Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame inducts eight new Class of 2014 members

Steve Gregory, newest member of the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame with his Curtis HS football coach Fred Oliveri. January 31, 2015 (Staten Island Advance/Hilton Flores)

The eight newest members of the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame found themselves at the center of attention Saturday afternoon before a packed audience inside the CYO/MIV Center gymnasium at Mount Loretto.

The 20th annual induction ceremony provided a panoramic shot of more than a half-century of local sports lore, from 1961 Jaques Award winner Bill Murtha all the way to recently-retired NFL defensive back Steve Gregory, a 32-year-old product of South Beach and Curtis High School.

The list included the Island's all-time winningest high school girls' basketball coach Bob Daggett; longtime United States Golf Association executive director Frank Hannigan; national level bodybuilding champion Leon Brown; metropolitan amateur golfing legend Pete Meurer; sure-handed Negro League infielder and Tottenville HS two-sport star Glen Mosley; and two-sport Curtis standout Aileen Aponte, who later pitched her Princeton softball team to three Ivy League championships.

Eight new members representing the Class of 2014 inducted during CYO/MIV Center ceremony. (Staten Island Advance/Jim Waggoner)
They joined the 121 individuals and four teams who have been inducted since the opening ceremony in November of 1995 at the College of Staten Island.

The Hall is currently home to 13 former NFL players, 18 past or present major league baseball players, and five Olympians.


The San Francisco-area mother and lawyer was presented by former Curtis softball coach Margaret Grenier.

The 1991 Varsity Club Award winner is a member of the PSAL Hall of Fame and is the only athlete to win the Pegasus Award, given to the top public-school athlete in New York City, in two sports -- softball and gymnastics.

Aponte led Curtis to four straight PSAL city championships and was on the Princeton softball team that advanced to the 1995 College World Series.


The bodybuilding pioneer was presented by Mario Strong, an author and dedicated proponent of natural muscle building in America since 1976.

Brown spoke of growing up on Jersey Street and lifting his first weights in the basement of his family's small apartment. He moved to California in the late 1960s and added Mr. California and Mr. Western America to his resume.

The first bodybuilder profiled in Sports Illustrated, he is a member of the World Bodybuilding Guild Hall of Fame.

His close friend, Arnold Schwarzenegger, paid tribute to Brown in a taped video.


The Midland Beach product who took the St. Peter's Girls' HS coaching reins from Hall of Famer Joan Gumb and posted a 504-164 record in 23 years with the Eagles and two more at Curtis was presented by veteran Advance sports reporter Charlie DeBiase Jr.

His St. Peter's teams went nine consecutive seasons without losing a game to Island competition and produced future WNBA stars Nicky Anosike and Jen Derevjanik.

"Ask any coach and they'll tell you that it's the players that make you successful," said Daggett. "I was blessed with some of the best basketball players in New York City."


The recently-retired NFL player was presented by former Curtis football coach Fred Olivieri, who was inducted two years ago with Gregory the presenter.

"My journey began on Ocean Avenue (South Beach) with my cousins and best friends playing in the street and dodging parked cars," said Gregory, who played six seasons with the San Diego Chargers and two more with the New England Patriots. "It's been some journey."

Oliveri said: "I think numbers can present a strong case for Steve Gregory being the greatest football player ever in Staten Island."


The West Brighton native who passed away last March at the age of 82 was presented by Hall of Famer Jay Price, a former Advance sports columnist and current Hall of Fame Committee member.

Hannigan's wife, Janet Carter, and daughter, Susan Hannigan, accepted the award.

His first job was cutting the grass and caddying at Silver Lake GC and he rose to prominence as a golf columnist, TV analyst and executive director of the USGA.

"More than any one man," said Price, "Frank Hannigan was the voice and conscience of golf in America."


The former NYC firefighter, who taught himself the game at a young age and became the most prolific amateur winner ever produced on Staten Island, was presented by his brother, Kevin.

Meurer won five Staten Island Amateurs and a record 13 Staten Island Classics, including 10 in a row. He qualified for three U.S Amateur Championships and is one of several players to shoot the course record of 61 at Silver Lake.

"He brought golf to the everyday guy in the neighborhood," said Kevin Meurer of the Silver Lake product. "Pete was the one who made it cool to play golf."


The Negro League second baseman who caught the eyes of scouts at a Brooklyn Dodgers tryout was presented by Mark Washington, another Hall of Fame Committee member.

Mosley played for the New York Black Yankees from 1946-49 after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.

A captain of his Army team during the Korean War, Mosley later was a longtime sandlot softball coach on Staten Island and co-winner of the 1999 Staten Island Advance History Award.


The Port Richmond native and second player to surpass the 1,000-point scoring mark on Staten Island was presented by Pete Falloon.

Murtha led his 1961 St. Peter's team to a 28-5 record as a senior against a rugged regional schedule and was high scorer on Loyola Chicago's undefeated freshman team before transferring to George Washington, averaging 16 points per game as a sophomore and catching the eye of Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach.

"Back then, we didn't just play for St. Peter's, we played for Staten Island," said Murtha. "We took great pride in representing Staten Islanders."

February 1, 2015
By Jim Waggoner SI Live