Blast from the Past


Snip, Snip, Snap! Austin Butler, Jake Biss and Sean Graytok have heard the sound of cutting down the nets after winning section titles in 2015, in 2016, and in 2017. They grew as players while they were winning section titles and became leaders while leaving their mark at Greater Latrobe. The obstacles that you have overcome. The adversity that you face when the dice don’t roll the right way. The history that there is whenever someone mentions that certain team. The memories have not only been with the players and coaches, but with the entire school and the fans who care so much about that team. The Greater Latrobe Wildcats boys basketball team checks all the boxes for a successful team throughout the last four decades. The Hall of Distinction captures, proves, and shows the history-making and growth of the section-winning teams of Greater Latrobe.

Coach Brad Wetzel’s vision about The Hall of Distinction came to him about five years ago. “My thought was to create something that would add to the culture of the program.  I wanted it to be a collection that was aesthetically pleasing and something that all players in the program could aspire to be a part of.  My hopes were to have current and future players walk past the teams who found a way to be champions and cut down the nets before and after every practice and game for the rest of their careers. My sincere hope is that the hall remains a tribute to the teams and not to individuals of the program,” said Wetzel.

“About 20 years of use had worn the team room to the point where I thought that a refurbishment was necessary. I thought what a neat place to take this drab hallway and make it something special for generations to come. I not only wanted to celebrate our past success, but recognize teams,” said Wetzel. 

The team started fundraising for the construction of The Hall of Distinction during the midst of COVID-19. They were planning on selling tickets in order to make the construction happen. Then the pandemic happened and they started to fear that they wouldn’t get their job done. Fortunately, Coach Wetzel had some people that he could rely on whenever the going was getting tough. Wetzel turned to people that he knew he could rely on and people that helped create the history of boys basketball and helped grow the culture of basketball here at Greater Latrobe. Nate Campbell, class of 2010 and former player under Coach Wetzel, Bruce Thompson, a former player with Coach Wetzel and part of the section winning team in 1987, and former Wildcats basketball coach, Ray Zsolczak. 

“Coach Wetzel reached out to me about a year ago, letting me know about this project for The Hall of Distinction and raising funds. And I was happy to help out and sell tickets for the project, and it turned out amazing,” said Campbell. 

“We wanted to upgrade things in the locker room and hallway on the walk to the gym floor to highlight the history and accomplishments of Latrobe basketball and the legacy that the current players were representing. Section titles are always the goal, and to highlight those teams that accomplished it makes it a special walk to the court for current teams,” said Thompson. 

According to Wetzel, the main goal for The Hall of Distinction wasn’t to recognize great individuals but to recognize the growth and the great teams at Latrobe. Even though great players roamed the halls and ran the courts of Latrobe, those great players had great teammates and coaches to stick by them when the going got tough. It takes a full team effort for players and coaches as a whole to continue to strive for greatness.

“I think it establishes who we are, and what these teams have done,” said Wetzel. Wetzel wanted a place in the school that tells the story of basketball here at Latrobe and will be permanent for years to come.

These players will look at this as a way of expanding the history of Greater Latrobe basketball. It won’t be just from teams of the past, but also the teams of the future.