ROBBINSVILLE – A former National Football League player who was named the Prep Athlete of the Year while at Scotch Plains Fanwood High School and a former Major League Baseball player originally from New Brunswick are among seven Garden State sports luminaries recently inducted into the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Bollinger Hall of Fame’s class of 2013.
Renaldo “Skeets” Nehemiah, played three seasons for the San Francisco 49ers, winning Super Bowl XIX. In 1980 he finished first in the 110m hurdles at the U.S. Olympic trials. A member of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, the State of New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Maryland Hall of Fame, and the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame, Nehemiah was ranked first in the world in the 110m hurdles for four consecutive years.
A two-sport athlete for St. Peters High School and New Brunswick High School, Eric Young earned admittance to the Rutgers Olympic Sports Hall of Fame and the Rutgers Football Hall of Fame. His MLB career began with the Los Angeles Dodgers and he soon became one of the original Colorado Rockies. He received the Lou Brock Award, the NL Silver Slugger trophy, and the Jackie Robinson Award. An ESPN analyst, Young also spent two years as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ first base coach.
The other 2013 inductees are:
- Jack Tatum was honored by the Associated Press as an All-State player while at Passaic High School. At Ohio State University, he was a two-time All-American, a National Defensive Player of the Year, and was eventually inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1971, he was drafted 19th overall by the Oakland Raiders, who he played with for nine years, winning Super Bowl XI. He concluded his career in 1980, being named to the Pro Bowl three times, and recording 37 interceptions.
- Drafted 24th overall by the New Orleans Saints in 1988, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward played 11 seasons for four different teams. He rushed for a career total of 4,301 yards, had 1,559 receiving yards, and scored 34 touchdowns. His finest season was 1995 when, as a Falcon, he rushed for 1,083 yards.
- Ernest A. “Prof” Blood coached the Passaic High School basketball team — often known as the “Wonder Teams” — 1915 through 1924, and then went on to coach at St. Benedict’s Prep. He won 159 consecutive games, a national record that still stands today — and under his leadership, Passaic captured seven state championships. And St. Benedict’s won five more. In 1960, Prof was inducted into the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame.
- A basketball, football and track star at East Brunswick High School, Dave Wohl was captain of a University of Pennsylvania basketball squad that completed the regular season undefeated in 1971. The team went on to compete in the NCAA Tournament. In the NBA, Wohl’s teams won two league championships.
- Peter Hall earned nine varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball at Bound Brook High School. At Rutgers University, he was named a baseball All-American. Hill played in the New York Yankees’ farm system for three years, then returned to New Jersey to coach baseball at Ridge High School. Interestingly, Hill won state championships both as a player (Bound Brook H.S.) and as a coach (Ridge H.S.). He was instrumental in helping author rules that limit innings pitched by New Jersey scholastic ballplayers. Hill was previously inducted into the Bound Brook High School Hall of Fame and the Rutgers Olympic Sports Hall of Fame.
Established in 1995 and named for Short Hills, NJ-based sponsor Bollinger Insurance, a provider of sports-related insurance products, the NJSIAA’s Bollinger Hall of Fame receives nominations annually from high schools across the state. These submissions are reviewed by a selection committee that makes final decisions regarding inductees.
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