The Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame has officially announced its Class of 2019 and inductees will be honored in a ceremony on May 16 at Watermill Caterers in Smithtown.
“The Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame continues to personify a legendary status for inductees and our Class of 2019 packs a heavy punch of greatness,” said Chris R. Vaccaro, executive director of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame. “It’s our honor to pay tribute to those who helped put Suffolk County on the map in their respective sports. We’re looking forward to honoring these distinguished individuals in May.”
Induction Ceremony Details
- Date: Thursday, May 16, 2019
- Location: Watermill Caterers, 711 Smithtown Bypass, Smithtown, NY 11787
- Time: 6:00 p.m. dinner and cocktails; 7:30 p.m. induction
- Tickets: Click here to access ticket page!
Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2019 honorees …
- Gary Bettman: The Half Hollow Hills alumnus has one of the most recognizable names in sports serving as the Commissioner of the National Hockey League since 1993. He was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.
- Quote from Gary: “It’s an honor to be included in the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame joining the many people who have helped grow the game of hockey on Long Island over the last quarter-century. From the fans watching the game, to the thousands of players participating at the grassroots level, hockey is a part of the fabric of the community in Suffolk County. It is both rewarding and humbling to receive this recognition.”
- Scott J. Beigel & Aaron Feis: Scott is a Special Recognition Award honoree and Half Hollow Hills alumnus, teacher and cross-country coach who selflessly gave his life to protect dozens of students at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida. West Islip native Aaron Feis, a football coach and teacher, also selflessly gave his life to protect dozens of students in Parkland. They were posthumously awarded with the Best Coach honor at the ESPY’s in 2018.
- Quote from Linda Beigel Schulman, Scott’s mom: “What most people view as a dream has become my son Scott’s honor. Thank you so very much for the honor and privilege of Scott being inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame.”
- Bob Costas: Commack native Bob Costas is one of the most legendary sports broadcasters in history. He received the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018 for major contributions to the game.
- Quote from Bob: “Just as when Syracuse University honored me, this honor has special resonance because it connects to my youth. So, this is a reminder of growing up on Long Island, following the Yankees and Mets, the Giants and Jets, the Knicks and the Rangers. Trying to make the Commack baseball and basketball teams. Which I didn’t. And dreaming of becoming a broadcaster. Which I did.”
- Jerry Figgiani: Sachem alumnus and Middle Island resident Jerry Figgiani is a world-renowned martial arts expert. Once rated the No. 1 fighter in the Professional Karate League, Sensei Figgiani has left his mark through his community service, most notably the R.E.A.C.H. (Respect Education and Always Climb Higher) program through the Suffolk County Police Athletic League.
- Quote from Jerry: “Educating the community through the study of martial arts has been my life’s passion. To be recognized by the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame for my contributions is very humbling. I am truly grateful!”
- Bria Hartley: One of the all-time great prep basketball players in Long Island and New York State history, Hartley only got better as she went on to star at the University of Connecticut and eventually in the WNBA and on the international stage.
- Quote from Bria: “I am truly honored to be in this year’s class for the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame. I was just a kid that loved to play basketball and I never would have imagined all these accomplishments. Thank God, because without him none of this is possible. Thank my parents for motivating me to put my heart into everything I do and to work relentlessly. A special thank you to my basketball trainer, Jerry Powell. He always believed in me and pushed me to get better every day. Suffolk County is my home and has a special place in my heart. It is a dream come true to receive this honor.”
- Sam Kornhauser: Coach Kornhauser was the first head varsity football coach at Stony Brook University and guided the program from Division III to Division I status over his 22-year tenure. Following his retirement from coaching in 2005, he assumed the role of Director of Athletic Advancement and Alumni Relations at Stony Brook.
- Quote from Sam: “I am proud and flattered to be inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame. Being recognized and joining such a prestigious group of hall of famers is truly humbling. I owe so much to so many. I share this award with Stony Brook University, all my colleagues that I have worked with, all of our assistant coaches, alumni who support us, the athletic community, the fans and most importantly the student-athletes who played an integral role in my selection.”
- Bill Kropp: The winningest volleyball coach in New York State history won more than 500 matches at Sachem from 1989 through his retirement. In 2016, he founded the men’s volleyball program at St. Joseph’s College to great success.
- Quote from Bill: “Upon learning that I was selected as a member to the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019 I was deeply honored and humbled by my selection. Since the Hall’s inception in 1990, I have always looked forward to the announcement of the new inductees. As a lifetime sports fan, I enjoy following the athletes I admire, the coaches who were my role models, and the student-athletes I had the pleasure to work with. Just like waiting for the day when they select who gets into Cooperstown, I would look forward to Suffolk’s Hall announcement because it was personal; seeing those who directly touched my life get in was something special to me. Now that I’ve been selected, I couldn’t be prouder to be part of such a distinct group that has done so much not only in athletics, but also in shaping and inspiring the lives of so many young people through their actions and accomplishments.”
- Guy Leggio: Over 26 seasons, Leggio built one of Suffolk County’s most consistently successful wrestling programs. His record speaks for itself. The Bay Shore native also coached 85 league, 14 county and three state champs.
- Quote from Guy: “To be selected for this great honor means so much to all the wrestlers I coached and families that were a part of our program; all my coaches, and especially my own wife and family, that allowed for all of our success, we truly were a great big family!”
- New York Cuban Giants: A Historic Recognition Award honoree, the New York Cuban Giants were the first all-black professional baseball club in history. Originally formed in 1885 at the Argyle Hotel, a summer resort in Babylon, N.Y., this team has been highlighted by the Baseball Hall of Fame and Negro League Hall of Fame.
- Quote from Jackie Marsden, Babylon Village Historian: “The New York Cuban Giants have played a major role in baseball history right here in our own backyard, therefore so has Babylon and Suffolk County. We’re delighted that a team from Babylon that made history more than 125 years ago is able to be recognized by the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame.”
- Ward Melville Boys Lacrosse: When you think of boys’ lacrosse, you think of Ward Melville, you think of Ward Melville, another one of this year’s Special Recognition Award honorees. The perennial contender is the dynasty of dynasties with 10 New York State titles to its credit, including most recently in 2018 when they finished ranked as the No. 1 school in the country.
- Quote from WM coaching legend, Joe Cuozzo: “We are humbled by the news that the Ward Melville lacrosse program is being honored by the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame. This recognition is a tribute to the players, coaches, support staff, administrators, and community supporters who have worked so tirelessly to create a program of class and excellence. Thank you for this wonderful honor, and we look forward to joining you at the induction ceremony.”
About Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame: The Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit established in 1990 to honor outstanding people, living or deceased, who have gained prominence and made substantial contributions on behalf of themselves and Suffolk County, in the fields of professional and amateur sports. Learn more at SuffolkSportsHOF.com.
Hall of Fame Contact: HOF Executive Director, Chris R. Vaccaro, SuffolkHOF@gmail.com