Legendary three-sport high school standouts, college stars, professional athletes, front office executives and even a referee make up the distinguished 2018 class entering the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame (DSMHOF).
The nine standouts will be honored at the organization’s annual banquet on Tuesday, May 22, at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington. The class includes:
Jimmy Allen: Three-sport star at Cape Henlopen High School, basketball standout at the University of New Haven, NBA Boston Celtics draftee, and college coach
Clinton Burke: All-American wrestler at the University of Oklahoma from William Penn High School
Sarah Cashman Gersky: Basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse immortal at Colgate University and the Tower Hill School
Tom Fort: National and local leader in track and field officiating (inducted posthumously)
Bunny Miller: All-star baseball catcher at Delaware State University, Howard High School, and Wilmington Semi-Pro League
Heidi Pearce Yetman: All-American lacrosse player at Johns Hopkins University from St. Andrew’s School and current Washington College (Md.) head coach
Larry Shenk: Philadelphia Phillies vice president for public relations for over five decades
Penny Welsh: Basketball star at UNLV, Pitt, and St. Elizabeth High School
Below are detailed bios on the DSMHOF Class of 2018.
Jimmy Allen scored 1,785 points in four years at the University of New Haven (Conn.) where he was a second team NCAA Division II All-American in 1979. He followed with a long career as a professional player and college coach.
At Cape Henlopen High School, he was a 6’ 3” point guard on the 1975 team, with John Bishop, Purnell Ayers, Ronson Burton, and Carlton Allen, that went 25-0 and is widely regarded as the best Delaware high school team of the decade. He was twice named second team All-State.
At New Haven, he led the Chargers in scoring for four consecutive years, graduating as the second-leading scorer in school history, while leading the team in assists. He earned second team All-American honors and also competed for the UNH track & field team, setting school records in the long jump, high jump, and triple jump. He served as assistant basketball coach at New Haven in 1988-2004.
Selected by the Boston Celtics in the fifth round of the 1979 National Basketball Association draft, he played four years for their minor league affiliates, averaging 30 points per game one season for the Pittsfield (Mass.) Shamrocks.
At Cape Henlopen HS, he also high jumped 6-6 to win the Division 2 state championship. He also played first base and batted clean-up for Cape’s state tournament baseball team.
He was previously inducted into the University of New Haven Athletics Hall of Fame (1987), Delaware Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame (2007), and Delaware Basketball Hall of Fame (2014).
Clinton Burke was a two-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma where he was the NCAA runner-up and a Big Eight champion as a junior (1983), and finished third in the NCAA tournament as a senior (1984), each time at 134 pounds. His collegiate record was an impressive 102-20, ranking him among the all-time leaders in OU history.
His 1983 performance made him just the second Delawarean to achieve All-American wrestling status and the first to reach the NCAA semifinals or finals. He lost the championship match when his opponent, Clar Anderson of Oklahoma State, whom Burke had defeated three times during the season, scored a takedown with just 20 seconds remaining. Burke was also ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation as a sophomore in 1982.
During his time at Oklahoma, the Sooners were perennially among the top teams in the Big Eight Conference and placed third at the NCAA Championships in 1982, fourth in 1983, and fifth in 1984.
Burke was an alternate for the 1984 U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team and an alternate on the 1992 U.S. Olympic judo team.
At William Penn High School, he was a two-time Blue Hen Conference champion and state runner-up and finished with an overall record of 52-6-1.
A six-time national champion in sambo, a martial art originally developed by the Soviet army as a synthesis of catch wrestling, judo, jujutsu and other sports, he was inducted into the Delaware Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2001.
SARAH CASHMAN GERSKY
Sarah Cashman Gersky distinguished herself in three sports – basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey – at Colgate University and Tower Hill School. At each institution, she ranks among the best basketball players ever.
At Colgate, she was the leading scorer for three of her four years in basketball, averaging 16.5 points per game over her career, and graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,666 points.
The first player in Colgate history to reach 1,000 points, she also set school records for most points in a game (36) and in a season (473), most field goals in a season (191), consecutive free throws (17), and most steals in a game (10), season (86) and career (260).
A co-captain her junior and senior years, she finished second in Player of the Year voting in the Upstate New York Women’s Basketball Conference.
At Tower Hill, she was a first team All-State selection in 1979 when she averaged 20.2 ppg and led the Hillers to the state championship game after three straight Independent Conference titles. She also was a mainstay of Tower Hill’s powerful field hockey and lacrosse teams, earning 11 varsity letters on three outstanding teams.
In lacrosse, she led Colgate to fourth place finishes in the AIAW Division II nationals in her sophomore and junior seasons and was named to the national championship all-tournament team in 1981. She set a school record for most goals in a season (49) and became only the second Colgate woman to score more than 100 career goals.
In field hockey, she paced the Raiders to second and fifth place finishes at the AIAW Division II nationals during her two varsity seasons. She started varsity on all three sports as a freshman.
She was inducted into the Colgate Hall of Honor in 1994 and the Delaware Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. Colgate retired her basketball number (24) in 1983.
For nearly 50 years, Tom Fort was a leader in organizing and officiating track and field events and amateur sports throughout the state of Delaware.
A trackman at the University of Missouri, he became a leader for the Delaware Sports Club after moving to Delaware in 1967. He was director of the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon, organized new road races that helped ignite the local running boom of the 1970’s, and served as an officer of the Club for 38 years, the last 32 as president.
He officiated at nearly 1,000 track and field meets at youth, high school, college, and masters levels, from 1973 until the end of his life. He was the Delaware representative to the Road Runners Club of America for 26 years and served as national secretary-treasurer from 2000 to 2004.
He received the Outstanding Service Award from the U.S. Track and Field Association in 2009 and the Road Runners Club of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Under his leadership, the Delaware Sports Club was widely recognized for officiating excellence and twice received the Presidential Awards from the Mid-Atlantic Officials Congress.
Fort competed at a high level in master’s competition in track, road racing, and marathons through 2005. He represented the U.S. at the World Veterans track meets in Canada (1975) and Sweden (1977). He was a charter inductee into the Delaware Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1994.
After retiring as president of the Delaware Sports Club, he joined the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame and served as its president for three years. He died in August, 2017.
Wilbert “Bunny” Miller was a dominant catcher in baseball at Howard High School, Delaware State College, and the Wilmington Semi-Pro League, and was a dedicated educator for nearly 40 years, 17 of them as a school principal.
After an outstanding career at Howard High School, the native of Delaware City moved on to Delaware State College where he starred in both football and baseball. He started at both offensive and defensive end for the football team at Delaware State College during his junior and senior years. A woodworking accident cost him part of the index finger of his left hand and reduced the interest of pro baseball scouts.
After a two-year Army hitch in Korea, he played 11 outstanding seasons in the Wilmington Semi-Pro League, setting the league record for career runs batted in (487), compiling the fourth most base hits (407) in league history, and posting a career batting average of .359.
He made the league’s All-Star team eight times, was named Most Valuable Player three times, and led the league in RBI’s eight times. His manager, 1986 DSMHOF Hall of Famer John Hickman, described him as the greatest catcher in the league’s history.
After retiring from education, Miller became executive director of the Police Athletic League for 18 years.
He has previously been inducted into the Delaware State Hall of Fame (1988), Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame (1997), and the Delaware Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame (2000).
HEIDI PEARCE YETMAN
Heidi Pearce was a first team NCAA Division I All-American midfielder at Johns Hopkins University after three times being named Delaware’s high school lacrosse Player of the Year at St. Andrew’s School.
In 2004, she became Johns Hopkins’ first NCAA Division I first team All-American, leading the Jays to their first NCAA I tournament appearance. Over four years, she led Hopkins to a 44-24 record and the 2001 ECAC championship.
Her 152 goals and 201 points remain career highs by a Johns Hopkins midfielder. She was a three-time all-conference selection, a two-time team captain, and twice was named the Inside Lacrosse National Player of the Week. She also received the Cramer Award, presented for outstanding achievement in women’s athletics at Johns Hopkins.
At St. Andrew’s, Pearce was the state’s lacrosse player of the year in 1998, 1999, and 2000 and her career total of 275 goals was the state record until 2009. She led the Saints to state championships in 1998 and 1999 and to a spot in the finals in 2000 when she was named a high school All-American.
She was also her school’s MVP in basketball and in field hockey, where she was a two-time All-State selection. She earned 12 high school varsity letters and was also an accomplished club swimmer in the breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly events.
After graduation, Pearce returned to St. Andrew’s as a field hockey and lacrosse coach and athletics director. She led the Saints to the state lacrosse championship game in all four seasons.
A native of Chestertown, Md., she returned to her hometown when she was named head women’s lacrosse coach at NCAA III Washington College prior to the 2014 season. In her first season, she was named Centennial Conference Coach of the Year as the Shorewomen had their best record (11-5) in 11 years and were ranked 17th nationally. She has posted a record of 43-24 over her first four seasons.
Larry Shenk was head of public relations for the Philadelphia Phillies for an incredible 44 years. A former Wilmington News Journal sportswriter, he has written several books on Phillies history and remains active as the team’s vice president for alumni relations.
A graduate of Myerstown (Pa.) High School, he came to Delaware in 1962 to join the News Journal after graduating from Millersville (Pa.) State College and covered high school, college, club, and amateur sports. A year later, he was hired by the Phillies and was the youngest public relations director in major league baseball.
In over four decades with the Phillies, he dealt with countless demands, deadlines, controversies, moves into two new ballparks, pennant races, and an enormous expansion in the position’s demands. He and his family were active in Delaware civic life and his wife, Julie, served on the Brandywine School Board and the DSSAA Board of Directors.
Since his retirement as vice president for public relations, he has remained with the Phillies as director of the team’s relations with its former players. In 2014, he published If These Walls Could Talk, a memoir of stories from the Phillies dugout, locker room, and press box. He previously wrote The Fightin’ Phillies and This Date in Phillies History.
In 1983, he became the third winner of the Bob Fishel Award, which honors a Major League Baseball front-office employee for professionalism, ethics, character, dedication, and humanitarianism. The winners are commemorated on a plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
He was inducted into the Central Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Philadelphia Sportswriters Association has honored him with its Good Guy Award (1995) and Lifetime Achievement Award (2008).
Penny Welsh starred at the highest levels of college basketball at the University of Pittsburgh (1979-81) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (1981-83), scoring 1,824 points and collecting 960 rebounds over her college career.
As a standout at St. Elizabeth High School, she twice was named Delaware’s high school Player of the Year for the Vikings.
She was Pitt’s Most Valuable Player as a freshman and was honorable mention All-American as a sophomore. She collected 860 points and 533 rebounds over her two years, leading the Panthers to impressive records of 22-11 and 21-7 and to the post-season in both seasons.
She then moved west and led UNLV in scoring as a junior (477) and senior (517). Her 19.9 points per game output in her senior year, when she led the Runnin’ Rebels to a 24-4 record, was the university’s fourth highest to that point. Her 85 steals that year were also a school record. She still ranks 12th in scoring and 11th in rebounding in UNLV history.
Delaware’s high school Player of the Year at St. Elizabeth in 1978 and 1979, she led the state with 432 points in 19 regular season games (22.7 ppg) as a senior, including a 41-point outburst at Notre Dame (Pa.), and gathered 19 rebounds per game. She led St. Elizabeth to victory at the 1979 state title game after taking the Vikings to a berth in the 1978 championship game, the tournament’s first sellout.
Dave Williams of Camden pitched in the major leagues over six seasons from 2001 to 2007 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Mets.
A first team All-State pitcher for Caesar Rodney High School who also played first base, the 6-foot-3, 215 lb. left-hander pitched for one season for DelTech South, leading the 35-7 Roadrunners to a fourth-place finish in the Junior College World Series.
Selected in the 17th round by the Pirates in the 1998 Major League Baseball Draft, he was 27-17 in the Bucs’ minor league system and earned a spot in the Pittsburgh starting rotation midway through his fourth professional season.
Williams made his big-league debut at the age of 22 in 2001 and started 18 games for the Pirates that year, posting a 3-7 record with a 3.71 earned run average in 114 innings.
He was a key member of the staff for four seasons, appearing in 66 games with 58 starts and posting a 17-26 record and 4.25 ERA. He pitched 334.2 innings and struck out 211 batters during that span. He enjoyed his best season as a major leaguer in 2005 when he went 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 138.2 innings. He ranked fourth on the staff in both strikeouts and innings.
Traded to the Reds for Sean Casey in 2006, he played two more seasons in the major leagues (2006 with the Reds and Mets and 2007 with the Mets) and pitched professionally through the 2011 season. Over his major league career, he won 22 games and struck out 245 batters in 408 innings.
Following his playing career, he served as a pitching coach in the Toronto Blue Jays organization in 2015-16 and currently coaches high school baseball in Georgia.