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Home Cooking: SRU coaches enjoy local sports talent being part of school's history

August 7, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

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SRU'S center Brandon Fusco (74) in a PSAC West game at Indiana on Saturday, September 25, 2010.

Home cooking.

Slippery Rock University's athletic coaches love it because their teams have benefited from it.

Not in the kitchen. On the field, court and track.

Numerous Butler County high school graduates have stayed at home, attended SRU and become part of the university's sports lore.

“That's what we're all about,” SRU athletic director Paul Lueken said. “We don't like the local athletic talent to get away.

“I like to think we've done a good job of keeping them here. There's a lot of misconception as to what it takes to be a (NCAA) Division II athlete. People under-estimate just how good that athlete has to be.”

Three of the best centers in Rock football history hail from Butler County. Butler graduates Dave Sabolcik (1995-97) and Brian Minehart (1998-2000) were All-Americans at the position. Seneca Valley graduate Brandon Fusco won the Gene Upshaw Award as the best lineman in all of Division II and played eight years in the NFL.

SRU landed a number of stellar athletes from across the street outside of football as wel.

Brenda Egli was an All-American javelin thrower, Lisa Hulihan won a national title in that event, Heather Kearney became The Rock's all-time leading women's basketball scorer, second baseman Billy Messer was a two-time all-region selection and four-year starter, Colten Raabe an All-American offensive lineman, Talbert Weimer was among the PSAC's top shot-putters, and Ryan Thompson the Rock record-holder in the 1,500 meters and indoor mile.

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