Munizza’s archiving efforts land him in Quaker Valley hall of fame
Monday, August 14, 2017 | 5:51 PM
Whether you're looking to find out Quaker Valley's football record in the 1960s or verify who the 400-meter record holder is at the school, John Munizza has the answer logged.
What began for Munizza as research for a 1989 fundraiser to benefit a former classmate evolved into gathering much of the history of Quaker Valley athletics, and the time and effort put into the project are being recognized with Munizza's induction into the Quaker Valley Sports Hall of Fame as this year's honoree in the contributor category.
A 1972 Quaker Valley graduate, Munizza played youth sports in Sewickley but was not a high school athlete — “All my buddies were bigger than me in high school,” he said.
Munizza attended college at Pitt, where he was classmates and friends with many members of Pitt's 1976 football national championship team. Always interested in sports, Munizza stayed active by playing men's softball, and it was when tragedy struck a teammate that his major project was born.
“We had a guy on our team, ‘Chip' Miles, who I graduated with, that was in a car accident and paralyzed,” Munizza said. “Mike Mastroianni was the assistant basketball coach at QV at the time, and we started talking about doing a fundraiser to pit the '89 QV team against the 1972 team, which was my year and Roger's — Roger is Chip's real name.
“We were gathering information to make a program for this fundraiser, and we couldn't find anything at the school for 1972. So I went to the library, looked up every game and the stats for it. Then I started to look up the next year, out of boredom as much as anything, and it just kept snowballing. I found every game from '72 to ('89), and then I went all the way back to 1956 when the school opened.”
Munizza had the complete history of Quaker Valley basketball compiled after the event, which was played before a sold-out crowd and saw the younger section champs get the better of their section-winning elders.
Instead of stopping, however, Munizza began to branch into other sports. Next up was track, which was surprisingly simple to put together.
“I went to (former QV coach) Ken Johns, and he had every meet since their first season in 1957. All I did was input it in a computer,” Munizza said.
His archive has expanded to include complete football archives, not just of the Quakers' 61-year history, but of more than 30 years of the Sewickley Indians and Leetsdale Spartans programs that preceded them before the schools merged. He also has complete soccer records, documenting one of the school's most successful programs over nearly four decades of games.
“I get enjoyment out of getting the info to people who need it, and I got to learn a lot about the history around QV and Sewickley doing it,” Munizza said. “I always liked stats — as a kid, you'd always read the back of baseball cards when you got them — so I enjoyed it.”
Munizza and the rest of this year's Hall of Fame class will be inducted Sept. 17 with a brunch and ceremony at Sewickley Heights Golf Club.
Matt Grubba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Quaker Valley
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