NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — Penn State New Kensington’s athletics department inducted three members to its inaugural "Hall of Fame" class on Oct. 21. During the annual men’s basketball alumni game, Paul Holzshu, Arthur McCray Jr. and Lou Payne were recognized as the Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
“I want to thank Lou, Art and Paul for being the first-ever inductees for our Hall of Fame,” said Renee Brown-Antonelli, athletic director at the New Kensington campus. “I am grateful for all that they have done for our athletic department and the contributions they have made.
“As I share with all of our student-athletes, playing a sport in college is like a full-time job. Between classes, practices, games and traveling, you are essentially working two full-time positions," she continued. "To be a student-athlete means you have to make sacrifices to be successful. Our Class of 2023 Hall of Fame inductees did just that. They made sacrifices to be successful on and off the court, and helped changed the trajectory of the Athletic Department program for the better.”
The campus Hall of Fame has been a goal of Brown-Antonelli since becoming athletic director in Oct. 2022. She said organizing the newest honor helps connect current student-athletes with alumni and friends of campus athletics programs.
“It shows our current student-athletes that we have a strong athletic tradition that we would like to continue to build and grow and that we recognize their hard work and effort,” she said.
Brown-Antonelli is already working on next year’s Hall of Fame inductions, and the 2024 nomination form is already live online. Alumni and friends are encouraged to make nominations for consideration and review.
Penn State New Kensington Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023
Paul Holzshu is known in the Pittsburgh region for his outstanding athletic ability and successful coaching career spanning high school and collegiate levels. Holzshu became head men’s basketball coach at the New Kensington campus in 1992, and led the team through some of its most storied years. Under his leadership, the team won several championships including the 1993-94 Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference West Regional Championship; the 1994-95 Conference State Championship; the National Junior College Athletic Association Men’s Division III District 5 Championship; and the Region 20 Championship. He also coached the team to reaching the “elite 8” round at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship tournament.
In addition to his success coaching the New Kensington teams, Holzshu also received numerous awards throughout his career including Conference Coach of the Year, Region 20 Coach of the Year and the Vince Jacob College Coach of the Year from the Western PA Basketball Officials Association.
His coaching was grounded in the statement, “It’s not a matter of can and cannot; it’s a matter of will and will not.” The philosophy is one that aided his drive and determination as a student-athlete on and off the court, which also earned him a full athletic scholarship to Clemson University, where he played from 1967 to 1971. He graduated from Clemson in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree in recreational park administration.
Art McCray, who played on the New Kensington basketball team under the leadership of Holzshu, attended the campus from 1994 to 1997, where he earned his associate degree in letters, arts and sciences, before going on to earn a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation services from the Penn State and later a master’s degree in sports management from American Public University.
A graduate of Chartiers Valley High School, McCray was an integral member of the winning New Kensington basketball team during his time at the campus. He led the team in rebounds and blocked shots for the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons. His defensive skills and commitment to the team helped them secure several championships including the Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference West Regional Championship, Conference State Co-Championship, National Junior College Athletic Association Men’s Division III District 5 Championship, and the Region 20 Championship. McCray was also part of the “elite 8” New Kensington team at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship tournament.
McCray’s commitment to the University and New Kensington campus has gone beyond his time as a student. He has served as the assistant men’s basketball coach and currently works as an admissions counselor and SAGE program coordinator and retention specialist for student-athletes at the campus.
Lou Payne, who attended Penn State New Kensington from 2013 to 2016, was the first athlete recruit of McCray and embodied the true meaning of being a student-athlete. Academically, Payne earned accolades including being a two-time Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) All-Academic, two-time John Evans Scholar recipient and three-time Penn State New Kensington honor roll member. He also received a Leadership Conference of America award.
On the court, Payne served as team captain all three years during his time at the New Kensington campus. In 2016, he was named the Penn State New Kensington’s Male Athlete of the Year. That same year, he ranked in the PSUAC’s Top 3 in assists, Top 20 in steals, as well as ninth in free throw percentage with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA).
Payne graduated from the New Kensington campus with a bachelor of science degree in information sciences and technology.