Written by Arthur C. Kaminsky Friday, 16 December 2011 00:00
Presenting the third biennial ceremony since its inception in 2007, the Manhasset High School Booster Club Athletic Hall of Fame continued making a significant and positive impact on the entire town. In a sometimes emotional, sometimes hilarious, but always meaningful evening, over three hundred attendees were clearly delighted to witness the Hall’s membership grow from 12 to 17 and also extend recognition to the 1986 New York State Champion Boys Basketball Team. The five newest inductees were indeed a sparkling group—two women who rank among the greatest all-around athletes in school history (Carol Rainson Rose ’82 and Christine Kenny Goettelmann ’91), a pair of Manhasset’s longest tenured coaches who were also outstanding multi-sport athletes as students (Bruce Minerley ’65 and Bob Rule ’67) and the dynamic hoopster who led the Indians to their only state basketball championship – and also high jumped 6 inches over his head (Bob Gordon ’87).
New Booster Club President Tricia Glynn instituted a number of excellent innovations which were hailed by those present. The site was moved to the gym which was gaily decorated with over-sized orange and blue balloons surrounding the dozen tables on the floor (for honorees and guests) while fans crowded the stands. La Coquille catered the occasion with first-rate hors d’oeuvres and local resident Dawn McCormick provided professional photography to memorialize the event.
Longtime Booster Club stalwart Bobby Anastasia opened the evening on a somber but wholly appropriate note as he requested a moment of silence to remember Manhasset’s all-time leading basketball scorer (1987 points) Tom Emma ’79 who passed away this year. Bob then transferred the microphone to Pam McDonough–who deftly handled emcee duties for the third consecutive ceremony. In the Hall’s two previous inductions, Bruce Minerley had served as Pam’s co-host. However, since he was an honoree this year, Bruce relinquished the role for 2011. Well, sort of….Following 2009 Hall of Famer Fritz Mueller’s proclaiming that Bruce was this year’s initial inductee (while proudly noting Bruce’s nine varsity letters and making all-county in three sports, football, basketball and baseball), Mr. Minerley took the mike, thanked everyone and started to return to his seat.
Suddenly, he stopped and quickly seized back the microphone, asking the audience if they truly thought he wouldn’t take full advantage of an opportunity to speak to a crowd? Then, he launched into his customary Minerley oration – laced with terrific stories, a tear or two and a bunch of laughs. He fondly recalled the generosity of the Manhasset coaches over the years including his own mentor Mr. Mueller, Arnie Sims with whom he worked for decades on the basketball staff and Ed Walsh who gave a recent college grad his first job over 40 years ago proclaiming “at Manhasset, we take care of our own.” There was also Steve Galetti to whom Bruce turned as a college-less MHS senior and, in only a few hours, his baseball coach arranged for him to attend Eastern Michigan University.
It was this critical role played by these wonderful men which made possible a most satisfying and rewarding four-decade career as a teacher and coach. Throughout 60 seasons of head coaching football, basketball and baseball at all secondary school levels, Bruce’s teams won 76 percent of their games as he compiled an overall record of 581-182-3. Perhaps most meaningful were the pair of county titles in football (1980) and basketball (1997) that his varsities brought home for the school.
Pam returned to the podium in order to introduce one of her all-time favorites, Carol Rainson Rose who truly pioneered girls’ sports at the high school. Carol was the top player, MVP and twice all-county on Pam’s first lacrosse squads and additionally an all-conference star in basketball and volleyball. Her 171 goals established the Indian career scoring record. Carol subsequently earned an all-American selection as the first 100-goal scorer for Cortland lacrosse. Over the past 22 years, she has enjoyed unbroken success as the Northport lax coach winning 11 Suffolk County and seven Long Island titles. Just this year, her girls captured the school’s first NYS crown. In addition, she is the founder and coach of the Long Island Elite Yellow Jackets travel lacrosse team which has won a number of national titles. But, it is her three years (1999-20001) on the New York Sharks professional football team which probably gives Carol’s sporting life its most distinctive touch. After thanking Pam for so much early encouragement, she also gave much credit for her achievements with a heartfelt tribute to her parents Al and Maryann Rainson, two of Manhasset athletics’ greatest and most devoted fans.
At this point, there was a pause in the formal induction process so the Hall could mark the 25th anniversary of the boys’ basketball team’s victories, which gave them the New York State Class B championship at upstate Glens Falls. As assistant coach with that team, Bruce (who clearly garnered as much mike time as ever in his non-emcee role this year) appropriately introduced those team members who had returned to commemorate that superb club. Led by Bob Gordon and George Robinson, they included Kevin Kade, Bobby Leach, Marzio Trotta, Dr. Justin Tortolani, Steve Sebetic and Craig Vachris. The latter spoke on behalf of his teammates in expressing their appreciation to the Hall of Fame for this acknowledgement, which was given simultaneously with the induction of their teammate Bob Gordon. Craig fondly recalled how exciting it was for them as teenagers to be members of a club which bonded so tightly and–following their triumph—to receive such universal approval and appreciation. “We were rock stars.”
Ms. McDonough followed this terrific moment by announcing that next up in the batting order would be Christine Kenny Goettelmann whose marriage united two prominent Manhasset sports families. Her dad Peter was a former Booster Club President (1983-85) and brother-in-law Tim is a 2009 Hall of Famer.
Winner of three individual county championships (two in cross country and a third at 3,000 meters in indoor track) as well as a state champion (1988) and high school all-American in lacrosse, Christine put together one of the most diverse and outstanding résumés in school annals. Awarded 12 varsity letters in four different sports, her performances were always characterized by unusual grit and determination–which carried her all the way to the NCAA Final Four with the lacrosse team at Loyola (Baltimore). That Christine has retained these tremendous attributes was recently demonstrated when she completed the New York Marathon in 3:17, placing her in the top 2 percent of all female runners. She and husband George still live in Manhasset with their two daughters, Tatum and Kelly. The twin dynasties continue.
As was previously stated, Bruce Minerley had yielded his position as co-master of ceremonies in name only. He returned once again in order to bring to the podium the next honoree, Bob Gordon. Playing four years of varsity basketball, Bob finished with 1441 points, third all-time for the Indians (who went 92-7 during his tenure). He also ranks tops in career steals and is runner-up for career assists. Bob was an all-state performer at Manhasset and also an Empire Games gold medalist when he was a driving force behind Long Island’s surprising upset of favored New York City. Furthermore, he was county champion in the high jump and remains the co-holder of the school record in that event at 6’8”. Bob went on to play college hoops at Siena, Nassau Community College (where he was a junior college all-American) and started every game for Hofstra his final two years.
In a highly entertaining acceptance speech, Bob related a number of humorous anecdotes including one, which described his relief at escaping a tight situation at Hofstra thanks to the fact that Carol Rainson then headed campus security. He proceeded to give her a long-delayed grateful shout-out and also conveyed special thanks to his parents and five sisters. In addition, Bob was certain to reinforce what Craig Vachris had stated earlier about the unique bond, which existed with his teammates (particularly life-long pal George Robinson) and of course, he let everyone know how much he appreciated his MHS coaches. As the Hall’s first African American member, he also made mention of the consistent support he has received from that segment of the Manhasset community.
Bob Rule, the fifth and final inductee, brought all the elements of the evening together quite nicely. First, there was the connection–via his introduction by Glenn Mueller ’68, the son of Fritz Mueller who had introduced Bruce Minerley–to his fellow honoree who was also an outstanding athlete and long-time coach. Glenn and Bob had been teammates at both Manhasset and Cornell—where they helped power the Big Red to the first-ever NCAA lacrosse championship. As with the other four new Hall of Famers, Bob was likewise a multi-sport standout for the Indians. Moving to Manhasset as a high school junior (from the Boston suburbs where he had been an all-star hockey goalie), he was twice team MVP on the gridiron and an all-county linebacker as a senior. Interestingly, he and the immortal Jim Brown ’53 share the school record for most tackles in a game with 12.
However, it was in lacrosse where Bob made his biggest mark. In 1967, he was named all-county and was chosen as most valuable player in the Nassau County title contest. His goaltending led the Indians to the Long Island championship when he yielded a microscopic 39 goals over a perfect 18-0 season. Post-Manhasset, Bob achieved greater stature with the aforementioned NCAA crown in 1971 that capped a senior season in which he was named the first team all-American goalie. A pair of national club titles followed graduation and then, for the cherry on top of the sundae, there was Bob’s all-tourney netminding in Australia where he backstopped the US National team to the inaugural World Lacrosse Championship.
In 1974, Mr. Rule returned to his alma mater for a still-continuing career teaching social studies. During the next 36 years, he was chief assistant and defensive coordinator for head coach Alan Lowe as the Indians enjoyed consistent excellence with 10 Nassau County, 8 Long Island, 6 Downstate and 3 New York State titles along with a National crown in 2004. When one adds up all of Bob Rule’s championships won as a player and coach, he has gone to the winner’s circle on 58 separate occasions. However, his most unique achievement is the fact (verified by the Association’s national office) that Bob is the only athlete in the history of college athletics to win NCAA Division I titles in two different team sports (Cornell hockey in 1970 and Big Red lacrosse in 1971).
Bob told everyone assembled how pleased he was that two of his coaches – Renzie Lamb at MHS and former Manhasset mentor Richie Moran at Cornell – were in attendance. He also spoke directly to students in the audience when he described the enormous satisfaction, which can be derived from a life spent instructing–in the classroom and on the athletic field. Bob went on to praise Manhasset parents who constantly are working to provide a special environment in which their kids can thrive and succeed in so many varied ways. Finally, from a life filled with decades of honors and accomplishments, Bob wanted to demonstrate how much this unique honor meant to him. When asked which photograph should adorn his plaque at the U.S. National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in Baltimore, Bob chose one, which pictured him in his Manhasset jersey with its big number 15. This re-affirmation of all that is special about Manhasset High School provided exactly the right note on which to close a memorable night in the venerable gymnasium.