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.
Jacob Brown, 2016 Inductee
Along with Larry Coyle, Jacob Brown was a pioneer in establishing running meets, such as the Ridgewood Invitational, the first cross-country invitational open to girls in New Jersey which lasted from 1973 to 2011 and the Ridgewood Relays (now called the Pawlowski Relays) still a staple of the spring schedule.
His first decade at Ridgewood saw Brown coaching all three seasons. But sensing a loss of enthusiasm with the year-round grind, he gave up winter track in 1982, which helped fan his enthusiasm for the other two seasons for the rest of his career.
In 1983 his girls four mile team set a national high school record that lasted for 17 years. His 1975 4-x-880 team also held a national mark. He was named the Honorary High School Girls Referee at the Penn Relays in 2005 and was named the Mike Byrnes National Coach of the Year by the National Scholastic Sports Foundation in 2010.
But perhaps his most outstanding qualification was his almost uncanny ability to keep cross-country runners on the team even with no chance of running varsity races in a sport whose slogan often is “Our Sport is Your Sport’s Punishment.”
“Bonding is sometimes a hokey overused word but we worked on that,” said Brown. “The kids became part of the gang and wanted to stay part of the gang.”
For more than 40 years Jacob Brown was the leader of the gang and what a gang it was.
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