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Five Selected to Athletics Hall of Fame

Five Selected to Athletics Hall of Fame

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     The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is proud to announce the fourth class to be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame.  This year’s class, which will be inducted on April 16, 2011 at the Pitt-Johnstown Living/Learning Center, will include: Robert Bulas (Men’s Basketball), Don Elzer (Men’s Basketball), Steve Parker (Men’s Cross Country and Track and Field), Jody Strittmatter (Wrestling) and Trish Wajers-Carr (Women’s Basketball).

     In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, Pitt-Johnstown will recognize the 1976-80 women’s basketball team, the first NCAA level women’s basketball team in Pitt-Johnstown history.

     This special event was created in 2007 to honor prestigious groups of athletes, coaches, and university supporters and their champion spirits.  These individuals merit distinction for their accomplishments and leadership in athletic endeavors for Pitt-Johnstown.

     Speaking at this year’s event will be Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar, Athletic Director and National Hall of Fame Wrestling Coach Pat Pecora, as well as student-athlete and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President Andrea Dalton.  Longtime Johnstown Tribune-Democrat sports writer Mike Mastovich will serve as the event’s Master of Ceremonies.
Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Famer 2011 — Robert F. Bulas
Men’s Basketball – 1954-1956

     After graduating from Johnstown Catholic High School (currently Bishop McCort High School) in 1953, Robert F. Bulas brought his academic and athletic talents to the Pitt-Johnstown “Concrete Campus” on Cypress Avenue in the Moxham section of town.  On the basketball court, Mr. Bulas averaged over 22 points per game from 1954-56 on his way to becoming the first men’s basketball player in school history to score 1,000 points, all without the aid of the three-point line.  Mr. Bulas, along with fellow Pitt-Johnstown Hall of Famers Dr. Robert Hartnett and Carl Sax, led the team to the school’s first regular season Junior College Championship in 1956.  That season, Mr. Bulas led Head Coach Dave Ed’s Pitt-Johnstown squad in scoring at over 23 points per game and finished the year with 575 points.
     Since Pitt-Johnstown was just a two-year school at the time, Mr. Bulas finished in 1956 and transferred to Indiana University (PA) where he joined the starting line-up, averaged 15 points per game, and helped lead IUP  to a 25-3 record and a berth in the 1958 NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City.
     However, the following year, Mr. Bulas returned to his hometown of Johnstown and took over the reigns of the Pitt-Johnstown basketball program.  In three seasons, he posted a 52-23 record and led his team to a championship and a runner-up finish in the Pennsylvania State Junior College Tournament.  His 69.3% winning percentage is still a school-record.  In addition, Mr. Bulas guided the 1961-62 team to 21 victories, Pitt-Johnstown’s first 20 or more win season.
     After earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in secondary education from IUP in 1958, Mr. Bulas spent six months of active duty with the US Army.  Following three years of coaching and other duties at Pitt-Johnstown, Mr. Bulas spent the next 30 years employed by the IRS, until his retirement in 1992.  Mr. Bulas currently owns and operates a tax consulting business.
 Mr. Bulas and his wife of 48 years, the former Carol Pilot, have four children and six grandchildren.
     “This is a terrific honor and it means a great deal to me,” Mr. Bulas said.  “I’ll cherish this the rest of my life.  After playing basketball at the Moxham Campus back in the 1950s, I never would have dreamed an honor like this would ever happen to me.”

Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Famer 2011 — Don Elzer
Men’s Basketball – 1973-1977
     Don Elzer didn’t choose Pitt-Johnstown because of its rich basketball tradition.  Mr. Elzer committed to Pitt-Johnstown in the fall of 1973 following a standout career at Pittsburgh’s South Hills High School because he fell in love with the campus on his very first visit.  After arriving, Mr. Elzer helped turn around a struggling program on his way to becoming the school’s first 1,000-point scorer since it became a four-year institution.  Mr. Elzer also still holds the Pitt-Johnstown record for career rebounds with 945.
     As a freshman, Mr. Elzer and the Mountain Cats suffered 20 losses.  However, just one year later, Pitt-Johnstown posted a 16-8 overall record under Head Coach Dave Campbell.  Jim Basista took over the reigns of the program in 1975 and the Mountain Cats finished at 10-13, setting up the stage for Mr. Elzer’s senior season that saw Pitt-Johnstown set the school record for wins with 20 and advance to the school’s first-ever post-season tournament berth.
 During that special 1976-77 season, Mr. Elzer led the Mountain Cats in rebounding with 290 and became Pitt-Johnstown’s first 1,000-point scorer.  His efforts earned him All-American honors in 1977 and All-Section honors for the third consecutive year.
     Mr. Elzer’s 945 rebounds are still tops on the Mountain Cat All-Time Rebounding List, while his 1,147 career points rank 13th on Pitt-Johnstown All-Time Scoring List. 
 After graduating with a degree in Economics in 1977, Mr. Elzer, who paced Pitt-Johnstown in rebounding three straight years, continued his basketball career for one more season in Chile, including a stint with the Chilean National Team.
     Prior to his arrival at Pitt-Johnstown, Mr. Elzer was a three-sport standout in basketball, track and field, and cross country in high school.  He helped lead his basketball team to a pair of section championships.
     Today, Mr. Elzer and his wife Dianna live in East Palestine, OH.  With his 26-year-old son Daniel, he manages a family business that manufactures and installs water treatment equipment.  Mr. Elzer also owns a small property management company and is currently working on opening a restaurant in East Palestine.
     In addition, Mr. Elzer recently completed his third year as president of the East Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce.  He is also serving in his first year as a member of the East Palestine City Council.
     “I am honored, proud and humbled to be receiving this induction into the Pitt-Johnstown Hall of Fame,” Mr. Elzer said.  Pitt-Johnstown is an institution made up of people that I owe everything to.  I should be honoring them, not the other way around.”

Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Famer 2011 — Steve Parker
Men’s Cross Country and Track and Field – 1978-1982
     Becoming an NCAA All-American in one sport is accomplishment enough, but Steve Parker achieved it in two different sports.
     After graduating from Montgomery County’s Abington High School as the Most Valuable Senior Athlete in 1978, Steve Parker brought his running talents to Pitt-Johnstown and became one of the most highly-decorated cross country and track and field athletes in the school’s history.
     Under Head Coach Larry Young, Mr. Parker earned track and field All-American honors in both 1980 and 1982 and cross country All-American honors in 1982.
     Mr. Parker, a native of Jenkintown, Pa., became an All-American for the first time as a sophomore in 1980 in the 3000 Meter Steeplechase, before duplicating the feat in the same event two years later with a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships.  That same year, Mr. Parker qualified for Nationals as a cross country runner and became an All-American in a second sport.
     Medalist honors and top-two finishes became a regular occurrence for Mr. Parker.  His time of 8:40 in the Steeplechase at the Colonial Relays in Virginia was an NCAA Division II record at the time.  Mr. Parker also took top medalist honors in the Steeplechase at the University of Richmond Relays and the Princeton University, Rutgers University, and University of Maryland Invitationals.  He also finished second at the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
     In addition, in the 5000 Meter event, Mr. Parker placed first at the Richmond Relays and second at the University of Pittsburgh Invitational.  At the West Virginia University Invitational, he placed first in the 1500 Meter Run.
     As a cross country standout, Mr. Parker garnered All-American honors in 1982.   He took home top medalist honors at the West Virginia University Invitational and had a runner-up finish at the California State University (PA) Invitational.
     After earning his Bachelor of Science Degree in natural sciences/geology at Pitt-Johnstown in 1982, Mr. Parker continued to compete in road and track races on sponsored teams, including Nike, Adidas, Asics and New Balance, for nearly two more decades.  In 1984, Mr. Parker qualified for the Olympic Trials.
     Mr. Parker and his wife of 23 years,fellow Pitt-Johnstown graduate, Sandi (Zima), reside in Phoenixville, Pa.  For the last 26 years, Mr. Parker, who still enjoys participating in outdoor and church activities, has been employed as Operations Manager for Derr Flooring Company.
     “I am both honored and grateful to be accepted into the Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame,” Mr. Parker said.  “The dedication of Coach Young and my fellow teammates have played a huge part in whatever success I have achieved.  I truly look back on my years at Pitt-Johnstown with fond memories.

Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Famer 2011 — Jody Strittmatter
Wrestling - 1997-1999
     Jody Strittmatter was one of Pennsylvania’s most highly coveted wrestlers coming out of Cambria Heights High School in 1996.  When Mountain Cat wrestling Coach Pat Pecora out-recruited some of the most powerful NCAA Division I schools in the country and got Mr. Strittmatter to become a Mountain Cat, it turned out that the final piece of the 1999 National Championship wrestling team puzzle was in place.
     After red-shirting as a true freshman in 1996-97, Mr. Strittmatter burst onto the Division II wrestling scene and compiled a 44-2 overall record and an 18-1 dual meet record on his way to winning an East Region title and a National Championship at 118 lbs. in his first year of collegiate wrestling   His 24 pins broke Carlton Haselrig’s previous school-record of 19 set in 1986-87, while his 37 regular season victories and his 44 total victories both broke school records in his weight class and still stand today.
     In most cases, that would be a season tough to top.  However, 1998-99 would be even better.  Mr. Strittmatter, who moved to 125 lbs., posted an impressive 43-1 overall record and a perfect 23-0 dual meet record.  He won championships at the West Virginia University Open in November and the prestigious and Division I-dominated Midlands Open at Northwestern University in December.  Just over two months later, Mr. Strittmatter won another regional title and was named the National Tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler after winning his second straight National Championship.  In the process, Pitt-Johnstown claimed its second NCAA Division II National Championship in three years by holding off the University of Nebraska-Omaha in its home gym.
     In two seasons at Pitt-Johnstown, Mr. Strittmatter had an 87-3 record.  His .967 winning percentage is second only behind Carlton Haselrig.
     Mr. Strittmatter also proved he was a true student-athlete by earning First-Team National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) All-Academic Team honors in both 1998 and 1999 as a Biology/Pre-Medicine major.
     Following the 1999 season, Mr. Strittmatter took his talents to Division I national power University of Iowa and became a two-time Big-Ten Champion and a two-time All-American with a third-place finish in 2000 and a national runner-up finish in 2001.  He also earned his second team national championship when the Hawkeyes won the Division I title in 2000.
     Mr. Strittmatter was inducted into the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, the District 6 Hall of Fame in 2007, and the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010.
     Mr. Strittmatter, a native of Ebensburg, Pa., will marry Stephanie Blackstone this August.  He, along with former Iowa teammate Eric Juergens, co-founded Young Guns Wrestling Club in 2002.  Mr. Strittmatter currently runs Young Guns practices in Pennsylvania with the help of his brothers, John and Joey.  Young Guns has grown to become one of Pennyslvania’s premier wrestling clubs and has gained recognition nationally.
     "Attending college and competing at Pitt-Johnstown was a tremendous experience in my life,” Mr. Strittmatter said.  “I cherish all of the people and friends that I met during my time here at college.  I was honored to wrestle along side my older brother and to coach my younger brother while he competed at Pitt-Johnstown. The friendships and people that I have met during my time here will stay like family to me for as long as I live."

Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Famer 2011 — Trish Wajers-Carr
Women’s Basketball- 1976-1980
     When Trish Wajers-Carr joined an upstart Pitt-Johnstown women’s basketball program prior to the 1976-77 season, little did she know that she would set records that still stand today, while helping to lay the foundation for one of the top programs in NCAA Division II.
 Ms. Wajers-Carr averaged nearly a double-double of 11.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game over her Lady Cat career under Head Coach Clyde Horner on her way to helping Pitt-Johnstown to a 40-game winning streak, the nation’s top-ranking during the 1979-80 season and an 85-18 overall record.  In addition, Ms. Wajers-Carr, along with fellow Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee Lisa Britt, led the team to a pair of Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (EAIAW) Regional Tournament berths. 
     Ms. Wajers-Carr’s 933 career rebounds still tops the Lady Cat basketball record books, while her 1,148 career points rank 24th on the all-time scoring list.
     As a senior in 1979-80, Ms. Wajers-Carr, Pitt-Johnstown’s third 1,000-point scorer, averaged 12.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game on her way to being named an American Women’s Sports Federation All-American.
     During her standout career, Ms. Wajers-Carr also held school records for most gamed-playes (91), most rebounds in a season (245), and most rebounds in a game (19), a feat she accomplished twice in less than a month.  On Jan. 14, 1978, Ms. Wajers Carr had 19 rebounds against Loyola of Baltimore, before pulling down 19 against West Virginia University on Feb. 8.
 Ms. Wajers-Carr burst onto the scene and averaged 12.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game as a freshman in 1976-77, before increasing those numbers to a double-double of 13.9 points and 11.0 rebounds a game as a sophomore.  The following year, Ms. Wajers-Carr grabbed the record 245 rebounds on her way to averaging 10.1 points and 9.1 rebounds.
     Ms. Wajers-Carr, a native of Ashley, Pa. and a graduate of Bishop Hoban High School, graduated from Pitt-Johnstown in 1980 with a degree in Sociology.  She has been employed by Payne Printing in Dallas, Pa. for the last 18 years, where she holds the position of Vice President of Key Accounts and Inside Sales.
     Ms. Wajers-Carr and her husband Jim have been married for 23 years.  The couple has two children, Brenden and Austin.
     “It is the ultimate honor for any collegiate athlete to be inducted, but I was really shocked to hear that I was being recognized for just doing my job,” Ms. Wajers-Carr said.   “I was lucky enough to be surrounded by such great athletes and a wonderful coach who always motivated us to excel.  I humbly accept this honor and will always look back with great pride and wonderful memories of my years at Pitt-Johnstown.”

Pitt-Johnstown’s 1976 Women’s Basketball Team
     In 1975, Pitt-Johnstown Athletic Director Ed Sherlock asked men’s basketball coach Clyde Horner to expand his horizons and start a women’s basketball program.  Horner agreed, and 1975-76 marked Pitt-Johnstown’s first collegiate women’s basketball season.  Thus, the tradition was started.
     The inaugural season saw a Lady Cat team led by Debby Deaner, Jeanne Jacko, and C.J. Wilson post a 15-2 record, including 12 straight victories to close out the year.
     Pitt-Johnstown continued to open eyes in 1976-77 by going undefeated at 21-0 and extending its winning streak to 33 games.
     Coach Horner’s team extended its streak to 40 consecutive wins seven games into the 1977-78 campaign, until a Jodi Gault-led Slippery Rock team defeated Pitt-Johnstown in the first round of the Towson State Tournament.  However, Pitt-Johnstown finished 18-4, earned a spot in the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (EAIAW) Playoffs, and placed third in the satellite tournament in its first year of eligibility.
     1978-79 saw Pitt-Johnstown post a 25-5 record and place third at the regional tournament for the second straight year.
     As the decade wound down, the program established another milestone…its first All-Americans.  Lisa Britt earned AIAW All-America honors, while Patty Wajers was tabbed an AWSF All-American on their way to leading Pitt-Johnstown to a 21-7 record and the program’s first ever No. 1 national ranking midway through the season. 
     With the efforts of Ed Sherlock, Clyde Horner, and a group of dedicated players, Pitt-Johnstown’s early women’s basketball teams posted a 100-18 record over the its first five seasons to lay the groundwork for the program’s future success.

     The class of 2011 will be inducted Saturday, April 16, 2011 in Pitt-Johnstown’s Living/Learning Center.  The reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.  Cost is $400 per table of eight, $200 for a half table or $50 per seat.  A corporate sponsorship is available for $800.  Each corporate sponsor will receive a table of eight seats, a full page in the program, sponsorship banner at the banquet, and eight season passes for 2011-12 Pitt-Johnstown winter sporting events in the Sports Center. 

     This enjoyable and memorable evening has been planned for honorees and families, alumni, sports fans, Pitt-Johnstown friends and the public.  For more information, contact the Pitt Johnstown Athletic Department at (814) 269-2000.  Checks should be made payable to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and sent to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Sports Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Johnstown, Pa., 15904.

     Pitt-Johnstown’s inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame class was inducted on September 30, 2007 and included:  Lisa Britt (Women’s Basketball), Sean Isgan (Wrestling), Carl Sax (Men’s Basketball), C. Edward Sherlock (Men’s Basketball and Athletic Director), and James Wilkes (Men’s Basketball).

     Class of 2009: Carlton Haselrig (Wrestling), Clyde Horner (Head Coach), Joachim Knispel (Men’s Soccer), Paul Leonard (Baseball), Dave Roman, Sr. (Men’s Basketball), and Mindy Young-Gagliardi (Women’s Basketball).

     Class of 2010:  Jodi Gault (Head Women’s Basketball Coach), Dr. Robert Hartnett (Men’s Basketball/Meritorious Service), Dave Hoff (Baseball), Rich Ragan (Men’s Basketball), Patty Ritter-Sharbaugh (Women’s Gymnastics), and Lee Schickel (Wrestling).

     Founded in 1927, Pitt-Johnstown is located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh.  The University offers a high-quality educational experience in a supportive living-learning environment designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century.  Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Baccalaureate College” (2010), by the Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College” (2010), and by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School.”

Posted by Knipple, Robert on 1/16/2011 10:05:00 AM