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50 Point Park sports headlines in 50 years

Written By Josh Croup, Editor Emeritus

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The Globe has extensively covered Point Park sports throughout its 50-year history, highlighting those who made headlines as student athletes, and those who later went on to have remarkable professional careers in sports. These are, in no particular order, 50 Point Park names, places and facts that have made Globe headlines in the last 50 years.

 

  1. Jerry Conboy – Led Point Park as athletic director from 1973-89 and also served as the men’s basketball coach from 1969-89. Conboy’s teams made two trips to the NAIA National Tournament during his coaching career that included 305 victories. He was instrumental to building and solidifying the athletic department.
  2. Frank Gustine – Baseball players have Gustine to credit for starting their program in 1968, coaching the team from 1968-74 and leading the Pioneers to fourth place in the 1974 NAIA World Series. Gustine was a three-time all-star infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he spent 10 of his 12 years in the majors.
  3. Jim Ney – The only athlete in Point Park history named NAIA All-American in two different sports, Ney finished his four-year basketball career as the all-time leading scorer with 1,300 points that now stands for seventh all time. On the diamond, Ney pitched the Pioneers to the 1974 NAIA World Series, posting a 22-4 record with a 2.09 ERA. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers, but was tragically killed in a car accident two years after he left Point Park.
  4. Bob Rager – The all-time winningest coach among four-year college basketball programs in Pittsburgh, Rager has coached the men’s basketball team for 27 years, making three NAIA tournament appearances and one NAIA Final Four trip. The Globe once reported the strange game when Rager was ejected due to his breath.
  5. Melissa (Charles) Kubiscek – The Pioneers’ women’s basketball record holder in nearly every category, Kubiscek is the all-time leader in career points (2,410), career scoring average (21.7 points per game), and is second all-time with 929 career rebounds. Upon graduation, she held 14 individual records from her 1994-99 playing career.
  6. Jim Masserio – From 1969-71, Masserio thrived on the golf course, leading the Pioneers to a third-place finish at the NAIA National Tournament in 1969, when he did not lose a match. Masserio turned pro in 1972, where he played alongside legends like Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.
  7. John Stuper – Another Pioneer star pitcher to make it to the majors, Stuper played for Point Park in 1978 when he struck out 79 batters in 69 innings, posting a 9-0 record with a 1.43 ERA, helping Point Park to the NAIA World Series. Originally drafted by the Pirates that same year, his four-year pro career included three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, and one year with the Cincinnati Reds.
  8. Mark Jackson – Coached the baseball team to six appearances in the NAIA World Series and posted a career record of 443-119-4 from 1984-90 and 1998-2002.
  9. Don Kelly – A 2001 NAIA All-American, Kelly was drafted in the eighth round of the 2001 MLB draft by the Detroit Tigers. He made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007 and returned to Detroit before signing with his current club, the Miami Marlins.
  10. Fans may be banned for brawl with players” – This headline appeared in the USA Today in 2004 when a fistfight broke out after a Point Park men’s basketball game at St. Vincent College.
  11. Linda Keibler-Guercio – A three-sport athlete that helped develop the women’s basketball, volleyball and softball programs from 1992-96, Guercio is among the all-time leaders in several basketball categories. She was also an NAIA District 18 volleyball all-star and started for two years on the softball team.
  12. Ed Josefoski – One of Conboy’s first star players, Josefoski was the men’s basketball program’s first 1,000-point scorer, tallying 1,136 points during his career that lasted from 1967-71. He remains third all-time in program history with 1,002 rebounds.
  13. Chris Heh – The all-time leading scorer in men’s soccer history, Heh scored 50 goals and 111 points in his three season from 1996-98.
  14. Bobby Franklin – The most prolific scorer in Point Park men’s basketball history (2,020 points), Franklin led the Pioneers to the playoffs in each of his four seasons from 1973-77.
  15. Bobby Cremins – The legendary college basketball coach began his career as an assistant coach at Point Park from 1971-73. Cremins went on to have a head coaching career that lasted from 1975-2012 and posted a 579-375 record between Appalachian State, Georgia Tech and College of Charleston.
  16. Jeron Walstra – From 2003-09, Walstra coached the women’s soccer team and guided the program through its first years as a varsity program. He took over as head coach of the men’s soccer team in in 2007, heading up both programs for three years. Since shifting to solely coaching the men’s program in 2010, he has guided the team to multiple NAIA National Tournaments, including its first trip to nationals in 2012.
  17. Brian Tomasic – USG has dominated Globe headlines over the last 50 years. Tomasic, who served as USG president during 1993-94 with his 4.0 GPA, was also a standout on the basketball court, currently ranking in the top five of several program records.
  18. Lucas Silva – The first NAIA All-American in program history, Silva scored 44 goals and racked up 109 career points with the men’s soccer team from 2011-14. His 26 goals in 2014 stand as the single-season program record.
  19. Tony Grenek – In his sixth season as head women’s basketball coach, Grenek has built the program into an annual winner, reaching the NAIA National Tournament three times and amassing 100 career wins in just four seasons.
  20. Barry Hanberger – Serving a variety of roles, Hanburger is credited with recruiting and developing some of the players previously mentioned on this list, including Stuper and Messario. From 1970-78, he served as athletic director and the coach for men’s soccer, cross country, golf and baseball, among other roles at the university.
  21. Student Center – The university purchased the YMCA building in 2008 for $3.8 million, and transformed it into the current Student Center. The facility opened in 2010, playing host to volleyball home games on the fifth floor gym.
  22. Ed Meena – Also a professor of history in the Department of Humanities and Human Sciences, Meena coached both the women’s basketball team from 1993-2002, and the women’s volleyball team from 1995-97.
  23. Debbie Zanolli – The first 1,000-point scorer of the women’s basketball program, Zanolli led the Pioneers from 1979-83. Her 1,375 points rank seventh on the all-time career points list, and ranked third until the mid-1990s.
  24. Paul Zeise – Now a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sports writer and radio personality on Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan, Zeise is one of the hundreds of players that played basketball under Bob Rager. He once fouled out in the first four minutes of a game.
  25. Loren Torres – The current baseball coach of the storied Pioneers’ program has skippered Point Park to three NAIA Opening Round appearances since taking over in 2010, and an NAIA World Series fifth-place finish in 2012.
  26. Dan Moriarty – In 1969, Moriarty became the first cross country runner to win the NAIA District 18 championship. He recovered from a 1977 accident that led to the amputation of his left arm to eventually run in multiple marathons.
  27. Tom Kayser – Served as president of the Double-A Texas League, an MLB league central America, for 25 years, and retired at the end of 2016. He graduated from Point Park in 1974 with a degree in journalism and communications.
  28. Mike Bruno – Since taking over as volleyball head coach in 2005, Bruno has turned the program around, making four appearances in the NAIA National Championship in the last six years.
  29. Davis Palmer – At 7-foot-1, Palmer is the tallest athlete in Point Park basketball history. He later went on to work as a grounds keeper for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  30. Kenny Walls – From 1992-95, Walls established himself as one of the most dominant players in men’s basketball history. The three-time NAIA All-American ranks second all-time in program history in both points (1,997) and rebounds (1,025). He is the all-time leader with a .633 field goal percentage (685-1,082).
  31. Jill Bennett-Mangum – During her softball career from 1991-94, Mangum was selected as the NAIA District 18 Pitcher of the Year three times, helping the Pioneers win the District 18 Championship in 1991.
  32. CCAC South – The West Mifflin, Pa. gym has played host to the men’s and women’s basketball teams since the 1996-97 season. Located 11 miles south of Downtown, CCAC South is the furthest home facility from campus for any Point Park team.
  33. Dan Swalga – Since beginning his tenure as athletic director in 2006, Swalga has grown the athletic department to 17 sports and helped secured top athletic facilities for Point Park teams.
  34. Dorethia Jackson – Second on the all-time scoring list for the women’s basketball program (1,852 points), Jackson led the Pioneers from 1990-94 when she also racked up the second-most steals (321) in program history. She returned as an assistant coach from 1994-96.
  35. Kelly Parsley – The current coach of the men’s and women’s track and field teams, as well as the cross country teams, Parsley has developed the programs as some of the best overall at the university and in the conference. He is the first track and field head coach in program history.
  36. Greg Brown – The longtime voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates and former Point Park student began his career with the Bucs as a promotions department intern in 1979, where he worked as the backup Pirate Parrot mascot.
  37. Matthew Noszka – A starter on the men’s basketball team from 2012-14, Noszka left the team after six games during his junior season to pursue a modeling career. He was discovered on Instagram during the summer by a modeling agency. He was featured on “Ellen” and has modeled for Nike, Calvin Klein, Tom Walker and others.
  38. Ed Haberle – Currently a top executive at Nike, Haberle earned several NAIA honors during his baseball career that spanned from 1976-79. He graduated at or near the top of numerous categories in the career record books.
  39. Black Diamond II – The live bison purchased by the Varsity Club and Alpha Phi Omega in 1967 served as the official school mascot.
  40. Bryan Neal – From 1994-97, Neal racked up more wins than any player in Point Park baseball history. In 61 appearances, Neal went 24-10 in 233.2 innings, pitching in more games and innings than any other Pioneer. He returned as the team’s pitching coach in 2010.
  41. Fred McLeod – The current voice of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, McLeod played baseball from 1970-74 and helped Point Park to the first of its 11 NAIA World Series appearances.
  42. April Austin – The current assistant coach of the women’s basketball team, Austin holds numerous 3-point records from her time as a player for the Pioneers from 2009-12 and ranks eighth on the all-time career points list (1,252 points).
  43. Gavin Prosser – Led the men’s basketball team to its best season in team history in 2007, with a 29-2 overall record and the No. 3 team in the country. Prosser carved his names into several categories in the Pioneers’ all-time record books during his three-year career at Point Park.
  44. Bank Tower – The Athletic Department offices, currently on the sixth floor of the Student Center, were previously located in the Bank Tower on Fourth Ave. until the 2015-16 school year.
  45. Conferences – Point Park has competed in the NAIA since fielding varsity sports in the 60s. Pioneers teams competed in the NAIA District 18 until 1995, when they joined the Keystone-Empire Collegiate Conference. Point Park was an NAIA Independent in 1998-99 before joining the American Mideast Conference for the 1999-00 year. Point Park transferred to the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the 2012-13 school year, which rebranded to its current identity as the River States Conference in July 2016.
  46. Kevin Taylor – Taylor has worked as the director of athletic communications since July 2008, and has led the charge for multiple innovations in the department. In 2015, he was named the sports information director of the KIAC, a role he continues to serve.
  47. Competitive Cheer and Dance – After performing as a club for years in the past, the team gained varsity status at the start of the 2016-17 school year when the NAIA granted it national championship status for the 2017 season. It became the first sport to earn the recognition in the NAIA in 22 years since women’s golf became a championship sport in the spring of 1995.
  48. Bowling Alley – Point Park had a bowling team during the late ‘60s and into the early ‘70s. A bowling alley was located in the basement of Lawrence Hall, formerly the Sherwyn Hotel. The intercollegiate bowling team of six competed against local colleges, including Robert Morris and Grove City.
  49. Beth Wertz-Brubach – The women’s basketball team had great successes in the mid-80s, and Brubach was a key contributor. She is one of two players in program history with 900 points, 500 rebounds and 300 career assists. A two-sport player, she also helped build the softball program to a varsity sport.
  50. Lara Lang – The third-ranking career scorer in the history of the women’s basketball program (1,681 points), Lang led the Pioneers during her four-year career from 1990-94, when she garnered the fifth-most rebounds (874) in program history.

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