u­als, and one horse (Bar­baro).

Hall of Fame looks to ex­pand

Hall of Fame Pres­i­dent Jerry Sch­nei­der ac­knowl­edged that the idea of hon­or­ing some true Ch­ester County old-timers is gath­er­ing steam. A pre­lim­i­nary list of po­ten­tial hon­orees in­clude a bunch of lo­cal ath­letes from the late 19th and early 20th cen­tury who are long for­got­ten, in­clud­ing Joe Bor­den, who was a history-mak­ing pitcher from very early in pro­fes­sional base­ball.

“We are think­ing about find­ing a way to rec­og­nize some of the real old timers,” Sch­nei­der ex­plained. “There are quite a few that played pro base­ball or foot­ball and very few peo­ple are even aware of them.

“An ex­am­ple is Bor­don, who played in the first Na­tional League game and pitched the first Ma­jor League no-hit­ter. He mar­ried into a West Ch­ester fam­ily and is buried at Oak­lands Ceme­tery.”

In 1875, Bor­don notched pro base­ball’s first no-hit­ter while play­ing for the Philadel­phia White Stock­ings of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion. A year later, now play­ing with the Bos­ton Red Caps, Bor­don was the win­ning pitcher in the first Na­tional League game ever played. And on May 23 of that same sea­son, Bor­don was cred­ited with Ma­jor League Base­ball’s ini­tial no-hit­ter.

In ad­di­tion, the or­ga­ni­za­tion an­nounced on Satur­day the creation of the Richard B. Yoder High School Scholar-Ath­lete Award, where one male and one fe­male from Ch­ester County will an­nu­ally re­ceive a $1,000 col­lege schol­ar­ship.

PHOTO BY WES HIL­TON

The 2016 Ch­ester County Sports Hall of Fame class pose Satur­day dur­ing their ban­quet at the Downingtown Coun­try Club. Back row (left to right) Tora Su­ber, Ted Tor­rance, Ramzee Stan­ton, Deirdre Kane, Jen O’Don­nell, Ronn Jenk­ins, Amanda Brown Streeter, Ken­neth Glah, Front row: Su­san Jenk­ins (for Bill ‘Grumpy’ Jenk­ins), Patti White­head (for Maria White­head), Re­nee Tal­ley, Kim Jack­son, Jonathan Shep­pard and Cather­ine Walsh Hay.

PHOTO BY WES HIL­TON

The 1993-94 state cham­pi­onship Coatesville girls bas­ket­ball team come to­gether at the Ch­ester County Sports Hall of Fame ban­quet at the Downingtown Coun­try Club on Satur­day.

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