James Hanna to be inducted into hall

WEIRTON – James “Chief” Hanna will be among those inducted as a member of the Class of 2014 of the Weirton Hall of Fame.

Hanna was selected in the category of sports and athletics.

A three-sport all-star who led the Red Riders to two state championships as a senior, Hanna is one of the most decorated athletes in school history. A varsity football starter as a freshman, he continued to excel under Hall of Fame coach Carl Hamill.

In 1949, Hanna starred on the 11-0 record Weir football team which won the first West Virginia largest Class A playoff title with a 27-13 victory over Milton. The two-way end/punter/placekicker landed nine touchdown passes and scored 83 points as a senior when he was runner-up for the West Virginia Player of the Year Heisman Award – now the Kennedy Award – and was selected first team All-OVAC, All-Valley and All-State. He also played in two all-star games: West Virginia vs. Ohio and the West Virginia North-South game.

In basketball, he was second team All-W.Va. and All-OVAC. In baseball, he pitched and batted Weir to the West Virginia state championship. In the 5-3 finals win over East Bank, he struck out 10 in a six-hit effort and batted in four runs with two singles.

Graduating in 1950, he accepted a football scholarship from Kentucky coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and started at end on a freshman squad quarterbacked by Babe Parilli. He left school to play minor league baseball for several seasons in the Cincinnati Farm system before returning to Weirton, where he was a long-time local American Legion, high school and summer baseball coach and scout.

Hanna was an avid sports fan having scouted for the Pittsburgh Pirates, coached the American Legion baseball team and Weir High baseball team. Hanna, along with Carl Hamill, organized the Midget Football Leagues in Weirton as well.

He served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was employed by the Weirton Steel Corporation for 31 years as supervisor of the trucking department.

The sixth-annual Weirton Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set to take place at 2 p.m. May 4 at Undo’s in Weirton.

Tickets are available for $25 each at Marsh Pipe and Supply, R.E. Saxon Jeweler and the Weirton Municipal Building. Approximately 250 tickets are being sold and will not be available at the door. The event is open to the public.