May 4, 2012
MADISON, N.J. -
Two charter members of La Salle's Hall of Athletes, Al Cantello and Tom Gola, were inducted as part of the inaugural class of the Middle Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame yesterday, during the kickoff of the MAC 100, a celebration of 100 years of intercollegiate athletics in the conference.
La Salle was a member of the MAC from 1952 to 1974.
The MAC Hall of Fame, an initiative of the MAC 100, is an honor to recognize student-athletes, coaches, administration, faculty, or staff from the Middle Atlantic Conferences who have demonstrated success in athletics, academics, and in the community. Thirty-six individuals (22 athletes and 17 staff/administrators) were inducted into the Inaugural MAC Hall of Fame, representing 25 schools and 13 different sports.
Bill Manlove, who went on to serve as La Salle's football coach from 1997-01, was also inducted for his career as the football coach and athletic director at Widener (1969-91).
Al Cantello was an outstanding competitor in the javelin, becoming a four-time MAC Champion (1952-55), three-time IC4A Champion (1953-55), three-time Penn Relay Champion (1953-55), and was a two-time All-American (1954-55).
Cantello threw the javelin for a world record (282 feet, 3 ½ inches) in 1959 and went on to represent the United States in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. He was selected for Sport Magazine's All-Time Track & Field Team in 1964 as world's greatest competitor in the javelin.
After competing, Cantello has coached track and cross country for the past 49 years at the U.S. Naval Academy and was NCAA Region II Cross Country coach of the year in 1984, 1985, and 1992.
Cantello has led the Mids to four consecutive Patriot League cross country titles, earning conference coach of the year honors each time. He has a career record of 241-69-1 in 44 seasons as cross country head coach, including a 34-9-1 mark against Army. His 34 N-Star wins are the most by a Navy coach in one sport.
The Mids have also shined in the classroom under Cantello, earning USTFCCCA All-Academic Cross Country Team accolades in each of the past two seasons by posting a team GPA over 3.00.
From 1981-88, Cantello held a dual coaching role, guiding Navy's men's indoor and outdoor track squads while maintaining his cross country duties. As Navy's head track coach, Cantello led the Mids to a 67-9-1 dual meet record.
A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Gola led La Salle to the NIT Championship in 1952, NCAA Championship in 1954, and NCAA national runner-up in 1955. A four-time All-American, he was named tournament MVP and National Player of the Year in 1954. He averaged 20.9 points and 19.0 rebounds during 115 games and holds the NCAA record with 2,201 career rebounds.
He went on to play in the NBA for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors (1955-56) and New York Knicks (1957-66) amassing 7,871 points and 5,605 rebounds. His #15 jersey is retired at La Salle, and Gola is listed 17th on ESPN's "Countdown to the Greatest" college basketball players.
Gola is also a member of the Philadelphia Big 5, Madison Square Garden, Pennsylvania Sports and Helms College Basketball Hall of Fames.