Our Legacy of Speakers
at the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame

The Blair County Sports Hall of Fame has established a well-earned reputation for attracting the biggest names in sports as its featured speaker.

Former NBA legend Julius Erving became the most recent, appearing here on April 13, 2024. “Dr. J” was the third-leading scorer in NBA history, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain, upon his retirement in 1987.

Aside from Erving, the following guest speakers have been on hand over the years to help dignify the ceremony — Doug Flutie (2022), Cael Sanderson (2018), Jay Bilas (2016), James Franklin (2014), Ben Roethlisberger (2012), Chris Fowler (2010), Hines Ward (2008), Greg Gumbel (2006), Jim Boeheim (2004), Bobby Bowden (2002), Rick Majerus (2000), Mary Lou Retton (1998), Joe Theismann (1996), Dick Vitale (1994), Bob Knight (1992), Roy Firestone (1990), Terry Bradshaw (1989), Paul Evans (1988) and the Hall’s very first guest speaker, Joe Paterno (1987).

“The Blair County Sports Hall of Fame has continued to bring in the top speakers from the world of sports, which is most impressive for a market the size of Altoona,” Michael Menchel of the Washington Speakers Bureau said. “The Washington Speakers Bureau has been proud to have been a small part of contributing to the continuous overflow crowds in assisting with the selection of keynote presenters for many years.”

The anticipation of the speakers has heightened the aura of the Hall of Fame and turned it into the premier sports banquet in central Pennsylvania and one of the tops in the East.

During the 2004 banquet, former West Virginia University football coach Don Nehlen, on hand as a presenter for the second time, found himself impressed with the local Hall of Fame’s drawing power.

He pointed to guest speaker Jim Boeheim and former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino, a presenter, and said, “Did you ever stop and think we have two coaches up here who won national championships, sitting side by side? I am privileged just to be here. This is unbelievable. Unbelievable.”