WPIAL announces 2022 Hall of Fame class

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022 | 11:21 AM


Bob Kalp won more than 400 games as Hempfield’s softball coach, and Chuck Tursky celebrated his 500th career win as Kiski Area’s wrestling coach.

Those are remarkable numbers, and they set them apart from their peers, yet the wins only partially explain why they’re among the best coaches in WPIAL history.

Those stats, they say, were never their focus.

“I didn’t get into coaching for that (recognition),” said Tursky, who retired last winter with more wins than any wrestling coach in WPIAL history. “I got into it because I love the sport. I got into it because I love working and coaching the kids, and I love competing too.

“But before I knew it, I was up to 400 and then I’m the WPIAL coach with the most wins.”

The two recently retired coaches were among 13 individuals and two teams announced Wednesday for induction into the WPIAL Hall of Fame. The 15th annual class will be honored at an induction banquet May 27 at the DoubleTree in Greentree.

“Everybody’s human, and you like being recognized,” said Kalp, who retired after last season. “But the program and all of the people who were involved over the years, that’s really what caused it to take place. I get the notoriety, but it was the hard work of a coaching staff and all of the players over the years.”

They’re joined in the 2022 class by Mt. Pleasant’s Bob Gorinski (baseball/football), Highlands’ Micah Mason (basketball), Kittanning’s Jason Nolf (wrestling), Penn Hills’ Dion Bentley (track and field), Frazier’s Chad Salisbury (football/baseball/basketball), Peters Township’s Brian Simmons (baseball) and Oakland Catholic’s Mallory Dietrich (swimming) and Brianne O’Rourke (basketball).

The heritage selection was Connellsville’s Johnny Lujack, a multisport high school athlete who won the Heisman Trophy playing college football at Notre Dame in 1947. Lujack, 97, is the oldest living Heisman winner and won three national championships with the Fighting Irish.

Also picked for induction is WPIAL contributor Ruth Ann Burke, who organized the Western Pennsylvania Girls Athletic League in the 1960s, and Ron Tyburski, who officiated 14 WPIAL championship games (six basketball, five baseball, three football) and works as a game official for NCAA basketball.

The teams selected for induction were the 1989-90 Aliquippa girls basketball team that won consecutive WPIAL and state titles and the 2011 Mars girls soccer team that went 25-0-1 while winning WPIAL and PIAA gold.

Norwin graduate Sydney Willig was chosen as the Courage Award winner. Willig battled with cystic fibrosis to play high school soccer, and now at Geneva College.

“I’m just really honored that I’m in with a good group of people,” said Tursky, who won two WPIAL wrestling titles (1997, 2003) and built a career record of 505-143-2 in 36 years at Kiski Area and Burrell.

He and Kalp both had decades-long coaching careers.

Kalp retired with a 431-111-1 career record in 25 seasons as Hempfield’s softball coach but also coached basketball at the school. His softball teams won seven WPIAL titles (1998, 2009, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, ’19) and four state championships (1999, 2016, ’17, ’18). He began as an assistant in 1991 and took over the team in ’97.

“I coached for 51 years, with the basketball and the softball,” Kalp said. “At the high school level, considering the landscape recently, coaches don’t last that long.”

Gorinski, who helped Mt. Pleasant win a WPIAL baseball title in 1970, was the first WPIAL player chosen out of high school in the first round of the MLB Draft. He was selected 22nd overall by the Minnesota Twins in 1970 and played 10 pro seasons. He rushed for more than 3,000 yards at Mt. Pleasant and initially accepted a football scholarship from Penn State before choosing baseball.

Mason led WPIAL basketball in scoring his junior and senior seasons and holds the WPIAL career record for most 3-pointers made (346). The previous 3-point record was held by current Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell. Mason played college basketball at Drake and Duquesne.

Nolf is a four-time WPIAL wrestling champion and three-time state winner who finished his high school career with a 176-1 record. He continued that success at Penn State, where he was a three-time NCAA champion.

Bentley, a standout in the long jump who holds the PIAA record in that event, was the 1989 Gatorade National High School Athlete of the Year. He was a two-time state champion in long jump (1988, ’89) and won four WPIAL gold medals, including one in the 110-meter hurdles in 1989.

Dietrich was a 12-time state champion swimmer at Oakland Catholic and also won 14 WPIAL golds. She hold a Navy school record in the 200 medley relay, and qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100 breaststroke.

O’Rourke led the Oakland Catholic girls basketball team to two WPIAL titles (2002, ‘05) and two PIAA titles (2003, ’05). She was a four-year letterwinner at Penn State and was named All-Big Ten three times.

Salisbury was a 4,500-yard passer for Frazier’s football team, a 1,700-point scorer in basketball and batted .400 in baseball. He played quarterback at New Mexico State and Buffalo, and later played eight seasons in the Arena Football League.

Simmons was a multi-sport standout at Peters Township who played college baseball at Michigan and was a second-round pick in the 1995 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox. Simmons played 10 professional seasons. At Peters Township, he lettered 10 times in four sports.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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