Tony Napier RHS Athletic Hall of Fame 2008 Inductee

RHS Athletic Hall of Fame

Members of the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame are those that have made a lasting impact on the school’s sports program as either student players, coaches, or supporters. Often the student players have continued to influence their chosen sports after high school by ongoing participation in athletics.

Tony Napier, 2008 Inductee

Tony Napier was Ridgewood High School’s boys gymnastics coach from 1967 to 1987 and is considered the father of the gymnastics movement in Ridgewood.

Bringing the sport into the elementary schools in the early 1960s, coach Napier found the boys gymnastics club in 1967 at RHS. In 1969, the program received varsity status as an interscholastic sport. The team flourished under coach Napier’s direction, producing many individual places and champions at the league, county and state levels. His boys teams captured three consecutive Bergen County titles during the 1973-74, 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons.

The popularity of boys gymnastics waned across the county and state in the early 1980s, and Ridgewood was forced to drop its program after the 1983 campaign. With Title IX regenerating opportunities for female athletes RHS formed a girls gymnastics program in 1976. The varsity seasons for men’s and women’s athletics coincided with each other, and during the 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1983 seasons, Napier took on the job of head coach of both the girls and boys programs. He remained on as the girls head gymnastics coach through the 1987 campaign.

During the 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979 seasons, the girls gymnastics team compiled undefeated dual meet campaigns with a combined 43-0 record. Napier was head coach for three of the four seasons (1977-79) while the teams went 35-0 in dual meet competition. The girls team stretched its record to 50-0 when it won the first seven meets of the 1980 season.

Under coach Napier’s direction (1977-79), the girls team captured three State-sectional Championships, while the 1978 squad won the overall State Title. The 1977 team took a second place overall and the 1979 team a fourth.

Many of coach Napier’s gymnasts captured individual titles during his tenure as well. His vision and legacy for gymnastics in Ridgewood is reflected in the outstanding success the girls program has enjoyed over the years.

Coach Napier continues to be active in gymnastics nationally and internationally as a renowned judge. He was elected to the National Gymnastics Judges Hall of Fame in 1996 and was recognized as a distinguished alumnus of Montclair State University’s Panzer School of Physical Education for contributions to the sport of gymnastics.

Download: 2008 Banquet Book!


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