2018 Inductees & Honorees
The following inductees & honorees will be celebrated by the Larry Bruno Foundation throughout several events in July 2018.
2018 Hall of Achievement Inductees
The following individuals were inducted into the Larry Bruno Foundation Circle of Achievement for 2018.
Jim “Gumpy” Ebersberger
A 1955 graduate of Beaver Falls High School, Jim played football for the Tigers and earned honors as a pass receiver and defensive standout. He then attended Geneva College where he continued to earn honors as a pass receiver for the Golden Tornados. Following his graduation from Geneva in 1960, Jim began his long teaching and coaching career at Rochester High School. He taught social studies and driver’s education at Rochester High School during a teaching career that spanned 46 years.
Anthony “Tony” Esoldo
During Coach Bruno’s tenure at Beaver Falls it was understood that any young man who played football for Coach Tony Esoldo in the Koppel Midget Program was well equipped to step in to the Beaver Falls football program. Tony was the first head coach of the Koppel Panther Midget Football Program, a position he held for 3 decades. Tony excelled at both baseball and football at Ellwood City’s Lincoln High School. After graduating in 1955 he continued his baseball career with the United States Army Colonels and traveled throughout Europe playing ball and serving his country, before returning to Koppel.
Dr. Jean Ann Higgins
1984 was a monumental year at Beaver Falls High School. Their teams captured WPIAL titles in several different sports earning the moniker “Title Town”, and it was also the beginning of the 14-year career of their award-winning superintendent, Dr. Jean Higgins. During her time at Beaver Falls she guided the school district through a teacher strike, a turnover in both faculty and administrative positions, and she led the district to one of the highest academic ratings in the Commonwealth. Her enhancement of the curriculum continues to have an impact to this day.
Judge Richard Mancini
Judge Richard Mancini is a 1972 graduate of Beaver Falls High School. After a 25- year career as an attorney, in November 2003, he was elected as a Judge for the Beaver County Court of Common Pleas. In January of 2017 he became Beaver County’s President Judge.
While in high school he was class president for all three years. He was a WPIAL Section 6 All-star, shortstop for the high school baseball team, and the second baseman for the Beaver Falls American Legion Team that won the County, District and Regional Championships. Playing for Coach Larry Bruno as a receiver and defensive back, he set the school single season record for interceptions, and was selected as a WPIAL/MAC Conference All-star. Also during his senior year, he was the leading scorer in the Beaver County YMCA Basketball League as his team won the County Championship.
Dr. Eugene J. Palka
Dr. Gene Palka is a 1973 graduate of Beaver Falls High School. He subsequently earned a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, an M.A. from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served in the U.S. Army for more than 33 years as a commissioned officer.
While in high school he served as the co-captain of Coach Larry Bruno’s 1972 MAC co-champion football team and also co-captained the 1973 section champion baseball team. He was selected as an all- conference all-star in both football and baseball and received the conference outstanding pitcher award. He was an American Legion baseball all-star playing on the teams that were coached by his father, which won county, district and regional championships. During his senior year he was also the MVP in the Beaver County CYO basketball League as he led his team to the county championship.
Robert “Rocky” Washington
Rocky Washington graduated from Beaver Falls High School in 1978. He then attended Penn State- Beaver where he played basketball and baseball. He led the team in home runs, runs batted in, and stolen bases. His strength and speed attracted the Cincinnati Reds who signed him to a major league contract. He played in the minor leagues during the 1981 season before continuing his education at Penn State’s main campus in 1982.
2018 Hall of Achievement Honorees
1961 BFHS Baseball Team – WPIAL Champions
During the regular season, the Tigers went undefeated with a record of 9-0. The Tigers went on to win the Section 5 Championship and entered the WPIAL Playoffs with a first round victory over Montour by a 2-1 margin. Boyd Gillingham and Lonnie Hogue had two hits apiece with Hogue driving in Gillingham with the winning run. Tom Krzemienski made two spectacular catches in the outfield and made a brilliant throw to third base to nail a runner