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By Lacey Gardner

Allegany County Sports Hall of Fame adds 11 news inductees during 20th annual event

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(Cutline: Front row, from left, Bill Nolan (Fillmore), Debra Kane Warner (Friendship), Nichole Meehan (Whitesville), Tanya Tucker-Scholla (Scio), Brian Edmister III (Genesee Valley) and Tom Wight (Bolivar-Richburg). Back row, from left, David Stackwick and Diane Stackwick Eddy (accepting for Ed Stackwick, Andover), Dianne Meyers Stone (Belfast), John Fitzpatrick (Hinsdale), Allison Cook and Taylor Hughes (accepting for Fran Houseman, Wellsville) and Joel Lueders (Houghton).

The Allegany County Athletic Association inducted 11 new members to its Sports Hall of Fame 20th class at a banquet held Saturday, March 23 at Off Duty in Belmont.

Here is a look at the honorees:

BRIAN EDMISTER III

Genesee Valley’s Brian Edmister III joins a long list of former superb Allegany County athletes who have returned back to their roots to help the children of their hometown.

Brian was a three-sport athlete for all four years of his high school career. He played and was captain of the soccer and track teams, but it was swimming where he found his greatest success as a Jag.

In the pool, he was a First Team All-Star in both the 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke. His senior year, he was named the Allegany-Steuben County Swimmer of the Year based on his accomplishments over the entire season. Both his junior and senior years, he was selected as the

Allegany-Steuben County Championship Swimmer of the Meet for the county championship. He set the Section V Class C record for the 100-meter backstroke, and he was a member of the Section V Championship team. He was also a Super 8 finalist in both the 100 and 200 backstroke, and he added another event with the 500-meter freestyle. Additionally, he competed in the Empire State Games and won the 200-meter backstroke.

After graduation, Brian headed to Hartwick College where he swam for four years and was captain twice. He was their all-time top ten qualifier in both the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke.

Not only a talented athlete, he was also a fine student as he earned Academic All-American status twice in college.

Brian is currently a high school special education teacher at Genesee Valley, and he also works with both the modified and varsity swim teams. He describes himself by saying, “I spend my time working to contribute to the community in which I grew up, helping students better themselves academically and athletically. I work alongside my amazing wife (Sara) to raise our son who is currently about 1 ½ years old and my greatest achievement.”

JOHN FITZPATRICK

Hinsdale’s John Fitzpatrick had a career that was as successful off the field as it was on the field. As leader of the girls’ soccer program, he guided the team to two consecutive sectional semi-final appearances, although they suffered heartbreaking losses each time.

In 2018, the team broke through by winning the Allegany County title and culminated their season by winning the Section V Class D2 championship. For his efforts, he was chosen as the Section V Coach of the Year. The year prior to that he won the Judy Bliven Award as the Olean Times Herald’s Big 30 Girls’ Soccer Coach of the Year.

John has donated many hours to local youth soccer. He has been on the board of the Enchanted Mountains Soccer Club for nearly 15 years, and he has been involved in the Hinsdale Youth Soccer league as a coach, referee, and director of field maintenance.

NY Land Quest congratulates all student athletes

John also serves the Hinsdale Central district as a long-time member of the school board, and in 2021, he won the New York State Outstanding School Board Member of the Year Award for his hard work and dedication. In 2012, he received the Howard Crosby Educator of the Year Award for volunteerism, and the following year he won the Lila Cooper Service Award as educator of the year.

Additionally, he has been involved with local ski resorts. He was a patrol leader at Ski Wing and more recently at Holiday Valley and was selected as Patroller of the Year in 2004. He is trained as an OEC instructor (first aid) and a member of a lift evacuation training crew. He has been presented with both a National Ski Patrol Blue Merit Star and Yellow Merit Star, awards earned by helping skiers in distress.

FRAN HOUSEMAN

Fran Houseman had a coaching career spanning over 25 years at Wellsville Central School. She started her job with a short stint as the varsity cheerleading coach, but eventually became the varsity girls’ soccer coach. By the end of her tenure, Fran was acclaimed as the most successful Wellsville coach ever in that sport.

Fran had a career record of 265 wins, 160 losses, and 19 ties. In 1993, her soccer team won a Section V title, the only team in Wellsville history that has ever reached that milestone. When she retired from coaching in 2002, her 265 career wins ranked her tenth on the all-time New York State coaching list. In 2012, she was honored with induction onto the Wellsville High School Wall of Fame.

Fran will always be remembered as the ultimate role model for the athletes that she coached. Wins were never more important than doing it with class!

JOEL LUEDERS

Growing up the son of missionaries in Liberia, West Africa, Joel Lueders had no opportunity to participate in organized sports. He did enjoy playing recreational soccer with his Liberian friends, but that was the extent of his sports activity until arriving at Houghton Academy for his high school education.

Gifted with natural athletic abilities, Joel played soccer, basketball, and track for the Panthers. In soccer and track, success was immediate, and he was a mainstay of the soccer team’s defense. He received Allegany County League All-Star recognition his senior year. While on the track team, Joel set the school record for the triple jump and was a member of a school record-setting mile relay team.

As he became more adept at the game of basketball, he came to be a key member of a balanced team often leading them in scoring and rebounding. His career scoring average was just over 15 points per game.

After graduation from Houghton Academy, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he was a four-year starter on the soccer team as well as a member of the golf team his final two years.

After graduating with a degree in biology, Joel went on to a successful 25-year career in teaching and guidance in Illinois, Alaska, and Michigan where he also coached soccer and track. He is now retired and lives with his wife, Ellen, in Arkansas.

NICHOLE MEEHAN

Whitesville Central graduate, Nichole Meehan, was a well-rounded, three-sport all-star for the Blue Jays. Beginning her freshman year, she played softball, soccer, and basketball, each at a high level.

During soccer season as a freshman, she helped the team win both the Allegany County title and the Section V Class D crown. For her efforts during sectionals, she was selected as the Class D Defensive Player of the Game. That winter on the basketball court she helped the team to the county championship as well as champions of the Houghton College Counselors’ Tournament.

Locally she was chosen for the Allegany County Division 2 Second Team All-Stars and to the third team of the Olean Times Herald Big 30 All-Stars. She concluded that season as a member of the Section V Class D Alltournament Team. In the spring as just a freshman, she was chosen as the team’s Most Valuable Player for softball.

Nichole’s sophomore season came to a disappointing conclusion as she was hurt in the middle of the soccer campaign. The team, though, did win the Section V Class D championship.

Beginning with her junior year, Nichole dropped softball, concentrating on just soccer and basketball. That year the soccer team won the Allegany County league title, and she was named as an all-star for the Bolivar-Richburg Tournament. She was also honored as the team’s defensive MVP.

On the hardwood, she had an outstanding season as she was the tournament MVP for several inseason competitions. The Blue Jays went undefeated in league play (10-0) and continued their winning ways by capturing the Section V Class D title with Nichole as the tournament MVP. Honors poured in as she was selected to the First Team Hornell Spectator Great 8 All-Stars and second team all-state. She led the team in points, rebounds, and blocks as she recorded twenty double/doubles (double digits in points and rebounds in a game).

Nichole’s senior year started out well as she was chosen for the Allegany County Division II Soccer First-Team All-Stars. Once again, she dominated during basketball season as she led the team to two in-season tournament titles, earning MVP honors each time. Twice she was selected as the Section V Player of the Week, and at the end of the season, she was selected to the Allegany County Division I All-Star Team as well as MVP. She was also honored with selection to the Big 30 All-Star Team, the Ronald McDonald All-Star Game, and the Section V Class D All-Stars.

For her career, she totaled 1119 points, 798 rebounds, 140 blocked shots, 98 steals, and 108 assists. Her senior year she averaged 18.4 ppg and 11.5 rebounds per game. Awards piled up as she was honored as both the Whitesville Central School Outstanding Female Athlete and the WCS Outstanding Senior Athlete.

BILL NOLAN

Bill Nolan has done about every job that a teacher/coach can perform in a small district. He had an extremely diverse coaching resume as well as a long, distinguished teaching career.

Bill coached 86 different teams at Fillmore Central. Some of those include JV boys’ soccer and basketball, junior high girls’ and boys’ basketball, and modified baseball. For over twenty years he served as the bookkeeper for the boys’ JV and varsity basketball squads.

He guided the girls’ varsity tennis team from 1986-2022 as they reached the Section V finals twice and the semifinals five times. On three different occasions, his players won individual sectional titles. During this span, the Eagles won 13 league championships. Bill also coached the girls’ varsity softball teams from 1991-2009, reaching the sectional finals four times.

On the boys’ side, Bill led the varsity baseball team for approximately 16 years. On four occasions they made it to the sectional finals, bringing home the title in 2022. During his time in charge of the baseball program, they won three league titles, and he was named the Section V Coach of the Year in 2013, 2017, 2022, and 2023. In 2022, he was named the Olean Times Herald Coach of the Year.

During Bill’s 41-year teaching career, he had over 1500 students go through the doors to his classroom. Early in his career, he taught social studies for both grades eight and eleven for 20 years.

For the past twenty or so years until retirement, he taught at the junior high level with seventh and eighth graders. Over his career he has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Fillmore Faculty Association and a part of the National Honor Society Committee. For a number of years he also taught summer school.

Bill was always highly involved in sports. In college at Fredonia, he was a baseball standout.

After college, he played for Fillmore in the Alle-Catt Baseball League and in a slow pitch softball league, and to top it off, he played in hockey leagues in both Olean and Buffalo.

ED STACKWICK

Ed Stackwick was a highly-successful high school coach at three Western and Central New York high schools (Red Jacket, Albion, and Andover). Prior to his coaching career, he served in World War II as a ski trooper in the 10th Mountain Division. He earned a Bronze Star and Purple Heart after being wounded in combat in Italy.

After high school graduation from Batavia, Ed had a short two-year stint as a teacher and basketball coach at Red Jacket. Arriving in Andover in 1951, he was a physical education teacher, athletic director, and coach for some thirteen years. Among the sports he coached were baseball, track, tennis, cross country, soccer, and basketball where he led the Panthers to the school’s first Section V Class D title in 1955. During his time there, he was the coach of numerous county title winners and sectional participants, including the 1963 baseball squad and the tennis doubles team.

Ed began the Varsity Club for those who won varsity letters in two or more sports. He also started the Andover boys’ swim team and a school-wide “Swim and Stay Fit” program. To encourage swimming participation (using the school’s new pool), he started a “Swim Across the USA” program where participants calculated the miles they swam each day and aggregated them. As they “visited” a large city, he wrote to that city’s mayor explaining the program and receiving many responses including numerous “keys to the city.” He organized the boys’ intramural basketball program for grades 4-8, and also in the winter, he established a pep band that would participate during basketball games.

During the summer, he coached the Andover Babe Ruth League baseball team, served as the director of the Summer Recreation Program, and umpired semi-professional baseball games.

Moving on to Albion High School in the fall of 1963, Ed had a successful teaching and coaching career there. He was the athletic director from 1965-1983, and he also coached basketball, track, and cross country. He increased the sports opportunities for students as he started numerous programs: wrestling, boys’ swimming and golf, girls’ field hockey and basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball, and soccer. In the early 1970’s, he designed a new football/track complex and a new gymnasium large enough to simultaneously host three separate events (which featured a unique four-sided scoreboard hanging in the middle of the court). As a coach, his 1972 basketball team became a league powerhouse in the Niagara-Orleans League as they won a Section VI Title.

For the countless achievements over the course of his long and distinguished career, Ed was eventually rewarded by induction into the Albion Hall of Fame in 1992.

DIANNE MEYERS STONE

Dianne Meyers Stone was an exceptional athlete in the early days of girls’ interscholastic sports, especially excelling on the basketball court. A 1982 graduate of Belfast Central School, Dianne excelled not only in basketball but soccer as well.

As just a sophomore in high school, she was selected to the second team of the Allegany County Basketball All-Stars. The next year she expanded her prowess to soccer where she was picked as a member of the Allegany County All-Stars, and that winter she was also named to the Allegany County Basketball All-Star Team. To cap off her career, she was again selected to the county all-star squad as well as picked as a Section V All-Star as she averaged 15 ppg during sectionals.

At the end of her high school career she was chosen for the “Woody” Covell MVP Award for soccer, basketball, softball, and volleyball. She capped off a fine career with her selection for the Paul H. Vienna Memorial Scholarship Award.

Dianne attended SUNY Fredonia where she earned her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Elementary Education. Over the years she has coached a junior high girls’ basketball program in Belfast, worked in an after-school tutoring and study program, and participated in a Building Improvement Team at Gowanda Central School where she taught. She was an integral member and officer of a parent group at Forestville Central School.

Outside of school, Dianne assisted with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts for nearly ten years and volunteered for many church dinners and lawn fetes for another ten years. She volunteered at a retirement home and received the local “Spike Out Cancer Award” in 2017.

As for her induction into the Allegany County Sports Hall of Fame, Dianne notes, “Being nominated for the Allegany County Athletic Association Hall of Fame is such an honor. I was always involved with sports all through middle school, high school, and even played basketball in college along with some intramural sports. I feel that all organized sports I have played have instilled many great qualities that I continue to use throughout life.”

TANYA TUCKER-SCHOLLA

Scio’s Tanya Tucker-Scholla excelled on the athletic fields for all three sports seasons during high school. During her senior year, she was selected as the co-MVP for Allegany County during soccer season. Turning to the hardwood, she earned several awards as she scored over 1,000 career points leading the Tigers to the Section V basketball championship earning sectional MVP honors in the process. She was also selected as an Allegany County All-Star (and coMVP), Big 30 All-Star, and member of the Hornell Spectator Great 8 Team.

Tanya really excelled on the softball field. Once again, she led Scio to another sectional title, this one a softball championship her senior year. She was named to the Section V All-Star Team for her exemplary play in the tournament. At the end of her senior year, she was picked as the Wellsville Daily Reporter Female Athlete of the Year.

After graduation, she headed to SUNY Geneseo where she continued her softball career earning selection to the SUNYAC All-Conference Team in 1994. While attending Geneseo, she earned a Bachelors in Communication Disorders and Sciences as well as her master’s degree.

Tanya is currently a speech pathologist teacher in Bolivar-Richburg Central, and over the years she has hosted four foreign exchange students in her home.

DEBRA KANE WARNER

Over the course of her long, successful career, Friendship Central’s Deb Warner has held 13 different coaching positions and earned numerous awards for the athletic program and the school.

Before even being hired to teach at Friendship, Deb served as the head coach for the girls’ varsity basketball program as well as assisting as a volunteer for the varsity softball program which was

capped off by winning a Section V championship in 1993. Since that time, she has guided many teams in a variety of sports. At the modified level, she coached both boys’ and girls’ soccer as well as girls’ basketball for a total of nearly 20 years.

From there, Deb moved on to the varsity and JV level in several sports. She coached varsity soccer for nine years and also JV (two years) and varsity (five years) girls’ basketball. Included in her career was one year as the golf coach. While coaching those teams, her squads won a number of Sportsmanship Awards.

Yet it is on the softball diamond where Deb has gained the most accomplishments and had the most success. As head coach for nine years, she has led the Eagles to unparalleled heights. Beginning in 2021, she has guided the team to three consecutive Section V titles (combining teams with Scio in 2022 and 2023). From there they won the regionals in 2022 and 2023, with the 2022 squad making it to the state semifinals. But 2023 saw even greater accomplishments for her crew, as they made it all the way to the New York State Class D championship game before losing a 13-inning classic match-up against the reigning state champions, 5-3.

For her extraordinary exploits on the softball field, she earned the following honors: Olean Times Herald Big 30 Coach of the Year (2023), Section V Class D2 Coach of the Year (2023), and the 2021 Paul Vienna Award presented to the Allegany County Coach of the Year.

TOM WIGHT

A highly successful and respected teacher and coach in three Western New York school districts, Tom Wight led three athletic programs to highly successful seasons and even greater awards.

A four-sport (football, basketball, baseball, track and field) Bolivar Central School athlete, Tom earned 12 letters during his high school career. After college, he first taught at Caledonia-Mumford where he coached four sports, including baseball as he led the Red Raiders to the sectional finals. He also coached the girls’ basketball team to the sectional finals in 1987 at which time he was honored as the Section V Class C Coach of the Year. In 1989, he left for Churchville-Chili Central where he coached six teams and ran different summer basketball camps.

In 1995, he returned to Bolivar where he led the Bolivar-Richburg athletic department for approximately 17 years as the athletic director. Continuing his coaching career, he coached twelve different teams, often times with superb accomplishments. He guided both the girls’ tennis and basketball (2008) teams to the sectional finals. His coaching records were 104-89 for basketball and 34-20 for tennis. Some of the other sports he coached were boys’ and girls’ JV basketball, JV girls’ soccer, modified softball, and cross country.

Perhaps Tom’s greatest coaching successes could be found during the spring as he was heavily involved in both the baseball and softball programs. He led the boys to Section V titles in both 2000 and 2002 with a run to the NYS Final Four in 2002. He was also named the Section V Class C Baseball Coach of the Year in 2000. His career baseball coaching record for the Wolverines was 114-37.

Tom also played an integral part in the softball dynasty established by Allegany County Sports Hall of Fame inductee Stan Harris. He was an assistant varsity softball coach for many years including 2005 when the team won a sectional title, 2008 when they lost in the state championship game, and 2006 when Bolivar-Richburg won the NYS Class C Championship.

Tom was selected for the Paul Vienna Coach of the Year Award in 2000 and 2002, awarded annually to the Allegany County Coach of the Year. In 2008, he was honored as the Hornell Spectator Coach of the Year. Not to be content with just coaching, he was the Section V baseball web administrator, Section V baseball Class C coordinator, and Section V baseball assistant coordinator, each for twelve years.

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