NJSIAA Hall of Fame Class for 2018 announced

Late Columbia HS coach Eugene Chyzowych, former Seton Hall Prep star Rick Porcello among the local inductees

A stellar group of 16 individuals has been selected to comprise the 2018 induction group for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Gallagher/Bollinger Hall of Fame.

The class was chosen by a statewide committee made up of media members and active and retired school administrators, and was chaired by NJSIAA assistant director Jack DuBois.

The class includes 12 athletes, which is the largest number of former players chosen in any year since the Hall of Fame was established in 1996.

They will be honored at a luncheon on Dec. 3 in Princeton.

Following, in alphabetical order, is the 2018 class for the NJSIAA/Bollinger Hall of Fame:

Athletes (with high school and graduation year)

Al Blozis (Dickinson 1938)

A 6-6, 250-pound multi-sport athlete who starred in football and shattered records in the shot put, he went on from Dickinson to become a star at Georgetown and then an All-Pro tackle with the New York Giants. Even though he didn’t have to serve in the armed forces in World War II because of his size, he insisted on enlisting and was killed in France on Jan. 31, 1944, six weeks after playing in the NFL championship game.

Erin Donohue (Haddonfield 2001)

Aside from scoring more than 1,000 points in basketball, she was one of the state’s all-time greats in cross country and track and field. She won 15 state titles in outdoor track, in the 800, 1600, 3200 and javelin, and was a two-time Meet of Champions winner in cross country. After an All-American college career at Georgetown, she represented the USA in the 1500 at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Todd Frazier (Toms River South, 2004)

The current third baseman for the New York Mets gained his first bit of acclaim as a star of the 1998 Toms River team that won the Little League World Series. He set a number of season and career records at TRS, where he helped the team win two state titles. He also scored more than 1,000 points in basketball. He was also an All-American baseball player at Rutgers.

Asjha Jones (Piscataway, 1998)

She scored 2,266 points and grabbed 1,256 during a hoops career at Piscataway that included a state title, with state Player of the Year and All-America honors as a senior. She then played at Connecticut, where she was a key contributor on teams that won two NCAA championships. A long professional career followed, in both the WNBA and overseas. She also won a gold medal playing for the USA at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Lydell Mitchell (Salem, 1968)

He was a standout football, basketball and track at Salem, but made his mark as a running back in college at Penn State and in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts. He rushed for 2,935 yards and set several school and NCAA records with the Nittany Lions and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection with the Colts.

Rick Porcello (Seton Hall Prep, 2007)

Currently the pitching staff ace for the Boston Red Sox and the winner of the 2016 American League Cy Young Award, his career took off at Seton Hall Prep, where his career record was 20-1. He had a career 0.88 ERA, and helped the Pirates win three state titles. He was chosen national Player of the Year in 2007 by Gatorade, USA Today and the American Baseball Coaches Association.

Bill Raftery (St. Cecilia’s of Kearny, 1959)

He’s well known as the basketball coach at Seton Hall University from 1970 through ‘82, and then as a widely-popular college hoops commentator, which earned him a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as the recipient of the Curt Gowdy Media Award in 2006. But before that, he was one of the greatest high school players in state history. He scored a then-state record 2,192 points, including a record 827 during his senior year. He was also a star on the soccer and baseball teams at St. Cecilia.

Mike Rozier (Woodrow Wilson, 1980)

A football star at Woodrow Wilson in Camden, he had a stellar career at Nebraska, where he was two-time All-American and winner of the Heisman Trophy in 1983, following a season in which he rushed for 2,148 yards and 29 touchdowns. As a pro, he played two years in the USFL before playing eight additional years in the NFL.

Kristen Somogyi (St. Peter’s of New Brunswick, 1992)

She graduated as the all-time leading basketball scorer in New Jersey history, girls or boys, with 3,899 points. She was also a three-time All-State and All-America selection and helped St. Peter’s win two state championships. She played collegiately at the University of Virginia and at Rutgers.

Jim Spanarkel (Hudson Catholic, 1975)

He capped a stellar athletic career at Hudson Catholic by being selected All-State in both basketball and baseball as a senior. Spanarkel scored over 1,000 points in basketball.

He went on to Duke, and became the school’s first 2,000-point scorer and was a three-time team MVP, including the 1978 season when the Blue Devils reached the NCAA final. He also pitched two seasons on the Duke baseball team. Spanarkel played five years in the NBA, and remains visible as a color commentator on NCAA and NBA telecasts.

Brian Taylor (Perth Amboy, 1969)

He earned All-America recognition in both basketball football at Perth Amboy and graduated as the second-leading hoops scorer in state history with 2,495 points. He scored 1,239 points in just two years at Princeton (freshmen were ineligible then, and he chose to forego is senior year to turn pro). He played a total of 11 years in the ABA and NBA.

Keiko Tokuda (Clifton, 1998)

The most successful scholastic tennis player in  state history, she is the only four-time state singles champion. She was 86-0 for her career, and lost only two sets – one apiece during her freshman and sophomore seasons. She was also part of three NCAA team championship-winning teams at Stanford.

Officials/Coaches

Don Danser

During a career that spanned more than 40 years, he was a teacher, coach, official, NJSIAA Project Manager, Tournament Director and NJSIAA Assistant Director for the sports of cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. He was also in charge of cooperative sports programs, and coordinated the Shop Rite Cup point tabulations. He died on June 15, 2015, and was honored with the NJSIAA Award of Honor later that year.

Eugene Chyzowych

The boys soccer coach at Columbia from 1964 until the start of the 2013 season, his teams went 757-216-73, making him the third-winningest coach in United States history. His teams won four Group 4 state titles, 16 sectional championships and 13 Essex County Tournament titles. He was also the founding coach of the Columbia girls volleyball program, which he led from 1977 through ‘88. The team went 247-0 before losing for the first time in 1988. He died on May 10, 2014.

Tony Karcich

The Hackensack native was the Bergen Catholic football coach for nine years beginning in 1974, where his teams won three sectional championships. He then coached St. Joseph’s (Montvale) from 1985 through 2013, where his teams won 17 additional sectional and state championships. He also spent 25 years as the athletic director at St. Joseph’s. He finished with 338 victories, which is a Bergen County record, in his 38 years as a head coach.

Stan Woods

Woods has been the Emerson/Park Ridge wrestling coach since 1967. His teams have won 37 league championships and have had just one losing season. He’s won numerous service and achievement awards, was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012, and the gym at Emerson High is named in his honor.

About NJSIAA

Established in 1918, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletics Association (NJSIAA) is a voluntary, non-profit organization comprised of 436 accredited public, private, and parochial high schools. A member of the National Federation of State High School Associations, the NJSIAA conducts tournaments and crowns champions in 32 sports. Championship competition for girls is sponsored in basketball, bowling, cross country, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, outdoor track, winter track, and volleyball. Boys’ championships are determined in baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, fencing, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, outdoor track, winter track, volleyball, and wrestling.

 

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