CLARION - An induction that was delayed since April 24 of 2020, the Clarion University Sports Hall of Fame Committee announced seven new members will be "officially" inducted on Friday, September 3, 2021. The new inductees include Norbert A. Baschnagel (1975-82 assistant men's basketball coach; 1982-83 1989-90 women's tennis coach); Erik Burnett (1989-1992 wrestling), Kaitlyn Johnson (2008-2011 women's swimming); Malen Luke (1994-2005 football coach); Rollie Smith (2000-2003 men's basketball); Stephanie Sutton (1998-2001 women's diving) and Anthony "Tony" Vincent (1965-1967 baseball).
Clarion University's 32nd Annual Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 3, 2021 at the Gemmell Center multi-purpose room, located at the corner of Payne Street and Wilson Avenue, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.
A social reception is set for noon at the second floor rotunda at the Gemmell Center. Ticket orders are being handled by Shawna Bish at the Alumni Engagement Office, 100 Seifert Mooney Center at Clarion University. Tickets are $35 per person and are available online at http://www.clarion.edu/shof, or by contacting Ms. Bish at 814-393-2572. Checks should be made payable to Clarion "Sports Hall of Fame". Ticket order forms and induction information are also available at www.clariongoldeneagles.com.
The inductees will also be honored at halftime of the 2021 Clarion Football season opener on Thursday, Sept. 2 versus Lake Erie College. Kickoff for that game is set for 6 p.m.
"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Their contributions to the history and legacy of Golden Eagle athletics cannot be overstated, and I look forward to the chance to welcome them all back to campus on September 2 and September 3 to congratulate them in person," said Clarion Athletic Director Dr. Wendy Snodgrass.
Below are brief capsules about all seven 2021 Clarion University Hall of Fame.
Norbert "Norb Baschnagel
Norb Baschnagel's trip to the Clarion Sports Hall of Fame took two amazingly successful tracks. He came to Clarion for the 1975 men's basketball season as an assistant coach under Joe DeGregorio and helped lead the Golden Eagles to an overall record of 159-67 (70.4-percent winning percentage) and a PSAC-West record of 58-22 (72.5-percent winning percentage) in an eight-year span. Clarion won or tied for first place in the PSAC-West five times ( 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981), won the NAIA Division-18 title in 1977 1980 and qualified for the NAIA Nationals both seasons. The 1977 team went 27-3 overall and won a school record 19 straight games while going 1-1 in the national tournament. The 1980 squad went 23-9 and won its first two games at the NAIA National Tournament over Grand Canyon (83-75) and Loras, Iowa (79-71) before losing to Huron, S.D. (61-52) in the quarterfinals. The 1981 team posted a 23-6 record and was selected to play in the NCAA Division II nationals losing in the Elite 8 to Cal-Poly. He had the pleasure of coaching greats like Reggie Wells, Alvin Gibson and Joe Malis, along with current Kentucky head coach John Calipari along with so many more. In the Fall of 1982 Norb took over a perennial losing women's tennis program and turned them into champions. After three rebuilding seasons the Golden Eagles began to take flight in the Fall of 1985 sporting a 9-4 dual meet record and a 5th place showing at PSAC's. In 1986 he added Hall of Famer Lisa Warren (2000) to future Hall of Fame inductee Susie Fritz (2019) and Clarion posted a perfect 13-0 record and the school's first PSAC Title. Tammy Myers, a 2011 HOF Inductee was added in 1987 and Clarion became the dominant Tennis program in the East Region winning PSAC Titles in 1987, 88 and 1989. Over those four years Clarion won four PSAC Championships and compiled an unbelievable dual meet record of 57-1 with the only loss coming against Division I Penn State. The Golden Eagles were 15-0 in 1987-88, 16-1 in 1988-89 and 13-0 in 1989-90. Clarion also went to the NCAA Division II Nationals in the spring of 1988 (placed eighth) and spring of 1989 (placed seventh). Voted PSAC "Coach of the Year" in 1988 and 1989, Baschnagel also had a strong commitment to academics. He had a 100-percent graduation rate for players who stayed with the program for four years. A member of the HPE Faculty starting in 1974, he retired as a full professor in 2013. Involved in the Clarion Community, Norb was part of the first group that started the YMCA in Clarion in the early 1990's and provided the early leadership that helped eventually build a brand new YMCA in Clarion in 2019. He started the YMCA Sportsmanship I All-Star Games in 2000 that are continuing today and so much more.
Baschnagel also spent three years (1995 to 1997) as head coach for the North Clarion boys' basketball team.
Earning bachelor and masters degrees at SUNY-Buffalo in 1965 and 1968, Baschnagel and wife Beverly currently reside in Clarion. They have daughters Heidi Jane and Grace Elizabeth and sons Charles and Peter. Norb also has a daughter Nancy Ann and son Robert.
Clarion University graduate geography
Erik Burnett was an NCAA Division I All-America wrestler at Clarion University from 1989 to 1992 under National Wrestling Hall of Fame head coach Bob Bubb. A four-time Ohio State Champion from Oberlin High School, "Burnie" came to Clarion and posted an outstanding career with an 89-35-1. That career culminated in the 1992 season when he posted a 25-4-2 record at 118 pounds, won the PSAC Title, placed third at EWL's and fifth at the NCAA Division I Nationals in Oklahoma City. He helped Clarion to an 8th place finish at the Nationals, which also featured Kurt Angle winning his second NCAA Title and coach Bubb retiring after the NCAA's. The 1992 Golden Eagles ranked 9th in the final NCAA Div. I Dual Meet Poll with a 13-5 record, won the PSAC Championship and placed third at EWL's. "Burnie" also had a strong junior campaign in 1991 with a 31-8-1 mark, placed second at PSAC's, fourth at EWL's and went 2-2 at the NCAA's at 118 pounds. Clarion finished 17th at the NCAA's as a team, posted an 8-9-2 dual meet record, placed second at EWL's and won the PSAC Championship. In 1990 Erik was 27-13-1 at 118-pounds, placed 2nd at PSAC's, 4th at EWL's and qualified for the NCAA Tournament where he was 0-1. The Golden Eagles finished 15th at NCAA's, second at PSAC's and ranked 15th in the final NCAA D-I Dual Meet Poll. Burnett ranked third all-time in takedowns with 219, 11th in career dual meet points (198) and 12th in dual meet victories with 47. He had 16 dual meet wins in 1990 and 1991, and was a volunteer assistant coach at Clarion in 1993 and 1994. He is currently the District Liason for Elyria Schools. He and his wife Janet reside in Elyria, Ohio and have two sons Mick and Nate.
Kaitlyn Johnson was undoubtedly one of the most talented women's swimmers in Clarion's great tradition in the water dating back to the 1970's. Johnson, who swam under the tutelage of head coach Mark VanDyke from 2008 2011, was a 28-time NCAA Division II All-American, a 13-time PSAC Individual Champion and held 9 Clarion team records including the 50, 100 and 200 yard freestyle, 100 butterfly and all five relays. Her signature season came in 2011. She led the Eagles to a second place team finish when she won all seven events at the PSAC's including the 50 and 100 yard freestyle, 100 fly and four relay events. She was named the PSAC "Swimmer of the Meet." She went on to the NCAA's and was a seven-time All-American placing second in the 100 freestyle, third in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 50 free, along with four relay top eight finishes. Clarion finished a strong fourth at nationals. In 2010 Johnson led Clarion to a second place finish at PSAC's with two titles to her credit and another seven-time All-American performance at nationals. Her 2010 NCAA performance was highlighted with a fourth place finish in the 100 butterfly and a fifth place ending in the 100 free. Clarion placed sixth at the NCAA's as a team. In 2009 Johnson won two events at PSAC's helping Clarion to a second place finish and again was a seven-time All-American helping the Eagles to a seventh place finish at the NCAA's. Kaitlyn finished 4th in the 50 freestyle and 6th in the 100 butterfly. In her freshman year (2008), Johnson was a two-time champion and helped Clarion to a runner-up finish at PSAC's. She earned individual All-American honors in the 50- and 100- freestyles and the 100 fly helping the team to an 8th place NCAA finish. Johnson continued her swimming after graduation and qualified for the 2016 USA Olympic Trials in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle and 100 meter butterfly events. Her performance at the Trials was outstanding. A native of Uniontown and a 2007 graduate of Uniontown High School, Kaitlyn is currently employed by McDonald Land Services while residing in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Malen Luke Malen Luke was the talented Clarion University Head Football Coach for 12 seasons (1994-2005) producing some great players on the gridiron and very special teams. Arriving at Clarion from Defiance in 1994, Luke had a solid first season going 4-6 overall, setting the table for things to come. In 1995 Clarion fans were buzzing when the Golden Eagles opened up with a 6-1 record and 3-0 mark in the West. Although losing their final three contests by close margins, the table was set for a great 1996 campaign. Luke led Clarion to the NCAA semifinals in 1996 blazing a trail never seen by Clarion football fans. The Eagles posted an 11-3 overall record (including wins over Cal 45-14, SRU 54-28 and IUP 49-15), were PSAC-West Champs with a 5-1 record, NCAA Division-II East Region Champs and voted Lambert Cup Winners by the ECAC - signaling Clarion as the top team in the East. The Eagles won two games in the NCAA Playoffs against Bloomsburg (42-29) at Memorial Stadium and at Ferris State (23-21) before losing in the final seconds of the NCAA D-II semifinals to Northern Colorado (19-18) at Memorial. Clarion set 10 team records in 1996 including records for wins (11), NCAA Playoffs, 77 td's, points per game average (41.3) and many more. Injuries hit the Eagles hard in the next two seasons, but the Eagles bounced back in 2000 with a strong 7-4 overall record and a first place finish in the PSAC-West at 5-1. Luke's 2002 team was also 7-4 overall and 3-3 in the West. Luke was voted 1996 NCAA Division II Region 1 and PSAC-West "Coach of the Year" and again PSAC-West "Coach of the Year" in 2000. He coached some amazing athletes at Clarion including Hall of Fame inductees Chris Weibel, Steve Witte, Kim Niedbala, Alvin Slaughter and Reggie Wells Jr. Wells, an offensive guard, went on to a stellar NFL Career mostly with the Arizona Cardinals and including Super Bowl XLIII February 1, 2009 vs the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Defensive Coordinator at Northwood University (Michigan), Luke retired in the Spring of 2020 after 14 years with the Timberwolves. He is currently at Washburn University coaching with his son Brock. A native of Wellsboro and a 1972 graduate of Wellsboro High, he is a 1976 graduate of Westminster and earned his Masters at Edinboro in 1982. Malen and wife Hedy have a son Brock and a daughter Quinn. Brock is a 2005 graduate of Clarion University.
Luke was originally supposed to attend the induction ceremony but due to a scheduling conflict, he will be unable to attend.
Rollie Smith, an outstanding point guard at Clarion from 2000 to 2003 under coach Ron Righter, was undoubtedly one of the most talented men's basketball players to ever wear the blue and gold. A four-year starter who played in all 111 games (fifth all-time) during his great career, Rollie was the PSAC "Rookie of the Year" in 2000, PSAC Tournament MVP leading Clarion to the PSAC Title in 2001, and a first team PSAC-West and All-America selection in 2003. He ranks sixth in career scoring with 1,468 points, second in three-point field goals made with 261, fourth in assists with 455 and seventh in steals with 154. Smith made 38-percent of his career three pointers (261 of 687) and 76.2-percent (281 of 369) from the free throw line, As a freshman in the 2000 season Smith led Clarion to a 20-7 overall record and the PSAC-West title (10-2) averaging 9ppg with 101 assists and 35 steals. In 2001 Smith helped lead the team to its first PSAC Championship and the NCAA Division II Playoffs sporting a 19-10 overall record and a 7-5 mark in the West. Clarion capped a run to the PSAC title with an 80-77 overtime win against West Chester. Smith tied the game in regulation with a three-point buzzer beater, then scored seven overtime points to secure the title. Smith averaged 11.4 points per game with 126 assists and 41 steals. In 2002 the Eagles were 15-11 overall and 7-5 in the West as Smith contributed 12.8ppg with 124 assists and 24 steals. As a senior (2003) Smith was asked to pick up the scoring lead and he did just that scoring 562 points (19.4ppg) with 104 assists and 54 steals. He netted 97 three-pointers, third most in a single season. He also scored 38 points versus Pitt-Johnstown going 12 for 12 from the free-throw line in that game, tying a school record. Rollie helped lead Clarion to a combined four-year overall record of 73-38 and a PSAC-West mark of 31-17. A native of Cleveland, Ohio and a 1999 graduate of Villa Angela Saint Joseph's High, Smith is currently the Basketball Director at the NEO Sports Plant in Euclid, Ohio.
In the history of great NCAA Division II divers, Stephanie Sutton is certainly one of the best ever to perform on both one and three meter boards under legendary head coach Dave Hrovat. Sutton's amazing four-year career show her as a four-time NCAA Division II National Champion and a four-time NCAA Runner-up making her an eight-time NCAA Division II All-American, the maximum allowed. A 1996 graduate of Fairfax High School, Sutton began her diving career at Clarion in the 1997-98 season. At the NCAA's in 1998 she finished 2nd on one meter scoring 400.5 points and second on 3-meter with 439.35 points. She helped the Golden Eagles to a fantastic third place finish at the NCAA's. In 1999 Stephanie returned to nationals and again placed second on one meter (394.2 points) and second on three meter (461.35 points) helping Clarion to a 4th place finish at the Division II Nationals. In 2000 Sutton won her first NCAA titles winning the one meter with 412.35 points and three meter with 474.45 points. Clarion placed 4th as a team and Sutton was voted the NSCAA Division II Female "Diver of the Year." In 2001 as a senior she repeated her NCAA titles winning the one meter with 385.80 points and three meter with a career best 474.95 points. Clarion finished sixth as a team at the NCAA's and Stephanie was again voted the NSCAA Division II Female "Diver of the Year". Sutton was also named Clarion University's Female "Athlete of the Year" in 2000 and 2001. She currently is the Owner and Coach of Dominion Dive Club in Vienna, Virginia, one of the top Junior Olympic Diving Programs in the country.
Anthony "Tony" Vincent
Tony Vincent, an outstanding pitcher for the Golden Eagles, helped lead Clarion to the PSAC title in 1967 and was the first Clarion baseball player to ink a professional major league contract. Vincent played for Clarion Hall of Fame Class of 1993 coach Joe Knowles from 1965-67. Vincent gained experience on the mound as a starter in 1965 as the Golden Eagles mounted a successful 13-5 campaign. In 1966 he sported a 3-3 record in helping Clarion to an 8-6 mark. Clarion posted big wins over California, Edinboro and Slippery Rock. The 1967 squad were PSAC Champions with a regular season record of 15-1, including winning the first 15 games of the season. Vincent had a great season. He was 5-0 on the mound with an ERA under 0.50 including three shutouts. He won key games against Slippery Rock (1-0) and Indiana (3-0) to lead the way. He averaged 12 strikeouts per game with a riveting fastball and a curveball that broke "off the table." A native of Pittsburgh and a 1963 graduate of Wilkinsburg High, Tony returned home in the Summer of 1967 leading to his professional career. Playing in the Pittsburgh Fed League, Tony racked up a 15-0 summer record with Lawrenceville and McKeesport averaging 13 k's per game. He was signed by the Boston Red Sox late in the Summer of 1967 and reported to the Greenville (S.C.) Red Sox in 1968. He posted a 9-6 record there with a 2.9 ERA. He moved up to Winston- Salem (High A) in 1969 and was doing well (1-3) when he was injured. He returned to Greenville and could not continue. He played in Canada in 1970, but then retired. Tony received his Elementary Ed degree in 1967 as well as a Math degree from Clarion in 1978. He taught in the Pittsburgh Public Schools for 32.5 years before retiring in 2003. He is currently teaching Math at Saint Joseph's High in Natrona Heights and is an Adjunct Professor at LaRoche University. Tony and wife Judy have two sons, Michael and David.
CLARION NOTES: The current induction class brings the Hall of Fame total to 193.