A double Division 1 athlete, a community servant, a successful coach and the district's first 1,000-point baller - these are the four newest members of the Franklin Area High School Hall of Fame. The 2022 inductees were Kevin Blackhurst, Class of 1989, for athletics; Lou Slautterback, teacher, for service; Eric Smith, coach, for athletics, and Charles T. “Chuck” Snell (posthumously), Class of 1957, for athletics.
The induction ceremony was held Thursday night at the Quality Inn and Conference Center and drew one of the largest crowds of the event's 12 years.
The following descriptions of the inductees were written by the Hall of Fame committee. The quotes are taken from the program provided at the ceremony.
Eric Smith (top left), Charles Snell (top right, Kevin Blackhurst (bottom right) and Lou Slautterback (bottom left)
"Kevin's career may be one of the best the school has ever been able to produce."
Franklin Area High School has had its share of athletes reach the ultimate goal of playing Division 1 athletics. While it’s hard enough to reach that pinnacle in one sport, one Franklin athlete was able to excel in two sports at the Division 1 level. Kevin Blackhurst had one of the finest careers Frankin has seen.
He was an all-conference performer in both basketball and baseball and the 1989 TCAC MVP in hoops. He is the only Franklin alum to be a McDonald’s all-American nominee. He played in the prestigious Dapper Dan Roundball Classic in Pittsburgh, a first for a Venango County athlete.
At the University of Delaware he lettered in both basketball and baseball and earned honors in both sports. He helped the basketball program to two NCAA Tournament appearances and Blackhurst still ranks seventh on the career batting average list at Delaware. He was named the 1994 University of Delaware Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year. He is the only player in school history to play in both the NCAA hoops and baseball tournaments in the same year.
"Four decades of providing caring, loving, and heartfelt instruction of the youth of Franklin has made a difference in countless lives."
Many great educators have been a part of the Frankin Area School District. They have committed themselves to making a difference in the lives of every single young person they come in contact with. One such individual is Mr. Lou Slautterback.
Mr. Slautterback’s passion for teaching was evident the moment he set foot in the halls of the school district. He was hired in 1968 and for the next 36 years he worked tirelessly to promote health, fitness, and the value of physical education.
He was integral in the expansion of phys ed to the entire district and help push for more physical education teachers with more days in phys ed during the week for each elementary student.
Decades of students and athletes have been positively influenced by him.
"He focused on hard work and doing the little things right."
Throughout the history of Frankin Area High School athletics, there have been some great eras. The football, basketball, and baseball programs have had their share of success but the most successful program over the last 30 years has been the boys and girls swimming programs. This can be attributed to the hiring of Eric Smith in 1991.
Starting the 1991-1992 season and for the next 25 years, Frankin swimming was one of the best in the district and Western Pennsylvania. As the head swimming coach, he compiled 574 victories. Franklin’s swimming programs dominated with eight undefeated seasons, 19 conference championships, 16 District X titles, and in 2013 the boys team was PIAA runner-up.While at Franklin, he coached individually 46 All-Americans, 263 District X Champions in 128 events, 19 state champions, and 203 PIAA state qualifiers.
"A family tree of atheletic success was rooted in Mr. Snell."
Franklin basketball has had an outstanding number of players come through the program throughout Franklin Area High School’s long history. Many players have strived to finish their careers with over 1,000 points. There have actually been 12 players that have finished with over 1,000 points in their respective careers, but the first to do it was (the late) Charles T. “Chuck” Snell.
Chuck was an outstanding all-around athlete while attending Frankin, but he has become a name synonymous with basketball excellence. He was an outstanding shooter that finished with 1,053 points in his career and was a benchmark to equal for years to come. An all-state honorable mention in both 1956 and 1957, Chuck held both the records for scoring in a season, 502, and a single game, 42, when he graduated and continued his career at St. Francis and later Clarion.
Our friend at Route 8 Rivalry also attended and wrote about the induction ceremony. Make sure to check out Penny's story "Went to the Franklin Hall of Fame banquet and am glad I did".