Guy Leggio and Isaac Ramaswamy, two fixtures in the Long Island wrestling community, were two of five honorees inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame for their lifetime service during a ceremony at the Melville Marriot Friday night.
Leggio, the coach at East Islip, took over the program in 1989. A bricklayer by trade, Leggio has built the program from the ground up, including construction on the school's wrestling room in 2002. Leggio joins his father, Gombatista "Jumper" Leggio, a 1997 inductee as a wrestler, coach and official, to become the only father-son pair inducted from Suffolk County.
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"Everything my dad has done I've done," Leggio said. "He was a bricklayer and a wrestling coach and I became a bricklayer and a wrestling coach. I'm old fashioned, that's how I grew up."
East Islip won its first Suffolk title under the younger Leggio in 2006. The Redmen have five state placers in the last two years -- as many as in the last 10 years combined.
Ramaswamy, a two-time U.S. national champion, placed second at the world team trials in 1993, 1994 and 1995, is also presiding over a budding Suffolk dynasty. The first-year coach at Sachem East, Ramaswamy led the Flaming Arrows to their second consecutive county title and fifth in the state.
"Coaching has allowed me to stay a part of this sport," Ramaswamy said. "It's allowed me to remain competitive and take everything I love about the sport and not just retain it for my own purpose but give it to my kids and in a lot of ways that's even more rewarding."
Marcia Haise, Cliff Forzait and Hilary Becker were the other inductees.
Haise, of East Chester, is the only female to officiate the Nassau and Suffolk tournaments as well as the state championship, has a background that also includes officiating 18 world championships, five Pan American championships and three World Cups.
The longtime coach at Herricks, Forziat has been instrumental in the growth of the program. During his 36 years, Herricks produced 80 conference winners, 12 county champions and two state champions.
Forzait retired in 2013.
Becker, of Lynbrook, has been a part of the Long Island wrestling community for more than 40 years and was instrumental in founding and running the Lynbrook Titans kid wrestling program for the last 32 years. Becker is currently a trustee for the Village of Lynbrook.
Noel Thompson was also honored at the event with the Distinguished American award. Thompson was a standout wrestler at Freeport and collegiately at Hofstra, where he graduated from in 2004.