DAN BRABENDER ('70)
There may be no better historian of sports in the Erie area than Dan Brabender. A two-year letter winner and a captain in wrestling, Dan's passion for Prep was in charting others success. In the early 90's it led him to begin to compile a statistical and written history of Cathedral Prep football. By the year 2000, Brabender had crafted an amazing 929-page book on the first 75 years of Rambler football entitled: 'Ramblers, The History of Cathedral Prep Football, 1924-1999' in which he travelled from state to state to get specific details as it related to Prep football.
The book was followed up a year later by a similar publication devoted solely to Prep's first state title football season. 'That Championship Season: The Story of the 2000 Cathedral Prep Ramblers' described in great detail all that took place for that nationally ranked team. He continues to this day to compile statistical data on seasonal and all-time records for the football team.
JIM SCHARRER ('95)
It's very rare for a student-athlete to emerge with multiple Division I scholarship offers in one sport. In the case of Jim Scharrer, he emerged from Prep with a triple play most people only dream of: full scholarship offers in baseball, in football and a six-figure contract to play professional baseball.
Scharrer won six varsity letters at Prep, three each in football and baseball. He led the Ramblers in tackles as both a junior and senior and his seasonal totals of 134 stops ('94) and 119 ('92) are two of the top four in school history. In baseball he basically got a hit every other time he strolled to the dish. He mashed his way to a career batting average of .493 with 16 homeruns and 88 RBI's, had a career ERA of 1.42 as a pitcher while striking out 302 opponents in 192 innings while becoming the only baseball player in Prep history to have his uniform number (44) retired.
In 1995 he was chosen in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft by Atlanta and he was signed by the Braves, playing six seasons in their organization, advancing as far as Double-A. But that was only part of Jim's athletic career, post-Prep. Following his retirement from professional baseball, Scharrer signed a football scholarship to play linebacker at Duke. There he was named a Freshman All-American as well as being named to the ACC All Academic team. He was also a 2009 inductee into the Metropolitan Erie Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
JAMES HAMILTON ('91)
Jim Hamilton was a scoring machine on the basketball floor for the Ramblers in the early 90's, the likes of which has rarely been seen. During his senior season alone in 1990-'91, Hamilton scored 645 points while averaging 23.9 points a game, a record that stands to this day. He set the school record for points in a game with 42 while knocking down 86 three-pointers in his final season at Prep. He was tabbed 3rd Team All-State as a senior while also making several All-Tournament teams. His 1,076 career points is still eighth in Rambler history.
That kind of sharp shooting earned Hamilton many college offers and he decided to play collegiately for the Naval Academy. At Navy he helped the Midshipmen make the NCAA Tournament in 1994 and scored 14 points in their first round game vs. Missouri, their first tourney appearance in nearly ten years. A four-year letter winner at Navy, Hamilton graduated as the school's all-time leader in three-pointers made in a season and in a career and is proud to have been part of team's that knocked off Army all four years.
ED HINKEL ('01)
Ed Hinkel is one of the most complete football players in Erie history. Very few who have ever suited up have been more of a threat to score, no matter where they were on the field, than him. A three-time letter winner on the gridiron, Ed played his sophomore and junior seasons with the Ramblers as a wide receiver and a defensive back but went under center in 2000, averaging 10.5 yards a carry, the second highest in school history, while rushing for 16 touchdowns. He also threw for 1,468 yards and 22 TD's, second most in the program's history. For his career, Hinkel returned eight punts for touchdowns, a mark that stands today while averaging a staggering 20.5 yards a return. His 15 interceptions is also a Prep record. He was 1st Team All-State honors as a senior as well as a Quad-A state championship, the first in school history.
At the University of Iowa Hinkel ranks ninth on the career reception list with 135 and 14th in receiving yards at 1,588. His 15 career touchdown receptions ties as the third best total in school history and he set the Kinnick Stadium record and tied a school record with four touchdown receptions in his regular season finale. Ed tied the school bowl record with two touchdown receptions in the 2006 Outback Bowl while he lettered in all four years he played collegiately.
With his father, Mike, also inducted in this class, they become the first father/son combo in the Prep Hall of Fame.
MIKE FLAHERTY ('63)
If you needed a perfect example of the 'seasonal' athlete, Mike Flaherty may be your guy. In a time when many high school athletes prefer to concentrate on just one sport, Flaherty took care of every season by lettering a total of nine times on the varsity in football, basketball and baseball, three times each in those sports. As a senior alone, Mike was an All-City choice in the three sports he played as well as an All-Catholic All- American on the gridiron.
During his time on the Rambler football team, Mike's squads finished a combined 21-4-1 as he played quarterback and defensive back. His passing acumen led to a football scholarship at the University of Detroit. There he broke all of the school records in passing for the freshman team before eventually earning three varsity letters total at both Detroit and the University of Cincinnati, where he graduated from. He would serve as the varsity starter at different stages as a sophomore, junior and senior. He would later coach collegiately for six years.
Flaherty joins his brother, Bill (Prep class of '60, Hall of Fame class of '94) in his alma mater's Hall of Fame.
CRAIG KONWINSKI ('70)
If there was water, chances are Craig Konwinski was in it while he was a student at Cathedral Prep. Over his four years at the school, Konwinski earned eight varsity letters, four apiece in water polo and swimming.
In polo, Craig was 2nd Team All-City as a senior, leading the Ramblers in goals with 26 as a co-captain. In the pool, he was a dominating force. In 1968 he was tabbed the outstanding high school swimmer in the city. As a senior, Konwinski was All-State in Pennsylvania, setting the school and pool records for his work in the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle. He also set the Erie record in the 400 free and 400 free relay.
Those accomplishments certainly caught the attention of college recruiters, and Craig earned a swimming scholarship to Kent State. He made his mark immediately, setting the freshman record in the 1,000 yard freestyle while helping Kent State win their first-ever Mid-American Conference championship. He would win three varsity letters at the school while placing in the top six in the Mid-American Conference Championships in both the 500 yard and 1,650 yard freestyle.
Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army, Konwinski spent 20 years in the military, retiring as a Major. He completed U.S. Army Flight School with a specialty in helicopters and held a variety of command and staff positions.
Mina George was hired to coach the Ramblers football team in 1980. For 16 years George would lead a dominant team, amassing a record of 131-44-2 (.748 winning percentage). He is one of only two football coaches at Prep to win more than 100 games and his victory total is the most in school history.
With the Ramblers, Mina would win 12 Metro League championships and seven straight District 10 titles. He became the first coach in Erie history to take a team to the PIAA state championship game. His 1982 edition is still considered one of the best this city has ever seen, going 10-0 in a time before playoffs existed.
George would coach 15 preseason All-Americans, four 1st Team All-State players, six men who played in the vaunted Big 33 game and three players who would suit up in the NFL. Twice his Ramblers were ranked nationally, advancing as high as 10th in USA Today in 1990. He was tabbed the Pennsylvania AP Big School Coach of the Year in 1991.
George had the pleasure of coaching his son, Owen, while at Prep and would also coach track and field at the school. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 63. Along the way he became Erie's all-time winningest football coach and was inducted both into the PA High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame and the Metropolitan Erie Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
MIKE HINKEL ('74)
A multi-purpose athlete while at Prep, Mike Hinkel earned eight varsity letters over his stay at the school. Though he lettered all four years in baseball and earned a pair in track and field, Hinkel made his statistical mark in football.
The first individual record listed in the Prep football record book is 'most career rushing attempts in a game'. Since 1973, that mark has belonged to Mike Hinkel. He carried the ball 40 times in a game that season vs. Strong Vincent. During that '73 campaign, Mike became the first Prep football player in 42 years to top the 100-point mark in a season.
As a senior Hinkel scored five touchdowns in one game vs. Cleveland John Adams. And though that record was later broken by Tim Colicchio, his mark for most points in game, 36 in that same contest, still stands. Hinkel was All-City in football as a senior and led the Section in both scoring and rushing. He was also All-City in baseball as a sophomore, junior and senior.
With his son, Ed, also being inducted in this class, they become the first father/son combo in the Prep Hall of Fame.