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.
Penn State football coach James Franklin is one of the most recent, having appeared here in April of 2014 — three months after he became the Nittany Lions’ head coach. In the Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction ceremony in 1987, Joe Paterno graced the dais.
In between, the following have been on hand to help Blair County honor its athletes, coaches, scholarship and community service winners — 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) and Paul Evans (1989).
“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.”