BY JAMIE KEMPTON
The Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame will honor six individuals during its 44th annual induction banquet on Saturday, April 22 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 Al Taylor, Nyack class of 1960; Jerome Whidbee, Nyack class of 1966; Tom Mulroy, Ramapo class of 1974; Phil Donnelly, Pearl River class of 1993; John Castellano, Nyack football coach; and track official Fred Adler, the Joseph Holland Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
“Each year’s class takes on a distinctive character and this year’s group is defined by achievement at the highest echelons of their respective sports,” said Pete Scheibner, Hall of Fame Chairman. “We have athletes who excelled in multiple sports, single-sport stars, and a coach and official who reached state and national prominence. Rockland County continues to produce outstanding athletes year after year, so there is no shortage of qualified candidates for future years.”
Taylor and Whidbee were both three-sport standouts who earned All-County honors in each of their sports. Taylor was one of the top all-round athletes in Rockland in the late 1950s. He was a two-time first-team All-County selection in football on the Nyack Indians’ undefeated 1958 team and RCPSAL co-champion 1959 squad. In basketball, he duplicated those All-County honors, led the Rockland PSAL in scoring both years, and broke the season scoring record with 291 points in 1959. In track, he was the first shot putter in Rockland to break the 50-foot barrier, and ran on the Indians’ County-record-setting 880-yard relay.
Whidbee was the first-team All-Rockland quarterback in 1965, leading Nyack to a share of the RCPSAL title. He also made first-team All-County in basketball and as a shortstop in baseball, and was a varsity starter in both sports for three years. Whidbee lettered in all three sports at Tennessee State, and later starred for the Rockland Warriors semipro football team and the famed Apollo XII recreation softball team.
Mulroy is one of the most accomplished soccer players Rockland County has ever produced. After leading Ramapo to a County and Section 9 championship as a first-team All-Rockland selection, he earned first-team All-America honors at Ulster County Community College, pacing the Senators to a final four berth in the NJCAA. He then embarked on a 13-year pro career for 13 teams in five indoor or outdoor leagues, including the North American Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League, and now travels the world promoting soccer with his Miami-based sports marketing firm.
Donnelly wrestled his way to four Section 1 titles and four place-winning efforts in the New York State championships. He set a Rockland record (since broken) of 155 career victories and capped his career with a second-place finish at the State meet, encompassing all enrollment classes. A four-sport athlete, Donnelly also won a Sectional title in track & field in the pole vault, and ran on two Section 1 championship cross country teams for Pearl River. He later enjoyed a successful wrestling career at Old Dominion University, an NCAA Division I program.
Castellano is the only Rockland football coach to win two New York State titles, leading Nyack to the Class A crowns in 2000 and 2003. He amassed seven Section 1 championships, 14 league titles, and an overall record of 180-49-1 in 23 seasons, placing him third on the all-time Rockland list for career victories. He was named Rockland County Coach of the Year five times, Section 1 Coach of the Year twice, and had four players named New York State Player of the Year. He currently coaches at Westlake High School.
Adler, a 1953 Haverstraw High School graduate, made his mark as a top-rated track official on the high school, college and elite levels for more than 35 years. A master-level official for USA Track & Field, he has worked as a clerk, chief starter and coordinator of officials at numerous open and collegiate national championship meets, the Olympic Trials, Millrose Games, Penn Relays, and many other major events; World Masters, Special Olympics and Paralympics, the Warrior Games at West Point, and a multitude of college and scholastic championship meets.
Tickets for the gala are $55 per person and $30 for children 12 and younger. Ticket deadline is April 14. For further information, contact Pete Castellano at 201-390-3245 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the ticket form on the Hall of Fame’s website, www.RCSHF.org.