BRADFORD, Pa. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will induct three new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame during Alumni and Family Weekend next month.
The Pitt-Bradford Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018 will be volleyball player Tabitha Ryan '11, golfer and coach Ed Gunkle '98 and lifelong supporter Victor Longo.
Ryan was a member of the volleyball team from 2006-09. She is the program's all-time leader in digs (2,238) and she received postseason honors from the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference in each of her four years as a student-athlete. Her 7.35 digs per set in 2006 is the third-best mark in AMCC history, while her 6.73 digs per set in 2007 is the fifth-best.
During her senior year in 2009, she ranked second in Division III in digs per game, which was instrumental in the team earning its second ECAC bid in program history. In the spring of 2010, her career came to a fitting end as she was honored as the Pitt-Bradford Female Athlete of the Year.
"I am thrilled for Tab," said Tina Phillips, her former head coach at Pitt-Bradford. "She has earned this honor. For her career, she was the best at her position (libero) in the AMCC and the best we've had at UPB thus far. Her statistics show that. She was a big part, along with her teammates, in progressing the volleyball program to one of the tops in the conference. Though she and her classmates never won a title, she helped to move us in that direction."
Ryan is currently an athletic trainer for UPMC Sports Medicine in Pittsburgh. She is an avid runner and has run multiple marathons.
Gunkle is responsible for taking the Pitt-Bradford men's golf program to the next level, serving as the Pitt-Bradford head coach for a pair of seasons and coaching the Panthers to the team's first AMCC Championship in his second year during the 2001-02 school year. The Panthers shot a 323 in the AMCC Championship at Hannastown Country Club, and Gunkle was fittingly crowned the conference Coach of the Year.
"Coach Ed is a very accomplished player, a really good coach, but most importantly, a great person," said Fran Palumbo '03, the 2001-02 AMCC Co-Player of the Year and anchor to the championship squad. "He balanced perfectly being a leader and also a friend. Our road trips and tournaments were a ton of fun and he did such an awesome job bringing us all together, and it showed on the course."
As a player, he led the Panthers to the AMCC Runner-Up in 1997-98, Pitt-Bradford tying conference champion Pitt-Greensburg with a score of 361 but falling in a tiebreaker. Gunkle was named First Team All-AMCC that season. In 1996-97, he was the first golfer in school history to be a medalist at a tournament and shot a 70 at the Penn State-Behrend Invitational.
Gunkle moved on from his duties as head golf coach and activities coordinator at Pitt-Bradford in 2002 and has been in the field of education working with students since graduating. 12 and a half of those years have been with the Midd-West School District, where he currently employed.
He continues to play at a high level, competing in four Pennsylvania State Amateur Championships. He will compete in this year's Pennsylvania State Open Championship. Gunkle has a total of eight club championships and shares the course record at Shade Mountain Golf Course in Middleburg, Pa., with an eight-under-par 64.
Born and raised in Bradford, Longo is a '63 graduate of Bradford High School. After working various jobs around the area, Longo joined the Pitt-Bradford maintenance department full time in 1981. After showing his steadfast support for all Pitt-Bradford sports, Longo was assigned to oversee the newly renovated gymnasium, then went onto supervise and maintain all athletic facilities.
Since his retirement in 2007, Longo has remained a mainstay at all Pitt-Bradford athletic events. His signature "Miss it!" during opponents' free throws is just as common as a "Come on, Pitt!" at swim meets.
"It's real simple; when I came to Pitt-Bradford, I fell in love with it," Longo said. "I fell in love with the school, the sports, the athletes. I feel like these programs are mine."
Longo credits his sports fanaticism to his father, a hard-working business owner in Bradford who spent his free time supporting his teams.
"My dad couldn't go to sporting events as a kid, because he was too busy helping his family business," Longo explained. "So, as an adult, he'd use sports as a release from all his hard work. And he passed that down to me."
For more information regarding the ceremony, visit upb.pitt.edu/afw.