University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees Named

Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees Named

Article Body

     The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is proud to announce the fifth class to be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame.  This year’s class, which will be inducted on April 21, 2012 at the Pitt-Johnstown Living/Learning Center, will include: Mike Gresik '85 (Baseball/Men’s Basketball), Quinn Harris '93 (Men’s Basketball), Maureen Latterner-Brown '85 (Women’s Basketball), Teri Menett-Cruse '93 (Women’s Volleyball/Women’s Basketball), and John Strittmatter '99 (Wrestling). 

     In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, Pitt-Johnstown will recognize Mr. Jim Dewar for his meritorious service and the 1999 NCAA Division II National Championship wrestling team. 

     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 Kevin McDonald.  Longtime Johnstown Tribune-Democrat sports writer Mike Mastovich will serve as the event’s Master of Ceremonies.

Gresik
2012 Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame — Mike Gresik
Baseball/Men’s Basketball – 1981-1985 

     Mike Gresik, one of the Greater Johnstown area’s top athletes while he attended Bishop McCort High School, brought his talents to Pitt-Johnstown in 1981 and starred on the basketball hardwood, as well as the baseball diamond for four years.  Mr. Gresik, who was able to accomplish the rare feat of excelling at two varsity sports while juggling a full academic load, graduated from Pitt-Johnstown in 1985 as the school’s second all-time leading scorer in basketball and a .468 career batting average for the Mountain Cat baseball team.

     On the basketball court, Mr. Gresik, who played for Head Coaches Jim Basista and Clyde Horner, joined the starting line-up during his freshman term and went on to score 1,238 points and pull down 502 rebounds.  His 1,238 career points were good enough for second on the Mountain Cat All-Time Scoring List when he graduated and he currently ranks 13th on the list.
     Mr. Gresik, a two-time All-Mason Dixon Conference selection, led NCAA Division II in scoring for a two-week period during the 1984-85 season at 26 points per game.  He scored in double-figures 58 times during his career, including three 30-plus point games and 21 20-or-more-point games.  In one of his best collegiate efforts, Mr. Gresik poured in 23 points and grabbed a career-high 21 rebounds as a senior against Mount Saint Mary’s (MD) College.

     In 26 games as a senior, he averaged 17.9 points per game and shot 56.6% from the field and 79% from the free-throw line on his way to garnering all-conference honors.

     After the winter snow melted, Mr. Gresik excelled for Pitt-Johnstown on the baseball field as a pitcher/first baseman.  He posted a four-year record of 10-3 with a 2.51 earned-run-average, while batting .468 with 14 homeruns and 61 runs batted-in.  In addition, Mr. Gresik wrapped-up his Mountain Cat career in style by hitting for the cycle as a senior against Grove City College, before belting a homerun in his final career at-bat.

     Mr. Gresik graduated from Pitt-Johnstown in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management.  For the majority of his professional career, Mr. Gresik worked for Foot Locker, Inc. in various management and corporate positions, including as an operational manager during the Super Bowls in 1998, 1999, and 2000 where he achieved record sales for the company.

       Mr. Gresik has three children, Amber, Ashley, and Ryan, who is a junior at William Patterson (N.J.) University where he is the school’s starting quarterback.  Mr. Gresik resides in Branchville, N.J.

     “I am honored and humbled to be inducted into the Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame,” Mr. Gresik said.  “My sincere thanks to basketball coaches Clyde Horner and Jim Basista, and baseball coach Ken Keiper for giving me the opportunity to excel as a two-sport athlete.”


Quinn Harris
2012 Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame — Quinn Harris
Men’s Basketball – 1988-1992

    When Quinn Harris joined the Mountain Cat basketball team prior the 1988-89 season, he brought with him the talent and the confidence to help turn around a fledgling program that didn’t see a winning season in nearly a decade.  Mr. Harris helped to lay the groundwork for what the Pitt-Johnstown basketball program has grown into today.  In the process, he etched his name in the Mountain Cat record books, including holding Pitt-Johnstown’s career-scoring record with 1,490 points from 1992-2000.

     Mr. Harris, a native of Clinton, MD, made an immediate impact when he led Head Coach Chris Kristich’s team in scoring as a true freshman.  During his senior season in 1991-92, under new Head Coach Bob Rukavina, Mr.Quinn's 17.3 points per game helped the Mountain Cats post a 16-11 record marking their first winning season since 1979.  With the groundwork laid, the Mountain Cats continued to improve and, just five seasons later, Pitt-Johnstown earned its first of four berths in the NCAA Division II National Tournament.

     The 1991-92 season also marked another major milestone for Mr. Harris when he surpassed Rich Ragan’s Mountain Cats career scoring record that stood for 14 years.  Mr. Harris wrapped-up his Pitt-Johnstown career with 1,490 points and held the all-time scoring record until 2000 when it was broken by Justin Walther.

     Mr. Harris, who still stands in fifth-place on the scoring list, is also ranked sixth on Pitt-Johnstown’s All-Time Career Scoring Average List at 16.1 points per game, and 10th on the rebounding list with 564 rebounds.

    He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication in 1993.  Mr. Harris is currently managing sales and marketing for his family-owned commercial printing business, HARRIS Litho, located just outside of Washington, D.C.  He also created HARRIS Mobility, a company that can quickly convert a normal website into a mobile-ready site for any mobile platform.

     Mr. Harris his wife Erin, and children Connor, Aidan, and Bailey reside in Annapolis, MD, where he volunteers his time coaching basketball, football, and baseball.

     “I remember my last day packing up my car and leaving Pitt-Johnstown.  Then it suddenly hits you,” Mr. Harris said.  “Although I was returning home, I was leaving behind so much.  So many memories and my beloved friends.  This induction means a lot to me.  It warms me to know that my picture will hang on a wall here, a place I love and a place I will forever consider home.   I am very grateful to our previous Athletic Director Ed Sherlock and Coach Kristich for recruiting me.  Thank you to our current Athletic Director Pat Pecora and of course to Coach Rukavina for being a great coach and a father figure.  Most important, Coach Rukavina was and still is a dear friend.  I can’t picture my life without this school.  This place is still alive in me as I touch base, almost daily, with several of my friends from Pitt-Johnstown.  And thank you Mom and Dad for everything.  It’s impossible to squeeze your efforts and time into a few sentences.  I love you both very much.  This day is not possible without you.”


Maureen Latterner-Brown
2012 Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame — Maureen Latterner-Brown
Women’s Basketball – 1981-1985

     When Maureen Latterner-Brown brought her basketball talents to Pitt-Johnstown from Bishop Carroll High School prior to the 1981-82 season, little did she know she would help turn a very good basketball program into an elite one.  Ms. Latterner-Brown, a two-time All-American under hall of fame coaches Clyde Horner and Jodi Gault, guided the Lady Cats to a 95-11 overall record, four NCAA Tournament appearances, a trip to the national quarterfinals in 1984, and the nation’s No. 1-ranking during the 1984-85 season.

     Ms. Latterner-Brown, who still holds Pitt-Johnstown’s all-time record for career assists with 754, was named an Honorable Mention American Women’s Sports Federation (AWSF) All-American as a sophomore in 1983, before ending her career as a First-Team AWSF All-American in 1985.

     A native of Cresson, Pa., Ms. Latterner-Brown, a Kodak All-District selection in 1985, also holds Lady Cat basketball records for assists in a season (157), assists in a game (16), and free-throws made and attempted in a game (18-23).  She also ranks 17th on the Lady Cat All-Time Scoring List with 1,237 points.

     Ms. Latterner-Brown was also a two-time Mountain Cat Tournament Most Valuable Player and the MVP of the Shippensburg Tournament during the 1983-84 season. 

     After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education/mathematics at Pitt-Johnstown and a master's degree in educational technology at Leslie University in Massachusetts, she took her athleticism from the basketball court to the 1988 Olympic Games as a member of the United States’ Handball Team.  Ms. Latterner-Brown, who was inducted into the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, also won a gold medal in handball representing the United States in the 1987 Pan-American Games.

     Since 1993, she has been teaching mathematics to struggling, at-risk ninth and 10th-graders at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, Colo.

     Ms. Latterner-Brown and her husband Harold, have four children, Trevor, Seth, Brianna, and Marlee.

     “I am honored to be remembered as having made a positive contribution to Pitt-Johnstown’s women’s basketball program,” Ms. Latterner-Brown said.  “I always felt that I was the one who reaped the benefits of an outstanding program.  It is humbling to be told that during my time at Pitt-Johnstown, I contributed to making the program even stronger.”  


Teri Menett-Cruise
2012 Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame — Teri Menett-Cruse
Women’s Volleyball/Women’s Basketball - 1987-1991

     From 1987 through 1991, Teri Menett-Cruse was a standout on both the Lady Cat basketball team, as well as the volleyball team.  Ms. Menett-Cruse, a graduate of Johnstown’s Conemaugh Valley High School, still owns Pitt-Johnstown’s single-season field goal percentage record in basketball, and once had 12 kills in one game of a best-of-three volleyball match.

     On the basketball court, Ms. Menett-Cruse helped lead Head Coach Jodi Gault’s Lady Cats to an East Regional Championship and a pair of Mid-East Conference titles.  For three of her four seasons, Pitt-Johnstown was ranked in the Top-10 in the nation in NCAA Division II.  During the 1988-89 season, she set the Lady Cat single-season field goal percentage record by shooting 64.5% (81-141) from the field.  Ms. Menett-Cruse, a Second-Team Mid-East All-Conference selection as a senior, currently ranks 19th on the Pitt-Johnstown All-Time Rebounding List with 561 career rebounds.

     Ms. Menett-Cruse, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, also starred on the volleyball court under Head Coach Clyde Horner.  In 1988, she tallied 12 kills against St. Francis College in one game of a best-of three series.  She led the team in kills during her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons.  Ms. Menett-Cruse was also named to the All-Tournament Team in five different tournaments, including garnering Most Valuable Player honors at the Carlow College Invitational. 

     Ms. Menett-Cruse, who successfully juggled two varsity sports while maintaining high academic standing, earned the Pitt Undergraduate Athlete Award in 1990, an honor presented every year to one athlete from the entire University of Pittsburgh system.

     After her collegiate playing days, Ms. Menett-Cruse spent 14 years as Greater Johnstown High School’s girls’ volleyball coach.  In addition, she is currently in her ninth season as Conemaugh Valley’s girls’ basketball coach where she guided her team to a PIAA Class-A State Runner-up finish in 2006.

     For more than 20 years, Ms. Menett-Cruse has been a high school and college volleyball official, in addition to being a USA Volleyball Official for 18 seasons.  Menett-Cruse is also the president of the Central Western Chapter of Volleyball Officials, a title she has held since 2003.

     Ms. Menett-Cruse, a Help Desk Coordinator at Memorial Medical Center, and her husband, Denny, have two children, Grant and Casey.  The Cruse family resides in Johnstown.

     “I am very honored to be selected as a Pitt-Johnstown Hall of Fame member and humbled to be chosen to join wonderful athletes and coaches who are already members,” Ms. Menett-Cruse said.  “My times at Pitt-Johnstown have provided me with great memories, and I’m proud to be an alumna of the school and two of its great sports programs.”


John Strittmatter
2012 Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame — John Strittmatter
Wrestling — 1995-1999

     Most people dream of being a part of a national championship team.  For John Strittmatter, he was a major part of two NCAA Division II National Championship wrestling teams.  Mr. Strittmatter was a National Runner-up on the Mountain Cats’ 1996 title team, before winning an individual national championship for Pitt-Johnstown at 133 lbs. in 1999 when the Mountain Cats took home their second crown in three years.

     After starting as a true freshman at Penn State, Mr. Strittmatter transferred to Pitt-Johnstown prior to the 1995-96 season and immediately joined Head Coach Pat Pecora’s starting line-up.  He won an East Regional Championship and was the national runner-up at 118 lbs. on his way to helping Pitt-Johnstown claim its first team national champion ship by holding off top-ranked University of Central Oklahoma at Northern Colorado University.

     Three seasons later, Mr. Strittmatter, now wrestling at 133 lbs., reached the top of the mountain a second time.  This time, Mr. Strittmatter claimed his third East Regional title and won an individual championship with a decision victory over San Diego State’s Scott Braun in the finals.  In the process, the Mountain Cats took home another team title over the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the Mavericks’ home arena.

     Mr. Strittmatter, a three-time All-American with second, fifth and first-place finishes, was also a three-time National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) All-Academic Team selection.  Following the 1998-99 season, Mr. Strittmatter and his brother, Jody, also a Pitt-Johnstown Hall of Famer, shared the prestigious Lowell Shaffer Award for being the school’s top student-athlete.

    On the mat, Mr. Strittmatter was a part of four straight NCAA regional championships and four consecutive top-five national team finishes.  His 112-15 (.882) overall career record ranks 13th on the Mountain Cat All-Time Wins List.  Mr. Strittmatter, a graduate of Cambria Heights High School, still holds Pitt-Johnstown’s record for wins in a regular season with 35, and wins in a season with 41 at 133 lbs.  In 1999, he became the seventh Mountain Cat to reach the 100-career win plateau.

     Mr. Strittmatter earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  He is currently a teacher in the Central Cambria School District at Jackson Elementary School in his hometown of Ebensburg, Pa., where he resides with his wife Stephanie.  He also assists his brother with Young Guns Wrestling Club, which has developed into the premier and largest wrestling club in Pennsylvania.

     “It is a very humbling honor to be a part of the Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame,” Mr. Strittmatter said.  ”When I reflect back on my time at Pitt-Johnstown, I realize how fortunate I was.  Pitt-Johnstown provided me with an outstanding education, and I wrestled for a legend in Coach Pecora.  I had the opportunity to train and pursue a dream and a goal with my brother Jody.  Since our hometown was close to Pitt-Johnstown, Jody and I got to wrestle matches in front of our family, grandparents, and friends.  There are no words to express my gratitude for everything the school, administration, faculty, and Coach Pecora have given to me.”


Meritorious Service Award – James C. Dewar

     When it comes to service to Pitt-Johnstown, Mr. James C. Dewar stands at the very top of the list.  Mr. Dewar, a pillar in both the Pitt-Johnstown and Greater Johnstown communities, had the foresight to see the importance of athletic scholarships, and in the 1970s developed the Crawford Fund to assist the University’s student-athletes.

     Born in Pittsburgh, Mr. Dewar graduated from Westminster College with a degree in business administration in 1959 and joined the Air National Guard, before eventually making his way to the Johnstown area.

     He earned a degree in Dealership Management from General Motors Institute and in 1966 became part owner of Dewar-Watson Oldsmobile in Homestead, Pa.  In 1968, Mr. Dewar came to Johnstown and purchased Pristow’s Motor Sales, before opening Dewar’s Car World a year later.

     From that point on, Mr. Dewar began his ongoing relationship with Pitt-Johnstown and the Johnstown area.  Mr. Dewar, a past president of the Crawford Fund, is still a member of Pitt-Johnstown’s Advisory Board and on the Board of Directors of AmeriServ Financial.

     For more than 30 years, he was a member of the Johnstown Chamber of Commerce, and in 2001, he was inducted into the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Business Hall of Fame.
     Mr. Dewar, a former standout football player at Westminster, also earned induction into the Westminster College Towering Titan Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

     Over the years, he has previously, and continues to serve on many boards of directors, including the Somerset County Planning Commission, Memorial Medical Center, and Westminster College.  He was also the president of Johnstown Financial Corporation, Conemaugh Health Company, Sunnehanna Country Club, and served as a deacon and trustee at the Westmont Presbyterian Church.

     For more than 50 years, Mr. Dewar has been married to the former Patricia Trosch.  The Dewars currently reside in Indian Lake, Pa. where Mr. Dewar is a past president of Indian Lake Golf Club.  The Dewars have had three children, Dr. James C. Dewar, Jr. of Pittsburgh and Laura Lynn Dewar Cregan of Goldsboro, N.C., and a deceased daughter, Dorinda Ann Dewar Clark.

Pitt-Johnstown’s 1999 Wrestling National Championship Team

     After winning an NCAA Division II National Championship in 1996, Head Coach Pat Pecora’s Pitt-Johnstown wrestling team grabbed the attention of the nation.  Add another national title three years later, and the Mountain Cats established themselves as one of the top wrestling programs in America.

     Entering the 1998-99 season, Coach Pecora knew he had something special with his team.  With Five All-Americans, including 1998 National Champion Jody Strittmatter, returning, the Mountain Cats earned the preseason No. 1 ranking in the nation, a spot they never would give up.

     Pitt-Johnstown breezed through the regular season by posting wins over seven Division I foes, including Ohio State University and Clarion University, on its way to a 23-2 dual meet record.

     Strittmatter traveled to Evanston, IL and became the first Mountain Cat to win the title at the prestigious Midlands Open at Northwestern University.  The team won the NCAA Division II Dual Championship by posting a 4-0 record, including a 21-16 win over No. 2-ranked Nebraska-Omaha.

     Riding the momentum from an outstanding regular season, Pitt-Johnstown carried it into the post season.  Seven Mountain Cats won individual titles at the East Regional Tournament in the Sports Center, while a total of nine wrestlers advanced to the National Tournament in Omaha, NE.

     The National Championship came down to one match--Pitt-Johnstown’s Troy Barbush against Nebraska-Omaha's Chris Blair at 165 lbs.  Barbush defeated Blair 8-4, giving Coach Pecora and the Mountain Cats a 110-105-5 team score victory and the school's second national title in three seasons.

     Jody Strittmatter (125 lbs.), John Strittmatter (133 lbs.), and Barbush (165 lbs.) all won individual national championships, and Ethan Brownback (184 lbs.) finished as a national runner-up.  In addition, Tony Clark (141 lbs.), Isaac Greeley (149 lbs.), and Jaison Klingensmith (197 lbs.) took home All-American honors.

     When it was all over, Jody Strittmatter was named the National Tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler, and Coach Pecora was named the NCAA division II National Coach of the Year for the second time in his stellar career.

     The Mountain Cats also got the job done in the classroom and led the nation in National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) All-Academic Wrestling Team members for the third-straight season with nine (Jody Strittmatter, John Strittmatter, Greeley, Barbush, Brownback, Klingensmith, Tyke Conover, Ryan Buterbaugh, and Jim Custred).



     The class of 2012 will be inducted Saturday, April 21, 2012 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 community.  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). 

     Class of 2011: Bob Bulas (Men’s Basketball), Don Elzer (Men’s Basketball), Steve Parker (Men’s Track and Field/Cross Country), Jody Strittmatter (Wrestling), and Trish Wajers-Carr (Women’s Basketball).

     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 the Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College,” and by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School.”  Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Posted by Knipple, Robert on 2/14/2012 12:00:00 PM