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.
Don Taylor, 2014 Inductee
Ridgewood High School has long been known for its student athletes and the “Tradition of Excellence” they have created both academically and athletically. Donald Taylor is one of the special student athletes that walked the halls of RHS. He competed on the hardwood for the Maroons and went on to great athletic and academic success in college. Don then went on to a very successful business career. Being one of the best basketball players in RHS history has propelled him into the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Class of 2014.
A 1961 graduate of Ridgewood High, Taylor was one of the most accomplished basketball players in Maroon’s history. A three year starter for the Maroon’s in an era where freshman did not play varsity, the 6’6” center led Ridgewood to the NNJIL Championship under Hall of Fame football coach Frank Mozeleski This was Mozeleski’s only basketball title at RHS. The Maroons finished 2nd in the Bergen County Jamboree in both Taylor’s junior and senior years including a tough 60-54 loss in OT to Bergenfield in the 1961 final.
Taylor was not best known for scoring, but for his rebounding, defense, and ability to block shots. He was incredibly adept at using his size to create openings for other players as Ridgewood finished the regular season at 16-1 his senior year. At the conclusion of his senior year where he captained the Maroons, Taylor was named First Team all NNJIL, First Team all Bergen County, and Honorable Mention All-State.
Taylor was recruited by Duke, West Point, and Navy before he chose to accept a full Navy ROTC scholarship to Yale. He played three varsity years for the Bulldogs where he was named captain of the team his senior year and finished with a 39-30 career record playing against some of the best teams in the country.
Highlights of his Yale career include a Co-Ivy league championship with the Bill Bradley led Princeton Tigers in 1964. Don also faced great competition while playing at Yale seeing the likes of a Cazzie Russell led Michigan squad, Rick Barry’s University of Miami squad and UNC with Billy Cunningham with first year coach Dean Smith. Don also matched up against a strong UCLA team that included Walt Hazard, Gail Goodrich, and Keith Erickson, the year legendary coach John Wooden won his first NCAA title.
After graduating from Yale, Don was commissioned into the U.S. Marine Corps as a regular officer in the summer of 1965. During his time as a Marine he competed on the Quantico Marine basketball team, which was used as a recruiting tool for the Marine Corps. After being honorably discharged in 1969 as a Captain, Taylor attended Harvard Business School and gained his MBA in 1971. He accepted a job with commercial real estate development company Trammel Crow and spent his entire career there.
Over the years, Ridgewood High School has produced many great student athletes and many people who are very successful in their chosen profession. Don Taylor excelled in the classroom and on the hardwood for Ridgewood High School and Yale University. He honored his country with four years of service in the United States Marine Corps and he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. It is alumni like Don Taylor who have made an everlasting mark on the academics and athletics at RHS. In conclusion, it is Don’s kind of dedication to success in and out of the athletic arena that make us so proud of our well balanced “Tradition of Excellence” and make Donald Taylor very worthy of induction into the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
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