Wheeling Central Hall of Fame Adds Five
WHEELING — Four special athletes and a coach who was involved in winning 12 West Virginia Class A girls’ softball championships will be among the inductees this fall into the Wheeling Central Catholic High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Included on this list are Edward Cihy (coach), Michael Stiglich (basketball), Albert (Al) Salvadori (basketball), Michael T. Smith (football) and Kristen Hetzel (girls’ track and cross country).
They will be inducted during the Maroon Knights’ fifth Hall of Fame Brunch, sponsored by the Robinson Automotive Group, to be held on Saturday, Oct. 3, at Wheeling University’s Benedum Hall. The brunch begins at 9 a.m.
Following induction ceremonies the Hall of Fame honorees will be guests and introduced that afternoon during halftime festivities at the Maroon Knights’ football game against Ohio Valley Athletic Conference rival Fort Frye High School. The game will be played at Wheeling University’s Bishop Schmitt Field.
Class of 1967
Ed Cihy has been part of the coaching staff with the softball program at Wheeling Central Catholic High School for 32 years, 12 as a head coach and 20 seasons as an assistant mentor. During this time the Lady Maroon Knights won 12 West Virginia Class A state championships. Cihy was at the helm for five of those state crowns all coming in a row from 1995 through 1999. Seven times he was an assistant coach on Class A title-winning teams. He also helped coached the Central girls to 14 Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championships, including the five times when he was in charge of the program. His 1998 squad finished 26-0. Cihy was an assistant in 2016 when Rick Magruder’s Lady Maroon Knights compiled a school record 33-0 mark.
From the 1988 season through 2019 Wheeling Central Catholic also finished as the state runner-up five times and took third place on three other occasions. Ed’s personal coaching honors include OVAC Softball Coach of the Year (1997); WV Schools Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year (1997), three Ohio Valley coaching awards presented by The Intelligencer and he was honored six times with awards from the Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Club.
(Class of 1986)
Mike Stiglich was the only Wheeling Central Catholic High School basketball player to earn back-to-back West Virginia first-team All-State laurels while the Maroon Knights were competing as a Class AA school. He earned his two-time all-state berths after the 1985 and 1986 seasons. Both years also saw the Central Catholic standout earn first-team laurels on the All-Valley and All-Ohio Athletic Conference squads. He was the OVAC’s basketball player of the year in his division (1986).
The three-year starter averaged 8.3 points and 9.1 rebounds as a sophomore, 15.2 points and 12.0 rebounds his junior year and 18.6 points and 13.0 rebounds as a senior. The 1986 season saw the Maroon Knights, coached by Dino Gaudio, finish as the Class AA runner-up, falling to Williamson High School by one point on a last second shot in the title game. Stiglich ended his high school career with 977 points and 523 rebounds.
After graduating from Wheeling Central Catholic, Michael was recruited by Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL. He averaged 12 points and 8.2 rebounds as a freshman before transferring to the University of Tampa (Fla.),where he was a three-year letter-winner. Stiglich also was Tampa’s team captain his junior and senior seasons.
Class of 1963
Wheeling Central Catholic High School’s dream season occurred in the winter of 1962-63 when Maroon Knights’ Hall of Famer Earl Haberfield coached Al Salvadori and his teammates to a 23-0 record for the school’s only undefeated boys’ basketball campaign in history. All the players on that exceptionally-talented cast were inducted as a team into the Maroon Knights’ Hall of Fame. At 6 ft. 8 in, Salvadori was the big man on a team that handed the Fritz Williams-led Weir High School powerhouse its only two losses as the Red Riders were on the way to winning the West Virginia Class AAA State crown.
For Salvadori and his senior teammates, they actually were part of a school’s 26-game winning streak. CCHS began the impressive run with three victories closing out the 1962 season in winning the state Catholic tournament.
Salvadori, a two-year starter for Maroon Knights, averaged double figures in points and rebounds. During the semifinals of the 1963 Catholic Tournament, he sustained a sprained ankle but ‘Sal’ made it back the following day to help his team defeat host Huntington St. Joseph in the championship game.
His postseason laurels in 1963 included first-team selections on the All-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference, All-Valley and All-Catholic teams along with a spot on the West Virginia Big School unit. Central that year also was ranked No. 1 among all Mountain State schools and one of the top ten Catholic high school teams in the country.
Salvadori was recruited by the University of South Carolina where he played one year of freshman ball and three years with the varsity. As a senior he was selected to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Tournament team. He was drafted by the Baltimore franchise of the National Basketball Association but wound up signing and playing parts of two seasons with Oakland of the American Basketball League.
MICHAEL T. SMITH
Class of 1965
The decade of the 1960s was heralded as being among the special years of what continues to be a glorious athletic tradition at Wheeling Central Catholic High School and Mike Smith was regarded as one of the top football players players during his era. Smith, a two-way performer, lettered three years for Maroon Knight teams that won one Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championship and back-to-back West Virginia State Catholic crowns. Smith also was an All-City honoree his senior season despite missing several games due to an injury sustained in practice.
Along with playing football for four years, Smith lettered three years in basketball and was one of the school’s top weight men in track for four years. He wrestled as a senior to become a four-sport letter-winner.
Following graduation, Smith accepted a full ride to the University of North Carolina, where he was co-captain on an undefeated freshman team and started for three years on the varsity. Mike was a co-captain both his junior and senior seasons on the Tar Heels’ squad. Smith’s football laurels included national defensive lineman of the week following North Carolina’s upset victory over then No. 7 ranked Florida; He was selected as the Tar Heels’ defensive player of the year in 1967.
Class of 1998
Kristen Hetzel received many accolades during her career as a track and cross country runner at Wheeling Central. The standout middle distance runner was selected as team MVP her senior year and won back-to-back awards as the Maroon Knights’ best runner in the middle distance events. She also qualified for the West Virginia state championship meet in both the 800 and 1600 meters. Hetzel went on to Wheeling University where in cross country she was selected as West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Runner of the Year in 1997. She placed first in the 5000 meters event at the WVU Indoor Meet. Locally, Hetzel logged several impressive finishes in the Ogden Classic, twice being the first Wheeling resident along with being the first West Virginia participant on two occasions. For the past two decades she has been one of the leading runners in the entire country and also around the world, having participated in numerous triathlon and duathlon events. Hetzel finished as high as seventh in the Duathlon World Championships held in Australia. The four-time Duathlon All-American was also the No. 1 USA runner in that event and later logged two other top three (USA) performances in duathlons held in France and Canada. Her sterling career has seen her win an additional 28 races throughout the world.
For banquet information call 304-312-9125 or 304-233-1660.