The Mercer County Hall of Fame will hold its 75th anniversary banquet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at The Park Inn by Radisson, near West Middlesex. The Diamond Anniversary for the oldest local hall of fame in the world will include the induction of 11 former athletic greats or contributors to athletics in county history. Lanny Frattare, the former “Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates” and “Voice of the Mercer County Hall of Fame” for almost 4 decades will again serve as master of ceremonies and will also be the main speaker to reflect on his long tenure with the group. The banquet is sponsored by Mike Erme with co-sponsor Mel Grata.
Keith Woods was a superb all-around athlete at Mercer High, but it was the phenomenal coaching career that makes him the 2022 Posthumous Inductee to the Mercer County Hall of Fame.
He was a 1975 graduate of Mercer High where he shined in basketball and track & field. In basketball he led the team in scoring his senior season, and he was a PIAA Outdoor Track & Field qualifier in the shot put.
But his Hickory High track & field coaching achievements in the throws was what set him apart from others. Those achievements include:
• 2 national champions, 14 national medalists, 5 All-Americans.
• 16 Hickory PIAA state champions (indoor and outdoor).
• 74 Hickory PIAA state outdoor medalists; 22 state indoor medalists.
• 6 club PIAA state champsion; 13 club PIAA state outdoor medalists.
• 38 District 10 champions
• 18 full athletic scholarships to Division 1 universities.
He was named the 2016-17 Pennsylvania Coach of the Year for boys’ track & field by the NFHS Coaches Association.
The co-owner of Pizza Joe’s in Sharon with wife Donna since 1987, he sponsored and supported many youth teams, such as Little League baseball. He also directed the Shenango Valley’s NFL “Punt, Pass & Kick” competition.
After coaching shot put and discus at Hickory starting in 2003, he started the “Learn to Throw” youth summer program through Hermitage Parks and Recreation to provide kids the opportunity to learn fundamentals of weightlifting and proper discus and shot put techniques. The camp was later co-coached by his children Ben, Emily and Taylor, as well as niece Kristy Woods.
He also played softball for many years in the Shenango Valley area and competed with Maraodi Transfer, a semi-pro team in Pittsburgh, in 1985 and ’86.
Keith passed away unexpectedly Dec. 17, 2017.