Inductees into Small College Coaches Hall of Fame

Posted: February 04, 2013

AS THE SPORTS information director at the University of Sciences and a member of the Philadelphia Area Small College Coaches Association, Bob Heller is familiar with coordinating the annual induction into the group's Hall of Fame.

This time around, his only responsibility will be to sit back and wait for his name to be announced.

Heller, who has been a member of the association's board for 13 seasons, will be inducted into the Philadelphia Small College Coaches Hall of Fame on March 18, alongside former Ursinus All-America basketball player Dennis Stanton and former Community College of Philadelphia basketball coach Robert "Dondi" DeShields. The ceremony will be held at the University of Sciences.

"I'm going in with two other great people," Heller said. "I'm flattered to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. To have my name alongside some of the great coaches and players is very humbling."

Heller is the first SID to be enshrined and only the third inductee who was neither a player nor coach.

Since its first class of 1997, the Hall of Fame has inducted 23 individuals who have made distinguished contributions over the years and brought outstanding virtue and prestige to the organization.

Heller embarked on his career while he was still attending Villanova, where he worked as an assistant ticket manager.

Upon receiving his communications degree in 1986, Heller started working for the 76ers in a media role that included gathering statistics.

"I got to meet a lot of people," Heller said. "I built up a lot of my media contacts when working there."

After succeeding in his role with the 76ers, Heller was brought into the University of Sciences by former women's basketball coach Andy McGovern. Heller worked as a part-time volunteer under McGovern for about a year until a full-time position opened up in the sports information office.

"I tell the story of the athletes, their accomplishments, what they do on and off the playing field along with their academic endeavors," Heller said. "It's promoting the athletes and at the same time giving visibility to the school."

Heller has definitely shined a light on the university. When he first assumed the job, the school's website was still in its infancy. What started out as a one-page site has now blossomed into more than 5,000 pages, thanks to Heller's diligent work.

Heller also served on several committees, including the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

He currently serves as the district coordinator on the Academic All-America Committee and also acts as the current Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference SID president and academic adviser to student-athletes attending the university.

"I love what I do," Heller said. "It's very satisfying. I'm in my office all the time and keep an open door so any of the kids can come and see me. They're like my family. I share their successes and I feel their pain.

"Let's put it this way," Heller said. "I'm not going anywhere."

Other inductees

* Robert "Dondi" DeShields was the head coach at Community College of Philadelphia for 13 years and posted a 333-80 record, an .806 winning percentage.

His teams won six Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association state championships and eight Eastern Pennsylvania Athletic Association regional titles. He was PCAA coach of the year from 2007-10. He was the first African-American coach to win the PCAA coach of the year award.

* After an outstanding career at Ursinus, 4 years playing professionally in Europe and a head-coaching stint at Souderton High, Dennis Stanton returned to his alma mater as assistant coach this season.

Stanton was the 2004 Mid-Atlantic Region Player of the Year after having the best individual season in Ursinus history. He led the NCAA in scoring as a senior with a 32.6 average.

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