NYSPHSAA Announces 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees; Class to be Enshrined at
Annual Summer Meeting on July 25th in Lake Placid
LATHAM, NY – The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has announced the inductees for its Class of 2018 Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame, launched in 2002, is sponsored by Pupil Benefits Plan, Inc. and Crown Awards.
Persio “Andy” Capellan (Coach, Section I), Charles Engel (Coach, Section III), Tracey Fuchs (Athlete, Section XI), Ben Nelson (Administrator, Section IV), Heidi Mann Vittengl (Athlete, Section II), Mary Abigail “Abby” Wambach (Athlete, Section V) were chosen through a two-level selection process involving a screening committee and a selection committee. Nominations were endorsed by each inductee’s member section of the Association—a preliminary requirement in the nomination process—before going on to the NYSPHSAA Screening Committee for consideration first, then finally to the Selection Committee. Nominations can be submitted to a section office by anyone. The NYSPHSAA Hall of Fame is mirrored after the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) program which recognizes individuals in the categories of athlete, coach, official, administrator and related contributor.
The 2018 NYSPHSAA Hall of Fame Class will be inducted on Wednesday, July 25th at 6 pm at High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid, NY. Tickets for the Hall of Fame banquet are on sale to the public and may be purchased by calling Sandy Schanck at the NYSPHSAA Office, 518-690-0771, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline to purchase tickets is Wednesday, July 18th.
PERSIO “ANDY” CAPELLAN, Coach
Persio “Andy” Capellan is a highly successful cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track and field coach in New York State. Capellan earned his high school diploma from Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from New York University and a master’s degree in Administration at Iona College. In 1975, he began coaching football at Stuyvesant High School and it wasn’t long before the athletic director told him he would take over the girls track program at the school as well. He did for five years until leaving and becoming a teacher, administrator and the girls cross country, indoor, and outdoor track & field coach at New Rochelle High School (Section I) where he has seen great success over the last 38 years. While coaching both indoor and outdoor track and field, he has led his teams to a combined total of 54 league titles, 48 Westchester County titles, and 39 Section I Class A Championships. His outdoor track teams have won every league title since 1996 and won the Sectional title every year since 1991. He has also coached 43 individual NYSPHSAA state champions in 49 events as well as nine relay teams. He’s had one athlete win the 2008 Nike Outdoor National Championships in the 400m hurdles and also coached a National Champion 4x200m relay team. Andy currently is a member of the Section I Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Committees, the Glen Loucks Games Committee and has been the meet director for the Section I Class B Track and Field Championships. For his contributions and successes, he was inducted into the New Rochelle Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and was inducted into the New Balance Track and Field Center Hall of Fame in 2016. In addition, he has been recognized as Coach of the Year by fellow coaches or the media on 23 occasions between 1988 to 2018, which includes earning the New York State Coach of the Year Award for outdoor track and receiving the same award again in cross country in 2015 and 2016. Andy is still currently the cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field coach at New Rochelle.
CHARLES ENGLE, Coach
Charles Engle is the all-time winningest boys high school soccer coach in New York State. A graduate of Oriskany Falls High School (Section III) in 1964, Charles went onto Brockport College to earn his bachelor’s degree in 1966. He started coaching and teaching in 1968 at the former Leonardsville Central School (after a year Leonardsville merged with Bridgewater and West Winfield Central School to form Mount Markham High School). Charles was a physical education at Mount Markham and became the first boys varsity soccer coach at the school. Over a sparkling 48-year career, Charles accumulated a 654-233-44 record (in the top 10 nationally) in addition to his teams winning 11 division championships, 11 league championships, 13 Class C Sectional championships, and four NYSPHSAA Regional Championships. His teams qualified for one state final in 1986, had three undefeated seasons, and his 2003 did not yield a single goal losing in a shootout in the Sectional Final. Engle was named NSCAA Boys Small School Coach of the Year in 1997, 2003, and 2016 and was honored as NSCAA National Small School Coach of the Year in 2003 and in 2010. He is a member of both the NYSPHSAA Boys Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame and the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame. Described as an icon and “throwback” coach, Engle was a multi-sport coach at Mount Markham and has made significant contributions to Section III including serving as the Section Coordinator from 1997-2015. Following retirement in 2016, he was presented Section III’s prestigious Allen Gilberti Lifetime Achievement Award.
TRACEY FUCHS, Athlete
Tracey Fuchs is the all-time high school field hockey scoring leader in New York State. A graduate of Centereach High School (Section XI) in 1984, she was the most sought after high school field hockey player in the early 80s. Fuchs set a national record with most goals in a season (82) her senior year and tallied 171 career goals—most in NYS and just one goal short of the national record. Fuchs played her four-year high school career under current NYSPHSAA Hall of Fame coach Nancy Cole and the two led the 1983 Centereach team to its first NYSPHSAA State Championship in the inaugural year NYSPHSAA had a field hockey state tournament. Recruited by major Division I schools, Fuchs accepted a full scholarship to the University of Connecticut to continue her playing career where she made an immediate impact leading the Huskies to a National Championship her sophomore season. At UConn, she was a three-time All-American, won the Honda Broderick Award as the nation’s top field hockey player in 1987, and broke seven UConn scoring records. Following graduation in 1988, Tracey earned a spot on the US Olympic team in Seoul Korea that year, a spot on the Olympic team in Atlanta in 1996, and was also a member of four World Cup teams. In 1990 and 1995, she was named Field Hockey Athlete of the Year and subsequently was inducted into the USA Field Hockey Hall of Fame. She began coaching as an assistant at UConn in the early 1990s, and by 1996, she became the Associate Head Coach at the University of Michigan until 2008, where she was part of two championships. While coaching at Michigan, Fuchs was also the head coach of the U.S. Junior National team from 2005-2009. In January of 2009, Tracey became the head coach at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) immediately making the program a perennial conference contender each year. Fuchs holds a master’s degree from Northeastern University (Boston).
BEN NELSON, Administrator
Ben Nelson is one of the most highly respected administrators in New York State and has made significant contributions as an administrator and high school coach in Section IV. A five-sport letterman in baseball, basketball, track, volleyball and football, and graduate of Bainbridge-Guilford High School (Section IV) in 1958, Ben continued his basketball career playing at Trinity Pawling, Colgate, and Louisiana University. He also spent a year in Hannover, Germany as a player-coach for a Division II team as well. After his playing career, Ben first began contributing to youth and high school athletics during the summers at Camp Dudley, where he’s been a coach or administrator for over six decades, and as a multi-sport coach at Oxford Academy, where he was also a math teacher. At Oxford, he led the boys varsity basketball team, cross country team, and track and field team to several Class C Sectional Championships and Pioneer League Championships. He then achieved the same feat with the varsity girls team. His success in administration began in 1988 when he took over as Athletic Director at Oxford after Al Doyle left to become NYSPHSAA’s first Executive Director. Then in 1998, he ascended to the Section IV Executive Director position overseeing the operations of the section on a day-to-day basis. Ben is currently the longest serving Executive Director in NYS. In that role, he has helped significantly improve Section IV’s finances and has been the catalyst for bringing numerous NYSPHSAA State Championship events to the Section including boys basketball, baseball, field hockey, boys soccer, outdoor track and cross country. In addition, Ben has been a part of exemplary programs in the areas of sports safety, academics and sportsmanship in the section. He presently serves NYSPHSAA on numerous committees including its Boys Basketball State Committee. In 2014, Nelson was elected into the Section IV Hall of Fame and the Basketball Coaches Association of New York (BCANY) Hall of Fame. He is currently the BCANY Assistant Executive Director and has served on the organization’s Board since its inception. Nelson has additionally received both the Otis Sennett Award of Excellence and Distinguished Service Awards from the NYS Athletic Administrators Association, and was honored with the Golden Apple Award, Camp Dudley Man of the Year Award and Southern Tier Basketball Officials Dedication Award.
HEIDI MANN VITTENGL, Athlete
Heidi Mann Vittengl is one of the most decorated three-sport athletes in New York State. A graduate of Queensbury High School (Section II) in 1982 and the University of Florida in 1987, she lettered in field hockey, basketball, and outdoor track & field and excelled in all of them. In field hockey, she was a two-year varsity athlete helping her team win Section II and Class A Regional Championships. By the end of her senior year Mann Vittengl set the Section II record with 25 career goals, 15 assists and 65 total points. In basketball, she was a four-year varsity athlete guiding her team to Section II titles her junior and senior season. Her senior season she set the Section II career scoring record with 1,660 points. She was also named the 1982 Section II Most Valuable Player and an All-New York State First Team selection. Although Heidi excelled in field hockey and basketball, track & field is where she saw her greatest accomplishments. As a sophomore she set a NYS record in the pentathlon and as a junior broke her own record in the same event. As a junior, she snapped a state record in the pentathlon, only a one-day event at the time compared to the two days athletes get today. During her junior year Heidi also competed at the Athletic Congress Junior Track and Field Championships in Spokane, WA where she broke her own national high school record in the heptathlon. To this day she still holds the NYSPHSAA heptathlon record with 4,953 points. After high school Heidi continued her track & field career quickly becoming a two-time NCAA All-American, a three-time Penn Relays Champion in the heptathlon, and earned All-Academic Southeastern Conference (SEC) First Team honors four times, as well as winning the 1987 Southeastern Conference Heptathlon Championship for Florida. In 1987, Heidi qualified for the Olympic Trials in the heptathlon after breaking the Penn Relay’s heptathlon meet record. She succeeded after two career-threatening injuries; ankle ligament damage her senior basketball season setting her back in her final spring track season and also being struck in the ankle by a javelin during a college meet. During her high school career she also participated in the Empire State Games capturing the gold two consecutive summers. Heidi’s successes led to an inaugural induction into the Empire State Games Hall of Fame. In the late 1980' s she took up golf and earned a slot on the LPGA Futures Tour playing in ten pro golf events. She currently plays with a 4 handicap and has won 12 club championships.
MARY ABIGAIL “ABBY” WAMBACH, Athlete
“Abby” Wambach may be the most well-known girls soccer player to come out of New York State. A graduate of Our Lady of Mercy Rochester (Section V) in 1998, Abby went on to earn a bachelor’s in 2001 from the University of Florida. She was a successful two-sport athlete at Mercy playing five years on the varsity girls soccer team and four years on the varsity girls basketball team. In basketball, she led her school to the Class A Sectional Championship and was named Sectional Tournament MVP. However, soccer is where she built a long, successful scholastic, collegiate and professional career. Abby was named the All Greater Rochester Soccer Player of the Year, Gatorade Circle of Champions New York Player of the Year, NSCAA Regional Player of the Year, NSCAA State of New York Player of the Year, and NSCAA/UMBRO National Player of the Year in soccer during her senior year of high school. That year she also led her team to the NYSPHSAA State Finals and completed her high school career with 142 goals, including 34 her senior year. Wambach then accepted a full scholarship to Florida where she set records for goals (96), assists (50), points (242), game-winning goals (24), and hat-tricks (10) while earning All-American and All-SEC honors in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. Wambach was drafted second overall by the Washington Freedom of the Women’s United Soccer Association in 2002. Two years after she graduated from college, she became a member of the US Women’s National Soccer team where she played from 2003-2015. She scored 184 goals at the international level surpassing Mia Hamm’s record, and was 2012 FIFA Word Player of the Year. In 2015, she was a key part of the United States’ World Cup Gold Medal team. Off the field Abby has made significant strides as an advocate for women’s rights and equal opportunity.
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About NYSPHSAA (Twitter: @NYSPHSAA | Facebook: NYSPHSAA | YouTube: NYSPHSAASports):
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association Inc. is a non-profit, voluntary, educational service organization composed of public, parochial, and private schools dedicated to providing equitable and safe competition for the students of its member schools. The organization conducts 33 championship events and governs the rules and regulations of high school athletics in New York State. Membership is open to secondary schools providing interschool athletic activities for boys and girls in grades 7-12.