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Joe Battista to Be Inducted into Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame

by on October 26, 2018 12:33 PM

"The Godfather of Penn State Hockey" is headed to the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

Joe Battista, who coached the Penn State Icers to six national titles and was instrumental in the creation of the Nittany Lion varsity programs, will be inducted with the Hall's Class of 2018 on Nov. 3 at a ceremony in Wilkes-Barre.

A 1982 Penn State graduate, Battista was a standout and team captain on the Icers club team during his college days. In 1987, he became the program's head coach and went on to lead the team to 10 consecutive American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) championship games and six titles.

In 19 years as Icers coach, Battista won 512 games.

Along the way, he led the effort to establish Penn State's NCAA Division I men's and women's varsity ice hockey programs and played a pivotal role in securing a $102 million gift from Terry and Kim Pegula that funded the teams and construction of Pegula Ice Arena.

Battista became an associate athletic director in 2010 and later served as executive director of the Nittany Lion Club.

His career extended into the pro ranks as well. Battista was the Pittsburgh Penguins' first director of amateur hockey development and the first head coach of the Amateur Penguins junior team. He also spent time as a vice president for the Buffalo Sabres.

A State College area resident, he is now the founder and owner of Pragmatic Passion consulting and recently authored a new book, “The Power of Pragmatic Passion: 7 Common Sense Principles for Achieving Personal and Professional Success.” He also is a columnist for whose columns appear biweekly.

Battista will be joined the Hall of Fame's class by Robert “Tick” Cloherty (football/basketball), Jack Henzes (football coach), Kathleen Klien Prindle (swimming coach), Abigail K. Peck (rowing), Karen Klassner (field hockey), Robert Shoudt (track and field coach), Manuel Pihakis (wrestling), and Thomas Harbert (wrestling/cross country/lacrosse). George Curry (football), Bruce DalCanton (baseball), and Abe Everhart (basketball coach) will be inducted posthumously.

Battista previously has been inducted into the Penn Hills and East Boros Sports Hall of Fame and received the Lou Lamoriello Career Achievement Award by the American Hockey Coaches Association in 2014.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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