Morlon Greenwood was king of the mat, and now he's a Hall of Famer. Greenwood, who spent the first 11 years of his life in Jamaica before moving to Freeport, was in Russ Cellan's freshman gym class at Freeport High School when the longtime football coach noticed something.
Greenwood, who was a soccer player in his youth, was leaps and bounds ahead of his classmates that day for King of the Mat, a game where the object is to pin a host of competitors until one person remains.
"I pinned everyone, even guys that were on the wrestling team," Greenwood said before being inducted into the Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury on Wednesday night. "I didn't know anything about it. I was just doing what coach Cellan told me to do."
Cellan, amazed by his natural talent, convinced Greenwood to join the wrestling team, and later, the football team. The rest is history.
Greenwood took to football almost instantly and, after playing in only eight games as a junior, was offered a football scholarship at Syracuse. He was a third-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2001 and played eight seasons in the NFL -- four each with Miami and Houston.
Greenwood was one of the 28 inductees, ranging from athletes to coaches to administrators, in the inaugural class. Other notable inductees included former Dolphins and Jets quarterback Jay Fiedler (Oceanside), former NBA player Wally Szczerbiak (Cold Spring Harbor) and the late Carl Braun (Garden City), a former Knick.
"To be honored tonight is unbelievable," Fiedler said. "To be among the names that are going into the inaugural class is really humbling. It's a great honor. I'm happy to be part of it."
While at Oceanside, Fiedler also played basketball and ran track. He received all-county honors in basketball during his senior year and broke the New York State record in the pentathlon twice.
"I have better memories of the basketball court and the track," said Fiedler, who lives in Garden City. "Our high school football team, while I have great memories of playing, we certainly didn't have the same kind of success as in the other sports . . . But, we ran a spread offense before it really became a part of high school football like it is today. It was a lot of fun going out there, getting four wides on the field, and throwing the ball 30-40 times a game."
NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown, who graduated from Manhasset High School in 1953, was also inducted, but did not attend. Garden City field hockey and girls lacrosse coach Diane Chapman, Garden City football coach Tom Flatley, Farmingdale football coach Buddy Krumenacker and Nassau sports historian Jack White, who passed away in April, also were inducted.