Hall of Fame 2016
Class of 1990
This stellar athlete excelled in three sports at Wheeling Central Catholic High School and went on to achieve even more success on the collegiate and national level as a sharp-shooting basketball performer. Susie Dailer, a 1991 Maroon Knights’ graduate, was a four-year starter in girls’ basketball, scoring 1,381 points. Her senior year saw Dailer lead the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference with a 22.1 scoring average. She gained All-West Virginia Class AA recognition all four years; including first team her sophomore and senior seasons, honorable mention as a freshman and second team as a junior.
Her high school all-star laurels in basketball also included three first team All-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and All-Valley berths and two All-Mountaineer League selections. Four times, Dailer led the OVAC in made three-point field goals, connecting on 31 as a freshman, 34 her sophomore season, 44 as a junior and 58 during an incredible senior season. Her teams won three straight OVAC championships (1988, 1989, and 1990). During her sophomore year, Central turned in a 23-3 record and was the state runner-up. Central Catholic posted a 77-17 record during her basketball career, including a 22-2 mark her senior year.
In 1988, Dailer was a key contributor on the Ohio Valley AAU team that won the West Virginia 15-and under crown and posted a 2-2 record in the national tournament in Shreveport, LA. Her 1981 Mid-Ohio Valley AAU 18-under team also advanced to the National Tournament in Johnson City, TN. She also participated in the Elks National Hoop Shoot competition taking runner-up laurels in the 10-11 age division. Suzie was an All-Valley Scholar-Athlete Award winner in 1991.
In tennis, she also lettered all four years and achieved tremendous success in both OVAC and WV state tournament play, culminating during her senior season with a state doubles championship with Pam Butch as her partner. The Maroon Knights finished as the state runner-up that year as well. Suzie also finished first or second in several OVAC, Mountaineer League and Regional competitions in both singles and doubles and helped the Lady Maroon Knights to three OVAC team titles and three top four berths in the state.
Dailer’s high school accolades also included volleyball. She was a two-year varsity performer, earning All-OVAC laurels on the 1991 team that posted a 37-5 record, won the OVAC Section One and Region I championships before finishing as the WV Class AA runner-up.
After her high school days, it was on to St. Bonaventure University located in Olean, NY where Dailer continued to sparkle on the basketball court. She was a four-year starter for the Bonnies and finished as the school’s fifth-leading all-time scorer with 1,422 points. She also had the fifth best single season ever scoring 524 points. Her legend as a three-point shooting whiz also was enhanced at St. Bonaventure, setting records for single game treys (8), season (99) and career (291). She also finished second in career assists (449). Perhaps her greatest individual achievement occurred in 1995 when Dailer won the Division One Women’s Basketball National 3-Point Shooting Championship held in Seattle, Wash.
Dailer is still ranked as St. Bonaventure’s No. 8 leading all-time scorer, second in three-pointers and assists and 11th in made field goals (459), seventh in steals (178) and ninth in double-figure games (67).
She also has coached YBOA girls’ basketball 11-under and 12-under squads and has been an assistant coach at her Alma mater Central Catholic the past eight seasons.
Suzie was inducted into the St. Bonaventure University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006 and the OVAC Hall of Fame in 2008.
One of the Ohio Valley’s legendary coaches, Jim Foti coached basketball for 38 years at Erie (Pa.) Prep, Warwood, Wheeling Central Catholic and Bellaire, posting a total of 466 boys’ basketball victories. Jim had two coaching stints at Central. His 1943 team posted a 24-3 record and accepted an invitation to play in the Eastern Catholic Championships held at Newport R.I., where the Maroons lost by one point. Foti coached Central to five West Virginia Catholic Tournament titles and three OVAC championships all in different divisions. He also coached football at Central. His best season was in 1943 when his team went 9-1, gaining a Steel Bowl berth where it lost a 20-19 thriller to Rochester, Pa., in a game played at Harding Stadium in Steubenville, Ohio.
Among the Central standouts he coached were Bill Gompers and Jim “Dubie” Dailer, both of whom went on to play football at Notre Dame and were members of national championship teams. Other Maroon standouts included Jack McConville (Alabama); Pete Schuetz (Duquesne) and Paul Schuetz (Northwestern). At Warwood he had a hand in the development of Chuck Howley (WVU and the Dallas Cowboys); Bob Dunlevy (WVU and a Cowboys draft pick); and basketball standouts Bob Ayers (VMI); Bill Kennedy (West Liberty and Arizona State) and Greg Church (United States Military Academy at West Point).
Jim, a native of Jamestown, NY, coached Warwood High to seven West Virginia Region One Championships and the WV Class AA State Title in 1967. In addition to his 466 basketball victories, Foti had 124 football coaching wins. He also coached semi-professional basketball as he directed the old Wheeling Puritans in 1947 and 1948.
Foti is already a member of six Halls of Fame; City of Wheeling, West Virginia Sports Writers, Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Club, the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference, John Carroll University and Jamestown (NY) Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jackie Ernest Reinbeau
Class of 1985
Jackie Ernest Reinbeau was the first of many prolific scorers in girls’ basketball at Wheeling Central Catholic High School. She was a standout player and shooter who joined the 1,000 points club for the Lady Maroon Knights. Coached by Stan Kaniecki, Earnest-Reinbeau earned first-team All-West Virginia Class AA and All-Ohio Valley Athletic laurels while wearing a Wheeling Central Catholic uniform.
Jackie finished her career as the Lady Maroon Knights’ all-time leading scorer in girls’ basketball but her mark has been eclipsed several times in recent years, including by fellow Central Catholic Hall of Fame inductee Suzie Dailer.
She then went on to Wheeling Jesuit University where she enjoyed a spectacular basketball career. Earnest-Reinbeau played for the Lady Cardinals from 1985 through 1989, scoring 1,681 points and was a two-time first team selection on the All-West Virginia Intercollegiate Conference squad. She was a first team Jesuit All-American and was named Wheeling Jesuit’s Most Valuable Player following the 1989 season.
When she graduated, Earnest-Reinbeau held the school record for most points in a single game (39) and she held team records for the most field goals in a game (15), most points in a season (589), highest season average (22.2), most free throw attempts (278) and most free throws made (205).
Coached by Joe Key, Jackie was inducted into the Wheeling Jesuit University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2009, Earnest-Reinbeau had her basketball number retired by the school.
She is a resident of Triadelphia and is married to Rick Reinbeau and the couple has two children, one of whom, Kaylee, is a freshman athlete at Wheeling Central. Her oldest son, Ryan, was a basketball standout at Wheeling Park High School.
Class of 1940
Bill Gompers was a standout running back in football and a valued starter on a West Virginia Catholic state championship basketball team. In football, he was selected to the All-City squad which consisted of Wheeling High, Triadelphia, Warwood, The Linsly School and Wheeling Central Catholic High School.
Following his senior year of football, Gompers was offered several college scholarships from schools including the University of Kentucky, Cornell, Chattanooga, North Carolina State, Ohio State and Notre Dame. He decided to cast his future with the Fighting Irish but the offer included a stipulation that he leave Central early to enroll at Notre Dame and participate in spring practice. Because left early, Bill never graduated from Central Catholic but he later was awarded a diploma at the fifth reunion of his senior class.
Gompers enjoyed a stellar career at Notre Dame where he lettered for three years and was privileged to play both ways on two Fighting Irish National Championship teams in 1946 and 1947. Bill also played in the Notre Dame vs. Army game that ended in a 0-0 tie and was labeled as the Greatest Game of the Century. In that contest, Gompers broke away on a run to the 5-yard-line but the Fighting Irish were unable to put the ball in the end zone.
Following his graduation in 1948 (Notre Dame was on an accelerated academic program), Gompers was selected to play on the College All-Star team that played the reigning NFL Championship team, the Chicago Cardinals. Gompers was then drafted by the Buffalo Bills and played as a two-way performer. The Bills qualified for the playoffs but lost to the Cleveland Browns in the old AAFC Championship Game. Gompers retired from football after one pro season opting for marriage and to further his education.
George Edward “Skip” Prosser
In just six years as a boys’ basketball coach and teacher at Wheeling Central Catholic High School, Skip Prosser left behind a legacy that will live forever among the Maroon Knights’ student-athletes. His six-year coaching ledger from 1980 through the 1985 season produced 148 victories and just 48 defeats. Prosser’s 1982 team won the West Virginia Class AA championship, finishing 25-2 and setting a school record for victories in a single season. Overall, Skip’s teams at Central Catholic won five straight regional titles, 1981 through 1985 and three Ohio Valley Athletic Conference crowns (1982, 1983 and 1985). His final season saw the Maroon Knights wind up as the state runner-up.
Along with his coaching success, Prosser was a stickler for academics and insisted that his players work hard in the classroom and graduate. He maintained that philosophy throughout a highly-successful coaching career that ended with his death from an apparent heart attack in July of 2007.
Prosser, born Nov. 3, 1950 in Pittsburgh, attended Carnegie, PA High School where he was a standout football and basketball player. He graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point, N.Y., with a degree in Natural Science. While at the Merchant Marine Academy, Skip played three years of basketball and one year of rugby. He received his master’s degree in secondary education from West Virginia University in 1980.
He launched his coaching career at The Linsly School in Wheeling. After four years as the freshman coach and junior varsity coach he served as the school’s head coach for two seasons, compiling a record of 33-9. After leaving Central Catholic, Prosser spent 15 seasons at Xavier University, eight as an assistant coach under Pete Gillen and seven years as head coach. He spent one season as head coach at Loyola (Md.) where he led his team to an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time in that school’s history. Prosser’s seven years at the Xavier helm resulted in a 148-65 record that included back-to-back Atlantic 10 West regular season titles in 1997 and 1998. In his final five seasons at Xavier, the Musketeers beat crosstown rival Cincinnati four times, including two victories when the Bob Huggins coached Bearcats were ranked No. 1 in the nation.
He then went on to Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. This turned out to be a perfect fit for him and the school as both stressed academic excellence as well as success in athletics. During his stay at Wake Forest, the Deacons graduated 100 percent of the school’s senior basketball players under Prosser’s guidance.
In six seasons, Prosser posted a 126-68 record. His teams averaged 21 wins per year while playing in arguably the nation’s most difficult college basketball league, the Atlantic Coast Conference. Prosser was the only coach in NCAA history to take three different schools to the NCAA Tournament. In each of his first four seasons at Wake Forest, he guided his squads to an NCAA appearance. Also in each of those years, Wake Forest advanced to at least the second round. In 2003, Prosser’s team won the outright ACC regular season championship for the first time in more than 40 years and the Deacons also were ranked No. 1 in the national polls for the first time ever. Wake Forest was ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for a school record 60 consecutive weeks.
Class of 1952
Dick Miller is still regarded by most Maroon Knight fans as the school’s all-time greatest basketball player. That is saying a lot considering the outstanding talent that played for the Maroon Knights before and after his career. He was a first-team All-West Virginia, All-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and All-City performer for three straight years, leading Central Catholic to the conference and West Virginia Catholic crowns during each of those seasons. His three-year scoring average was 21.4 points per game. His total of 1,591 points was the school record for 51 years. Twice (1951 and 1952) he was named the state player of the year. He also scored a game-high 30 points in a West Virginia-Kentucky All-Star game leading the Mountaineer team to an 81-80 victory.
Miller also was a standout football and baseball player in high school. He was a T-Formation quarterback in football and a pitcher-shortstop on the baseball team.
Miller went on to star as a basketball performer at the University of Wisconsin. The Badgers starting point guard for two years, Dick was nicknamed “The Cat” because of his quickness. He averaged 19 points a game in Big Ten play, topping the 30-point mark three times. In 1956, he set a Big Ten record for the most consecutive free throws made; hitting 29 in a row over two games. He also excelled as a floor leader and defensive player. Miller was selected Wisconsin’s team MVP in 1956, his senior year.
He played baseball for one season at Wisconsin playing second base and batting .333. He gave up baseball in college after one year to concentrate on basketball. Miller was drafted by the New York Knicks but chose to play AAU basketball, which was also big at the time. The AAU All-American played for the Milwaukee Allen Bradley team and the Phillips Oilers in the National Industrial Basketball League. He also spent one season in the Tidewater Basketball Association where he averaged 22 points per game and was voted the league MVP in 1963.
After his basketball playing career, he turned to handball (four-wall) and in his first year he won the North and South Carolina Open Singles Championships. He went on to win numerous singles titles throughout the Southeast, including two national singles age group championships.
Dick was selected to the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2005.
Coach Jim Thomas
Class of 1963
Jim Thomas coached high school football for 35 years at three different schools (Yorkville, Wheeling Central Catholic and Wheeling Park), compiling a record of 235-134-2. At the time of his death at the age of 60 in 2005, J. T. was only 32 wins from matching the all-time record for West Virginia coaching victories. He was the fourth winningest coach in Ohio Valley Athletic Conference history trailing only Reno Saccoccia of Steubenville Big Red, Jay Circosta of Woodsfield (Monroe Central) and J.T.’s high school coach, the late George Strager.
Thomas launched his head coaching career at the now-defunct Yorkville High School in the Buckeye Local School District where he spent three seasons from 1968-1970, guiding the Ductillites to an undefeated season during his second year at the helm. Thomas had two tenures coaching at his alma mater. He first led the Maroon Knights from 1971-1980, then moved up to Wheeling Park for six seasons before returning in 1987 and coaching Central Catholic through the 2004 season.
Under the direction of Thomas, Central Catholic teams won seven Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championships, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1990, 2000, and 2004, along with four West Virginia state titles. His 1979 Central team lost just one game and captured the WV Class AA crown. His other three titles, 2000, 2002 and 2004, came while the Maroon Knights were in Class A.The 2000 team set a school record for wins, finishing at 13-1. He also coached the West Virginia team four times in the Rudy Mumley OVAC Charity Football Game at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Thomas was voted the West Virginia All-Sport Coach of the Year for the 2004-2005 School Year. Twice he was named the OVAC All-Sport Coach of the Year (1980 and 2003). He was also named The Intelligencer’s Coach of the Year in 1979. In 2001, he was selected as the Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Club Man of the Year. Jim was voted into the OVAC Hall of Fame in 2013.
During his years at Wheeling Central Catholic, he was a standout football and baseball player.
He earned his bachelor’s degree at West Liberty State College (now West Liberty University) and his master’s degree from West Virginia University.
Class of 1953
Earl Haberfield coached basketball for nine years (1959-1967) at Wheeling Central Catholic High School during which time he directed the Maroon Knights to 150 victories, five West Virginia Catholic championships and one Ohio Valley Athletic Conference title. His 1963 team was undefeated, 23-0, won the state Catholic title and was ranked No. 1 in the all division West Virginia rankings. The 1963 team also remains as Central Catholic’s only undefeated squad in school history.
After leaving Central, Earl coached two years at Bishop Donahue High School in McMechen and led the Bishops to the 1969 West Virginia Class A Catholic championship. Central and Bishop Donahue were just the first of two stops on what was to become an incredibly successful coaching career that saw his teams compile 382 victories. He coached three years at Warren Local in Vincent, OH and was named the Tri-Valley Conference Coach of the year in 1970. He had back-to-back winning seasons at Meadowbrook High in Byesville, OH and then one season at Vanlue High School, the second smallest school district in Ohio where his team enjoyed its first winning season in several years. In his only year at Crooksville, Haberfield guided his team to a Class A regional berth. That was followed by five seasons at Wintersville (now Indian Creek), where he enjoyed a successful tenure rebuilding the school’s basketball program.
Earl then completed his long coaching career with nine seasons at Marion Steele in Amherst, OH, where his teams won three Southwestern Conference championships and also finished as the runner-up on three occasions.
Haberfield’s contributions to basketball went far beyond coaching the sport. He was the co-founder of the Ohio District 5 All-Star Game and served as president of that district’s coaches association in 1978. He also was the originator of the OVAC Basketball Classic (now called the Samuel A. Mumley Basketball Classic), serving as game director for the first five years and then as an active committee member for many years.
The 1958 graduate of West Liberty State College (now West Liberty University), played basketball for the Hilltoppers and was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. This was just one of many laurels presented to Coach Haberfield for his life-long contributions to the youngsters he coached and the sport he loved. Earl was the first recipient of the OVAC Coaches Award in 1984, an annual award now named in his honor. He received an Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Club Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1993. Three times he was presented an award by the Morgantown Touchdown Club for outstanding contributions to West Virginia athletics. He coached in three Lorain County Division I cage classics and earned several coach of the year awards, including the Lorain County Coaches Association, the Northeast District, Greater Cleveland District Basketball Association and the Southwest Conference.
Earl was inducted into the Lorain County Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996. He passed away in March of 2007.
John “Butch” Erb
Class of 1963
John “Butch” Erb was one of the leading performers on the only undefeated boys’ basketball team at Wheeling Central Catholic High School. The 1963 Maroon Knights coached by the legendary Earl Haberfield turned in a 23-0 record and a two-season winning streak of 26 in a row. Not only did Central Catholic go undefeated while notching back-to-back West Virginia State Catholic championships, the Maroon Knights were voted as the No. 1 team in the entire state regardless of class. Erb, one of three double-figure scorers on the well-balanced squad, earned back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards in the State Catholic event held at Memorial Field House in Huntington. During his junior season, “Butch” scored 19 points in the semifinals to lead a youthful Central Catholic team to an upset victory over highly-regarded Huntington St. Joseph. He then netted 24 points, including 10 of 12 free throws during a 62-33 rout of Clarksburg Notre Dame in the championship game. The following year Central Catholic’s perfect record campaign included two victories over the Ron Williams-led Weir High squad that went on to a 25-2 record and the West Virginia Class AAA title. Erb scored a total of 57 points in the three State Catholic Tournament games. In addition to being the two-time tourney MVP, the All-OVAC and All-City standout Erb was awarded a second-team berth on the official West Virginia All-State Team and he earned an All-WV Catholic first-team berth. Erb also gained national laurels when he was named to the third team of the National Catholic High School All-America squad.
After graduating from Central, Erb headed to New Orleans where he had a successful three-year varsity basketball career playing forward for Loyola of the South. The hard-nosed defensive performer. rebounder and dependable scorer gained national news during his sophomore season in a painful manner. He was doing an excellent job defending the country’s leading scorer Miami’s Rick Barry when the future Hall of Famer landed a blow to Erb’s face knocking him to the floor and sending the former Wheeling Central star to the hospital. Erb sustained a broken nose and fractured jawbone. His first visitor to the hospital the next morning was a concerned Rick Barry. Erb later said that he wasn’t bitter because the incident was all part of the game. “Butch’s” junior year was marred by an ankle injury but he bounced back as a senior and was a major contributor to Loyola’s success, averaging 10.3 points per game, finishing third on the team in rebounding and continuing to play solid on the defensive end of the floor. His highest scoring game was 15 points against Oklahoma City and 14 during a prized Wolfpack victory over highly-touted Big Ten Conference power Michigan State. Following his final season at Loyola, Erb was selected as the Wolfpack’s MVP and was named the school’s outstanding senior athlete.
Class 0f 1954
Neil Habig was one of Wheeling Central Catholic’s all-time best football players. His senior year saw the Martins Ferry native earn first-team all-star honors on every team he was eligible to make. These included All-Valley Big School, All-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference largest Class AA and All-City. Rated the best defensive end in the area by the coaches who selected the All-Valley team, the two-way end and punter also was the top blocker in a run-oriented offense. But he also managed to catch five touchdown passes. Habig helped Central Catholic to its first-ever OVAC Football Championship in football. The Maroon Knights turned in an 8-1 record during the 1953 season, the lone loss by a 13-7 score to 10-0 record Benwood Union, the OVAC Class A champion and eventual West Virginia state runner-up.
Habig earned a scholarship to Purdue University where he continued to play on both sides of the ball although he was switched on offense from end to center. The three-year letterman and two-year at center, middle linebacker and defensive end was voted the Boilermakers team MVP on a roster that had 13 Ohio Valley products. Among those standouts were OVAC Hall of Fame honorees Nick Mumley and Kenny Mikes. Habig joined them as an OVAC Hall of Fame honoree this year. The second-team All-Big Ten Conference performer played in the Senior Bowl All-Star Game and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers but decided to continue his career in the Canadian Football League.
Habig played seven seasons (1958-64) with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. His career was the longest ever in major pro football by a Wheeling Central Catholic graduate. Neil earned All-CFL honors as a center in 1962. He was named a Western Conference All-Star six times. While playing linebacker, Habig excelled in pass coverage with 10 interceptions, including six in 1963.
Class of 1969
One of Wheeling Central Catholic High School’s all-time great basketball players, 1969 graduate Rick Nau drew packed houses during several match-ups against Bellaire St. John’s Central scoring whiz and fellow Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Famer Alan Hornyak. In their final duel, Nau scored a personal high of 39 points before fouling out with his team leading in the fourth quarter. St. John’s rallied to win behind future Ohio State star Hornyak’s 44 points.
As a senior, Nau averaged 25.3 points per game to break the school record set by the legendary Dick Miller, also an OVAC Hall of Fame honoree. Nau’s 25.3 average in 22 games topped the OVAC’s Class AAA Division and he also led all area players with an 83.7 free throw shooting percentage.
One of Nau’s most cherished honors came following the 1969 season when he was named to the West Virginia “Big” All-State Team (eight players were selected regardless of class, a format discontinued a few years later). He was also a two-time selection on the All-Valley “Big School,” All-City and All-WV Catholic teams, serving as captain of the all-state and all-Catholic units. He was also a two-time All-WV Catholic Tournament honoree.
Nau was the recipient of a scholarship to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., where he was coached by Moundsville native Sonny Allen. After playing on the freshman team, Rick was a three-year varsity starter. The 5-foot, 10-inch backcourt standout was the team co-captain his senior year when he was also selected the school’s 1973 Male Athlete of the Year.
During his sophomore campaign, the former Maroon Knight great helped Old Dominion advance to the NCAA Division II championship game where the Monarchs lost to Evansville. He was named to the South Atlantic Regional Tournament Team both his sophomore and senior seasons. Nau averaged double figures as an Old Dominion guard, compiling a 16.1 average as a senior, 11.3 as a junior and 10.5 as a sophomore. During his three-year college career he scored 1,028 points and dished out 423 assists.
Class of 1959
One of the most versatile athletes ever to lend his talents to Wheeling Central Catholic High School, Lenny Pavlic excelled as a four-sport athlete–baseball, basketball, football and golf. He was a three-year letterwinner in all of those sports with the exception of golf.
During his junior year on the Maroon Knights’ football team, the quarterback-running back not only made the All-Valley squad, he was a third-team selection on the all-state team. In basketball, Lenny averaged 12.9 points per game on a well-balanced squad that won the West Virginia Catholic tournament and earned the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference crown. Central also collected the five-school City title as Pavlic earned third team all-state; second team All-OVAC and first team All-City recognition.
The following season, Lenny captured all-state, All-Valley and All-City in both football and basketball. In football, he played quarterback his senior year and was the team captain while playing for Coach Jim Wheeler. Following the season, he was named to the Mountaineer squad in the annual Ohio-West Virginia All-Star Football Game.
Pavlic averaged 14.9 points as a senior basketball player and also was the captain of a team that again won the state Catholic tournament and repeated as OVAC champions.
Lenny was offered a football scholarship to the University of Florida but he opted to sign a baseball contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. However he came up short in his bid to stick in the Minor Leagues and returned home to enroll at West Liberty State College (now West Liberty University). It was at this time that Pavlic became a victim of antiquated NCAA and NAIA eligibility rules. In those days, if an athlete signed a professional contract in any sport, he would no longer be eligible to compete in any collegiate program today; a player would only be ineligible to participate in the sport that he played professionally. Despite that rule, Pavlic stayed in school and graduated from West Liberty in 1963.
Employed by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and then the Ormet Corporation until his retirement in 1997, Pavlic passed away in May of 1998.