The Post-Journal

Hall of Fame’s Four Newest Members Honored

LAKEWOOD – The four newest members of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame were honored Monday night at the annual induction dinner at the Red Coach Inn.

The new inductees are Jamestown’s Sheridan Hardenburg, Silver Creek’s George Carter, Dunkirk’s Murray Shelton, and the late Eric “Swat” Erickson of Jamestown.

Hardenburg was the only inductee present and was honored for his accomplishments in sports that span decades including participating as a player, coach and official.

Jamestown High School Athletic Director Komo Tane read a statement from Jamestown educators praising Hardenburg’s accomplishments in the school system.

Carter, who starred in basketball at St. Bonaventure and for seven years in the American Basketball Association, is presently in California and could not attend. His plaque was accepted by his former coach at St. Bonaventure, Larry Weise. Weise, who is now the Bonnies’ athletic director, said Carter was the best power forward he ever recruited.

Shelton, who was college football star at Cornell early this century, is currently living in Columbia Mo., and also could not attend. His plaque was accepted by Wendy Woodbury Straight whose father worked in the surveying business with Shelton. She also read a statement from Shelton thanking the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame committee for the honor.

This is Shelton’s second induction into a hall of fame. In 1973 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Burwin E. Erickson, better known as “Swat” Erickson, Jr., accepted the hall of fame plaque for his father who pitched for New York Giants and Detroit Tigers in the major leagues.

One of the scheduled guest speakers, former major leaguer Joe Pepitone, missed his flight and did not attend, but Phil Villapiano of the Buffalo Bills produced enough laughs for both he and Pepitone with stories of his pro football career which began with the Oakland Raiders.

“I got drafted by the Raiders and I didn’t even know where they were, the Bowling Green graduate said of his first contact with Oakland. “We looked it up, somebody was taking geography.”

He mentioned that he got only $17,000 as a second-round draft pick, but added, “My father negotiated the contract.”

He also told amusing stories about his experiences playing the College All-Star and Pro Bowl games, but on the serious side he mentioned what might be a problem with the Buffalo Bills.

“In Oakland you never talk about money, money, money,” he said. “You talk about win, win, win.”

Weise made some comments about coaching Bob Lanier at St. Bonaventure. In the 1969-1970 season the Bonnies were 25-3 and Weise was sure his team would have won the national title if Lanier had not been injured.

He pointed out that Lanier worked very hard to obtain a degree in marketing and said, “It doesn’t surprise me a bit Bob is the player representative for the NBA.

The first speaker of the night was one of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame’s first inductees in 1982, Kay Gould. The former Southwestern Central School girls’ basketball coach now coaches women’s basketball and softball at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa. She made the trip to the induction dinner after completing basketball practice at Allegheny.

Making things move along smoothly throughout the program was WJTN Sports Director Pete Hubbell who served as the emcee. Co-worker Jim Roselle took care of introducing the inductees and reading their accomplishments.

The Rev. Joseph E. Vatter gave the invocation and benediction. Leslie Battler sang the national anthem accompanied by Lucille Miller. Also in attendance were Lakewood Mayor Anthony Caprino and Chautauqua County Legislative Chairman Tom Harte who represented Chautauqua County Executive John Glenzer.
Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame President Russ Diethrick made opening comments for the event that was organized by George Barone.

Villapiano spoke of the Super Bowl ring he won with the Oakland Raiders in 1977 and said it is something he had always wanted and he wears it proudly. The new Chautauqua Hall of Fame inductees will have that same feeling when they are presented their rings later this year.

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.