For the fifth year, distinguished members of the Uniontown Area School District community will be recognized for their achievements and contributions to society. Thirteen individuals and one sports team are set to be enshrined in the Uniontown Area High School Academics, Arts and Athletics Hall of Fame in an induction ceremony set to occur later this week.
The hall of fame program was established in 2013 to recognize and honor individuals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding accomplishments or contributions in academics, arts or athletics. The 2017 class will be honored prior to the start of the Uniontown-Belle Vernon football game at 7:30 p.m. Friday. They will be then inducted into the hall of fame during a ceremony and breakfast at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Uniontown Area High
James Burger (1978) has been an accomplished professional photographer and writer for over 25 years. He has worked for the Baltimore City Paper and the Baltimore Sun, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Examiner, Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer. As a professional freelance photojournalist, Burger’s clientele includes many internationally known companies and organizations.
David Ezra Cohen (1936) (deceased) was a prominent local attorney. In high school, he honed his future oratory and forensic skills by leading the school’s debate team to a state championship. Cohen attended Penn State University and Harvard Law School before leaving school to serve as a captain and intelligence officer in World War II. He returned to receive his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Allyn Curry (1963) was a starter on two Red Raider basketball squads that posted a combined record of 51-3 and captured a state title in 1962. He continued his playing career at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where the Barons were an NAIA Division II power during that time. Curry also ran track and cross country at Uniontown.
Dr. Holly Diehl (1983) is a professor in the department of elementary/early childhood education at California University of pennsylvania. She has been an educator since 1987, serving as a teacher, curriculum coordinator, principal, consultant and university faculty member in Pennsylvania, west Virginia and Maryland. Diehl earned her doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction from West Virginia University in 2005.
James F. Gismondi Jr. (1968) (deceased) was an executive with Ford Motor Co. for 25 years. After retiring in 1999, he worked as an auto industry consultant and as a strategic planner for IBM, BBDO Detroit, Ardent learning and SAP Business Solutions. A graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, Gismondi served on the school’s board of trustees and received the college’s Distinguished Service Award. He was a volunteer for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Michigan and was active in the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Joe Hrezo (1959) is a former Uniontown football, wrestling and track standout. He was an all-county, all-conference and Pennsylvania Big 33 football selection in 1959, starting in the Big 33 vs. All-American Team Game that year. Hrezo was a three-year starter on offense and defense for the University of Maryland from 1960-62, amassing a collegiate record of 19-11 during those years.
John “Hook” Hull (1967) was a three-sport athlete at Uniontown in the mid- 1960s, playing football and basketball and running track. Hull’s exceptional play on the football field from 1964-66 led him to all-state honors in his senior campaign, all-county honors as a junior and senior, and second-team on the Parade Magazine All-American team. He played in the Pennsylvania Big 33 game and received the Golden Boot as the Class AA MVP at the Dapper Dan Banquet. He went on to play football at Iowa and Penn State.
Amy Lacey (1995) is an award-winning news anchor at WRIC-TV in Richmond, Virginia. She was named 2014 Best News Anchor of the Year for Virginia and West Virginia by the Associated Press, an award that she also won for the state of Virginia in 2013 and 2011. In both 2016 and 2017, Lacey received the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association national Kaleidoscope Award for excellence in reporting. She previously worked at television news stations in North Carolina and Missouri, as well as at WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh.
Francis “Moose” Machinsky (1952) (deceased) was a member of the 1954 national champion Ohio State University football team. A standout at Uniontown earning first-team all-state honors as a senior, Machinsky led the Red Raiders to the school’s first undefeated season in school history in 1951. He was named an All-Big Ten selection at Ohio State and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 1956 NFL draft. He played one professional season with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
Mario D. Piccolomini (1974) is the owner of Piccolomini Custom Cabinets in Uniontown. He started his business at age 14 in the bottom of the family-owned Domenico’s Restaurant in Uniontown before relocating business operations to their current location on Kaider Road in 1973. As a high school senior, Piccolomini won first place for the state VICA Carpentry Award. He has been designing and building quality custom cabinetry for 40 years.
Dave Shuck (deceased) compiled a 228-78 record, a WPIAL title (2002), and two state title-game appearances (2000, 2002) during a long career as head basketball coach for the Red Raiders. He began his career at Uniontown as assistant coach in 1966. After 11 seasons as assistant and one as head coach, Shuck stepped away from coaching before returning again as head coach in 1991. He retired from coaching in 2002.
Torrence “Tod” Trent (deceased) was a sportswriter for the Uniontown Morning Herald and Evening Standard newspapers, covering Fayette County sports for 40 years. From 1951 until his retirement in 1991, Trent chronicled some of the greatest moments in Fayette County sports history.
Dr. Donald P. Vrabec (1950) is a renowned ear, nose and throat doctor and head and neck surgeon. He is the former Director of Otolaryngology at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Montour County. Vrabec founded the Donald P. Vrabec House of Care in Danville to provide low-cost housing to cancer patients and families while undergoing treatment. He has received numerous awards throughout his career and is a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving as a captain. The hall of fame committee will also recognize the 1964 Red Raider basketball team that won WPIAL and PIAA championships. Coached by Abe Everhart, Uniontown capped an undefeated 28-0 season in 1964 with a 62-51 win over Plymouth-Whitemarsh in the state title game. The win came less than two weeks after Uniontown defeated Midland in the WPIAL Class A title game in front of a capacity crowd at the Civic Area in Pittsburgh.
Tickets for the induction ceremony/breakfast are $20 and can be purchased by
calling Anthony Mercadante at 724-430-0662 or 301-643-1499. Tickets can also
be purchased at the door
As published in the Herald Standard
Videographer & Polls