Clarion University Announces 2015 Hall of Fame Class; Induction Ceremony Set for May 1

CLARION, Pa. – The Clarion University “Sports Hall of Fame” Committee has announced that six new members will be inducted as the 2015 “Hall of Fame” Class.

They are Heather Cigich (women’s basketball), Nicolina (DiLoreto) Pierce (women’s swimming), Dr. William “Bill” English (cross country and track coach), Francis “Fran” Sirianni (football, track), Dr. Louis “Lou” Tripodi (honorary – contributor), and Louis “Lou” Weiers (football).

Clarion University’s 27th Annual Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, May 1, 2015 at Clarion’s Eagle Commons Dining Facility located at Wood and Arnold (formerly ninth) beginning at 7:00 p.m. The event is open to the public.

A social is set for 5:30 p.m. at Rooms 107 and 108 Eagle Commons (lower level).

Ticket orders are being handled by Events & Promotions Coordinator Scott Courtney, Room 101 Tippin Gymnasium.

Tickets are $40.00 per person and are available by contacting Courtney at 814-393-2057.

Checks should be made payable to Clarion “Sports Hall of Fame”.

Ticket order forms and induction information are available at

“Congratulations to the new inductees, as well as to the Hall of Fame Committee on another job well done,” said tenth year Clarion A.D. Dave Katis. “This is an exciting class of inductees who made significant contributions to Clarion Athletics during their time on campus. We look forward to their induction on May 1. ”

A Snapshot of the Clarion Hall of Fame Careers of the 2015 Inductees:

HEATHER CIGICH – WOMEN’S BASKETBALL– 2005 Clarion University Grad–Elementary Ed.

cigich magHeather Cigich was a great basketball player at Clarion University from 2002 – 2005 under former head coach Margaret “Gie” Parsons. A native of Johnstown, Pa., she finished her Golden Eagle career ranked third in total points with 1,832, second in rebounds with 1,121 and first in scoring average at 17.0ppg. Cigich shot 51.8% from the floor (708 of 1366) and 76.2% from the foul line (409 of 537). In 2003, her sophomore year, Heather helped Clarion to a 15-12 record while averaging 18.6ppg and 10.4 rebounds. In 2004 again Clarion was 15-12 overall with Cigich averaging 20ppg and 12.1 rebounds. As a senior in 2005 she averaged 17ppg and 9.7 rebounds, leading Clarion to the NCAA Division II Playoffs with a 23-7 record. A three-time PSAC First Team selection (2003, 04, 05), she was named a Third Team Daktronics All-American and HM A-A honors by D-II Bulletin and WBCA/Kodak in 2004. She was also Clarion’s Female “Athlete of the Year” in 2004. A 2001 graduate of Conemaugh Township H.S., she has returned to Johnstown and is currently a Special Education Teacher in the Greater Johnstown School District as well as the girls basketball coach at Johnstown High. She has a son Xander and a daughter Asia.

NICOLINA (DiLORETO) PIERCE – SWIMMING – 2000 Clarion University Grad – Accounting

Nicolina DiLoreto Pierce ICSNicolina “Nikki” (DiLoreto) Pierce was a two-time NCAA Division II National Champion and a three-time NCAA runner-up in the breaststroke, a 21-time NCAA All-American, a multiple-time PSAC champion in individual and relay events in her 4-year career at Clarion under Hall of Fame coach Bill Miller. In her freshman year in 1997 Nikki placed 2nd at NCAA’s in the 200 breaststroke with a Clarion record time of 2:21.47, was a 4-time All-American and was voted the PSAC “Rookie of the Year.” In 1998 she won her first NCAA D-II title in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.66) edging Clarion HOF Christina Tillotson. She was also second in the 200 breast and earned 4 A-A honors helping Clarion to a 3rd place team finish at nationals. In 1999 Nikki won the 200 breaststroke at NCAA’s with a record time of 2:19.50, and was 2nd in the 100 breast with a Clarion record time of 1:04.85- helping Clarion to a 4th place finish at the NCAA’s. Team captain her senior year in 2000, she was 4th in the 200 breast, 5th in the 100 breast and 6th in the 200 I.M., on her way to 7 A-A placings and leading the Eagles to a 4th place finish at nationals. Clarion won PSAC titles in 1997, 98 and 2000. A native of Erie, Pa. and a 1996 grad of McDowell High, she is a Realtor with Howard Hanna in Erie. Husband Dan Pierce was also an outstanding swimmer at Clarion. The couple had daughter Alexandra and sons Nicolin, Camden and Deacon.


english magAn extremely dedicated Cross Country and Track Coach, Bill English was the face of Clarion’s programs from the Fall of 1972 through the Spring of 1990. In the interim he led a strong program for the Golden Eagles. In men’s cross country his teams never had a losing season putting together a dual meet record of 88-45. He also never had a losing season in men’s track & field, posting a dual meet record of 76-37. Some top men’s athletes included Joe Nichols (1st track & field All-American in 1975), Loyal Jasper (1984 PSAC Athlete of the Year), Ken Gribshaw, George Drushel, Jim Snyder, Jim Newkirk and Doug McConnell. Bill also spearheaded the start of the women’s cross country program in 1978 and the track and field program in the following spring. The first female All-American was hurdler Taryn Carter in 1980. Her sister Laurie, Penny Gray, Leda Best, Vicky Kemmerer, Kristen Swick & Tedi Phillips were just a few of the top performers. English’s first six years saw him teaching at East Forest, then come to Clarion for practice, a 52-mile round trip every day. Bill taught in the HPE Department from 1978 through 2008 when he retired. Born in Willliamsport, Pa., he is a 1964 grad of Mooseheart (Il.) High and a 1968 Lock Haven grad. Bill and wife Verona live in Leeper, Pa. and have a son Justin.

FRANCIS “FRAN” SIRIANNI –FOOTBALL/TRACK –1969 Clarion Univ. Grad –Education (Science)

Fran Sirianni ICS“Fran” Sirianni was a four-year starter at defensive back for the Golden Eagles from 1965 – 68 helping lead Clarion to PSAC-West titles in 1966 and 1967, as well as a perfect 10-0 season and the PSAC crown in 1966 and a runner-up PSAC finish and an 8-2 record in 1967. Playing under legendary Clarion HOF head coach Al Jacks, Sirianni compiled 15 career interceptions – which was and still is the all-time Clarion record. In his four years as a starter Clarion amassed an overall record of 30-7-1 and the defense permitted 7 points or less a total of 12 times. Fran was a First Team PSAC-West selection in 1967 and 1968, First Team Al-District in 1966, 67 & 68 and All-state in 1967 & 68. Sirianni also doubled as the Golden Eagles punter. Sirianni was a 3-year letterwinner on the track team under Clarion HOF coach Charlie Ruslavage as a sprinter and hurdler. Third at the PSAC’s in the 400 hurdles as a senior, he also was part of the 2nd place 4 x 100 and 3rd place 4 x 400 relays at PSAC’s his senior year. A native of Kane, Pa. and a 1965 Kane grad, he resides in Jamestown, N.Y. with wife Amy (Wladyka – ’70). He is in his 45th year coaching Track at Southwestern Central H.S. where he also taught for 36 years. He has three sons including Mike, Jay and Nick.

DR. LOUIS “LOU” TRIPODI – CONTRIBUTOR – Clarion University 1973 – 2007.

tripodi magLou Tripodi – maybe better known as “Dr. Lou”, made a major contribution to Clarion Athletics in a number of roles while employed at the university from January of 1973 through June of 2007. As a public address announcer from 1976 through 2007 (31 years), Lou was always recognized as the “voice” of Clarion athletics. He started with swimming and diving (12 years), moved over to football (10 years), but had his longest stints as the men’s and women’s basketball (24 years) and wrestling (23 years) announcer at Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium. Lou also worked NCAA, NAIA, AIAW, ECAC, PSAC and High School Championships as well. One of his more memorable chores was as the co-announcer at the 1990 NCAA D-I Wrestling Championships in Maryland. Lou also was the Co-Chair of the Clarion Golf Classic for 17 years, raising scholarship money for the athletic department, as well as Academic Support, athlete advisement and even student recruitment through his tenure in Academic Support Services along with the Summer Start program. A 1966 grad of Harrison High in Harrison, N.Y., Lou is a 1970 grad of Hiram Scott College. Lou and wife Marge live in Shippenville, Pa.

LOUIS J. “LOU” WEIERS – FOOTBALL – 1989 Clarion University Grad – Political Science

Weiers ICS“Lou” Weiers, a dominating defensive tackle at Clarion University from 1984 – 87 under Clarion HOF coach Gene Sobolewski, helped the Golden Eagles to four strong gridiron seasons during his All-America career. As a senior and team captain in 1987, Weiers was second on the team with 91 tackles, had 13 qb sacks, 3 fumbles caused, 2 fumbles recovered and 2 pass break ups. He was named a First Team Associated Press “Little All-American”, a First Team Kodak (AFCA) All-American, First Team PSAC-West and Pittsburgh Press and Post-Gazette District 18, as well as District “Player of the Year”. In 1986 Lou led the team with 94 tackles, plus had 7 sacks. He was voted Third Team A.P. All-American, and First Team PSAC-West, Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette All-District. He finished his outstanding career with 213 tackles and 21 sacks, while providing strong leadership and character. Married to wife Lisa, Lou is active with the football alumni and the “Dare to Dream” project. He is the Resident Agent in charge of the Pittsburgh Field Office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He has served in this position for 10 years and has been employed by the ATF for 24 years. A native of Latrobe, Pa. he is a 1984 graduate of Derry Area H.S.

CLARION NOTES: The 2015 induction class brings the Hall of Fame total to 163…The first class in 1989 had 11 members. That inaugural class included -James Alcorn(fb), Dr.James Gemmell (former President), Al Jacks (fb coach), Alex Sandusky (fb), Barbara Schaefer-Nejman (diving), Wade Schalles (wrestling), William Sheridan (fb), Waldo S. Tippin (coach-A.D.), Pete Vuckovich (baseball), Jon Wiberg (bk) and Ernestine Weaver (gymnastics coach)…1990-Michael J. Catello(fb),Carol Clay (swimming coach),Robert H. Shaw (fb),Bill Simpson (wrestling) & Reggie Wells (bk)… 1991-Garry Barton (wrestling),Dave Bevevino (fb),Connie Jo Israel (gymnastics), Don Stemmerich (bk-ba), Terry Thompson (bk), George Williams (announcer -honorary)…1992-Thomas Carnahan (coach),Charles Heller (wrestling),James McCullough (fb-bk-baseball),Joseph O’Brien (fb),Jeanne O’Connor (swimming), Halley Willison (fb-bk)…1993-Robert J. Cloherty (fb),Joseph J. Knowles (baseball coach), Cheryl L.(Perozzi) Gilotty (gymnastics),Louis Hutcherson (fb),Frank Lignelli Jr.(athlete-coach-A.D.) & Kenneth S. Warnick (wrestling) …1994-Edward H. Arndt (fb),Tracy (Cooper) Rossa (swimming),Joseph P. DeGregorio (basketball coach),Robert L. Kelly (bk), John Lovre (fb), Don Rohn (wrestling)… 1995-John V. Calipari (bk),Gary J. McCauley (fb),Doria (Mamalo) McConnell (diving),Douglas A. Niebel (wrestling),Frances M. Shope (associate A.D.) and Michael J. Zucca (diving)…1996-Pete Caristo (fb),Nanette (Farrar) Handley (swimming),Dr. Rebecca Rutt Leas (swimming coach), Terry E. Roseto (bk), Charles A.Ruslavage(fb coach),Joseph P.Sebestyen (bk),Roland B.Sparrow (fb)… 1997-John G. Dellostretto (fb), Kevin C. Ewing (fb), Alvin E. Gibson (bk), James W. Kassell (fb,bk,track,baseball), Donald E. Leas (diving coach), Rhonda (Phillips) Zozula (diver)… 1998 Kurt S. Angle (wrestling), Elton R. Brown (fb), Robert G. Bubb (wrestling coach), Robert J. Erdeljac (fb), Loyal M. Jasper (track & field), Barbara (Seel) Couvrette (diving), 1999 Tina (Bair) Karan (sw), Joseph J. Boros (golf), Kenneth D. Haselrig (wr), Ernest W. Johnson (athlete/coach – honorary), Steven P. Scillitani (fb) and Michael C. Sisinni (bk), 2000-James M. Beichner (wr), John A. DeRiggi (fb), Joseph J. Kata (deceased- fb, bk, ba), Anthony Perriello (diving), Lisa M. (Warren) Dollard (tennis) and Richard L. Pae (fb coach- honorary), 2001- David G. Caslow (wr), Leatha (Dudeck) Baker (basketball), James T. Hersh (sw), Thomas J. Komenda (fb), Gordon G. Sills (baseball) and Robert E. Leonard (Head Athletic Trainer), 2002- James A. Becker (football), Charles E. Coryea (wrestling), Carlita A. Jones (women’s basketball), Joseph M. Malis (men’s basketball), Theresa A. (Teri) Peot (women’s swimming) and Gene Sobolewski (Football Coach), 2003- Daniel J. Chojnacki (men’s basketball), Michael J. Cole (wrestling), Corissa “Mona” Gaffney-Brosier (women’s basketball), Guido Malacarne (football/baseball) and David A. Peura (men’s swimming), 2004- Lynn Armstrong (football), Ronald R. Botz (basketball), Jack Davis (wrestling), Terence M. McFetridge (football), Kwame R. Morton (basketball), Joyce (Skoog) Robillard (swimming), John Shropshire (football/administrator – deceased), 2005- Cheryl L. Bansek (women’s basketball), Richard H. Danielson (men’s basketball), Wesley C. Freeburg (fb, bask.,baseball), Sheldon E. Thomas (wrestling), Arthur T. Tragesser (football), 2006- Robert B. Frazier (baseball), Carl Grinage (basketball), Jerry M. Haslett (football), William Z. May (football), Christina Tillotson Sheets (women’s swimming), John A. Joy (basketball coach), William G. Miller (swimming coach), 2007- Shannon Coakley Gallagher (women’s basketball), Patrick L. Kiehl (diving), James M. Miller (football), Christopher Roosevelt (basketball), Bryan C. Stout (wrestling), 2008- Steven P. Darby (men’s swimming), Amy (Coon) Miller (women’s basketball), Thomas D. Kurtz (football/baseball), Randy J. Miller (wrestling), Steve T. Witte (football), Mary Lou (Doverspike) Russell (deceased/honorary), 2009- Paul A. Clark (wrestling), A’Lisa (Woicicki) Funk (women’s swimming), Jon Haslett (football), Damon Pietronigro (men’s swimming) and Ernie Widmar (football/baseball), 2010 – Mark D. Angle (wrestling), Jodi (Pezek) Burns (vb; coach), Frank W. Grundler (wrestling/football), Al Lefevre (men’s golf coach/football), Chuck Nanz (men’s swim coach), Chris Weibel (football)… 2011 – James “Pint” Barton (baseball), Timothy D. Brown (football), Jacob “Jack” Derlink (basketball), Dan Mahoney (football), and Tamara L. “Tammy” Myers (tennis); 2012- Kenneth P. Bedford (diving), Melanie (Bull) Lewis (women’s volleyball), Robert “Bo” Garritano (football), John Testa (wrestling), Reginald A. “Reggie” Wells Jr. (football); 2013- Cary D. Grubb (baseball), Jackie Hill Saad (women’s volleyball), Alex F. Murnyack (fb, wr, baseball), Shelly A. Respecki (women’s basketball), Cecil D. Willoughby (fb, basketball); 2014- Les Bressler (wrestling), Robert “Bob” Carlson (A.D.), Taryn CarterWyche (women’s Track), Kim Niedbala (football/coach), Alvin Slaughter (football), Dr. Richard Taylor (men’s basketball coach), Dr. Jamie (Wolf) Jackel (Diving); 2015 – Heather Cigich (w. basketball), Nicolina (DiLoreto) Pierce (swimming); Dr. William English (cross country & track coach); Francis “Fran” Sirianni (football/track); Dr. Lou Tripodi (contributor), Lou Weiers (football).

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