By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - Longtime Mahanoy Area coach and athletic director David Holmes and 37-year track official and 1970 SVHS graduate Walter Choplick were among the 2017 inductees to the Jerry Wolman-Northern Anthracite Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony was held at the Shenandoah Valley High School on Sunday, October 8.
Choplick, Shenandoah Heights, earned four varsity letters in his time at Shenandoah Valley, in basketball and track and field.
Choplick was also a member of Shenandoah Valley's 1970 District 11 Class B championship basketball team.
Choplick returned to his alma mater as a teacher.
This upcoming spring will mark Choplick's 37th season as a PIAA Track-And-Field official as well.
Holmes, Tamaqua, has been involved in the Mahanoy Area School District's athletic program in some capacity since 1989, serving as the athletic director until this year, and continues to serve as the school's track-and-field coach.
The 1976 graduate of Emmaus High School in Lehigh County was a four-year letterman in high school, in the sports of cross country, football, wrestling, and track.
Holmes attended the University of Missouri, in Columbia, Missouri, later transferring to the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana County.
Prior to his time at Mahanoy Area, Holmes began his career as an educator and coach in the Lehigh Valley, as the wrestling and cross country coach at Allentown Central Catholic from 1981 to 1985.
Following his time at ACC, Holmes moved to Line Mountain, Herndon, Northumberland County, where he began the cross country program for the Eagles. He stayed there from 1985 to 1987, before taking a job at Colonel Richardson in Maryland for the '87-'88 school year. He returned to the area for '88-'89 at Jim Thorpe before being hired at Mahanoy Area.
At Mahanoy, Holmes was a teacher for 26 years until his 2017 retirement. He also served as the athletic director from 2003 to 2017, coached wrestling from 1989-2004, and has been track and field coach since 1991.
Lute, Ashland, was a standout Iron Man Athlete for the former Ashland High School in the 1950s, where he participated in four different sports.
The 1952 AHS Graduate played in the 1951 North/South Dream Game, where he was named Outstanding Player after returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
In basketball, he was instrumental in Ashland's 1951-52 league championship.
In baseball, Lute was a pitcher and outfielder.
In track, Lute won the 220-yard and 440-yard runs in the District 11 championships, and went on to capture a silver medal at the State Championship.
Lute served in the Korean War, and went on to play college football for Colorado State. Following college, he served as head coach for the football and wrestling teams at Upper Merion High School, King of Prussia, Montgomery County, for 33 years.
Another Ashland High School graduate, Jim Marrone, Girardville, was a standout tri-sport athlete in his time at AHS.
The 1961 graduate was a 1,000 point scorer for Ashland in basketball, and in baseball, he finished in the top 10 in the North Schuylkill League in batting average in both 1960 and 1961.
Marrone also participated in the North-South All-Star Game in 1961 as well.
Marrone was also a US Army reservist through the 1960s following graduation. Marrone was also the owner of Marrone’s Cafe in Girardville.
Mikita, Shenandoah, was a nine-time letterman at Shenandoah Valley in the 1960s.
The 1967 SVHS graduate earned those letters in football, baseball, and basketball.
Mikita joins brothers Albert and Joseph as members of the hall-of-fame as well.
Mikita served as a coach of several Shenandoah area youth athletic organizations, including Little League for 17 years, teener baseball for three, and CYO basketball for five.
Charles "Chucker" Sherman
Sherman, a longtime resident of Gordon, was a standout athlete in his time on the Ashland High School football team, being afforded the opportunity to play in the Schuylkill County Dream Game.
Prior to his high school years, the 1961 AHS graduate was a member of championship little league and teener baseball teams.
Following graduation, Sherman enlisted in the US Army, in which he served from 1962 to 1965.
Another nine-time Shenandoah Valley letterman, Mika, of Tower City, earned letters in football, basketball, cross country, and track and field.
Following graduation, the 1978 SVHS graduate attended Penn State Schuylkill, where he was a part of their men's basketball team.
Mika served as a correctional officer, and most recently a teacher at Federal Correctional Institute - Schuylkill, near Minersville, from 1991 to 2016.
Mika is currently the vice president of the Williams Valley School Board, and serves as junior high basketball coach Williams Valley High School.
Edward Mika (deceased)
Mika, a 1979 Shenandoah Valley graduate, was instrumental in the Blue Devils' 1977 District XI Class A basketball championship.
On the basketball team, he was a four-year starter, playing center, and was a 1,000 point scorer, and currently sits third all-time scorer for the Blue Devils.
Mika becomes the third member of his family to be inducted into the hall of fame, joining father Dr. John Mikita and brother John Mikita.
Mika passed away in 2014.
Michael "Mick" Jacavage
Jacavage, Shenandoah, is another nine-time letterman for the Shenandoah Valley Blue Devils, participating in football, basketball, and baseball.
The 1989 graduate played linebacker and running back for SV Football, in which he was a four-year letterman.
Jacavage currently serves as an assistant coach for Shenandoah Valley's football and baseball teams, and is employed as a special education/math teacher at the Schuylkill IU 29 in Mar Lin.
Decker, Northampton, Northampton County, excelled in basketball both at Marian Catholic and at Villanova University.
The 1985 graduate was instrumental in the Fillies' two District XI Class A titles, three straight trips to the PIAA eastern final, and the 1984 Class A state title.
Decker was named a Converse High School All-American and a USA Today All-American honorable mention, chosen All-State twice, and is Marian's all-time leading scorer with 2,377 points.
Upon graduation, Decker attended Villanova University, where she was a part of the Wildcats' four NCAA Tournament berths, two Big East championships, and NCAA Sweet 16 berth.
Currently, Decker serves as head coach of East Stroudsburg University's Women's Basketball program.
Dr. Stanley G. Rakowsky Award Winners
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