The Trumbull County Sports Hall of Fame will induct 12 new members during enshrinement ceremonies on Sunday, October 30 at DiVieste’s Banquet Center, 754 North River Road, N.W., Warren.
The organization’s 19th class includes Brian Beinecke (football), the late George A. Bollas (wrestling), Vanness “Van” Brandon (football), Tony Davis (football), Bill Dreier (contribution to sports, official), Nia Grant (volleyball), Larry Kempe (football, coach), the late Richard Raidel (football), Tom Raphtis (football), Bob Todd (golf, coach), Dan Williams (football, coach) and Mandy Zolciak Willis (basketball).
A 1998 graduate of Liberty High School, this year’s grid inductee earned four letters for the Leopards where he was a standout at quarterback, safety and linebacker from his freshman (1994) through senior (1997) seasons.
Born July 31, 1979, he was a three-time All-TAC 8 selection, three-time All-County pick and a First-Team All-State defensive honoree.
He was named the Leopards’ “Most Valuable Player” during both his junior and senior seasons, was an All-Northeast Ohio “Defensive Player of the Year” selection and in 1998, was named both the Trumbull County “Player of the Year” and Bob Dove “Player of the Year,” the latter awarded to the most outstanding player in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties that season.
Upon graduation, he earned a full athletic scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh where he was a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter for the Panthers from 1998-2002, playing in every game from the moment he stepped on campus until his eligibility expired.
A feared outside linebacker, he recorded 220 total tackles, 6.5 sacks and four interceptions during his career, all coming under the watchful eye of head coach Walt Harris.
During his stellar collegiate career, the Panthers went 30-29 overall which included a 23-14 ledger his final three seasons when they played in three Bowl games, going 2-1 with wins in the 2001 Tangerine Bowl (they defeated North Carolina State, 34-19) and 2002 Insight.com Bowl (they topped Oregon State, 38-13) and a hard-fought loss to Iowa State (37-29) in the 2000 Insight.com Bowl.
They finished 15-20 in the Big East over that period but went 13-8 over his final three campaigns, each season better than the prior when he played.
He was named the Big East “Defensive Player of the Week) against Temple when recorded 20 tackles (17 of which were solo), seven tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble against the Owls.