VOTE NOW: Who Is The Shore’s Greatest Sports Personality of The Last 50 Years?
Let the voting begin in our quest to name the shore’s greatest sports personality of the last 50 years. Last week we received hundreds of nominations and along with our staff came up with 64 athletes, coaches, and contributors who have played significant roles on multiple levels. The task of cutting the list to 64 was challenging and many outstanding names are missing but those that made it were and are deserving of being part of an All-Star group if ever there was one.
These individuals did more than just compile great statistics as many broke new ground and paved the way for others to follow. Some achieved success on the high school, college and pro levels and others continued their success in sports-related fields after their playing days were over.
The criteria used to create this list:
- Participated in a Jersey Shore high school or college.
- Had a direct connection to the Jersey Shore.
- Is not currently playing high school or college sports.
- Achieved their greatest success from 1968 to the present time.
Our committee included Bob Badders, Matt Manley, Gregg Lerner, Matt Harmon, Ed Sarluca and myself. We have taken the field of 64, seeded the top 16 and placed them into four “regions.” The top seeds in each are Todd Frazier, Christie Pearce Rampone, Warren Wolf and Al Leiter.
So now it’s time to cast your votes as round one will continue until 11:59 p.m. on Monday (March 12) as we cut the field to 32. Each week we will seek your votes until we declare the Jersey Shore’s Greatest Sports Personality over the last 50 years in early April
Thanks to Sonny’s Recycling of Waretown for sponsoring this program and Ocean Trophies of Lanoka Harbor for providing a unique award for the winner.
Vote for every matchup now. Not sure who every sports figure is? Keep scrolling for a short bio on every participant.
Trouble viewing or voting? CLICK HERE for a direct voting link.
A bit about the participants:
Todd Frazier: Little League World Series champion, multiple-time all-state selection at Toms River South/Rutgers University standout/MLB all-star and Home Run Derby champion currently playing for the New York Mets.
Al Leiter: A standout at Central Regional who had an 18-year MLB career and was a three-time World Series champion.
Christie Pearce Rampone: A three-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champion as a member of the U.S. women’s soccer team, Rampone was a four-sport standout in soccer, basketball, field hockey and track at Point Boro and three-sport star in soccer, basketball and lacrosse at Monmouth University.
Keith Elias: Record-setting running back for Lacey High School and Princeton University. Played in the NFL with the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts.
Jim Dowd: One of New Jersey’s all-time great ice hockey players who starred on championship teams at Brick High School and won an NCAA championship at Lake Superior State. Later won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils and played 17 seasons in the NHL.
Frankie Edgar: A standout wrestler at Toms River East and Clarion University, Edgar transitioned to mixed martial arts where he is a former UFC Lightweight Champion and top-ranked featherweight contender.
Knowshon Moreno: An unstoppable force as a running back at Middletown South where he set multiple records and led the Eagles to three straight state titles. Was an All-American at the University of Georgia and drafted No. 12 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Damion Hahn: A three-time state champion wrestler at Lakewood High School who went on to win two NCAA titles at the University of Minnesota. Currently the associate head coach at national power Cornell.
John Crotty: Christian Brothers Academy and University of Virginia basketball standout who played 11 seasons in the NBA.
Jim Jeffcoat: Star defensive end at Matawan High School who had a record-setting career at Arizona State and was drafted with the 23rd pick of the 1983 NFL Draft. Played 14 years in the NFL and was a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys.
Sam Mills: A legendary figure in the Shore Conference, Mills was a star at Long Branch High School and Montclair State before playing 14 years in the NFL and serving as an assistant coach for six years. Lost his battle with cancer in 2005.
Martin Truex Jr.: Southern Regional graduate and NASCAR star who won the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Vito Chiaravalloti: All-American swimmer and baseball player at Christian Brothers Academy who started at the University of Richmond and played professional baseball for six seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles minor-league affiliates. Also a multiple-time state Coach of the Year as CBA’s swimming coach. Currently the athletic director at CBA.
Rob Johnson: A two-time state wrestling champion at Jackson Memorial and star soccer player who led the Jaguars to a state title in 1990 and led Rutgers’ men’s soccer team to the 1994 NCCA Final Four.
Frank Molinaro: The Barnegat native was a three-time state champion wrestler at Southern Regional who was then a four-time All-American and 2012 NCAA champion. Competed for the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics and finished fifth at 65 kg.
Joe Scott: Toms River East and Princeton University basketball record-holder who has been the head coach at Air Force, Princeton and Denver. Currently an assistant at Holy Cross.
Dan McCullough: Arguably the greatest athlete in the history of Brick High School, McCullough was a two-time state wrestling champion and also a football star. He earned a scholarship to Oklahoma University where he played both sports, including the Sooners’ 1974 National Championship football team. He was a two-time NCAA qualifier in wrestling.
Tom Kain: All-state soccer player for Wall and an NCAA All-American at Duke University, Kain then played professionally for four seasons. He is currently the Director of Global Marketing (soccer) for Nike.
Mike Gesicki: One of the greatest pure athletes in Shore Conference history, Gesicki was a football, basketball and volleyball standout at Southern Regional. He was an all-state selection in football and volleyball. He enjoyed a record-breaking career as a tight end at Penn State and is expected to be a first- or second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Andrew Valmon: Manchester High School and Seton Hall University track star who won 1,600 meter relay gold medals at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games and was also a member of two world-record setting relays teams. Currently the head track and field coach at the University of Maryland.
Phil Villapiano: Star football player at Ocean Township High School and then Bowling Green University, VIllapiano played 12 years in the NFL and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and a 1977 Super Bowl champion.
Tommy Duerr: The greatest lacrosse player in Shore Conference history, Duerr totaled a Shore Conference-record 431 points (also second all-time in NJ) at CBA before heading to Johns Hopkins University where he helped the Blue Jays win the 2007 NCAA National Championship.
James van Riemsdyk: A force in his two years at CBA before leaving for the national development program, the Middletown native was a star at the University of New Hampshire before being drafted No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He has played nine seasons in the NHL with the Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs and was also a member of the 2014 U.S. Olympic team.
Connor Jaeger: All-State swimmer at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School who was then a three-time All-American at the University of Michigan. Won the silver medal in the 1,500 meter freestyle at the 2016 Olympics and is the current American record-holder in that event.
Audrey Gomez: A pioneering basketball star at St. John Vianney, Gomez led the Lancers to their first Tournament of Champions title in 1991. She went on to play two seasons at Notre Dame before transferring to USC. Her life was tragically cut short at age 28 with her passing in 2001.
Denny Walling: A football, basketball and baseball star at Howell, Walling forged ahead with baseball at Brookdale and then Clemson before playing 17 seasons in the majors.
Dottie McCrea: A two-sport star at Matawan and then Monmouth, McCrea was on of New Jersey’s top basketball players and also a champion thrower in the shot put, discus and javelin.
Bob Roggy: Holmdel product set the NCAA javelin record as a senior at Southern Illinois and was the No. 1 thrower in the world in 1982.
Parker Bohn III: Freehold Township High School grad is one of the world’s top bowlers and a PBA Hall of Famer.
Patty Delehanty: Was the state’s all-time leading scorer upon graduating from Shore Regional in 1978. Starred at Rutgers where she led the Scarlet Knights to the AIAW National Championship.
Glenn Pritzlaff: One of the most decorated wresters in Shore Conference history, Pritzlaff went 113-3 with three state titles at Middletown South before heading to Penn State and winning the 1999 NCAA National Championship.
Miles Austin: A Garfield native but forever linked to the Shore thanks to his record-setting career as a wide receiver at Monmouth University. Austin played 10 seasons in the NFL, most notably as a two-time Pro Bowl selection with the Dallas Cowboys.
Lauren Anderson: An intimidating softball ace at Toms River North, Anderson was nicknamed “Senorita Smoke” for good reason. She fired 24 no-hitters in her all-state career with the Mariners and played collegiately at Georgian Court where she was an All-American.
Eddie Conti: Conti was before his time as a dual-threat quarterback who led Ocean to an undefeated state title in 1993. He then starred at Delaware as a wide receiver and punt returner where in 1998 he broke Jerry Rice’s NCAA Division I-AA record with 1,712 receiving yards. He set 43 school, conference and NCAA records.
J.R. Smith: A superstar at Lakewood High School before transferring to national power St. Benedict’s Prep, Smith was the 18th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and has played 14 seasons in the NBA. He won the 2016 NBA Championship as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Quenton Nelson: A ferocious offensive and defensive lineman for Red Bank Catholic, Nelson is one of the Shore’s best football players regardless of position. He was a three-year starter at Notre Dame where he garnered All-American honors and is expected to be a top-10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Scott Winston: His records have since been equaled, but Winston was the first wrestler in state history to go undefeated, finishing his career 137-0 with three state titles as part of legendary Jackson Memorial teams. An injury kept him out of the postseason as a freshman and injuries hampered his career at Rutgers, but he is among the greatest wrestlers in Shore and state history.
Joe Bravo: Long Branch native has been a dominant jockey in thoroughbred horse racing with over 5,000 career wins. Has won nine titles at Meadowlands Racetrack and 13 at Monmouth Park. Won the Shore Breeders’ Cup Stakes five times, including three straight from 2004 through 2006.
Brad Brach: A standout pitcher at Freehold Township and then Monmouth University, Brach got his start in the majors with the San Diego Padres before breaking through with the Baltimore Orioles. He was named to the 2016 All-Star game.
Michaela Mabrey: Debuted at St. John Vianney before starring at Manasquan and becoming one of the greatest basketball players in Shore Conference history. She was 2013 Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year, scored over 2,000 career points and helped both St. John Vianney and Manasquan win Tournament of Champions titles. Starred at Notre Dame University where she helped the Irish reach to NCAA title games.
Warren Wolf: The patriarch of Shore Conference football, Wolf coached Brick for 51 seasons and won 361 games along with six NJSIAA state titles, 31 division titles, eight undefeated seasons and 42 winning seasons.
Vic Kubu: A Shore Conference football legend, Kubu compiled an unbelievable 263-71-5 career record in 32 seasons, 22 of them at Manasquan. The Warriors won 10 sectional titles under Kubu, including a record five in a row from 1998 through 2002.
Ken Frank: Toms River South’s legendary baseball coach for 40 years, Frank has over 850 career wins, the most in state history. His teams have won over 55 division, county, conference and state titles during his tenure.
Scott Goodale: Goodale earned 10 varsity letters in wrestling, football and golf at Jackson Memorial before becoming the Jaguars’ head wrestling coach and is now the head coach at Rutgers University. Goodale was a two-time region champion and two-time state medalist on the mat and as a coach guided the Jaguars to the state’s top ranking in 2006 and 2007. As Rutgers’ mat boss, Goodale has elevated the Scarlet Knights into one of the nation’s top programs.
Tony Caravella: Brick Memorial opened its doors in 1981 and within five years Caravella had built the Mustangs wrestling team into the No. 1 team in the state. The Mustangs became the flagship wrestling program in the Shore during his 23-year tenure from 1980-2003 with five NJSIAA group championships, 10 sectional titles, 12 SCT titles (including 10 straight), 18 district championships and 13 division titles.
Bob Auriemma: Built Brick into a hockey dynasty and paved the way for ice hockey in the Shore Conference. He retired following the 2017 season after 53 seasons and a state-record 729 wins, which is also third all-time in the entire country. The Dragons won six overall NJSIAA titles, five public school championships and eighth Gordon Cup crowns under Auriemma.
Nancy Williams: Williams led Shore Regional’s field hockey team for 44 years and compiled an incredible 839-67-56 career record as the all-time winningest coach in the U.S. Williams’ teams won 43 consecutive division titles, 19 Shore Conference Tournament titles and 13 state championships.
Gerry Matthews: Brielle native who was the record-setting head basketball coach at Stockton University from 1985 to 2016. He retired with 603 career victories, more than any coach in New Jersey history. He also coached at the high school level at Long Branch and Rumson-Fair Haven, compiling a 228-98 record.
Joe Montano: The longtime girls basketball coach at Red Bank Catholic and also the school’s athletic director, Montano is one of just nine coaches in state history to reach 600 career wins. In 28 seasons at the helm at RBC, Montano has led the Caseys to six Shore Conference Tournament titles, eight NJSIAA overall group championships in nine trips to the group championship round and two NJSIAA Tournament of Champions titles.
Marty Kenney: CBA’s baseball coach for 44 years, Kenney has won over 750 games (second in New Jersey) and led the Colts to three NJSIAA group titles, eight sectional titles, seven Monmouth County titles, six Shore Conference championships and 18 division titles.
Ken O’Donnell: One of the most successful coaches in Shore Conference history and the only coach in state history to lead boys and girls teams to NJSIAA Group titles, O’Donnell went 570-189 in stints with the boys and girls teams at Neptune. He led the boys teams to four SCT titles and two Group III state crowns. He won 230 games and a Group IV title coaching the girls team.
John Farrell: A star pitcher for Shore Regional and then Oklahoma State, Farrell played eight seasons in the majors before beginning his coaching career. He is most known as the manager of the Boston Red Sox where he guided the team to the 2013 World Series title.
Bo Scannapieco: The softball coach at Brookdale for 35 years, Scannapieco has led his teams to three NJCAA National Championships and 15 Region XIX titles. He has over 800 wins, which is the most in the history of NJCAA Division III softball. He was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2007.
Steve Antonucci: In his 20 seasons as Middletown South’s football coach, Antonucci has compiled a 182-47 record while leading the Eagles to six NJSIAA sectional championships, including four in a row from 2003-2006, along with 10 division titles. The Eagles won 43 straight games from 2003 to 2006.
Ron Signorino Sr.: Over 19 seasons in two separate stints as Toms River South’s football coach, Signorino went 119-58-4 while leading the Indians to a state title in 1994. He was also an assistant on powerhouse teams at Brick under Warren Wolf.
John DeMarco: A legendary figure in Shore Conference wrestling, DeMarco coached multiple state champions for the Indians, including three in 1977, while also winning four straight Shore Conference Tournament titles and five straight district championships. He later was an assistant at Brick Memorial when the Mustangs ruled the Shore.
Doris Sable Burke: A standout point guard for Manasquan and then Providence College, Burke began a Hall of Fame broadcasting career in 1990 and is currently an NBA commentator/analyst for ESPN, becoming the first woman at the national level to be assigned a full-regular season role as an NBA game analyst.
Jim Nantz: A graduate of Marlboro High School where he co-captained the basketball and golf teams, Nantz is one of the most recognizable voices in sports as CBS’s top NFL play-by-play announcer who also calls NCAA basketball and PGA Tour golf.
Gary Jobson: A graduate of Toms River High School (now Toms River South), the former Beachwood Yacht Club was the tactician for Ted Turner on Courageous during the 1977 America’s Cup. He is a National Sailing Hall of Famer and America’s Cup Hall of Famer.
Tom McCarthy: A Brick Memorial High School graduate, McCarthy is the Philadelphia Phillies’ play-by-play announcer and also calls NFL games on radio and for CBS television.
Howie Roseman: The Philadelphia Eagles’ current Executive vice president of football operations and former general manager is a Marlboro High School graduate. He was selected as the Pro Football Writers Association NFL Executive of the Year this year for helping the Eagles win the first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Jack Nies: An Ocean Township resident, Nies was an NBA referee for 31 years and officiated 2,046 regular-season games, 150 playoff games, 10 NBA Finals games and two NBA All-Star games during his illustrious career. He has the third-most NBA officiating experience in history.
Jerry Dipoto: The current general manager of the Seattle Mariners, Dipoto was a standout pitcher at Toms River North and Virginia Commonwealth University. He made his major league debut in 1994 and played seven seasons in the majors with the Cleveland Indians, New York Mets and Colorado Rockies.
Bonnie Bernstein: The Howell graduate is one of the most accomplished female sportscasters in history and has reported on several sports for ESPN and CBA. She is a member of Howell’s Athletic Hall of Fame as a champion gymnast and was also a standout at the University of Maryland.