For legendary Hempstead boys basketball coach Ted Adams, the opportunity to guide student-athletes seemed like something he was always meant to do. But even as he continued to focus on improving the lives of others, he never stopped to think about all that he was achieving himself.
Until Tuesday, when Adams was one of 34 members selected to be a part of the fifth induction class of the Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. The 2019 induction ceremony will be held at the Crest Hollow Country Club Sept. 25.
“It’s almost like the end of a lifelong goal and it’s been rewarding for something you’ve wanted to do all your life, something you were meant and supposed to do,” Adams said. “There’s life and there’s something that makes life worth living and when you find you’ve been doing things to help other people and you find you're given recognition for helping other people, it’s just icing on the cake.”
Adams coached the Hempstead boys basketball team from 1983-2013, winning 17 county titles and 12 Long Island championships. He also won three state titles, 517 career games and was Newsday’s Coach of the Year seven times.
Adams said he got into coaching to work with and enhance the life of student-athletes, something nearly every successful coach shares in.
“Coaching is a vehicle for getting to the end point,” Adams said. “The end point was to help develop youngsters to their maximum, spiritually and both physically and mentally and that was one piece of that triad we were trying to put together. So once we did that, we were able to develop the whole person. Not just the basketball player.”
The 34-member class is filled with some of the top high school coaches in the history of Long Island, including Adams, Bill Ashley, John Baumann, James Colligan, George Dlugolonski, Bruce Gehrke, Jack Kaley, Robert Kenney, Ernest Kight Jr., Paul Limmer, Joe Lores, Alan Lowe, Gloria O’Connor, Rob Perpall, Carmine Verde and Hank Williams.
For Perpall, who has an all-time football record of 157-62-1, including 149-46 with seven county and two Long Island titles in 19 seasons at Seaford and also a 202-62 record in 13 seasons as a softball coach, he loves the ever-changing challenges and amateurism that comes with coaching at the high school level.
“Once I couldn’t play football anymore, I wanted to still stay involved and I love working with the kids,” Perpall said. “I love building...you have a bunch of kids and you’re trying to turn them into a team that’s a productive unit. That’s the fun about it.”
The exceptional student-athletes as a part of this year’s class includes Alice Jean Arden-Hodge (Baldwin), Courtney Cornwall (Lawrence), Bill Dumpson (Port Washington), Jessica Foschi-Gallo (Friends Academy), Ronnie Heller (Farmingdale), Jill Rose Januszewski-Krol (Oceanside), Paul Lankford (Farmingdale), Bethany Lambley Lesueur (Garden City), Heather McAdam-Pomilio (Long Beach), Gerald McHugh (Baldwin), Breanne Nasti (Baldwin), Billy Omeltchenko (Great Neck North), Bob Rule (Manhasset), Christie Welsh (Massapequa) and Wandy Williams (Malverne).
Carl Reuter, a longtime News 12 and MSG Varsity reporter, Bill Erb, a long-time referee, and Joe Cairo, a football administrator, will also be a part of this year’s class.
“It’s really an honor,” Perpall said. “Because these people have really accomplished so many things in their lives.”
Ted Adams, Hempstead
He coached the boys basketball team from 1983-2013, winning 17 county and 12 Long Island championships.
Alice Jean Arden-Hodge, Baldwin
A standout in field hockey, basketball and track, she competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
Bill Ashley, Freeport
He coached lacrosse and football in Freeport, winning five Rutgers Cups in football.
John Baumann, Carey
He coached Carey to a 255-152 baseball record from 1961-1977.
Dedcated more than than 40 years to high school football in Nassau and was instrumental in creating the Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame.
James Colligan, Carle Place
A 29-year varsity baketball coach, Carle Place reached the state Final Four twice.
Courtney Cornwall, Lawrence
Three-time state champion in the 300 meters and 4x400 meter indoor. He ran the top time in the nation in the 300 in 34.36 seconds in 1997.
George Dlugolonski, Chaminade
A wrestling coach for 40 years, had a record of 536-156-3 in dual meets. He has the most dual meet victories in Long Island history.
Bill Dumpson, Port Washington
He played football, basketball and baseball and led Port Washington to a 35-game winning streak during a Long Island championship season in 1946-47. He was also a member of the Negro League and played for the Harlem Globetrotters.
A standout referee for 66 years and worked more than 1,500 games.
Jessica Foschi-Gallo, Freinds Academy
She won the 200 anad 500-yard freestlye swimming state championships from 1995-1997.
Bruce Gehrke, Mineola
He coached football and basketball, winning two Rutgers Cups.
Ronnie Heller, Farmingdale
Won the Thorpe award as Nassau's top football player and Martone award as the top limeman and won a state wrestling title in a 26-0 season his senior season.
Jill Rose Januszewski-Kroll, Oceanside
She played volleyball, basketball and softball. She led the softball team to a county title in her junior and senior seasons, pitching every inning of every game.
Coached boys lacrosse at Lynbrook from 1964-67 and at East Meadow from 1968-88. Went 227-96 at East Meadow, inclduing winning three straight Long Island championships.
Served as the Tournament Director and Nassau boys basketball coordinator from 1977-1992, working at Herricks and Hicksville.
Ernest Kight Jr., Freeport
Coached the girls basketball team from 1977-2005, winning 399 games, five county titles and three Long Island championships.
Paul Lankford, Farmingdale
He led Farmingdale to the Rutgers Cup in 1975 and 1976 as a wide receiver and cornerback and set state records in the 60 and 100-yard hurdles in track.
Bethany Lambley Lesueur, Garden City
The girls basketball standout scored 3,167 points as a six-year starter and was a standout lacrosse and soccer player also. She was a two-time Gatorade New York State Player of the Year in basketball.
Paul Limmer, Mepham
He coached the boys and girls cross country teams to a 555-15 league meet record and had four state championship teams and 20 state individual champions.
Joe Lores, East Rockaway
A three-sport coach in girls soccer, boys basketball and softball. His soccer teams have won 697 games in 18 years. His softball teams have won 347 games, including 11 county and three Long Island championships in 24 years.
Excelled in lacrosse as a player at Hempstead, scoring a then-county record 64 goals in a season, which was only 13 games long. He coached Manhasset from 1975-2006, going 511-110 as a coach. Manhasset won nine county, seven Long Island and two state championships.
Heather McAdam-Pomilio, Long Beach
A four-sport athlete, she played softball, volleyball, basketball and gymnastics. She is in the New York State softball Hall of Fame, hitting .500 for her career with 18 home runs and 101 RBIs.
Gerald McHugh, Baldwin
A five-sport athlete, he played football, basketball, basketball, ran track and swam, excelling in each sport.
Breanne Nasti, Baldwin
Played field hockey, basketball and softball. She set a national record with a career varsity average of .695, leading Baldwin to five county titles and a Long Island championship in 1999.
Gloria O'Connor, Carle Place
A field hockey and girls lacrosse coach, she went 199-11-2, winning eight county and five state titles in girls lacrosse. She also went 146-18-1 in field hockey, with seven county and four state titles.
Billy Omeltchenko, Great Neck North
He played soccer, basketball and baseball. Finished as the program's all-time leading soccer scorer and scored more than 1,000 points in basketball.
Rob Perpall, Seaford
He led the football team to a 149-46 record with seven county and two Long Island championships and led the softball team to a 202-62 record with three county titles and a Long Island championship.
A longtime high school reporter for News 12 and MSG Varsity. He won two Emmy Awards.
Bob Rule, Manhasset
Played football and lacrosse, and helped Manhasset in an 18-0 championship lacrosse season, only allowing 39 goals all year. Played offensive line in football.
Carmine Verde, Long Beach
Coached the Long Beach softball team for 40 years, winning more than 350 games, including a state Class AA championship in 2007. He's also won seven county titles.
Christie Welsh, Massapequa
A two-time All-American, Gatorade National Player of the Year helped lead the Massapequa girls soccer team to a state championship in 1997. She also was given the Herrmann Trophy as a junior in Penn State, the sport's most prestigious award given to the nation's top player.
Hanks Williams, Malverne
Won 450 games, nine county titles and two state championships over 27 seasons as the boys basketball coach.
Wandy Williams, Malverne
A football and basketball standout, he played at Kansas and Hofstra and was drafted in the sixth round by the Denver Broncos.