Whitmore, Marsh, Horton and Duggan join HOF
Denny “D.J.” Whitmore helped lead the Salamanca High School football team to a Section 6 championship in 1986, but his contributions to Warriors teams have continued for decades since.
Whitmore, who also performed in varsity track, joined the U.S. Air Force and served in Iraq during the Gulf War. Once he returned to Salamanca, he started coaching football and played the sport on a semi-pro level with the Hornell Dragons, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year and earning a first-team honor. He also won several amateur powerlifting medals.
He created the Warriors’ Alumni Charity Football game, which ran from 2000-2007 and again in 2012 and raised more than $100,000.
On Saturday’ Whitmore joined 11 others in enshrinement in the Cattaraugus County Sports Hall of Fame as part of its 15th annual banquet Saturday, April 8, at the Little Valley Legion.
This year’s class included Whitmore, Robert Jimerson Sr. (Gowanda), Barbara Duggan (Little Valley), Chad Lyter (Allegany-Limestone), Michael T. Williams Sr. (West Valley), Susan Horton (Ellicottville), Wayne R. Marsh (Cattaraugus-Little Valley), Fred Caya (Portville), Dick Edmunds (Pioneer), Bruno DeGiglio (Olean) and Royce A. Ross (Franklinville). Tommy “the Ironman” Irons of Olean was inducted posthumously.
Randolph did not have an inductee this year as the individual was not able to attend, but plans to receive their induction next year.
When the Little Valley Central School District appointed Duggan its athletic director in 1977, she became the first woman to hold that position in all of Section 6. As an administrator, she also served as the Cattaraugus County representative on the Section 6 athletic council and was a longtime president of the Cattaraugus County Athletic Directors Association.
In the spring, she worked as a Western New York Track & Field official. Duggan says one of her proudest moments as a school athletic director was when Little Valley defeated Panama at Rich Stadium to win the Section 6 football title.
Horton has been called the best female athlete to ever come out of Ellicottville by longtime school administrator, teacher and coach Mark Ward. She played at the varsity level since seventh grade including basketball, volleyball, soccer and softball and won the school’s female athlete of the year in 1985.
Horton received a full scholarship to play basketball at the University at Buffalo and later, in her 30s, tried out for a women’s professional football team in Texas. While she made the team, she had to commute three hours each way to play for the Austin Rage and the Dallas Diamonds but only stopped playing football so she could have children.