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.
Keith O’Connor 2010 Inductee
Keith O’Connor, a 1994 graduate, is one of the most prolific and clutch scorers in the history of boys soccer at Ridgewood High School. He started varsity four years and scored 133 points on 46 goals and 41 assists. He is first on the school’s all-time list for most varsity wins as a player (55) and most career assists (41) in boys soccer.
O’Connor’s distinguished soccer career was recognized by The Record, when the newspaper named him to its All-Decade Boys Soccer Team in 2000.
O’Connor played for Ridgewood’s winningest boys soccer coach, Dick Bennett. He kicked off his freshman year in 1990 in grand style, emerging as the team’s leading scorer, racking up 14 goals and eight assists, to help lead the Maroons to a trio of titles — including the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League (NNJIL), Bergen Countyand Group 4, Section 1 Championships. As a result, O’Connor was named First Team All-NNJIL, Third Team All-County and Honorable Mention All-State Group 4.
In 1991, he set the program record for most assists by a sophomore with 11 and was named First Team All-NNJIL, Second Team All-County and Honorable Mention All-State Group 4. In addition, he was named the All-Suburban Boys Soccer Sophomore of the Year by The Ridgewood News.
In 1992, O’Connor became the first RHS boys soccer player to be appointed a captain in his junior year. Again, he led the Maroons in scoring with 17 goals and 13 assists, the latter number a program record for a junior, and he also established the school record for career assists (32) in boys soccer. Recognition of O’Connor subsequently escalated with him being named First Team All-NNJIL, First Team All-County, First Team All-Suburban, First Team All-State Group 4 and Second Team All-State All-Groups.
In his senior season of 1993, O’Connor earned the ranking of team captain. Unfortunately, he was injured in his first game versus Passaic and missed the next nine contests. Still, he scored 12 goals and had nine assists and was a driving force behind the Maroons again striking gold by winning the Bergen County Championship and the Group 4, Section 1 State Title. O’Connor’s postseason honors would reach the summit, as he was named First Team All-NNJIL, First Team All-County, First Team All-Suburban, First Team All-State, the All-State Top 22 and the Associated Press’ Second Team All-State.
O’Connor was also captain of the Wyckoff Torpedoes U19 team that won the New Jersey State Cup in 1994. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
O’Connor also played baseball and was a three-year varsity letter winner for head coach Jack Van Yperen and assistant coach Jeff Yearing. He played the outfield, shortstop (despite being left-handed) and on occasion pitched. He was a career .280/.300 hitter.
In college, O’Connor was a four-year varsity award winner in soccer at Loyola University Maryland. After college, he was the JV boys soccer coach at Ridgewood for two seasons, compiling a 23-9-5 record, and also coached JV boys lacrosse at RHS for two years. In addition, for two summers, he was an assistant coach for Yearing’s Jersey United girls soccer team that traveled annually to Europe to play in several countries.
O’Connor then moved on to coaching men’s soccer in college, serving as an assistant coach at the University of Delaware for three years. While there, he served as a player assessor for the Delaware Olympic Development Program (ODP).
In 2002, he was the head coach of the AC Milan U16 team that advanced to the semifinals of the Delaware State Cup. In 2003, he was the head coach of the AC Milan U17 team that advanced to the Delaware State Cup Finals. Presently, O’Connor is the men’s soccer head coach at Centenary College in Hackettstown. In 2006, he was the Skyline Conference Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year and the Centenary College Coach of the Year.
O’Connor and his wife, Ellen, and daughter, Cadey, reside in Easton, Pa.
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