Eight Rockland athletes joined the ranks of the immortal at the Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame 40th Anniversary Induction Dinner held last most at the Pearl River Elks Club.
Before the new entries were honored, Pete Scheibner, chairman of the Sports Hall of Fame, acknowledged the charter members of the Sports Hall of Fame, including the Honorable Joe Holland, Charles Brownsell, Shirley Sweetman and Jim Kane, and the oldest member Ralph Cordisco, retired athletic director of North Rockland HS. They and other contributors understood how important sports were to Rockland County’s social and cultural history, Scheinber said.
This year’s new inductees to the Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame Inductees were announced including Keith Bulluck of Clarkstown North, Jodi Schlesinger Salsberg of Clarkstown South, Khyl Farrison of Suffern, Gary Gray and Ed Wanamaker of Nyack, Mike Rotundo of Tappan Zee, posthumously Bud Kast of Pearl River, and The Deer Head Inn and Dear Head Softball Tournament, which received the Joseph Holland Lifetime Achievement Award.
Scheibner, who also serves as archivist for the County of Rockland, commented about Rockland’s history of sports and this year’s inductees: “Some would say that the golden era of sports was the 1930s to the 1960s when Bud Kast was scoring touchdowns for Pearl River in the late 1930s and Tappan Zee was knocking out championships in basketball with players like Mike Rotundo in the late 1950s. The Deer Head Softball Tournament run by Vic Alfieri, Sr. and Vic Alfieri, Jr. and Ernie Capobianco epitomized a sports camaraderie and tradition from 1966 to 1996. Ed Wanamaker of Nyack excelled in soccer and baseball while playing on championship teams in the later stages of the golden era into the start of the modern era in the 1970s.
“The modern era is highlighted by the likes of Coach Gary Gray who set a standard of winning 432 games at Nyack HS ; and Keith Bulluck, an athletic standout at Clarkstown North HS who went on to become an All Pro Linebacker for the Tenessee Titans in the NFL and establish a charitable foundation. To round out the induction class Jodi Schlesinger was selected for her exploits in Track and Field for Clarkstown South and Khyl Farrison for his three sport excellence at Suffern HS when they graduated in 1999. The Rockland County Sports Community is extremely proud of the quality of athletes who continue to compete at high levels while maintaining high academic standards.”
The Sports Hall of Fame has become a recognized presence in Rockland County athletics. In addition to its annual dinner, where it honors new inductees, the Hall of Fame makes donations to families in need, local organizations and charities. Included among these donations have been the ARC, American Cancer Society, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Challenger Little League, Haverstraw Little League Save the Fields Fund, Salvation Army, Special Olympics, Varsity Athletes Against Substance Abuse, Venture, and YMCA Youth Programs.
The Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame has a website that serves as a rich repository of sports history including biographies and photos of all 231 inductees. You may visit the web site at www.rcshf.org.
Photos by JJ Donnelly