BY GREG GULAS
Ceremonies for the 50th Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame Banquet are set for Sunday, May 7 at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Center in Boardman with 13 new members set for enshrinement.
Former Cardinal Mooney and University of Michigan football standout, NFL Super Bowl champion and local business entrepreneur Ed Muransky will serve as guest speaker.
The 2017 class includes Jeff Bayuk (football, coach), Mark Brungard (football), Jim Bryant (bowling), Bruce Burge (contribution to sports), John Cullen (basketball, coach), Tony DelBene (baseball), Wally Ford, Jr. (all-sports award), Jim O’Malley (football), Anthony Montana (special award), Henry Nemenz (posthumous award), Craig Snyder (boxing), Tammy Swearingen (volleyball, coach) and Dave Veitz (special award).
A retired educator, DelBene is this year’s baseball inductee who also participated in football, baseball and track and field at Woodrow Wilson High School.
A 1964 WWHS graduate, he was selected All-City Series in both football (running back) and basketball (guard) as a senior, averaging 17.0 points over his career for the Redmen hardwood team as they became the only team in school history to win the District title and play in the Regionals.
For his stellar scholastic career, he was inducted into the WWHS Athletics Hall of Fame in 1982.
Upon graduation, he enrolled at Youngstown State University where he was a four-year letterman for legendary Dom Rosselli’s diamond team. He was instrumental in leading YSU to an NCAA appearance, leading the team in batting during both is junior and senior seasons.
He batted .419 his senior campaign and was selected to the NCAA College All-American team. He batted .369 during a stellar four-year career and for his efforts, was inducted into the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990.
DelBene earned his undergraduate degree from YSU in 1968 (later earning his MA from Kent State University in 1972) and upon graduation, became a teacher/coach (he coached eighth grade football, basketball and track and field) in the Austintown City School System.
After three years at Frank Ohl Middle School, he made the leap in 1971 to Girard High School where he became the Indians’ head basketball coach. He led the program for seven seasons and in 1976, proceeded to lead the school to its first league title since 1952.
He coached in both the 1976 and 1977 Mahoning Valley Coaches Association’s School Boy Basketball Classic.
Selected as the MVCA boys’ basketball “Coach of the Year” in 1977, he then moved over to his alma mater where he accepted an assistant’s position to his old junior varsity coach, Dick Franko, who was now the Redmen head hoop coach.
He stayed at WWHS for two years before moving over to Western Reserve High School where he became a varsity assistant to heralded Raiders coach, Bob Laricca.
Under Laricca’s tutelage, he helped Western Reserve High School to the Associated Press and United Press International wire service #1 ranking in 1982, and a runner-up ranking in both polls in 1981.
A member of the MVCA for over 30 years and coaching after football, basketball, track & field or golf, he still found time to serve as a volleyball official and over a 16 year local career, worked 12 regionals while earning four state tourney assignments.
Retired after 35 years as an educator and coach, he and his wife, Teri, reside in Las Vegas where he still officiates volleyball and tries to spend several days a week working on his golf game. They are the parents of two sons, Tony and John.
Tickets for the Hall of Fame event are $60 each and will be available in mid-January.
Further information can be obtained by visiting the organization’s website at www.curbstonecoaches.org.