Amy Lyons, a 1979 graduate, is one of the outstanding softball players in the history of Ridgewood High School, and the shortstop capped her four-year varsity career by playing an instrumental role in the Maroons winning the Group 4 State Championship her senior year.
In the June 14, 1979 edition of The Ridgewood News, Lyons was tabbed the Maroons Star Athlete of the Week after her team won the state title, and, in his story, Ron Phillips wrote for a lead paragraph: “A quarter century ago, Ray Bolger was the star of Broadway in the musical, “Where’s Charlie?” with his refrain, “Once in love with Amy, always in love with Amy…”
Those are the sentiments, Phillips wrote, of Ridgewood High School sports followers about Amy Lyons, the senior shortstop who excelled at bat and in the field as the Maroon softball team won the state title Saturday.
In the 4-2 win over Woodbridge in the State-Championship game, Lyons tripled in the fourth inning and scored Ridgewood’s first run, then hit a liner to left in the fifth that enabled Jean Simmons to score the go-ahead tally. Besides her 2-for-3 day at the plate, Lyons made several sparkling fielding plays, including a running catch of a soft line drive in the sixth with two runners on base.
Ridgewood finished with a 26-2 record, also winning the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League (NNJIL) title and reaching the Championship Game of the Bergen County tournament before falling to Demarest.
For the season, Lyons batted .480, smacking eight home runs, five triples and six doubles, and drove in 47 runs, tops in Bergen County. She attempted 22 stolen bases and was only thrown out once. Wrote Phillips, “Lyons was hailed as Bergen County’s premier scholastic softball player this season.”
Her junior year, Lyons hit .481, slugging nine home runs and collecting eight other extra-base hits, and drove in 27 runs. She compiled an incredible 1.216 slugging percentage.
In 1978, Fair Lawn head softball coach Tim Cullen was evaluating to Ridgewood News sportswriter Ron Fox the softball talent he saw that year when his voice suddenly raised, in octave and decibel: “That Amy Lyons is beyond belief!” he exclaimed. Her sophomore year, Lyons was a starting outfielder.
One of Lyons’ classmates and teammates was Ridgewood’s current head softball coach, Patti Auger, the Maroons’ centerfielder, who batted .342 her senior year and .410 her junior season. Both Lyons and Auger were named First Team All-County in 1979. Lyons continued her softball career at the University of South Carolina. She returned to RHS, where she was an assistant softball coach for several years.
In 1979, Lyons’ head softball coach was Dave Vanderbush, who was filling in that season for Debbie Paul, who was pursuing her master’s degree at Purdue University. Paul was Lyons’ head coach in 1977 and 1978, and she will join her former star player in this year’s Hall of Fame class.
Lyons also excelled in tennis for coach Paul at RHS, playing first doubles her senior year, when the Maroons captured the NNJIL and Bergen County championships. Lyons works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is based at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. On July 21, 2009, she was named assistant director of the FBI Inspection Division by Director Robert S. Mueller, III
“In her new role, Amy will be responsible for oversight of internal investigations and the evaluation of FBI programs to ensure their effectiveness and compliance with FBI objectives, governing laws, rules, regulations and policies,” said Director Mueller. “Her previous experience in the Inspection Division, coupled with her years of operational work in the field, makes her an excellent fit for this position.”
Lyons entered on duty as an FBI special agent in January 1990. Upon completion of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., she was assigned to the New Haven Division. While there, she investigated international drug money laundering cases and led a Safe Streets Task Force focused on the Almighty Latin Kings Nation. After six years, she was promoted to the International Training and Assistance Program at the FBI Academy. She was later assigned to the Latin American Unit in the Criminal Investigative Division’s Organized Crime/Drug Section at FBI Headquarters.
In February 1999, Lyons transferred to the New York Division, where she managed an Italian Organized Crime Squad focused on the Columbo Organized Crime Family. She served in this position until July 2001, when she was appointed to assistant special agent in charge (ASAC) of the Special Operations Branch. Shortly thereafter, she served as the on-scene commander in the New York Division’s Joint Operations Center in response to the 9/11 attacks.
She was subsequently assigned to FBI Headquarters to work on the investigation of Zacharias Moussaoui. Upon her return to New York, Lyons spent three years as the ASAC of the International Terrorism Branch, supervising the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force.
In August 2006, Lyons was promoted to an inspector in the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters. In this role, she led teams responsible for sensitive investigations and the assessment of FBI operations and performance throughout the country. She was designated as the chief inspector in the Inspection Division in January 2008. She was named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore Division in April 2008.
Lyons received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in psychology from Ball State University. Prior to her employment with the FBI, she was a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Newark.