When Mario Ferraro died in March of 2002 at age 74 after an illness, the headline on page one of The Ridgewood News read, “Ridgewood man had 2 passions: family and football – Village mourns Mario Ferraro.” A gridiron Co-captain and All-State lineman for the Maroons, he remained devoted to the sport for the rest of his life.
He was nicknamed “The Mole,” because of his small statute, but he surprised opponents with his drive and tenacity. Dr. Mario Ferraro was a well-known dentist in Ridgewood since 1954 and an orthodontist since 1959, until his retirement in 1994. He was the dentist of several of the Hall of Fame honorees. He continued his association with RHS football as a member of the Ridgewood Junior Football Association and the Ridgewood High School Football Scholarship Committee. He also photographed and filmed RHS football games for several years. Mario and Betty, his wife of 50 years, had six children. Paul, Pete, Chris and Mario all toiled on the gridiron for RHS. Michael was a standout performer at Paramus Catholic and Mary was a RHS cheerleader.
After leaving his mark in football and wrestling at Ridgewood High, Paul Ferraro has continued his career in athletics by advancing through the collegiate football coaching ranks to the National Football League. He received the Ridgewood High School Award For Excellence In Athletics in 1977 and also was recipient of the Stroker Award presented by the Stroker Family and the Ridgewood Junior Football Association.
Acknowledged as one of the greatest two-way football players in the school’s history, he was acknowledged as a first-team All-Decade linebacker for the 1970s by The Record and was a two-time First-Team linebacker on the All-County, All-Suburban and All-NNJIL All-star Teams. He was the first single-season 1,000-yard rusher in school history and held the single-season rushing record of 1,079 yards (accomplished in nine games) for 28 years.
His rushing average for a season, 119.89, still stands. In addition to the three varsity letters earned on the gridiron, he was awarded two in wrestling. He was first-team All-Suburban, Second Team All-County and a two-time All-NNJIL pick (first team as a senior). He won a District Championship and was a Regional Runner-up. He went on to play four varsity seasons of football at Springfield College where he was team captain and an All-East selection. His Division 1 and professional coaching career began as a defensive assistant at the University of Massachusetts in 1982 and had stints is various defensive capacities at Syracuse, Villanova, Dartmouth, Catholic University, Maine, Ohio University, Bowling Green, Georgia Tech and Rutgers before being named assistant special teams coach for the Carolina Panthers in 2005. He joined the Minnesota Vikings as head special teams coordinator in January of 2006. He is one of six children of Dr. Mario and Betty Jean Ferraro. Dr. Ferraro, a legendary Maroon football player and a long-time coach in the Ridgewood Junior Football Association program, died in 2002 and is also one of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees. Paul’s brother Michael was a standout at Paramus Catholic, and Pete, Chris and Mario all toiled on the field for RHS. His sister Mary was a cheerleader for the Maroons.
A gifted athlete, he Captained the Maroon basketball and baseball teams and also played football and soccer. The recipient of the Ridgewood High School Award For Excellence In Athletics for the Class of 1942 entered military service two months after graduation and tragically lost his life at age 20 as a Navy pilot in World War II. His athletic skills attracted college recruiters for football and the New York Giants for baseball.
He should have graduated with the Class of 1941 but complications from a broken leg sustained playing football his sophomore year held him back a year. He switched to soccer when he couldn’t play football in the fall of 1941. Don was an only child and was a Boy Scout as a youngster. He took his pre-flight training at Chapel Hill, where he again played football, Squantum, Massachusetts, and was commissioned in December of 1943 at Pensacola, Florida. Flying an F86 Hellcat out of Otis Field, Cape Cod, Mass., gave him frequent opportunities to come home on 24-hour passes. He died on July 3, 1944 when the aircraft he was ferrying went down in a storm near Callahan, Georgia, 35 miles west of Jacksonville, Florida. He is buried in 12 Park, Plot E1/2 1475, Grave 1 in Valleau Cemetery in Ridgewood.
Named to The Record’s Bergen County All-Century Girls Soccer Team as a Midfielder, Wendy Hartwig, a 1994 graduate, is the leading goal scorer in the history of Ridgewood High School soccer, boys and girls programs, with 110 goals to go along with 49 assists over a four-year varsity career playing for head coach Jeff Yearing.
As a freshman in the 1990 season, Wendy made Second Team All-Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League (NNJIL) and then really caught the attention of many soccer observers the next season by receiving the following honors: First Team All-League, First Team All-County, All-State as voted by the New Jersey Girls Soccer Coaches Association (NJGSCA) and All-East and All-America teams as voted by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). In 1992, despite a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in the tenth game against Ramapo, Wendy was named to the Parade Magazine All-America Team and All-League First Team. At the time of her injury, she had 15 goals and four assists. Also that season, Wendy was named to the Olympic Development Program’s Region 1 Team.
In the 1993 season, Wendy led Ridgewood to its first county tournament championship in girl’s soccer by scoring two goals in the last four minutes versus Ramapo to erase a 2-1 deficit and produce a 3-2 victory. Her first goal came on a direct kick from 25 yards out, and the clinching goal came on a penalty kick with 33 seconds remaining. Her senior year, Wendy set school records for goals (37), assists (23) and total points (97) in a season. She received the following honors: First Team All-League, First Team All-County, First Team All-State, All Groups, First Team All-State as voted by the NJGSCA, All-America as voted by the NSCAA and All-America in Parade Magazine. She was also selected to play in the NJGSCA Senior Showcase game and to the player pool for the United States Women’s National Team.
Wendy accepted an athletic scholarship from the University of Virginia, where she was a four-year starter on the women’s soccer team, earning All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors her sophomore, junior and senior years. On October 5, 1995, she had four assists against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and that still stands as the single-game assist record at Virginia. She is also tied for third place in school history for game-winning assists in a season, three in 1996. Wendy is married to Harmen Vos, and they reside in Annandale, New Jersey, in Hunterdon County with their young son, Hunter.
Tom Hopper moved from Illinois to Ridgewood in 1945 and brought the one-hand jump shot with him. It was the day of the set shot and new to New Jersey hoops. and coach Charlie Yennie said he introduced it to Garden State scholastic basketball. He scored 735 points over the 1948-49-50 seasons, was named All-County twice and selected on the All-State Third Team his senior season.
He also played soccer for the Maroons, and Yennie coached him in both sports. After three years in the Marines, he went to North Carolina State and played three varsity seasons on the hardwood there. He began a career in the textile business after graduating in 1950 and spent two years in Spartanburg, S.C., before moving north to Glen Rock from 1961 to 1969. Then he went back south and has been in Atlanta ever since. The 73-year old worked for the Milliken Company, a major textile manufacturer, for 17 years. He started his own business in 1972 and spent 26 years on his own before retiring. Tom and his wife Jan have four grown children.
A five-time state champion, Bob Keino enjoyed a remarkable running career for the Maroons and still holds two RHS track records, 4:09.35 in the 1,600 meters and 9:02.73 in the 3,200 meters. He won back-to-back Meet of Champions titles. He was undefeated in distances from 800 meters to 3,200 meters both his junior and senior years. He was first team All-State six times, two each his cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, and first team All-County and All-League nine times.
He was the Penn Relays Athlete of the Meet his junior season when he ran a 4:08 1,600 anchor in the distance medley relay to take Ridgewood from 16th to third place and also turned in a 1:52 in the 800 meters. He won the Penn Relays 3,000 race his senior year. He was state champion in the 3,200 meters his junior and senior seasons, 3,200 meters indoors as a junior and in cross country both his junior and senior campaigns. He won the Footlocker Northeast race at Van Cortlandt Park in New York and finished fourth in the Footlocker Nationals in San Diego, Calif. He was All-America and All-Pac 10 running for the University of Arizona. He finished college at Rutgers but did not compete for the Scarlet Knights. He ran a 3:53 mile after college. The son of two-time Olympic gold medalist Kip Keino of Kenya, Bob did some sailing off the coast of Kenya in the Indian Ocean and became interested in sailing. After working for Catholic Charities in London, he enrolled in the UK Sailing Academy on Isle of Wight, England for certification on a luxury or racing yacht.
A coaching legend who spent 27 years as a teacher/coach at Ridgewood, Mozeleski’s football teams compiled a 92-44 record over 16 years, racking up three undefeated seasons (the 1957 campaign had a tie), and the longest winning streak in the school’s gridiron history (20-0-1) from 1955 through the first two games of 1958.
The Maroons won five Northern Bergen Interscholastic League titles (1950, 1951, 1956, 1957 and 1958) and Ridgewood was the Bergen County champion in 1956. His teams scored 2,689 points while allowing the opposition only 1,459, registered 38 shutouts and produced a number of All-County, All-State and All-League players. He also guided the basketball team to 97 victories, a Bergen County Jamboree title in 1963-64 and the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League crown in 1960-61. And he coached golf for eight years, the last one a state champion in a 15-2 season.
He had 15 years of coaching experience under his belt when he was hired in 1943 to coach baseball at Ridgewood. He never handled a diamond squad, but his football, basketball and golf teams helped fill the school trophy cases. Gene Links, one of his All-County and All-State players in the 1944 and 1945 grid campaigns, was inducted into the Ridgewood Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. The other, the late Dr. Mario (The Mole) Ferraro, is in this year’s induction class. Mr. Moz, as he was forever respectfully known to all his athletes, died at age 75 in 1986 in Clearwater, Fla., where he spent the last 15 years of his life.
Tim Mullen, a 1981 graduate, is Ridgewood High School’s all-time leading scorer in basketball with 1,507 varsity career points. The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder capped his scholastic career by leading the Maroons to a 22-4 record and the Group 4, Section 1 state semifinals and by leading the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League (NNJIL) in scoring with 626 points, a 24-point average.
Tim is also the school record holder for most points in a game, 43. He scored more than 40 points three times and more than 30 points eight times. He shot 51 percent from the floor and 86 percent from the foul line his senior year, when he averaged nine rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and two steals.
Tim was a three-year starter for head coach John Smith and was named All-League, All-Suburban, All- County and All-State his junior and senior years. Tim went on to star for the University of Virginia men’s basketball team (pictured him with Michael Jordan) and was captain of the Cavaliers his senior season of 1984-85. His junior year, Virginia made the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, losing to the University of Houston, 49-47, in overtime in the semifinal round. Tim played in 127 games for the Cavaliers, tying Othell Wilson for sixth on UV’s list for games played. Tim was a versatile player for Virginia, starting at small forward, second guard and point guard during his career. He led the Cavaliers in assists his senior season with 82 and averaged 7.3 points and 2.0 rebounds a game. For his career, Tim averaged 6.4 points and 1.8 rebounds a game. He had a career free throw percentage of .790 (166-for-210). Tim lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and two daughters.
One of Ridgewood High School’s all-time running standouts, Jenna Rogers stills holds Maroon and Bergen County records. She was honored as an All-State First-team athlete in both track and cross country in addition to numerous All-County First-team selections. Rogers’ time of 10:33.9 in the 3,200-meter race still stands as a Ridgewood High and Bergen County record.
She is one of only three females in the state to win the individual state cross country title and a team gold medal, accomplished during her undefeated senior season in 1993.
Rogers went on from Ridgewood High School to an outstanding collegiate running career at Dartmouth, where she was a five-time Division 1 All-American in cross country and track and captained the cross country team her junior and senior years. She led Dartmouth’s non-scholarship squad to two fourth-place finishes in the NCAA nationals. She was named the Outstanding Senior Female Scholar-athlete in both her junior and senior seasons and also received the Kenneth Archibald Prize given to the senior who has been the best all-around athlete with regard to moral worth and high standing in scholarship.
After graduation, Rogers competed for the Boston Athletic Association for two years and started coaching track and cross country at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000. She then taught and coached the Suffield Academy, a boarding school in Connecticut, for three years. Since then she has taught and coached at Riverdale Country School in the Bronx. She received her master’s degree from Columbia University Teachers College in educational administration in 2003. The 30-year-old Rogers is presently not coaching at Riverdale but still teaches and works in the admissions office. She ran her first New York Marathon in 2004 and was the 17th American woman finisher. She also ran in the 2005 New York Marathon and posted a time close to the 2004 mark despite running with an injury. Her brother Eric also was a Ridgewood High track athlete. Rogers, who lives in Manhattan, said that long-time RHS track and cross country coach Jacob Brown helped her a great deal in her career. “I wasn’t burned out when I got to college,” she said. “He looked out for my long-term health and progress.”
Recognized as an All-State athlete in two sports, O’Connell Skettini figured in several of RHS’s all-time girls sports achievements. A two-time All-NNJIL, All-County and All-State selection in softball, she pitched coach Debbie Paul’s Maroons to a undefeated (29-0 state championship in 1983 and a school and state record of 43 straight victories. The three-year varsity performer was selected All-State in 1983 and 1984 and was voted to The Record’s All-Century Team in 1999.
Her sister, Debbie O’Connell, who was the catcher on those team, was inducted into the RHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. O’Connell Skettini bowled for the Maroons from 1981 to 1984 and received first team All-County and All-State honors all four seasons for coach Art Rispoli’s pinspillers, coming from Ben Franklin Junior High her freshman year. She did this while playing varsity basketball in 1983 and 1984 for coach Dick Bennett. O’Connell Skettini continued her superb softball pitching at Trenton State College with an overall record in college of 73-9 from 1985 to 1988. The 1985 team as second in the Division 3 Nationals, losing to Eastern Connecticut State, 1-0. She pitched Trenton State to the national championship in 1987, hurling two of the four games in the championship series and defeating Eastern Connecticut twice.
She was honored as a Division 3 All-American in 1987 and was picked on the All-New Jersey Conference All-Star team in 1987 and 1988. Donna and her husband Craig have three children and she continues to compete in Women’s International Bowling Congress tournaments individually.
For five years, she reigned supreme among the country’s backstroke swimmers, winning 16 national titles from 1955 to 1960. At age 16 Carin won a Silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke in a dead-heat, world-record-time photo finish in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, a controversial decision that took officials 20 minutes to sort out.
The pretty blonde held four world records and 23 American standards. Carin scored several victories in the Pan Am Games (2 golds in 1959, backstroke and 400 medley relay) and AAU Nationals (three Junior and 16 Senior). Ridgewood had no swimming team so she trained on her own before school at Graydon Pool (the Village erected turning boards to help her) and at the National Swimming Association facility in Manhattan after school. Her mother, Ruth Cone, taught school in Ridgewood for 27 years.
Carin was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer in 1984. She was a Dean’s List student at both the University of Houston and the University of Maryland, where she transferred to be closer to home, and has a master’s degree from the University of Alaska, where her husband’s military assignment took them. She retired from competitive swimming in 1960 and married West Point football co-captain and All-American guard Al Vanderbush in 1962. On his third tour at West Point, Al became Deputy Athletic Director (1984-90) and Athletic Director (1990-99) at the U.S. Military Academy. Carin taught kindergarten at West Point Elementary School for 18 years. They have two grown sons. She is pictured here with her Silver medal.
Charlie Yennie coached RHS teams to winning records in three sports over a 13-year span and also made important contributions to athletics in Bergen County. His basketball teams compiled a 150-102 record over 11 seasons (1945-56) and won Bergen-Passaic Interscholastic League championships in 1951 and 1955. He never had a losing season.
He was the founder of the Oscar F. Thompson Memorial Jamboree, the Bergen County Boys Basketball Tournament. He coached soccer from 1944 to 1956 with an 81-63 record and two state championships (1944 and 1953). He was a founding father of both the Bergen County Soccer Coaches Association and the Bergen County Soccer Officials Association and was instrumental in starting the Soccer State Playoffs. He coached baseball from 1943 to 1945, with a record of 32-8 and a state title in 1945 when nine different players pitched an inning in a 3-2 victory. He served as Athletic Director of Benjamin Franklin Junior High School.
The Haledon native graduated from Paterson Central High School and Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey) in 1936. He was inducted into the TCNJ Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986 for his accomplishments in football, track and golf. He started the Ridgewood Recreation Basketball Program and was recreation director for a number of years. All-told, he gave 42 years to Ridgewood youth as teacher and coach and in the Parks and Recreation Department. He coached at Clifton and East Orange before he came to RHS and had five state championships for his career. Charlie and Dorothy Yennie had two sons, Doug, retired after a 34-year career coaching basketball and golf at Bergen Community College, and Bo, a ski instructor in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Charlie died at age 86 in May of 2001.
John Marshall, Jim Bruni, Mark Romeo, Jean Hughes, Chris Van Note, Nancy Hogan, RHS Football Team 1913, Don Taylor, Rachel Grygiel, John Cerf, Paul Tornatore, Michele Marangi, RHS Boys’ Lacrosse 1990-92
Craig Halyard, Tom Flatt, Tricia Pappalardo, Mike Henderson, Kandie Latham, Leigh Jester, Tom Dusel, Roger Sweeney, Linda Zabielski, Patty Capasso, Dennis Sullivan, Nick & Dottie Capasso, Track and Field (Bain-Daley-Oliver Era)
Kitty Batterson, Henry Blauvelt, Frank L. Bradley, Jr., Lucia Cancelmo, Chris DuFlocq, Renee DuFlon, RHS Girls’ Basketball 1922-1923, Harry Grundy, Jim Jones, Joe LeMay, Jen McDermott, Shannon McGarrigle, Tony Napier, Margaret Niemann, Vince Robertiello (Jamie Roberts), Damian Ross, Mike Springer
Paul Arrigoni, Pete Campbell, Doug Cook, Becky Deetz, Otis Grendler, Jodi Hartwig, Gene Links, Debbie O’Connell, Aimee McGuire, Walt Perdue, Tom Simos, Kazbek Tambi, Jack Van Yperen, Bob Whitaker, Margaret Scutro