Seven men, two women and one team will soon join the Hanover Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Hanover Athletic Booster Club, the Alumni Association of Hanover and Eichelberger high schools and the Hanover Public School District partnered in 2015 to create the Hanover Athletic Hall of Fame, honoring athletes, teams, coaches and contributors from both Hanover and Eichelberger high schools for their high school athletic accomplishments.
A new class is inducted every two years. The 2019-2020 class of inductees will be enshrined at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, in the Hanover High School gymnasium between the boys' and girls' varsity basketball games vs. Annville-Cleona.
The new inductees were chosen after a nomination process that was open to the community. A 12-member selection committee of current coaches, booster club and alumni association representatives and community members then selected those to be inducted.
The athletes honored will be 1940 grad Burnell "Reds" Weaver, 1949 grad Richard "Chub" Gruver, 1952 grad George "Soapy" Hart, 1993 grad Erin (Shue) Kreider, 1993 grad Jessica (Shue) Shaeffer, 1997 grad Joe Henson and 1997 grad Josh Henson.
The 1959 football team will also be recognized, along with coach Terry Conover and contributor Al “Jack” Bemiller, who was a 1956 Hanover grad. Bemiller will be inducted as a contributor.
Plaques honoring each inductee will be permanently displayed on the Hall of Fame Wall outside the high school gym. A reception will be held before the induction ceremony at 1 p.m. in the high school’s integrative learning center.
Following are brief biographies on each of the honorees:
Burnell "Reds" Weaver: Known as “Big Red,” Weaver towered over foes during the Nighthawks’ 1938-39 championship basketball campaign. He was a center on the team which was 13-2 in the regular season, winning the South Penn title. Powered by Weaver, the Nighthawks won twice in the district playoffs to reach the finals, where Hanover was eliminated by Reading
Richard "Chub" Gruver: Gruver was a two-way starter at end and linebacker for football teams that went 19-1-0 in consecutive seasons. He caught two touchdown passes and excelled on defense during the Nighthawks' first-ever perfect season in 1947. As a senior, he continued his dual role on 9-1 team that extended its win streak to 16. He played three years of varsity football, two years of varsity basketball and three years of varsity baseball.
George "Soapy" Hart: Smaller than most of his foes at 5 feet, 4 inches, Hart enjoyed a standout three-year basketball career at Hanover. As a senior, he earned All-South Penn Conference recognition and ranked second in the league in scoring at 14.6 points per game. He was at his best in a late-season charge to the 1952 conference title that featured three straight wins vs. Chambersburg, which was considered the dominant team at the time, scoring 25 points in the 55-47 title game win.
Joe Henson: Joe Henson was a two-time PIAA individual state champion wrestler on teams that finished second (1996) and third (1997) in the state. He was the 1996 York-Area League Wrestler of the Year and the 1997 York-Area League Co-Wrestler of the Year. He had a career 135-12 record, including 75-0 as a junior and a senior. He was also the highest-rated quarterback in the York-Area League as a junior on a division championship and District 3 runner-up football team. He was also a first-team All-York-Area Division II pick in 1997 for a division championhip and District 3 runner-up baseball team.
Josh Henson: Josh Henson was a 1997 PIAA individual state champion wrestler after finishing third in the state as both a sophomore and junior. He was the 1995 York-Area League Wrestler of the Year and 1997 York-Area League Co-Wrestler of the Year. He had a career record of 137-14. He was the York-Area Division II Player of the Year in football as a senior with school record 1,209 yards rushing and 17 TDs. He was a two-time All-York-Area Division II first-team pick in baseball.
Erin (Shue) Kreider: The two-time honorable mention all-state pick in volleyball was the most valuable player of the York County Senior All-Star Game. A four-year volleyball starter at setter, she is first all-time at the school in assists and service points. A four-year basketball starter, she is third all-time in steals at Hanover and was a two-time York-Area League division all-star. In track and field, she competed in the long jump, triple jump, high jump and 400 relay.
Jessica (Shue) Shaeffer: The third-team all-state volleyball player as a senior was also a two-time District 3 first-team all-star. She was a four-year starter at outside hitter and set school records for kills in a season and in a career. The two-time All-York Area League division basketball all-star is first in steals, second in assists and sixth in scoring in school history. In track and field, she set school records in javelin and the 1,600 relay, while placing at district and league competition.
The 1959 football team: The 1959 football team went 10-0 under the guidance of head coach Steve Padjen, averaging 296.7 yards per game and won the South Penn Conference title by defeating defending champion Carlisle, 24-3. The team set a new single-season scoring record of 277 points while holding opponents to 57 points. The 1959 team established a single-game scoring record with 65-0 defeat of Gettysburg to end the season. Five players on the team were among the top-10 scorers in the South Penn Conference and three players were named to the all-conference first team.
Terry Conover: Conover went 561-219-2 in 37 seasons as Hanover's head wrestling coach and 154-117 in 14 seasons as the school's head baseball coach. He coached 25 District 3 wrestling champions and four state champions. His teams earned 13 league, seven District 3 and four PIAA regional championships. His teams finished among the top-10 teams in the state on six different occasions, including first in 1995. He was a 10-time league and five-time District 3 coach of the year and the 1995 state coach of the year.
Al “Jack” Bemiller: Born and raised in Hanover, he accepted a Syracuse University wrestling scholarship, but was soon asked to play football, where he was a team leader as a sophomore on the Orange’s 1959 national championship team. He was drafted into pro football in 1961 by the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals and the AFL's Buffalo Bills. He chose to sign with Buffalo, and by the end of training camp moved into the starting lineup. Bemiller never missed a game during his nine-year pro career, playing both center and guard on two consecutive AFL title teams in 1964 and 1965. He received the Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service Award in 2013 for his leadership in the Bills Alumni Association and its community service activities.
Information for this story was provided by the Hanover Athletic Hall of Fame.