The NJSIAA inducted the largest and most impressive Hall of Fame class in its history on Dec. 3 during the annual awards luncheon at the Westin Hotel in Princeton.
The 16-member group joining the NJSIAA Gallagher/Bollinger Hall of Fame includes an athlete who was already famous before he died a World War II hero, an Olympic Gold Medalist, a Heisman Trophy winner, a Cy Young Award winner, a three-time NCAA champion, record-setters who’ve followed their playing days with successful post-athletic careers, a beloved NJSIAA administrator and three legendary coaches.
While the NJSIAA Hall of Fame has been in existence since 1996, and many of the state’s all-time greats have been inducted along the way, this is the first year that assistant director Jack DuBois has been in charge of the Hall of Fame. He’s made it a point of emphasis that the focus should be on athletes over administrators, coaches and officials, and to help make that happen, a number of veteran sports writers from throughout the state were this year added to the selection committee.
Here is this year’s Gallagher/Bollinger Hall of Fame class, listed in alphabetical order. Full bios are linked below.
Al Blozis (Dickinson ‘38) Record-setting shot putter and All-Pro tackle for the New York Giants who died in World War II.
Eugene Chyzowych Columbia High School soccer coach from 1964 until 2013 who went 757-216-73, making him the third-winningest coach in US history and first among public school coaches.
Don Danser NJSIAA assistant director who was in charge of cross country, track, cooperative sports programs and ShopRite Cup tabulations among several other duties at the time of his death in 2015.
Erin Donohue (Haddonfield ‘01) Winner of nine Meet of Champions titles (two in cross country, seven in track and field), a 1,000 point scorer in basketball and track competitor at the 2008 Olympics.
Todd Frazier (Toms River South ‘04) First a star on the 1998 World Champion Little League team from Toms River, later a record-setting baseball player and 1,000 point basketball scorer at TRS, All-American baseball player at Rutgers and current third baseman for the New York Mets.
Asjha Jones (Piscataway ‘98) After scoring 2,266 points, grabbing 1,256 rebounds and winning a state championship in high school, she was a two-time national champion at UConn, a 12-year player in the WNBA and a member of the gold-medal winning USA team at the 2012 Olympics.
Tony Karcich After coaching Bergen Catholic to three football sectional championships safter his hire in 1974, he took over the program at St. Joseph (Montvale) in 1985, winning an additional 17 sectional and Group titles before his retirement in 2013, winning 338 games overall.
Lydell Mitchell (Salem ‘68) Football, basketball and track standout who became a record-setting running back at Penn State, three-time Pro Bowl back with the Baltimore Colts and then a successful business executive.
Rick Porcello (Seton Hall Prep ‘07) The consensus national high school baseball Player of the Year in 2007, major league pitcher since 2009 and American League Cy Young Award winner in 2016. He was also 17-7 for this year’s World Series-winning Boston Red Sox.
Bill Raftery (St. Cecilia’s of Kearny ‘59) Before becoming a successful basketball coach and famous broadcaster, he was a basketball, soccer and baseball star in high school. His 2,193 points were a state record at the time, as was his total of 827 points as a senior.
Mike Rozier (Woodrow Wilson ‘80) Went from Camden to Nebraska, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1983. Also was a nine-year pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection with the Houston Oilers.
Kristen Somogyi (St. Peter’s of New Brunswick ‘92 The leading basketball scorer in state history with 3,899 points, she also led her team to two Non-Public B titles and one Tournament of Champions crown.
Jim Spanarkel (Hudson Catholic ‘75) The basketball and baseball star became the first 2,000 point scorer at Duke and first-round pick in the NBA, where he played five years before becoming a financial executive and basketball broadcaster.
Brian Taylor (Perth Amboy ‘69) An All-American basketball and football player in high school, he was a 2,495-point scorer in high school and 1,239 point scorer in two-seasons at Princeton before embarking on an 11-year career in the ABA and NBA.
Keiko Tokuda (Clifton ‘98) She went 86-0 and lost just two sets during her four-year tennis career, and also became the only four-time singles champion in state history. She then was a three-time NCAA team champion and All-America at Stanford.
Stan Woods The wrestling coach at Emerson since 1967, he’s had one losing season during his 51 years, winning 37 conference titles and a state-record 751 matches.
After each inductee was introduced by master of ceremonies Rich Kane, they came forward to receive a plaque and medal from representatives from Gallagher/Bollinger and the NJSIAA.
Raftery, now an Emmy-winning college basketball analyst for CBS and FS1, then spoke on behalf of the entire group. In his remarks, he made sure to credit the common threads to each inductee’s success - their families, and their coaches.
Afterward, he expressed great pride in the Hall of Fame honor and his inclusion among the group.
“This was an unbelievable class, and to read and hear about their accomplishments is just astounding,” he said. “And they’ve gotten a lot out of it as well. A lot more than just accolades and success. It speaks well for the state, and for the high school association and what they’ve been able to do, providing great coaching and instilling values in players and athletes. It speaks well for what’s been going on for a long time, and not enough is said about it.”
His feelings were echoed by Frazier.
“This was the best group that I’ve been a part of,” he said. “Just hearing their accolades, I’m truly honored. I don’t know who can top this. That’s why this is such a great state.”
Tokuda, who is now a marketing executive based near San Francisco, flew in from California and made sure to bring along her mom and dad.
“This was amazing,” she said. “We did a lot of awards ceremonies and stuff during high school, but to remembered 20 years later means so much. The accomplishments that everyone had here were tremendous, and it’s pretty surreal to be included.”
The fact a past athlete like Blozis was included was also important. Those in the room expressed awe at what he accomplished as an athlete and how he gave his life after insisting on serving in the military despite between twice turned down because of his 6-6, 250-pound size. He was represented by his cousin, Joseph Blozis, himself a decorated retired New York City police detective.
“It was great how he was remembered here, and that people can hear about his story,” Joseph Blozis said.
Complete biographies for the 2018 NJSIAA Gallagher/Bollinger Hall of Fame class:
There were other awards presented at the luncheon.
Greg Bailey, who is a sports official and assignor, past President of the NJSIAA and current member of the Executive Commitee, was recipient of the prestigious Award of Honor.
Also, 30 individuals were presented sports awards for the achievements and service.
Complete list of sports award recipients: