Pitt-Bradford Inducts Athletics Hall of Fame Class Of 2018

Pictured (L to R): Tabitha Ryan '11, Victor Longo, Ed Gunkle '98 and Director of Athletics Bret Butler
Pictured (L to R): Tabitha Ryan '11, Victor Longo, Ed Gunkle '98 and Director of Athletics Bret Butler

BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford inducted three new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday night as part of the annual Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association dinner in the Mukaiyama University Room.

The 17th Hall of Fame class is made up of 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. 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.

Tina Phillips, Ryan's head coach at Pitt-Bradford, presented her plaque.

"She was the catalyst of our defense for four years," Phillips said in her introduction. "As the libero, she didn't play a position that gets the notoriety of a hitter, but you have to have a great sense of the court, great athletic ability and a very unselfish attitude -- and that sums her up perfectly."

"I want to thank Coach Phillips, who helped me both grow as a person and find success in my new role on the court," Ryan said. "And to my family, thank you for the continuous love and support through all chapters of my life that helps me grow as a person to this day. I could not have done any of this without you."

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.

Karie Gunkle '98, Ed's wife, presented her husband with his plaque -- with some help from their son, Brady.

"When I found out that I was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, it was hard to fathom because Pitt-Bradford has already given me so much, and I'm forever grateful for it all," he said. "We were able to change the narrative by winning the AMCC championship, and Pitt-Bradford was finally on top. That was most important because of how special this place is to me."

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.   

Longo's daughter, Mary Beth Garvin '95, presented him with his plaque.

"As most of you know and many of you have experienced, my dad is rarely at a loss for words," she said in her introduction. "But, when he found out he was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, that was one of those moments. Getting inducted into the Pitt-Bradford Athletics Hall of Fame for Vic is like a celebrity winning an Emmy or Oscar. To him, UPB is the cream of the crop." 

"For 26 years and 10 more after I retired, everyone at Pitt has been family to me. I love you all," Longo said. "Win or lose, I love all Pitt teams. Let's go Pitt!"

Prior to the Athletics portion of the event, the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association honored Karen Costello-Pecht '11 with the 2018 Denny Lowry Distinguished Volunteer Award and Dr. K. James Evans with the 2018 Teaching Excellence Award.

The Pitt-Bradford Athletic Hall of Fame was created in 2002 to honor former student-athletes at Pitt-Bradford who displayed athletic prowess, while maintaining and providing leadership, integrity, teamwork and excellence.