Rockland Sports Hall of Fame to Induct Nine

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1 2 3 4 5BY JAMIE KEMPTON

The Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame will honor nine individuals during its 43rd annual induction banquet on Saturday, April 16 at the Pearl River Elks Club in Nanuet. Reception is at 6 p.m. followed by the induction program at 7 p.m.

This year’s roster of inductees includes John Stephens, North Rockland class of 1989; Katherine Nowell, Clarkstown South class of 1978; Roosevelt “Buster” Keyes Jr., Clarkstown North class of 1972; Virgilio “Chico” Hernandez, Spring Valley class of 1958; Steve Silverberg, Ramapo class of 1975; Linda Soto, North Rockland class of 1984; posthumous inductees Ron Morgan, Congers class of 1952, and Joe McGuinness, Clarkstown South class of 1978, and Michael Coffey, the Joseph Holland Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

“This year’s class of inductees is one of the finest that we have assembled, with honorees having made their marks on the local, state and national levels,” said Pete Scheibner, Hall of Fame Chairman. “Although Rockland is a small county, we have a disproportionate number of individuals who have distinguished themselves in the realm of athletics and represented Rockland with honor and pride.”

Stephens was a four-time New York state champion and national indoor titleholder in the shot put, and a first-team All-State defensive tackle in football. He later starred in the throwing events at Syracuse University. Nowell was a three-time state champion in swimming, setting state records in all three events. She earned All-America honors for both Clarkstown and Ramapo College, and coached the Clarkstown South girls team to a No. 12 national ranking.

Keyes was a two-time All-County running back, four-time All-County track athlete who finished third in the long jump at the State meet, and solid contributor to Clarkstown North’s Section 9 champion basketball team. Hernandez earned All-County honors for four years in baseball and three years each in football and basketball, and was Rockland Athlete of the Year in 1958.

Silverberg captured a state wrestling crown in 1975 and competed twice in the NCAA Division I tournament while at the University of Virginia. Soto was the softball state Player of the Year in 1984 and led the Red Raiders to Capital Region Class A titles in 1983 and 1984, compiling a 43-3 pitching record over four years. She later excelled for New Mexico State.

Morgan won 15 varsity letters in five sports, gaining first-team All-Rockland recognition three times in soccer. McGuinness made his mark as a basketball standout at Clarkstown South, West Point and Manhattan College, coached Albertus Magnus boys and girls teams to Section 1 titles, and served esteemed tenures as athletic director at Albertus and Tappan Zee. He died Feb. 12 at age 55.

Coffey is a 2006 graduate of Pearl River High School and 2010 graduate of Dominican College who has assisted the basketball team at both schools. Coffey, who has a degenerative muscular condition and uses a wheelchair, currently serves as assistant basketball coach and assistant to the sports information director at Dominican.

Tickets for the gala are $55 per person and $30 for children 12 and younger. For tickets or further information, contact Pete Castellano at 201-390-3245 or riverviewmall@aol.com, or use the ticket form on the Hall of Fame’s website, www.RCSHF.org.

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