During the summer of 1974 a group of local sportsmen met to form an association to honor local athletes. The initial meeting was held in a conference room at the Corning Leader, and the directors selected named the newly formed organization The Corning-Painted Post Sports Hall of Fame. The Charter Directors were Don Bonnell, Earl Briggs, Archie H. Hall, Frank Jordan, Lloyd Larson, Robert Shaddock, Harry Turbett, Clifford Wenck, Hal White, and Fred Wilcox, and the officers were Milton Paltrowitz – president, Frank Watts – secretary and Alton Vanderhoff – treasurer. They decided to initially honor athletes from the sports of Baseball, Football, Basketball, Softball and a Special category along with Contributors. The sports of Bowling, Boxing and Track were added in 1976, Golf in 1977, Wrestling in 1979, Lacrosse in 1981, Swimming in 1989, Soccer in 1995, Motor Sports in 1997, Volleyball in 1998, and Tennis in 1999. Originally it was also decided to honor athletes from three separate eras – prior to 1921, 1921 to 1950 and 1950 to the present. When the Bylaws were amended in 2000 these eras were eliminated as was the sport of Boxing, and the category of Track was changed to include Track & Field and Cross Country.
The first inductees in each category were as follows:
Baseball: Leo Casey, Fred Coumbe, Bill Moore, Bob Lambert, Don Richards and Paul Colacecchi
Football: Doug Bonham, Dick Riffle, Tom Flannery, Earl Briggs, Bob Bennett and Gary Wydman
Basketball: Francis Frey, Bob Shaddock, Vieko Turevon, Harry Miller, Bob Loevan, Leroy Holmes and Ron Childs
Softball: A. J. Stivers, Ray Ward and Bob Crozier
Contributors: Truman Jacoby, Ernest Craumer and Ed Tarantelli
Special category: The 1924 Rabbit Footed Five of Painted Post High School
Boxing: Nick Faulisi and Jerry Miller
Track: Wilburt Hyland and Karl Wisner
Bowling: Herb Williams and Cleland Baker
Golf: Charles Keating and John McCarthy
Wrestling: Stan Gridley and Joe Littleton
Lacrosse: John Topichak and Tim Havens
Swimming: Suzanne Rahill Carmody and Michael Fenno
Soccer: Jeff Horton and Dominick Ly
Motor Sports: Nile Hermans and Richard Sparling
Volleyball: Kelly Pease
Tennis: George Fero
On February 12, 1975 Joseph J. Nasser, mayor of Corning wrote the following to Milt Paltrowitz: Congratulations are rightly due to you and your group on the establishment of the Sports Hall of Fame. People who take part in spectator sports of all kinds, be they players, coaches or whatever, have helped to provide a great portion of the population of the city and area with untold enjoyment and excitement down through the years. It is fitting that those who have excelled in one way or another be pointed out and honored because of their abilities and accomplishments. This you are attempting to do. I am sure the people of Corning join me in thanking you and people working with you for your ideas and efforts.”Milt Paltrowitz served as president until 1982 when he was succeeded by Bob Box. Alton Vanderhoff was treasurer until 1978 when Phil Delisante took over, and Frank Watts served as secretary until 1981 when the secretary position was split in two – recording secretary and corresponding secretary. Frank continued as recording secretary until 2004 when the two positions were again merged and Larry French took over the position as the sole secretary. The position of Vice President was added in 1977 with Archie Hall taking on that role and serving until 1986.
The first Induction Banquet was held on March 2, 1975 at the Lodge on the Green, which remained as the banquet home until 1981 – with the exception of 1978, when the dinner was at the Corning Glass Center. The Corning Hilton Inn – later renamed the Corning Radisson – served as the home for the annual induction dinner from 1981 to 1995, and from 1996 to 2008 the banquet was held at the Painted Post Holiday Inn. Starting with the 35th annual banquet in the 2009 the C-PP Sports Hall of Fame dinner was moved to the Corning Museum of Glass, and the plan for the foreseeable future is to keep the banquet at CMOG.
The first inductees were just given a certificate and had their names engraved on permanent plaques located at various sites throughout the community. Later, all new inductees were presented with a pin and a personal plaque. The permanent plaques were initially exhibited in the Erwin Historical Society in Painted Post and the First National Bank in Corning. Then in 1978 the plaques were moved to the club rooms at the Corning Y.M.C.A. They remained on display there until they were moved to the 2nd floor at the Corning City Hall in 1982, and from there they were relocated to the Painted Post Holiday Inn where they were exhibited from 1996 to 2008. With the help of Corning Enterprises, the Hall of Fame plaques finally got a permanent home at the Baron Steuben Place on Market Street in Corning in 2009, and the HOF’s Board of Directors is currently working on expanding this display. Starting in 1985 the Hall of Fame began recognizing outstanding high school athletes by awarding the George Bacalles Memorial Award to Diane Dodge from West (Basketball) and Bret Jacoby from East (Diving). Then in 1986 this awards program was expanded to include one male and one female student from each of our two local high schools.
Over the years many local sports enthusiasts and community leaders have served on the C-PP Sports Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors, but there have only been 4 Presidents: Milton Paltrowitz (1974-81), bob Box (1981-93), Andy Mowrer (1993-2003) and Oystein Ostebo (2003- present)