BY MIKE MASTOVICH
JOHNSTOWN — The Pitt-Johnstown Athletics Hall of Fame will induct six individuals and recognize a national championship team during an April 17 ceremony at the Living/Learning Center on the Richland Township campus.
The Class of 2010, announced on Tuesday, will include: Jodi Gault (head women’s basketball coach, 1982-2007); Robert Hartnett (men’s basketball, 1954-56, and meritorious service); Dave Hoff (baseball,
1978-82); Rich Ragan (men’s basketball, 1974-78); Patty Ritter-Sharbaugh (women’s gymnastics, 1980-84); and Lee Schickel (wrestling, 1991-96).
Additionally, UPJ’s 1996 NCAA Division II championship wrestling team will be recognized as the first Mountain Cats team to win a national championship.
The Class of 2010:
n Jodi Gault–In 25 seasons as head coach of the UPJ women’s basketball team, Gault led the Lady Cats to
15 NCAA tournaments, five regional championships and one appearance in the NCAA Division II Final Four. Her career 540-156 record translated into a .776 winning percentage and 21.6 victories per year.
Her teams never had a losing season. Gault’s win total (sixth) and winning percentage (10th) still rank in the top 10 all-time in Division II.
Gault coached 20 of UPJ’s
23 All-Americans, nine Kodak All-Americans and Mindy Young, the 1992 National Player of the Year. She also helped the program make the transition from Division III to Division II in 1985. In 1986-87 UPJ advanced to the Division II Final Four and Gault was American Women’s Sports Federation Coach of the Year.
Gault previously was inducted into the Slippery Rock University Hall of Fame (1989) and the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame (2002). A native of Oil City, she was a standout at Slippery Rock and played for the Washington Metros and California Dreams in the former Women’s Professional Basketball League prior to joining UPJ’s staff.
n Robert Hartnett–He played two seasons as a guard on the Pitt-Johnstown team at the “Asphalt Campus” on Cypress Avenue in Moxham from 1954-56. But it was after Hartnett became a physician that he truly made his mark at UPJ by giving back to the university and the Greater Johns-town area.
Hartnett led UPJ in assists during his two years and he, along with 2007 Hall of Fame inductee Carl Sax, helped the Cats advance to the Keystone Junior College Tournament. In 1956 he transferred to Pitt’s main campus and earned a pre-medicine degree. He received his doctorate in medicine in 1961, had a one-year internship at Johnstown’s Memorial Hospital and later was named Chairman of Family Practice at Memorial, a position he held until his retirement in 1986. He also was Memorial Hospital’s chief of staff for one year and a member of the board of directors.
Hartnett served as UPJ’s team physician for nearly 25 years. In 1984 he established the Dr. Robert W. Hartnett Scholarship Fund at the university, providing grants to deserving undergraduate students from the Greater Johnstown School District.
Hartnett served on the UPJ advisory board from 1985 through 1997 and currently holds emeritus status. He has been active in many other community organizations and is well-known as commissioner of the local AAABA League for more than 30 years. He also sponsored a team in the league for many years. Hartnett was inducted into the AAABA Hall of Fame in 2001.
n Dave Hoff–The Indiana County native from Apollo was a two-time American Legion All-State performer before signing with the Mountain Cats. He continued to excel at the collegiate level, becoming UPJ’s first athlete to be drafted and signed to a professional baseball contract. Hoff was an outstanding pitcher/first baseman for three years under coach Ken Keiper. He led the NCAA Division II in strikeouts per nine innings at nearly 13 a game in 1981.
The Milwaukee Brewers selected him in the eighth round of the June 1981 draft and Hoff was assigned to Butte, Mont., where he helped his team win a Class A Pioneer League championship. Hoff also played winter ball in the Brewers’ system before his 1982 release. He declined later contract offers from the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets to pursue his education, graduating from UPJ and Palmer College of Chiropractic. He operates four health-care facilities in Indiana, Apollo, Blairsville and State College.
Hoff continued playing competitively on the local and national levels and was inducted into the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame for his accomplishments, which included a 58-game winning streak as a pitcher in the Indiana County League. He’s been a key figure on Pittsburgh’s 10-time national championship men’s over-30 baseball team. He was MVP on the 2009 championship team after he won two games as Pittsburgh finished atop a 70-team field.
A pitch from Hoff was clocked at 85 mph during the championship game.
n Rich Ragan–A three-time NAIA All-District selection and two-time NCAA All-District choice, Ragan had 1,303 career points and was UPJ’s second career
1,000-point scorer. His point total was a UPJ record until 1992, and Ragan still ranks eighth all time at the school.
As a sophomore Ragan led the Cats with 383 points. Two years later, he broke his personal record with 386 points. After his senior season, the Thompson Club in Pittsburgh named Ragan its Most Outstanding College Senior Basketball Player. He also played in the 1978 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) all-star game in Chicago, where he shattered a backboard on a dunk in the game. For more than 20 years Ragan was UPJ’s career free throw percentage leader at 82.5 percent.
He graduated with a degree in civil engineering technology from UPJ in 1978 and later earned his master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Tennessee. The Munhall native currently resides in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and is senior vice president and general manager of an architecture and engineering company in Cleveland.
n Patty Ritter-Sharbaugh–UPJ’s first national champion, Ritter-Sharbaugh made history at the school. She earned the 1982 Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) National Balance Beam Championship and placed second in the uneven parallel bars en route to her national runner-up finish in the all-around competition.
She also won the AIAW East Regional title and was named All-Region and All-American in 1981 and 1982 under coach Ernie Fetzer.
A native of Nazareth, Lehigh County, she was a two-time recipient of the Mountain Cat Award for Athletics and received the school’s Ray Scott Award for her high performance in intercollegiate athletics and exceptional qualities of character and student citizenship in 1984.
After graduating from UPJ in 1984, Ritter-Sharbaugh continued her education, earning a master’s degree and a Ph.D. She is currently an instructor of theology at St. Vincent College.
n Lee Schickel–He had the distinction of being a part of two national championships on the same day.
Schickel won the NCAA Division II national championship at 126 pounds and helped UPJ win its first team national title in any sport in 1996.
The native of Irwin was a four-time Division II national qualifier and a three-time All-American with first-place, fifth-place and seventh-place finishes. He won three East Regional titles and had a 108-25 record. He had only one defeat during his dual-meet career.
The highlight of his career came on March 16, 1996, when Schickel became UPJ’s first individual national champion since Carlton Haselrig claimed his sixth crown in 1989. Schickel won 7-6 in sudden death overtime against Adams State (Colo.) College’s Michael Barreras.
Schickel, who ranks 14th on UPJ’s all-time win list, had a .812 winning percentage. The Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling Hall of Fame inducted Schickel in 1998. He is an assistant wrestling coach at Penn-Trafford, his high school alma mater.
n The 1996 national championship wrestling team–Coach Pat Pecora’s Mountain Cats ruled the NCAA Division II world in 1996.
The team completed its second straight undefeated dual-meet season (14-0) and dominated the East Regional Tournament.
Once in the national tournament at Northern Colorado University, UPJ built on Schickel’s individual championship as eight Mountain Cats earned All-American honors. UPJ held off four-time consecutive national champion and top-ranked Central Oklahoma to claim the first team national championship in school history.
In addition to Schickel, the All-Americans included John Strittmatter (118 pounds), Jeff Bricker (134), Tony Albertelli (142), Troy Barbush (150), Kevin O’Neil (167), Irwin Brambley (177) and Scott Croyle (heavyweight). Mike Gavin (158) and Mike Lazaro (190) also were national qualifiers.
That same season also produced a pair of National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) All-Academic Wrestling Team members in Albertelli and Barbush.