The Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame (HOF) was created a year ago to recognize, preserve and promote the heritage of interscholastic sports. The HOF is temporarily located in the rotunda of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola and is expected to call the new Nassau Coliseum its home.
This year’s class is comprised of 31 inductees, led by Basketball Hall of Famer Julius (Dr. J) Erving. An induction ceremony will be held Sept. 28 at the Crest Hollow Country Club. Here’s a breakdown of the athletes and coaches of the 2016 class.
RAYMOND BARBUTI: A Lawrence High School football and sprint runner who won two gold medals at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. He set a New York State record, which still stands, scoring eight touchdowns in one game.
JOSEPH BLOCKER: Voted “Athlete of the Century” at Hempstead High School, he was a four-sport star in football, basketball, baseball and track. Earned high accolades in every sport and was as an All-Long Island, All State and All American football player.
DARIUS BURTON, JR.: An 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 to continue his outstanding athletic career as a physical education teacher and coach.
KATHERINE DELGAIS BUTLER: 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; inducted into the New York State Softball Hall of Fame in 2014.
ANTHONY EWERS: A seven-time New York State track champion from Lawrence High School, winning the 4x400 meter relay four times, and the 300-meter run twice. He was truly a “Golden Tornado”, becoming a four time national champion. He still holds numerous county and state records.
JULIUS ERVING: Best known as “Dr. J”, he became the most dominant professional basketball player of his era. Out of Roosevelt High School, Erving won three championships, four MVP awards, and three scoring titles in his professional basketball career with the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. He is the sixth-highest scorer in ABA/NBA history with 30,026 points and was inducted in 1993 into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
ART HEYMAN: 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 reached the 1963 Final Four. He played for the Knicks and made the All-NBA rookie team after averaging 15.4 points per game.
AL OERTER: A 1954 graduate of Sewanhaka High School, he excelled in the shot put and discus at every level he competed. He won Olympic gold medals in the discus throw in 1956, ‘60, ‘64 and ‘68, and was a national champion at the University of Kansas.
MATT SNELL: Enjoyed a big football career at Carle Place High School, leading his school to undefeated seasons in 1958 and ‘59 and winning the Thorp Award. He was inducted last year into the New York Jets Ring of Honor. 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.
JANET WALSH ROGLER: A tremendous four-sport star at Garden City High School. She was named an All-State and All-County in field hockey and lacrosse athlete, accruing personal and team records in both sports that still stand.
AMOS ZEREOUE: A member of Mepham High School’s Class of 1995, he’s arguably the most accomplished high school running back in the history of Nassau football. He had 2,100 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior and stands as the only athlete to win the Thorp Award twice. He played seven years in the NFL.
WOODWARD "WOODY" DAVIS: Served as the Long Beach High School swimming coach from 1964-2014. He was the Nassau County Swim Coach of the Year nine times, and was a six-time Long Island Coach of the Year.
ANNE DIPRIMA: Achieved success in two sports at Bethpage High School. She coached softball from 1981-2014 with a record of 406-248, and in volleyball has a mark of 558-219 with 24 conference championships.
FRANK “SPRIG” GARDNER: His unbelievable wrestling career began in 1937 at Mepham High School and spanned 26 years. His teams had an astounding 254-5-1 record, a winning percentage of 98 percent, and twice won more than 100 in a row.
ROBERT HARTRANFT: Has served as the Farmingdale High School boys’ lacrosse coach since 1969, and has amassed over 700 wins. He is the No. 3 all-time winningest high school coach in the state and has guided the Dalers to 13 county titles, two L.I. crowns, and the 2011 NYS title.
WILLIAM RITCH: Coached lacrosse at Sewanhaka High School and compiled a remarkable 362-60-1 record. Under his leadership, the Indians went undefeated in eight consecutive seasons from 1948-57 and were L.I. champs for 11 straight years.
DOUG ROBINS: Served as 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 L.I. crowns, and two state championships.
RICHARD SMITH: Has served as the Garden City High School baseball coach since 1973 and has amassed an overall record of 655-375. Smith's teams have won three Nassau titles, as well as the L.I. and state championships in 2000.