HAL PENNINGTON ('34) --- 1987 Inductee --- lettered three years in football and three years in basketball. Member of the XU Basketball Hall of Fame.
Although well-known locally for his excellence as a baseball coach, Hal Pennington excelled on the football field and basketball court for the Musketeers. He was also an excellent student, being elected president of his senior class.
The 1934 Xavier Yearbook refers to Pennington as one of the most beautiful runners in Xavier history. Those who saw him perform would find this a hard statement to argue with. During his junior year, he combined with Hal McPhail to form one of Ohio's best backfields. And it was one of Xavier's all-time best.
During his senior year, Pennington went over the 100-yard mark several times, but he was even more valuable in other situations. He was Xavier's "tough yardage" specialist. He excelled on the third down and short yardage play, plowing through the middle and normally pulling the nose of the ball past the first down marker. XU went 12-11-2 during his three seasons on the football team.
Pennington showed leadership on the basketball court as well. A co-captain on the 1934 State Championship team at Xavier, he helped XU compile a three-year mark of 23-8. Pennington later went on to play professional basketball with the Cincinnati Redlegs.
In 1937 Pennington became originator, coach, and general manager of the original Cincinnati Bengals of the American Professional Football League. His five years with the Bengals came shortly after he coached Model Shoes to three grid titles in the Midwest League and a 28-2 overall record.
Pennington retired after 33 years of coaching amateur baseball. He guided successful programs such as Wilson Freight and Reading Taxi. The Reading Taxi team won the 1978 American Amateur Baseball Congress national title and the national crown of the North American Baseball Federation in 1985 and 1987.
It's a big understatement to say that Pennington retired as a winning coach. He closed the book on his baseball managing with 1,392 wins and 216 defeats for an 86.5% winning percentage. Including baseball, football, and basketball, Pennington holds an overall coaching record of 1,577 wins and 246 losses.
Eleven of the 60 Pennington baseball players who went into pro ball reached the major leagues. The impressive list includes Dave Parker, Buddy Bell, Ron Oester, Len Matuszek, Bo McLaughlin, Barry Bonnell, and Roger McDowell.
The Xavier Hall of Fame induction is one of many honors Pennington has received over the years. His honors include induction into the Hamilton County Sports Hall of Fame, Buddy LaRosa High School Hall of Fame, Xavier Basketball Hall of Fame, and recipient of the Fred Hutchinson Award.