Holtz Hall announces 2018 class

EAST LIVERPOOL –The Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame has announced those selected to be inducted at ceremonies Monday, June 4, at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville.

The 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award will go to the late Dale Baird, who came to the Upper Ohio Valley from Illinois and made it his home, training horses at what was then Waterford Park and would become Mountaineer Resort. He logged an unprecedented 9,445 career wins, landing a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Those in the Class of 2018 are as follows:

John Buccigross, a Steubenville Central Catholic High School graduate, has been an anchor since 1996 at ESPN, where he also has penned an NHL column. He authored a book on the NHL career of Keith Jones and is on the advisory board of You Can Play.

Virginia Conklin of Chester was a longtime educator in the Hancock County school system, and during World War II she served the United States in the Coast Guard women’s reserve unit called SPARS.

Joe Yukica, who originally hails from Midland, Pa., is a Penn State graduate who coached on the gridiron at the high school level, moving on to collegiate coaching where his career included stints at Penn State, West Chester State College, Dartmouth, New Hampshire University and Boston College with an overall 17-year record of 104-68-2.

Named as Distinguished Americans for 2018 will be entrepreneur T. Scott Law and former NFL running back Merril Hoge.

Law is the founder and CEO of Zotec Partners, the largest privately held revenue cycle management company in the country. He also founded the charitable foundation “5 for 5” to instill in his five children the values of “giving back and making a difference.”

Hoge, an eight-year NFL veteran, will also serve as this year’s guest speaker. He spent several of his pro football years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A former ESPN analyst and a survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hoge is chairman and a member of the board of the Highmark Caring Foundation.

Tickets for the induction banquet are on sale now and are only available through the Holtz Hall of Fame. The ticket price of $135 includes admission to the appetizer and dinner portion of the evening, the ceremony, a keepsake program and an event favor as well as a ticket on a prize drawing. During the evening’s activities, tickets will be drawn for cash prizes of $500, $1,000 and $2,500. Winners must be present and show identification.

In keeping with the 20-year anniversary theme of “Giving Thanks for 20 Great Years,” this year’s buffet dinner at the St. Florian Hall in Wintersville is a full Thanksgiving-style menu with roast turkey, ham, and all the seasonal side dishes.

Appetizers are at 6 p.m. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. followed by the induction program. Doors open at 5:45 p.m.  Following dinner, Class of 2018 inductees will be recognized.

This year in conjunction with the 20th anniversary, the Hall of Fame will recognize “20 Under 20” – twenty young people of the valley who are excelling in their pursuits and also giving back to their communities.

Also to be recognized at this year’s event will be an organization receiving the 2018 MVP Award for outstanding volunteer work to benefit the local community.

The Hall of Fame, which opened in 1998 in the former Bank One building on E. Fifth Street, is celebrating its twentieth year as a museum for “sports, history, motivation and more.” Since its inception, nearly a million dollars has been distributed to vocational students and educators in the Upper Ohio Valley.

The idea of the Hall of Fame originally was conceived as a facility to celebrate the achievements of East Liverpool’s favorite son, legendary football coach Lou Holtz. When approached, Holtz initially declined and later relented, providing that the concept be expanded to also recognize residents and natives of the Upper Ohio Valley in all fields of endeavor who serve as inspirations for the area’s young people. Holtz also expressed his desire for the hall to help preserve the rich cultural heritage of the communities that make up the valley.

The hall is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no admission fee, however donations are welcome. Area schools are encouraged to schedule class field trips, and local organizations are also welcome to call for group tours. Those interested in more information or wishing to reserve event tickets may call 330-386-5443.