ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES-2013
Coach Bud Fenton. Originally from Ohio, Merwin “Bud” Fenton attended Ithaca College and after graduating in 1941, joined the US Navy during World War II. In 1948, he started his career as a physical education teacher at Portville Central School. Bud Fenton coached the football and baseball teams at PCS in addition to serving as athletic director. During his time as the varsity football coach, he led his teams to 40 victories in 11 seasons at PCS. In his initial year, Fenton took the Panthers to Bradner Stadium for the championship, but they lost 12-7 before 3,000 fans. Coach Fenton was the type of teacher and coach that inspired kids and expected them to work hard. He was a community leader in establishing Pop Warner Football and Little League baseball in Portville.He retired from Portville in 1971. He was a member of many organizations over the years including the Cattaraugus County Athletic Association for 24 years. On September 28, 1998, at homecoming weekend at Ithaca College, he was inducted into the Ithaca College Sports Hall of Fame. Merwin Bud Fenton passed away on September 6, 2001, in Englewood, Florida.
Coach Ray DeLand. Originally from the Dunkirk area, Ray DeLand was a graduate of Fredonia State Teachers College and St. Bonaventure University. He began teaching at Portville Central School in 1962 and began coaching boys’ basketball for the Panthers in 1966. During his 23 year career as the boys’ basketball coach, he guided his teams to a record of 281wins and 167 losses. The Panthers won the Section 6 championship in 1975. In a span of six years (1970-1976), the Portville boys’ basketball team amassed 100 wins and 25 losses. In addition, Coach DeLand also coached the PCS girls’ basketball team for five years, guiding the team to the New York State Final Four in 1991-92. The team went 20-3 that year. His five-year mark with the girls was 86-21. In addition to coaching, Mr. DeLand also served as the district’s athletic director for many years. During a 40-year career as a teacher and coach, Coach DeLand molded the lives of hundreds of young student athletes, primarily at Portville Central School where he spent 28 years before retiring at the end of the 1992-93 school year. In 2006, he was inducted into the Cattaraugus County Sports Hall of Fame. Ray DeLand passed away in 2010 in Florida where he had made his home in retirement.
Coach Bob “The Bear” Connell. Bob Connell grew up in the Boston, Massachusetts area. He graduated from Saugus High School in 1943 where he was an All-Scholastic football player. After high school he served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII. Bob then went on to attend college and play football in the Ivy League at Columbia University in New York City.
After graduating from Columbia, Bob became a regional sales manager for the BF Goodrich Company, which eventfully brought The Connell Family to take up residence on School Street here in Portville in 1955. In 1960, at the age of 36, Bob made a career change and began teaching history and coaching a number of sports at PCS. He coached Boys JV Basketball in the early sixties and was head baseball coach in 1966. Bob was also Boys Head Track & Field during most of the Seventies. But it was on the sidelines of the gridiron where Bob “The Bear” Connell made his mark, coaching Portville’s boys in the great game of football for over 25 years.Bob was Head Coach for 17 years from 1963 to 1979 accumulating a record of 90-45-5 for a winning percentage of .667. He lead the Panthers to 5 League Championships, 2 undefeated Teams and was voted Big 30 Coach of the Year in 1975.Coach Connell was an innovator both on and off the field. He established a number of initiatives and events at PCS over the years to help increase school spirit and raise student morale. He also created the Sports Booster Club in 1963 to help support and provide additional funding for all Portville sports teams. He helped form the Border League in the late sixties, creating great football rivalries with nearby schools in New York and Pennsylvania.Coach Connell loved Portville Football. He loved the school and the town. He was very proud that he and his wife Bemmie were able to raise their five children in this remarkable community. Most of all, Bob Connell was proud to have been a teacher and a coach to the wonderful young men and women of PCS.