The Post-Journal

Hall of Fame Inducts Four ‘Total People’

Buffalo Bills free safety Mark Kelso summed up the philosophy of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame Monday night when he stated, “I hope when you look at the inductees, I hope you look at the total person.”

He made that statement after Neoma Berg, Bill Bergey, Chuck Boehler and Gary Clark were honored at the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame eighth annual induction dinner at the Holiday Inn.

The organization prides its on inducting sports personalities who starred off the field as well as on. And it was only fitting Kelso was the main speaker because he was the Buffalo Bills’ winner of the Travelers-NFL Man of the Year Award, which is awarded the team’s outstanding citizen-athlete.

Kelso spends as much time doing charity work as tackling opposing players and he said, “I don’t like to get something for nothing. That doesn’t cut it on the football field.”

The William and Mary graduate emphasized that applies to all fields.

“We have to be the lighthouses to the young people growing up.” Then he pointed out the four new inductees, “Are people who are shaped by character.”

Post-Journal Assistant Sports Editor Scott Kindberg introduced Berg, who was an area tennis standout and also a very successful softball coach at Southwestern Central School. Berg said, “I had two brothers who let their little sister tag along. All in all, I feel I’m being honored for a career of a lot of fun.

When not competing, Berg taught skiing, organized tennis tournaments and was involved in the Junior Olympics, 4-H horse shows and motorcross.

Boehler, who was introduced by Louise Fryzel of Paragon Cable, made a name for himself nationally and internationally in motorcycle racing, but said, “This is obviously my greatest racing reward of racing.”

In 1975, Boehler retired after 20 years of racing and after hearing his son ask, “How can you go so slow and still win the senior class.”

He continued to support the “junior class” by helping young riders become involved in the sport.

Gary Clark was introduced by Dave Rowley of WKSN, who read a long list of Clark’s many athletic accomplishments at Frewsburg Central School and then his basketball feats at Syracuse University.

“After that resume, now I know why I’m so tired,” Clark said. “This by far is my greatest honor.”

Clark gave special thanks to his mother, his greatest fan, and Jim Scofield, his coach at Frewsburg, who helped him land a scholarship to Syracuse.

WJTN Sports Director Pete Hubbell introduced Bill Bergey, whose last NFL football game was in the 1980 Super Bowl as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Prior to that, he had been the Eagles Most Valuable Player three times and a Pro Bowl selection three times. He was also the highest paid defensive player in the league with a four year, $1 million contract.

Compared to what is earned today by players, such as linebacker Shane Conlan of the Buffalo Bills, who was also at the head table, Bergey said, “I never saw a linebacker get so embarrassed about what another linebacker was earning.”

Then he smiled at Conlan and said, “Have yourself a good time. It goes quickly.”

On a serious note, Bergey, a Pine Valley Central School graduate, said, “To be able to come back here and be with my friends is a real honor.”

Bergey, who began his NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals, coaches football at Tatnall School in Wilmington Del., and said that coaching young players is more rewarding than all the honors he received in the NFL.

Conlan mentioned his foot injury is healing slowly and added, “If it wasn’t on (artificial) turf, I wouldn’t have been hurt.”

The Frewsburg native admitted missing the Bills’ opening playoff game with the Houston Oilers was tough, but the win made it easier.

“Luckily, our offense showed up,” he joked.

John Gurtler, the Buffalo Sabres Public Relations Director, was a hit for the second straight year with a talk that could have held its own on an HBO comedy special. He said, “Everyone qualifies for the playoffs in the NHL.” But seriously he added that the Sabres goal is “We would like to gain home-ice advantage (in the playoffs).

And to do that, Gurtler said, “Our style of play has to solidify.”

Gurtler brought along Sabres goaltender Daren Puppa, who is sidelined with a broken arm.

Bob Payne, many years the scoreboard operator at College Stadium and an employee of the Jamestown Expos, made a special presentation to Tom Prohaska, the former Expos general manager who was named the New York-Pennsylvania League’s Executive of the Year. Prohaska was not offered a new contract by the parent Montreal Expos and has accepted the general manger’s position with the NY-P League’s new Niagara Falls team.

Shawn Bowman, a tackle for the Jamestown High School football team, was cited for being named to the All-State Team for the second straight year and Bill Walters was recognized for coaching Dunkirk High School to the state Class B baseball title last season.

Jim Roselle of WJTN was the emcee and the inductees were presented plaques and rings by Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame President Chuck Ludwig. Gary Kindberg sang the national anthem, accompanied by Marie Lindahl.

The youngest person in attendance was 7-week old Chelsie Kelso, who spent most of the night with her mother, Robin.

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.