2016 inductees announced for Holtz HOF

EAST LIVERPOOL –A world premiere sculptor, a highly decorated lieutenant general, a legendary football player and a producer/director and production designer are among those who will be honored at this year’s Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame induction banquet Monday, June 13, at the St. Florian Hall in Wintersville.

The Class of 2016 inductees includes the following. 

The late Calvin Jones, a standout on the gridiron in Steubenville, became a first-team All-American at the University of Iowa. He was the first African American to win the Outland Trophy, and he was the first college football player to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. He was a member of the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers when he died in a plane crash in 1956.

The late Lt. Gen. Robert P. McCoy was born in Smiths Ferry and grew up in East Liverpool. Gen. McCoy made his career in the Air Force, receiving numerous decorations and awards. He was named a three-star general in 1989, two years before his retirement. He served as Vice Commander of the Air Force Logistics Command Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Jerry McKenna is a sculptor most noted for his bronze works of sports stars, military leaders and notable religious figures. Throughout his childhood he spent summers in East Liverpool with his grandparents and aunt and uncle and has made frequent return visits as an adult. An artist who first handled a lump of clay after retiring from the military, he has since become one of the country’s most sought-after realist sculptors and has received many awards and recognitions.

East Liverpool native Pete Wooley is a film producer, author, director and production designer with 85 films and television series to his credit. After a career in architecture, he turned to the movie industry, working at Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures. Among the memorable movies he worked on was “Blazing Saddles” as a production designer for Mel Brooks, and in television he was an art director on “My World and Welcome to It.” He was nominated for an Emmy for production design on the movie “The Day After.”

This year’s Family Heritage Award goes to the Lomba Family from East Liverpool. The late Juanita McCune and Joseph Lomba (an immigrant from Portugal) raised two daughters, LaVonne Lomba and Melanie Lomba Howard, who while still in their youth recognized a need for specialized education. Together, and with the help of their mother, they pioneered a unique private school, which operated in the San Francisco area, addressing the needs incorporating social-emotional behavioral rehabilitation into the teaching process. The family also has been very actively involved in volunteer work in their community, especially for causes benefitting those with special needs.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, 107th Mayor of New York City (1993-2001), has been announced as this year’s guest speaker. He has been chosen to receive the 2016 Distinguished American award. In addition to the great strides he made with New York during his time in office, following the Sept. 11 tragedy, his leadership was lauded globally. He was named “Person of the Year” by TIME magazine, knighted by the Queen of England, dubbed “Rudy the Rock” by French President Jacques Chirac and presented with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Freedom Award.

To highlight the evening’s activities, Coach Lou Holtz will offer remarks.

Tickets for the induction banquet are on sale now at the Hall of Fame. The ticket price of $150 includes admission to the appetizer and dinner portion of the evening, the ceremony, a keepsake program, an event favor and a ticket for a chance on a number of prize giveaways to be held during the evening. Prizes awarded will include autographed sports memorabilia and fan packages featuring game tickets.

Those interested in being event sponsors or advertising in the printed program may contact Rosemary Mackall, director of development, at 330-386-5443.

The Hall of Fame’s education banquet honoring students receiving the Life Improvement Scholarship and teachers receiving the I Believe in YOUth grants will be held earlier in the day, June 13, at the East Liverpool Country Club. In addition to a presentation by Coach Holtz, those at the education event will hear from Jim Connelly, who was inducted in 2002 as a Hall of Fame Distinguished American and now serves as vice president of the Hall’s board of directors, and from motivational speaker Amber Lattner, a Notre Dame graduate who is now a graduate assistant at the Missouri Institute for Positive Coaching.

The Hall of Fame, which opened in 1998 in the former Bank One building on E. Fifth Street, is celebrating its eighteenth year as a museum for “sports, history, motivation and more,” and this year will mark the seventeenth induction ceremony. Since its inception, more than $650,000 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. Those interested in more information may call 330-386-5443.