George Messich has been a success at every level of football. He was a good high school athlete, was part of Pitt’s national championship football team in 1976 and has had a long coaching career at Mapletown High School.
Messich will have that career recognized along with 12 others as part of the group for induction into the Washington-Greene County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Joining Messich will be Jeff Breese, Bryan Barto, Helen Paskutis-Brown, Duane Day, Emil Deliere, Abraham Key, Angelo Morascyzk, Ray Natilli III, Michael Orstein, Patrick Rheam, Jerry Seaman and Rick Sonneborn.
The 13 inductees will be honored at the organization’s annual banquet, which will be held at 6 p.m., Friday, June 13 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in the Meadow Lands. Tickets are $45 apiece and can be purchased by calling B.J. at 724-678-4320.
The following is a brief look at seven of the honorees. The bios of the remaining honorees will appear in a later edition of the Observer-Reporter.
George Messich, football, coaching
Messich was a three-year letterwinner in football and basketball and earned one in baseball at Mapletown High School.
He spent two seasons at Potomac State, where he was a two-time junior college All-American. Messich transferred to Pitt and played offensive tackle on the Panthers’ national championship team in 1976.
Messich has coached football at Mapletown for 30 years and has won more than 100 games. He was named Coach of the Year in 2005 in the Tri-County South Conference, and inducted into the Tri-County Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2013 as part of the first class to permit active coaches.
Bryan Barto, basketball
Barto was the first freshman to start in basketball at Burgettstown High School. He was named to the first team of the O-R All-District Basketball Team twice and a member of the Fabulous Five by the Post-Gazette twice.
Barto set school records for games played (88), assists in a single game (18), assists in a season (192) and career (592). He is second in points scored with 1,328 and second in three-point field goals with 111.
Barto was a four-year starter on the golf team and holds six career records.
Barto went on to LaRoche and was MVP of the 1998 squad. He was inducted into the LaRoche Hall of Fame in 2013. He holds the school record for steals in a season (55) and career (143).
Barto was first team All-Conference in golf and named player of the year after setting six records at the school.
Jeff Breese, wrestling
Breese was a two-time PIAA champion for McGuffey High School’s wrestling team and won a WPIAL title in 1999. He was a three-time section champion and three-time WPIAL finalist who finished with 103 career victories.
Breese won three Powerade titles and was a silver medalist once. He captured a Beast of the East title and wrestled in the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic in 2002.
At North Carolina State University, Breese was a three-year starter and a member of the 2003 ACC championship team. He also won a Wolfpack Open title.
After graduating, he helped start the wrestling program at Seton Hall and served as assistant coach for two years. He was the head coach at Penn State-New Kensington after helping to start that program. Breese coached or recruited 15 NCAA-NWCA Qualifiers and two NCAA All-Americans.
Currently, Breese is Director of Wrestling Operations at North Carolina State.
Helen Paskutis-Brown, basketball
Paskutis-Brown was captain and MVP on a Hickory High School team that won a division title in 1929-30. She a single-game scoring record of 76 points and was featured in “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.”
Paskutis-Brown played semi-professional basketball with the Coca-Cola All Stars in the 1930-31 season.
In track, she was a WCIAA medalist in the quarter-mile relay and medaled in the 75-yard dash and broad jump for Cecil High School.
Paskutis-Brown was class valedictorian and May Queen at Hickory High School in 1930 and was offered an athletic-academic scholarship to Waynesburg College. She accepted a work-academic scholarship to Saint Francis School of Nursing.
Duane Day, wrestling, coaching
Day was a three-year leterrman for Trinity High School and had a career record of 69-9. He was a section and Southern qualifier in 1970 and a member of that 1970 team which was inducted into the Washington-Greene and Trinity Halls of Fame.
Day was a four-time WVIAC champion while wrestling at West Liberty. He earned four letters and had a career record of 86-15 and was a three-year co-captain.
Day’s coaching career began at Poquosan in Virginia, where he coached five state championship teams and five wrestlers to regional titles. Day coached 14 state champions and had a 54-11 record.
He took the job at Fort Cherry and led the Rangers to their first WPIAL Team Tournament title in school history in 1985. He coached two section championship teams (1984, 1985) and one runner-up (1984). Day was named Coach of the Year in 1985 and had a record of 45-17.
Dr. Emil A. Deliere, wrestling, football
Emil Deliere was a multisport talent at Canon-McMillan High School. He was named to the All-Western Conference Football Team and All-WPIAL Team as an offensive lineman in 1967.
In wrestling, Deliere won a section title at 180 pounds in 1968.
Deliere attended Princeton University, where he was named All-Ivy League in 1971 and was a New York Times First Team All-East selection as a guard in 1971. He received the Dr. Harry R. McPhee Award for fortitude and determination in 1971.
In wrestling, Deliere was a two-time All-America (1970, 1972) and a three-time All-Ivy League first team selection. He was an EIWA champion in 1972, Princeton’s first in 21 years, and an NCAA runner-up at 190 pounds.
As a coach at Upper St. Clair High School, Deliere spent 18 seasons as varsity head coach and eight seasons as youth coach. He amassed 144 victories and coach two PIAA champions.