Portville – Three more individuals joined the Big 30 Basketball Hall of Fame late last month.
Enter this year former Salamanca sports star Chuck Crist, who played in the NFL for seven seasons. Longtime Olean boys’ basketball coach Jeff Anastasia, the most winning hoops coach in Western New York history and former Bradford girls’ basketball coach Margie Holland, named the 30 Best Girls’ Basketball Coaches of the Year.
These individuals were to be honored in 2020 before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic that wiped out induction. Two years later, they formed the sixth class of the Big 30 HOF and were honored during senior classic basketball games on March 27 at Portville Central School.
Crest, a native of Salamanca, dominated the high school sports scene and beyond.
He has honors in soccer, basketball, baseball, and track games, and will use this for scholarships for both football and basketball at Penn State.
At PSU, he focused on basketball and would make his name on the court during his three seasons.
In his first year, he featured by 49.3 field goals (70 to 142), and won the Player of the Year award. Named a team captain before his first season in 1971, he averaged roughly 11 points per game on a team that finished 17-8, the best season in Penn State history up to that point. He was again named Team MVP.
Despite all this success on the field, he returned to football after graduation. The New York Giants signed him as an unpolished free agent to play a defensive role. He played in the NFL for seven seasons with three different teams (Giants, Saints, 49ers), primarily as a safety. He has scored 20 interceptions and 11 recoveries in 92 matches. In 1977 he was named Defensive Player of the Year with New Orleans. The following season, he was traded to San Francisco and ended his NFL career with leading the Six Interceptors team.
He is also a member of the Cataraujos County Sports Hall of Fame, the Chateauquah Sports Hall of Fame, and the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Sadly, Chuck passed away in October 2020. His son Scott agreed on Chuck’s behalf.
Anastasia is a local celebrity for his coaching awards at Olean High School, and rightfully so.
Anastasia’s 32-year coaching career in his alma mater included 602 wins, 21 league titles, 14 divisional titles, 12 regional trips, seven state finals, and a second division championship (2008, 2016). His teams have achieved an 81 percent win rate and have achieved an unprecedented level of success since he began coaching the university in 1987.
His resume also includes an induction into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame (training he received less than 24 hours after winning the state title), among many other coaching awards and honors. The 2016 Huskies won 28-1 and won the New York State title before ultimately losing in the NYS Union Championship match. The 28 wins in one season are the most in the school’s history. He is the winning coach in Western New York High School basketball history.
Anastasia graduated from Olean in 1977 after playing school basketball for John Baker, and returned to the area to train after college. He coached all levels of basketball in the school. Hundreds of youngsters have graduated through Olean’s highly successful Anastasia teams, excelling not only on the field but off the field as well. The list of training awards and honors beside his name is endless.
Many of his players went on to play as a team, and some of them were in Division I schools.
Anastasia retired from coaching after the 2018-19 season.
These days, girls in sports have many of the same opportunities as boys.
But it wasn’t always this way, and female athletes in the region have thanks for the Netherlands.
In 1966, the Netherlands started girls’ basketball and rink teams at Bradford High School even though there was not enough money to keep them in competition with the boys’ teams. In just 10 years, Holland built the Bradford girls’ team into a state powerhouse, culminating in a runner-up in the state championship in 1976. She coached basketball in Bradford for 15 years, winning seven District 9 titles. Prior to coaching at Bradford, she taught at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. and in Keene.
She coached in the 1976 Girls’ All-Star Game—a first in the state—and won several coaching awards throughout her career.
With the rise of the Bradford girls’ basketball team, the Pennsylvania Educational Association filed a lawsuit demanding equal pay. It paved the way for all girls’ program trainers to receive equal pay for training those teams. She filed her lawsuit in 1974 and was settled in her favour in 1978.
Holland has played sports all her life, beginning with baseball as a child growing up in Kane, where she was the first girl to play in the Boys Baseball Knothole League. She would play for the All-American Girls Baseball team in 1956.
She graduated from West Chester College and received master’s degrees from the University of Colorado and Indiana University.
The Big 30 Coach of the Year is for girls as presented by the Times Herald in honor of the Netherlands.