Gateway trio among WPIAL Hall of Fame class

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Thursday, April 12, 2018 | 11:45 AM


Gateway's Terry Smith will be inducted into the WPIAL Hall of Fame alongside two athletes he knows very well.

Smith, former Gators teammate Curtis Bray and stepson Justin King were among 13 inductees announced Thursday at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum that's inside the Heinz History Center.

This is the 12th year for the WPIAL hall. The banquet is June 2 in Green Tree.

“There's a lot of great people and athletes that have come from the WPIAL,” said Smith, who's an assistant head football coach at Penn State. “I don't know if I'm really deserving of being in the conversation with a lot of them. We've had some of the greatest athletes to walk the planet come from the WPIAL. I'm humbled with my name being mentioned with those guys.”

This year's class includes eight athletes, three coaches, a game official, a former WPIAL administrator and one team: 1989 Sto-Rox softball.

The other athletes among the inductees are Laurel Highlands' Breehana Jacobs (track), Waynesburg's Coleman Scott (wrestling), Baldwin's Lee Shaffer (basketball), Moon's AQ Shipley (football/basketball) and West Mifflin's Tanisha Wright (basketball).

The former coaches are New Castle football/basketball's Phil Bridenbaugh, Clairton/Gateway football's Tom Nola and Chuck DeVenzio, who won WPIAL basketball titles at Ambridge and Springdale. Anthony Notaro was the official chosen for induction, along with former WPIAL president Patrick Ratesic.

Mars wrestler Max Lamm, who lost his vision to a rare eye cancer, will receive the courage award.

Bray, Bridenbaugh, DeVenzio and Notaro will be inducted posthumously.

Nola, Ratesic and former Sto-Rox softball coach Bill Palermo attended Thursday announcement while family members represented Bray, DeVenzio and Shipley.

“It's a very humbling experience,” said Nola, who won six WPIAL football titles and four PIAA titles in 12 years at Clairton while also maintaining a record 66-game winning streak. “So many great people are already a part of this thing. … We had great accomplishments; it was mostly the players who did it, but I'm glad it happened.”

This year's inductions will bring Gateway's total to eight, the most in the WPIAL hall from any one school.

Smith was a two-sport star at Gateway who later set receiving records at Penn State and ultimately became a successful coach at two alma maters. He and Bray, who was a national Gatorade Player of the Year, led the Gators to a legendary WPIAL football title and No. 3 national ranking in 1986.

Later as the Gators' coach for 11 seasons, Smith guided King, another Gateway standout, who became a Penn State star and reached the NFL.

“Those are the two greatest football players to play at Gateway High School,” Smith said by phone. “I'm honored to go in alongside.”

Sto-Rox softball won many titles, but the 1989 team was its most dominant. The Vikings went 21-1 and won WPIAL and PIAA titles with pitcher Bonnie Gasior throwing a no-hitter in the state final.

Jacobs, a 2007 graduate, won eight WPIAL track gold medals and PIAA gold six times. At South Carolina, she was a five-time All-American.

Scott, a 2004 graduate and Olympic bronze medalist in 2012, won four WPIAL and three PIAA wrestling titles at Waynesburg, where his career record was 156-12.

Shaffer, a 1955 graduate, earned ACC basketball player of the year at North Carolina, was the No. 5 pick in the NBA draft and earned NBA all-star honors. He averaged 25 points as a senior at Baldwin.

Shipley, a 2004 graduate and current NFL lineman, was a two-sport athlete at Moon, where he won WPIAL and PIAA basketball titles.

Wright, a 2001 graduate and veteran WNBA player, had 2,477 career points and won a WPIAL title at West Mifflin.

Bridenbaugh coached New Castle from 1922-55 and owns seven WPIAL football titles. His record was 265-65-25.

DeVenzio ranks fifth among WPIAL basketball coaches with 659 career wins. His undefeated 1967 Ambridge team is considered among the best in WPIAL history.

Notaro was a WPIAL official for 47 years in baseball, football, basketball, softball and volleyball.

Ratesic, a former athlete, coach and athletic director, rose to WPIAL president. He also served as a longtime football official.

Bray was a standout linebacker, a position he later played at Pitt, but also won WPIAL and state javelin titles as a senior and averaged a double-double in basketball. He was an assistant football coach at Iowa State before his death in 2014.

King was the state Gatorade Player of the Year who ran for 4,519 yards at Gateway.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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