Ballston Spa Introduces First Hall of Fame

2013 will officially be the first year of the Ballston Spa Hall of Fame.

The inaugural class of nine individuals and two teams ranges from the man for whom the Scotties are named to the 2012 Ballston Spa Girls Alpine Ski Team.

“I think it means that there’s a tradition here that people need to recognize,” Athletic Director Dave Sunkes said. “Ballston Spa athletics has been around for a long time and it has had success. These people, who have worked hard to be successful, need to be recognized for that.”

SPORTSA committee of community members, who were also past or present players and coaches for Ballston Spa High School, got the ball rolling and made the Hall of Fame “come to fruition,” Sunkes said.

One of the eight current committee members, volleyball head coach Sylvia Bertrand, was part of a team that has been meeting for the better part of the last year and a half to get the Hall of Fame started. Originally, there were a couple more people on the committee, including past Athletic Director Joan Libby, who Bertrand said “was an invaluable help to us.”

“It’s a great way to promote athletics in Ballston Spa,” Bertrand said. “We’ve had a lot of dedicated people as administrators, coaches and athletes. I think it’s great that we are finally taking the opportunity to recognize that.”

This year’s nominations had to be in by Jan. 15. On May 4 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., in the high school auditorium, the ceremony will take place for the class of 2013:

William R. Scott, who was the school’s athletic director as well as a coach and district teacher, was the inspiration for the school logo and name of the school’s football field. With his teams often called “Scottie’s Boys,” Ballston Spa’s mascot became the Scottie dog.

Olympian brothers Richard and John Wurster were part of the 1968 Olympic speed skating team, which competed in Grenoble, France. Richard also represented U.S. long track and was the all-around champion in 1965-66 and 1975. In addition to his 1968 campaign, younger brother John also represented U.S. speed skating in the 1972 winter games in Sapporo, Japan.

John Caputo was a three-sport athlete and was also part of the 1943 Basketball League Champion team. He would later go on to play pro baseball.

The late Richard L. Thomas was a longtime coach, athletic director and community athletic contributor. From the class of 1945, he we was also honored for his 38-year coaching and teaching career when he was part of the first annual Ballston Spa Alumni Recognition in 2010.

1979 National High School Swim coach of the Year James Funiciello, a three sport athlete and inductee of the 2011 Alumni Recognition class, represents the class of 1954.

Allan Durkovic was a three-sport athlete who won the 1963-1964 Class B basketball title and was also a conference all-star before going on to play pro football with the New England Patriots.

Football all-star Patsy Monaco and 29-year wrestling coach Vince Johnson will also be inducted. Johnson was a four-time coach of the year and was also in the third annual Alumni Recognition, representing the class of 1965.

The two awards being accepted as a team go to the 2010-2012 Ballston Spa Girls Alpine Ski teams that won back-to-back Section II and NYSPHSAA championships.

Depending on the number of people at the ceremony, there will be a reception afterward in either the cafeteria or the library followed by an informal gathering in a place to be announced in Ballston Spa.

Nominations that were not accepted for this year’s class will be kept for three following years.

“Right now, because we’re in the beginning stages and there have been so many years without a hall of fame, there are a lot of people that people may think should be inducted,” Bertrand said. “We want to get it going and keep it going.”

To be a student athlete candidate, the individual must have graduated five years prior or more. The team award must be for a team that competed 10 years ago or more, unless it has been recognized at a higher level such as regionals or states, such as the Alpine Ski teams.

The committee plans on keeping the classes to a maximum of 10 individuals/teams, but the bylaws were amended for the Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

“I think we feel like we made some great selections and that there’s a lot of variation in who was selected,” Bertrand said. “Certainly there are probably people that we missed, but again you can’t choose someone if they weren’t nominated, and I think that now that we are having the first induction that hopefully that will generate interest in word of nominations next year.”

Future nominations can be made on the Hall of Fame website (ballstonspaathleticshalloffame.com), where there will also be forms for patrons and business to donate and have their name on the program issued out at the ceremony.

“We would welcome any donations that people are willing to give because basically we’re starting from scratch,” Bertrand said.

To contact the reporter on this story email brian@theballstonjournal.com

To contact the editor on this story email kevin@theballstonjournal.com

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