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Plum Athletes, Coach to be Inducted into East Boros Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2012

The honorees include sports standouts from nine school districts—including Plum Borough School District—in Pittsburgh's eastern suburbs.

The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, East Boros Chapter, will celebrate its 35th year on Wednesday, Oct. 11, as it inducts the eight-member Class of 2012 at Edgewood Country Club in Churchill.

Honorees are: Brian Cipollone (Plum), Cheryl Gatons (Plum), Tom McGough (Plum), Joe Naunchik (Plum), Carol Sprague (Penn Hills), Joanne Boyle (Gateway), Tony Lonero (Penn Hills) and Melanie Morgan-Miller (Gateway).

The East Boros Chapter encompasses the communities within the Plum, Riverview, Woodland Hills, Wilkinsburg, Penn Hills, Gateway, East Allegheny, Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford school districts. Each fall, the chapter inducts deserving alumni from these high schools, and schools that preceded them, who have brought lasting fame and recognition to Pennsylvania through their athletic achievements.

For ticket availability, contact Bob Ford at 412-551-0227, or email rford620@comcast.net.

Meet the Class of 2012:

Brian Cipollone

As a Plum High School senior, Brian Cipollone won the state championship in 1991 as a wrestler and was the runner-up as a junior. He had a career high school record of 87-5 and post-season record of 23-1. He was voted an Asics All-American and USA Wrestling 1st Team Academic All-American. Cipollone represented Team Pennsylvania in 1991 Dapper Dan Classic and won the AAA vs. AA Challenge of Champions. He was a member of a Junior World Team to Russia where he won a tournament in Krasnoyarsk. 

Brian attended Lehigh University where he was a four-year starter and amassed over 70 wins. His successes on the NCAA Division 1 stage included placing twice at the prestigious Midlands tournament and third at the Las Vegas Invitational.   He was named the Lehigh Wrestling Scholar-Athlete in 1994. 

Brian is an executive director in credit risk management at Nomura Securities in New York City.  He is the son of Emilio and Donna Cipollone and lives in Hoboken, NJ with his wife, Alisha.

Cheryl Gatons

In 1996, Gatons exploded onto the national running stage by qualifying for the Olympic trials in only her second year of marathoning.  She placed second at the 1997 National Marathon Championship with a time of 2:39 earning a spot on the World Marathon team and traveled to Greece to represent the U.S. in the World Marathon Championship, where she was the top American finisher. 

At the local level, Gatons placed second in the Pittsburgh Marathon in 1996 and 1998 and still holds several road race records throughout western Pennsylvania. She was the firest American finisher (25th overall) at the 1997 World Marathon Championships.

Gatons lettered three years in track at Plum High School. She holds several course records for local 5k and 10k races and was a finalist for the Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year. She took second place in Pittsburgh Marathon in 1996 and 1998 She currently competes as a master runner.

Gatons resides in Greensburg with her children Sydney, 11; Quintin, 9; and Lillian, 7. In 2006, while running with one of his athletes, her husband, Kevin, died from a rare congenital heart defect where the first sign is sudden death.

Tom McGough

After a stellar career at Greater Johnstown High School, Tom McGough's boyhood dream of playing professional baseball became reality when the Cleveland Indians made him their first pitcher selection in the June 1973 Major League Baseball draft.

At the end of the 1975 season, he became the Major League's youngest player. Since his playing career ended, he has been the host/producer of the nationally syndicated SportsWeek television program, as well as a motivational speaker. He has served on the Plum Borough School Board since 1991 and has been a part of the Cornerstone TeleVision network ministry since 1993.

He passed his love of the game along to his sons, both of whom played Division 1 baseball and also signed professional contracts. Eric now teaches high school and Scotty is a pitcher for the Miami Marlins.

Joe Naunchik

Known throughout Western Pennsylvania as a football coach, Naunchik's athletic accomplishments are much further reaching. The 1956 Plum graduate was the captain of his football, basketball, and baseball teams. 

As Alle-Kiski Valley Back of the Year, he led the 1955 Mustangs to an undefeated season. A standout on the baseball diamond as well, Joe set a WPIAL record by striking out 20 batters in a seven-inning game. 

While Naunchik accepted a football scholarship to Arizona State, he left early to sign a baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played in the minor leagues for three years before returning to college and eventually becoming a teacher and coach. 

Naunchik spent 40 seasons as a high school football coach (25 of them as head coach), taking Plum, Valley, Hempfield and Fox Chapel to the WPIAL playoffs. As coach of the Plum Mustangs, his teams won two conference championships and one co-championship. 

Naunchik also spent four seasons as part of the University of Pittsburgh coaching staff.  As part of the University of Pittsburgh coaching staff, he coached at the Fiesta, Gator, Sugar and Cotton bowls.

He is a member of the Alle-Kiski Hall of Fame and Plum High School Hall of Fame. He and his wife Terry have two sons, Joey and Daniel.

Carol Sprague

Carol Sprague, a graduate of Penn Hills High School and Slippery Rock University, began her career as a teacher and went on to work as an athletic administrator at the University of Pittsburgh from 1974 through 2012. 

During her career at Pitt Sprague was the sport administrator for all of Pitt’s sport teams—except football and men’s basketball. Sprague also coordinated the use of all of Pitt’s athletic facilities, and stadium and arena operations. She was the department’s project manager for the construction of the Petersen Events Center and over saw many other capital projects during her tenure at the university.

Sprague served on many NCAA and Big East committees including the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, the NCAA Council and the executive board of the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors.

As an athlete Sprague was National Championship Qualifier as a member of Slippery Rock’s swimming team and also had a 22-year career with the Pittsburgh Debs softball team, two-time USSSA World Champions.  As a coach she led the Debs to five national top-20 finishes.

In 2007, Sprague was selected as the Administrator of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). She is a member of the Penn Hills Sports Hall of Fame (1992), the Western Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame (1999) and was inducted in Slippery Rock’s Hall of Fame in 2011. In 1993, Sprague was the recipient of the Women in Sports Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.

Joanne Boyle

Joanne Boyle was a four-sport standout at Gateway High School, earning a basketball scholarship to Duke University. She went on to be a four-year letter winner for the Blue Devils, leading the team with a then-record 75 steals her senior season.

After college, she played professional basketball in Luxembourg and Germany for three years. When her career ended, Boyle returned to her alma mater, serving as an assistant coach at Duke from 1993 to 2002. Since then, she has been head coach of the University of Richmond, the California Golden Bears the Virginia Cavaliers. She lead Cal to postseason play each year she directed the program. Under her guidance, the Bears won the WNIT Championship in 2010.

Boyle was named the 2006-07 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and the 2007-08 WBCA Region 8 Coach of the Year. In 2011, she received the WBCA’s prestigious Carol Eckman Award, honoring coaches for a combination of success on the court and distinguished character off the court.

Tony Lonero

In 1977, during his senior year, Tony Lonero's Penn Hills baseball team won the WPIAL championship. He attended Chipola Junior College in Florida on a baseball scholarship and was named "All Southern Conference Catcher" in 1979 with batting averages of .373 and .380.

He received a scholarship to Louisiana State University, and held the school record in doubles with a .322 batting average and a .976 fielding average behind the plate.

He played professional baseball in Italy for the Nettuno Indians, then earned a berth in the 1984 Olympics on the Italian National Team, taking fifth place.

Although . He now is a bicyclist and finished the Paris Brest 1250km non-stop bike race in France in 2003, 2007 and 2011. He lives in Anzio, Italy with his wife, Mimma, and his mother, JoAnn Bary, lives in Plum Borough.

Melanie Morgan-Miller

Melanie swam for Gateway High School from 1986-89 and her achievements earned her a scholarship to the University of Florida. During high school, she earned seven individual WPIAL titles, setting records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, and six PIAA state titles. Gateway High awards the "Melanie Morgan Award" to a swimmer each year who exemplifies dedication and leadership.

While in college, she won an NCAA Division 1 title as a member of the American record-breaking 4x100 freestyle relay. She was also a three-time Olympic trials competitor.

Morgan-Miller works in medical sales and helps coach the South Fayette Aqua Club and Hunting Ridge Stingrays. She lives in Bridgeville with her husband, Rob, and their two sons, Ryan and Shawn.

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BFCoach November 02, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Ha, I was checking out this site for Riverview Raider info and found this article. This guy Tom McGough and his kids are nice folks. I am from Beaver Falls and he ran a day long clinic for kids at a church in nearby Chippewa Township. Very cheap and the kids got a ton of instruction out of it. Congrats to Tom on the recognition.

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