Second Class Of Inductees To Athletics Hall Of Fame Chosen


Dr. J., Olympian gold medalist Oerter among select

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano recently joined with the Nassau County Public High School Athletic Association in announcing the establishment of a Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame (HOF) and its second class of inductees.

Taking part in the Hall of Fame ceremony in the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola were, from left: Jim Howell, Robert Hartranft, Katherine Degais Butler, Norm Murray’s son (name not provided), Anne DiPrima, County Executive Ed Mangano, George McElroy, Tom O’Connor, Section VIII Executive Director Nina Van Erk, Richard Smith, Bob Baratta, Gil Blum, Darius Burton, Dr. Karl Friedman, Jim Amen, Jr., Joe Blocker, Patrick Pizzarelli and Carl Reuter.

The HOF—a privately-funded endeavor—was created to recognize, preserve and promote the heritage of interscholastic sports in Nassau County. The HOF will be located in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum upon completion of the arena’s transformation.

“Sports provide our young people with important lessons, personal value, leadership skills, physical activity and social interaction skills that will benefit all involved for the rest of their lives,” said Mangano. “The Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame provides an avenue to honor the most gifted athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators and related contributors while helping promote healthy competition here and strengthening interscholastic sports.”

The 2016 class is composed of 31 inductees, including 11 athletes, eight coaches, six administrators, four officials and two contributors. 2016 inductees include the likes of Julius Erving, NBA/ABA champion of Roosevelt H.S.; Al Oerter, four-time Olympic Champion of Sewanhaka H.S.; and longtime football and boys lacrosse announcer
Norm Murray.
An induction ceremony for the Nassau County High School Athletics HOF Class of 2016 will be held on Wednesday, September 28 at the Crest Hollow Country Club.
For more information on the Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame, call 516-396-2488 or visit

Ann Adamchick | Official
Was respected as a force in the recognition and advocacy of girls in athletics. A gifted official at the high school and collegiate level, she was the first woman to officiate a basketball game at Madison Square Garden. Hired by BOCES in 1973 as the Section VIII Assistant secretary for Girls Athletics, she was instrumental in the formation of officials’ associations for all sports.

James Amen Jr. | Administrator
Amen’s dedication to the sport of lacrosse is legendary. He was a player, a coach at both the school and community levels, and a collegiate coach at Johns Hopkins University. Currently the sport chairperson for both modified and high school boys lacrosse in Nassau County. He was inducted into the Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Amen is an active member of the Section VIII Athletic Council in his role as Chairperson of the Sportsmanship Committee, and served as Director of Athletics in the Levittown, Bethpage, Cold Spring Harbor and Manhasset districts.

Dr. Helen Allen | Official
A legendary sports referee who has officiated field hockey, basketball, swimming, softball and lacrosse for over 50 years. Recognized as a pioneer in women’s sports in Long Island, a sports expert, and a mentor for her colleagues. Allen is a member of the Nassau County Field Hockey Hall of Fame and both the US Lacrosse National and Long Island Lacrosse Halls of Fame.

Bob Baratta | Coach
The founding father of Section VIII winter track and field. Became the Section VIII coordinator of cross country, winter track and spring track. From 1964-1994, Baratta taught physical education and coached cross country at Great Neck South High School. Overall cross-country league meet record was 350-34. His spring track and field coaching record was an amazing 414-38. Many of Bob’s track initiatives, methods and philosophies are still in active use across the county.

Raymond Barbuti | Athlete
Lawrence High School football and sprinter who won two gold medals at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. Set a New York State record, which still stands, scoring eight touchdowns in one game.

Joseph Blocker | Athlete
Voted “Athlete of the Century” at Hempstead High School. Was a four sport star in football, basketball, baseball and track. Earned accolades as an All-Long Island, All-State and All-American football player, an All-American basketball player, an All-State track runner, and an All-County baseball player who was talented enough to be offered a signing bonus by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Gilbert Blum | Administrator
Building principal for 28 years, five at H. Frank Carey High School and 23 years at Great Neck South High School. Served in many leadership capacities with the governing bodies of athletics in Nassau County and New York State. Was involved in the merger of the original North Shore and South Shore athletics into one governing body in Nassau County—the Section VIII Athletic Council. Also helped establish guidelines for sports coordinators.

Darius Burton Jr. | Athlete
All-County and All-American athlete in both soccer and basketball. The Baldwin High School graduate went on to play basketball at Hofstra University. He returned to Baldwin High School to continue his outstanding athletic career as a physical education and coach at his alma mater.

Woodward “Woody” Davis | Coach
The Long Beach High School swimming coach from 1964-2014. Named Nassau County Swim Coach of the Year nine times, and was six- time Long Island Coach of the Year. In 1985, New York State recognized Davis as its Coach of the Year. From 1964-89, Davis was a physical education teacher in Long Beach and served as the high school’s athletic director from 1975-77.

Katherine Delgais Butler | Athlete
An elite three-sport star from Wantagh High School. She earned All-County honors for three consecutive years in volleyball, basketball and softball. She was the first windmill pitcher on Long Island, and was inducted into the New York State Softball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Anne DiPrima | Coach
Has achieved success in two sports at Bethpage High School. She coached softball at Bethpage from 1981-2014 with a record of 406-248, and was named Nassau County Softball Coach of the Year nine times. In volleyball, DiPrima, who has been the head coach at Bethpage since 1970, has a mark of 558-219 with her teams, winning 24 conference championships. DiPrima has also been named Nassau County Coach of the Year 11 times.

Anthony Ewers | Athlete
Seven-time New York State track champion while he was at Lawrence High School, winning the 4×400 meter relay four times, and the 300 meter run twice. Truly a “Golden Tornado,” becoming a four-time national champion. Won races in the biggest track meets, including the Bishop Loughlin Games, the Simplot Games in Pocatello, Idaho, the Penn Relays and the Millrose Games. Still holds numerous Nassau County and New York State records.

Julius Erving | Athlete
Best known as the wondrous “Dr. J,” became the most dominant professional basketball player of his era. He began his athletic career at Roosevelt High School. Erving won three championships, four Most Valuable Player awards, and three scoring titles in his professional career with the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. He is the sixth-highest scorer in ABA/NBA history with 30,026 points. He was inducted in 1993 into the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Dr. J” was an innovator who changed the way basketball was played, and performed feats never seen before: midair soars and whirls, punctuated by powerful and artistic slam dunks. A gracious, dignified and disciplined man, Erving was the epitome of class and an ideal ambassador for his game.

Dr. Karl Friedman | Contributor
Associated with Nassau County high school sports for over 40 years as a sports official, a sports medicine expert, and a safety consultant. He has been the Section VIII physician and various school districts’ Chief Medical Officer for over 30 years. Serves as Section VIII’s doctor for both football and lacrosse playoff and championship games. Serving on the Section VIII Safety Committee, has been instrumental in educating Nassau County coaches about the best practices to use prevent injuries in sports.

Frank “Sprig” Gardner | Coach
Wrestling career began in 1937 at Mepham High School and ended in 1963. His coaching record has never been duplicated. His teams had an astounding 254-5-1 record, a .980 winning percentage with 100 consecutive wins for eight consecutive years, and then 130 straight matches over nine years. Was inducted into the New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the Franklin and Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame.

Robert Hartranft | Coach
Farmingdale High School varsity lacrosse coach since 1969, and has amassed over 700 wins, the third all-time winningest high school coach in New York State. Hartranft has coached his teams to 13 Nassau County titles, two Long Island Championships, and the 2011 New York State title. Nmed the 2011 National Coach of the Year. Was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame last year.

Art Heyman | Athlete
An Oceanside High School and Duke University All-American basketball player. The Associated Press, United Press International and Sporting News named him as “Player of the Year” when Duke was in the 1963 Final Four. Heyman played for the Knicks and made the NBA’s All-Rookie team.

Jim Howell | Official
One of the best lacrosse officials that Nassau County ever saw. From 1970-2009, was ranked as a Top 10 official. Officiated 121 playoff games, including 30 Nassau County championships. The founding father of the New York State Officials Association in 1977, has been awarded many times as a distinguished official by the Nassau County high school lacrosse coaches, the Officials Association, and the Section VIII executive director.

George McElroy | Contributor
A driving force in the formation and governance of Nassau County and New York State high school athletics. His 47-year commitment and contributions to student athletes as a teacher, coach, principal of Bethpage High School, and Section VIII leader have been unbelievable. Served as Section VIII treasurer, member of the Section’s Appeals Committee, and president of the Athletic Council. He chaired countless committees to assure that academics and athletics were crucial partners in our students’ education.

Norman Murray | Contributor
“The Voice” for high school football and lacrosse in Nassau County. His grace and professionalism was heard for over four decades. No matter the venue—Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium, the Mitchel Athletic Complex, or LIU-Post—Murray was always on top of his game. The fans and players were treated to his wonderful tones and his knowledge as the public address announcer. The press box at Shuart Stadium was named after him to honor his excellent work.

Thomas O’Connor | Official
A fixture on the varsity football fields in Nassau County for almost 40 years. O’Connor has been the number one-rated official by position in the Long Island Association of Football Officials for 15 times. He is the only man to have officiated in every Long Island Football Championship game since 1992. Has won the Harold Connelly Memorial Award presented by the football coaches association eight times. an award given to those who exemplify leadership, character and attitude.

Al Oerter | Athlete
The 1954 graduate of Sewanhaka High School excelled in the shot put and discus, and is best man as the first athlete to win a gold medal in the same individual event (discus) in four consecutive Olympics—in 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968. South Shore, Nassau County and New York State discus champion and also held the national scholastic record. Won four Nassau County winter track and field shot put championships, and four spring season shot put and discus championships. A national track champion at the University of Kansas.

Bill Piner | Administrator
Athletic Director at Sewanhaka High School from 1979-1981 and Cold Spring Harbor from 1981-99, his contributions to Nassau County athletic committees were significant and valued. He was a major force in creating the Long Island Football Championship and served on the state football committee for 16 years. The Bill Piner Award, created in 1997, is given annually to the top linebacker in Nassau County high school football.

William Ritch | Coach
Coached lacrosse teams at Sewanhaka High School that dominated in Long Island, compiling a 362-60-1 record. Under his leadership, Sewanhaka went undefeated in eight consecutive seasons from 1948-1957. Long Island champions from 1949-1959 and broke the National high school record by winning 91 consecutive games. His lifelong enthusiasm to the promotion of his sport, and his leadership roles in county and national coaches’ associations were legendary.

Doug Robins | Coach
The varsity baseball coach at Levittown Division High School for 31 years. His overall record of 696-157 is the most successful in the history of Long Island baseball. Robin’s teams won 25 league championships, nine county titles, seven Long Island championships, and two state championships. Named Coach of the Year by various organizations nine times.

Richard Smith | Coach
Has been the Garden City High School baseball coach since 1973 and has amassed an overall record of 655-375. His teams have won three Nassau County titles, as well as the Long Island and New York State championship in 2000. Has been named Nassau County Coach of the Year three times.

Matt Snell | Athlete
Enjoyed as outstanding three-year football career at Carle Place High School, leading his school to undefeated seasons in 1958 and 1959 and winning the Thorp Award. Played at Ohio State University under legendary coach Woody Hayes. Had an outstanding career with the New York Jets. In 1969, he rushed for 115 yards against the Colts in Super Bowl III, and scored the Jets’ only touchdown in their 16-7 win. Was inducted into the Jets Ring of Honor last year.

Patricia Thomason | Administrator
A physical educator, coach and the female representative to Section VIII during her tenure at West Hempstead and Herricks High Schools. As a member of the Section VIII Reorganization Committee, she contributed to the implementation of Title IX for Section VIII Athletics. Pat represented the county on the NYSPHSAA’s Executive Committee from 1973-1986, and served as its membership secretary.

Bea Toner | Administrator
Served on the advisory committee for girls athletics created by the New York State Education Department, and was a driving force in promoting Title IX in Section VIII athletics. A physical educator and coach at Herricks High School for 33 years. Toner was the Nassau County field hockey coordinator, and was inducted into its Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The Nassau County Exceptional Senior Girls Field Hockey Game is named in her honor.

Janet Walsh Rogler | Athlete
An amazing four-sport star at Garden City High School. She was named an All-State and All-County field hockey and lacrosse athlete, accruing personal and team records in both sports that still stand in her high school. Wnt on to play both field hockey and lacrosse at Hofstra University, earning All-American honors in both sports.

Amos Zereoué | Athlete
As member of Mepham High School’s Class of 1995, he is arguably the most accomplished high school running back in the storied history of Nassau County football. His running exploits were remarkable, rushing for 2,100 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior. Still to this day, Zereoué is the only player to win the prestigious Thorp Trophy twice. Averaged 5.2 yards/carry at West Viriginia and had a successful professional career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and two other NFL teams. Scored four touchdowns in four playoff games for the Steelers in 2001-02.

Submitted by the Nassau County Executive’s Office


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