The Post-Journal

It Was A Dream Night For Hall Of Fame Inductees

The guest speaker at Monday night’s 20th annual Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner told the audience: “Remember one thing to do in your life – dream big.”That’s what most of the four new inductees had done which is why they were honored on a dream night to highlight their careers.

Edward “Bud” Erickson, Pete Hubbell, Wally Huckno and the late Craig Swanson were inducted before a sold out crowd at the Holiday Inn.

Erickson, a Dunkirk native, was honored for his diversity as he was offered a pro baseball contract from the Boston Braves, was the assistant sports information director at Michigan State, handled statistics for radio broadcasts of the Detroit Tigers, was publicity director and then assistant general manager for the Detroit Lions. Then he became the assistant to the president for the Atlanta Falcons and then became the executive director of the LPGA.

Erickson, who now lives in Michigan, continued his ties with golf by serving as the manager of the 1979 PGA Championship and was tournament manager of the 1985 U.S. Open and the 1991 Senior U.S. Open.

However, Erickson mentioned there is one “goal” in golf he hasn’t reached.

“I still haven’t finished playing at Moon Brook,” he said about the Jamestown country club where he played 10 holes years ago in the early spring. “It snowed and I haven’t been back.”

Former WJTN sports director Pete Hubbell was introduced by his long time fellow employee Jim Roselle, who noted that between late father Ralph and Pete, the Hubbells had provided Western New York with 109 years of radio sports broadcasting.

Ralph, who died last September, spent 66 years in Buffalo broadcasting and Pete, whose career spanned 43 years, said “I wished he could have lasted a little longer so he could have been here tonight.”

He added, “I have that feeling he might be visiting Jamestown one more time.”

Hubbell’s many years of broadcasting included numerous championship teams and he said, “This area is really blessed. It makes the job so much more fun.”

Hubbell now lives in Florida and admitted he doesn’t miss the snow and cold outside.

“What I do miss is what’s inside this building,” he said.

Huckno is coming off a season in which his Jamestown football team won its third state title in seven years. But when he came to Jamestown 39 years ago as an English teacher, he never expected to be involved in sports more than a fan. He noted that back then you could only coach if you were a physical education instructor, but fortunately that changed in Jamestown.

Huckno extended a huge thanks to his wife, Dixie, for raising their children because, “I was too busy raising other kids.”

The honor for the late Craig Swanson, who was a three-sport star at Frewsburg, was accepted by his former Bears baseball coach Bill Hair.

“This honor to Craig’s family and to his memory emphasizes what is so good about high school athletics,” Hair said.

“When a young man such as Craig Swanson combines academic prowess, physical talent and great work ethic that results in the financing of an education and the success in his chosen profession, this is what athletics is about.”

Swanson went on to play baseball on a scholarship at Canisius College and Hair recall receiving a letter from his former player thanking him for all he had done.

“This is the Craig Swanson I knew,” he said about the 26-year-old who was killed in an automobile accident in 1991. “Tonight’s induction just adds another positive to his memory.”

An added guest speaker at the event was Woodson’s agent, Tracy Foster, who played basketball at Indiana and Alabama Birmingham.

Foster recalled being recruited by former Indiana coach Bob Knight, who was very charming during the recruiting process which was a contrast to his fiery demeanor on the court. Foster recall thinking, “It can’t be that bad.”

Then he added, “I was wrong.”

After 1 ½ seasons under Knight he transferred to UAB.

“There are two kinds of players at Indiana,” he said, “The players that leave and the players that think about leaving.”

Foster first met Woodson when they ran track against each other in high school in their hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind. Woodson was so good at track that he eventually qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 100 meter low hurdles and he was also a basketball star in high school. But Woodson is now known for football and it’s amazing that he quit after his freshman year. However, he returned to play his junior and senior years and earned a scholarship to Purdue.

However, after hearing about the Jamestown football team working out in the weightroom at 6 a.m. during the off season, Woodson looked at Huckno and said, “If you got me up at 6 o’clock, I wouldn’t have played.”

Woodson had a stellar career at Purdue which led him to being the Pittsburgh Steeler’s first-round pick in 1987, but he mentioned the Boilermakers as a team were very poor.

“We were homecoming for everybody,” he said.

After hearing about the numerous area national champions of the past year honored by the Hall of Fame, Woodson noted, “I never won a national championship until this year.”

Among the area champions honored were the Jamestown Community College golf team for winning the NJCAA Division III national championship and the men’s basketball team a third straight NJCAA Region 3 Division II title.

The Jamestown football team was honored for winning the state Class AA title and Aaron Leeper, Sheldon Battle and Shawn Williamson were cited for being on the Class A all state first team. Sheldon Battle also made that team and was also a state discus champion. Eric Larson was named to the state football scholar-athlete first team and Tirana McDermott was a state indoor track champion in the 55 meter dash.

Chautauqua Lakes’ Ginger Kincaid was honored for winning the state Class C high jump title and Fredonia’s Jennifer Stuczynski was cited for capturing the state pentathlon title.

Also honored was the Falconer baseball team for winning the state Class C championship, Denny Meszaros for being named Coach of the Year, John Moore for being named Player of the Year and Joe Ribaudo for making the state first team.

Frewsburg honorees were Trevor Cable for winning the state Class D cross country title and Bill Prince for capturing the state 171 pound wrestling title.

Maple Grove football players honored for making the Class D all-state first team were Derrick Casler, Mike Darling, Jordan Rambacher while Jesse Rappole was named to the state Class D cross country first team and Brent Williams was named to the state Class D baseball first team.

Panama’s Aaron Barton and Jacob Shields were state Class D football first team members while Josh Courtney of Sherman was honored for being the state Class D basketball Player of the Year.

Maple Grove graduate Brian Keefer was named a USA Football first-team All-American at Alfred University. Robbie Dierking was cited for winning the Men’s Intermediate National Figure Skating title and Nicholas Patch of the Jamestown Rifle Club was a member of the state high power rifle championship team.

The YMCA gymnastics team had a national champion in Ashley Bauer while Linnea Anderson, Adrienne Breyerton, Allison Crandall, Kim Greene, Kristen Salter and Katlyn Swanson won state titles.

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.