NEWS AND CURRENT EVENTS
The 2023 Inductees to the Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame are Mike Metzler, Lee Wallace, Dr. Bruce Fraser, Matt Jacob, Paul Maynard, (deceased), John Wesley Patterson (deceased), Kevin Karwath and John Zankowski and Glen Lowry, the Pep DiRamio Service Award.
Niagara Wheatfield’s Pam Vogel made history at the February, 2023 meeting of the Niagara Falls Sports HOF Board of Directors, becoming the first female appointed unanimously to the Board by its members. Pam is a 1982 graduate of Niagara Wheatfield and excelled in softball, volleyball and basketball during her high school and college career.
Vogel was inducted into the NFSHOF in October of 2022 for her career at NW, Erie County Community College and Bowling Green University where she obtained numerous All League, MVP and All Star awards in the three sports she participated in.
Vogel hired as the Varsity Volleyball Coach at Buffalo State from 1993 to 1996 and then became the Woman’s Volleyball Coach at Canisius College from 1994-2000.
Prominent Niagara Falls Insurance Agent and NFSHOF 2021 Inductee, Joel Holka has also been elected to the NFSHOF Board. Holka was a 1976 LaSalle high school graduate, excelling in Football, Baseball, Swimming and Track. Holka’s three year varsity career at LaSalle earned him All League and All Area selections as well as Outstanding Defensive Back and MVP Awards.
Holka was recruited by Canisius College and was a three year starter at Defensive Back, earning the prestigious Guelin Griffon Award in 1977 and 1978.
Over the past thirty-nine years Joel Holka’s Insurance business has awarded each area high school football team “A Maximum Effort” award to one deserving senior from The Niagara Falls, Niagara Wheatfield and Lew-Port Football teams.
Robins played and coached varsity baseball and football for the Niagara Falls high school and still enjoys golf, fishing and traveling.
The fourth Board appointee is Frank Rotundo a 2021 retiree from the Niagara Falls school District after thirty years of service. Rotundo was a graduate of LaSalle Senior High School in 1981 where he played and coached basketball and boys’ volleyball as well as running cross country. LaSalle’s boys basketball teams won three NY State titles during his assistant coaching career as well as several NFL and Sectional titles.
Frank received his higher education at Niagara County Community College and the University of Buffalo. Rotundo also served as the Men’s Basketball Coach at NCCC for eight years.
Rotundo also served as a building Representative for the Teacher’s Union for fifteen years as well as a Secondary Director. Frank has been a member and officer of the Cristoforo Colombo Society for the past ten years.
Standing: Tony Dean, Charles Lydle, Dave Burkholder, Joe Mazza (accepting on behalf of father Vince Mazza), Tom Siejka, Darryl Kosut.
2022 Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame
The 2021 Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame Inductions
CONGRATULATIONS TO the 2021 NFSHOF INDUCTEES
#42, Frank Accardo (1995 NFSHOF Inductee)
#40, Art Calandrelli (1996 NFSHOF Inductee)
The Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the addition of Mark Cheers (inducted in 2014) and Gary Burns (inducted in 2018) to it’s Board of Directors (BOD). The two new additions will fill the spots previously held by Frank Colucci and Mitch Adamshick and will increase the Board membership to 13.
Mark Cheers, a LaSalle High School grad in 1973, was considered a championship caliber New York State boxer in his early 20s according to local boxing historian Rich Spandido. “I have watched the video of Mark boxing Clinton Jackson three times and Mark should have won the decision and have had a chance to be teammates of Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns and the rest of the best Olympic Teams of all time.”
Cheers compiled an amateur welterweight record of 64 wins and 4 loses. He gave up boxing shortly after he won the Pal Championship due to family commitments.
Gary Burns was a legendary hockey, football and baseball star. He was born in Niagara Falls, but achieved most of his accolades while competing for Niagara Wheatfield High School.
· Burns was an All-Western NY High School Club Hockey, Niagara Frontier League (NFL) Player in 1977, 78 and 79.
· All Niagara Gazette Football team in 1977, 78 and 79.
· All NFL and All Western NY HS Baseball in 1977, 78, 79
· All Niagara Gazette Football Teams in 1977,78,79
· Defensive MVP (North Squad) in the annual 1980 Lions Club high school All-star Football game.
· Burns received a full football scholarship to Boston University from 1980 to 1985.
· Burns was also inducted in to the Niagara Wheatfield Hall of fame in 1994
All though most of Gary's accolades were accomplished while attending Niagara Wheatfield, the NF Board of Directors felt that his talent had an impact on the Niagara Falls community.
The BOD is accepting applications through June 30th. Applications can be downloaded at www.NFSHOF.com or one can be obtained from any member of the Board of Directors. Anyone 55 or older who has had strong ties to Niagara Falls and has had an outstanding career in athletics or any related field may apply. The Induction Dinner, hopefully, will be held at the Como restaurant on October 23 if restrictions are not too harsh.
If any NFSHOF Inductee is interested in becoming a member of the BOD, if the need arises, please e-mail President Joe Rizzo at jrizz544@roadrunner .com. Thank you.
Charles P. Augustino was born and raised in Niagara Falls, NY. “Augie,” as he was known to family and friends attended local schools and graduated from Niagara Falls High School in 1967, where he was a three sport all star athlete. "Augie" was an outstanding athlete throughout his lifetime.
He was a member of his high school football, basketball and baseball teams. He was a captain and starting quarterback of the last undefeated football team at original Niagara Falls High School in 1966. As a senior Augie earned All Western NY honors in football and baseball. He later played basketball for Niagara County Community College.
Chuck a first baseman played fast pitch softball for Bruno’s Exxon and the Alibi Lounge over a span of 16 years. One of his fast pitch highlights was a victory over the King and His Court before 2,000 spectators at High Park Stadium. He also played for Von Dungen Steel of Lockport in the Ontario Fast Pitch League where he was named MVP 6 times. Chuck also played in various fast pitch tournaments throughout Canada and the US, earning MVP trophies more than twenty times. In 1995, Chuck was inducted into the Western NY Softball Hall of Fame and in 2006, Augie was inducted into the Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame.
On August 17, 1971, Chuck married Linda (Bruno) Augustino at St. Joseph’s Church in NF. Charles owned and operated the former Alibi Lounge in Niagara Falls from 1978 to 1990. He then worked as a salesman for local ownerships and then owned Augie’s Sunshine Diner, originally on Military Road in the Town of Niagara. Then after Chuck’s death in October of 2010, the Augie’s Dinner reopened at Pine Plaza by Mrs. Augustino.
Augie, in his leisure time, enjoyed playing golf, but his greatest pleasure came from working in his restaurant and spending time with his family, especially with his 4 grandchildren.
1962 NFL and AAA SECTION 6 Champions
NIAGARA FALLS HIGH SCHOOL TEAM had seven future NFSHOF
members: Kneeling; John Goodfellow (2007), Larry LeBlanc (2003), Mitch Adamshick (2007), Ron Bator (2012). Standing; Ed Ceccato (2005), Gary Walos (2018), Jim Zielenski (2012).
Mark Gabriele Joins NFSHOF Board of Directors
The NFSHOF is pleased to announce the addition of 2017 inductee, Mark Gabriele to the Board of Directors. Mark will be the eleventh member, filling in a vacancy left by departed long time president Tony Quaranto who passed away a little over a year ago.
Mark resides in the town of Lewiston with his wife Michele, daughter Maria, son Michael and is an attorney in the Niagara Falls firm of Gabriele and Berragan, P.C.
While attending Niagara Catholic High School, Mark was All Catholic selection in, basketball baseball and football over multiple years. Twice he was selected Conference (ECAC) baseball first team while at NU. In 1982 he batted .448 while at Niagara (11th in the nation). Mark was the very first baseball player to be inducted into the Niagara University Hall of Fame. He also was an inductee of the Niagara Catholic Hall of Fame.
Gabriele was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1980, the NY Mets in 1983, the Atlanta Braves in 1984 and signed by the Oakland A’s in 1985.
Topping the list of many awards Mark has received was the prestigious Thomas Hewitt Award and the Courier Express Billy Kelly Award.
If there are any NFSHOF inductees that would be interested in serving on the board of directors in the future please E-mail Joe at jrizz544 @ roadrunner .com.
The organization is still accepting applications through the rest of 2020 and then again in 2021 till June 30. Anyone can apply who is at least 55 years of age, with strong ties to Niagara Falls and have had an outstanding career in athletics or any related field.
Visit www.NFSHOF.com, where you can download an application and follow the directions. Hopefully the induction dinner can take place in October of 2021 with full capacity.
|Pictured are NFSHOF members;|
Coach Paul Smith (2007), Coach Bill Bradshaw (2008), Sean O’Leary (2014) and Jack Weber (2018)
Joe Rizzo Elected NFSHOF President
In Memoriam for NFSHOF President
Niagara Falls lost one of it's most dedicated citizens yesterday in Tony Quaranto. Tony was the President of the Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame, former Niagara Falls Councilman, County Legislator Chairman and a man who always put out a hand in friendship. Tony will be missed by family, friends and by the countless people who he had affected their lives.
2019 Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame Inductees
Art Calandrelli Stadium Dedication
Marty Felice ( deceased)
Susan (O’Callaghan) Hefferon
James (Mike) Niland (deceased)
Paul A. Quarantillo
Rick Sweeney Sr.
Pep DiRamio Service Award:
The new class will be enshrined during the Induction dinner at 6 PM at the Como Restaurant on Oct. 19th. For ticket information contact Mitch Adamshick (773-4743) or Tony Quaranto (285-3267).
ABOUT US & HISTORY
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame, previously known as The Old Timers Sports Hall of Fame has been in existence since 1968. Over the past 45 years The Hall has honored 258 members of the Niagara Falls community that have contributed in some way to the field of athletics.
The Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame elects members into the Hall once a year. A person may be nominated for the Hall, but he must be elected into the Hall - a nomination does not guarantee induction into the Hall.
- Harold Quinn and Pep DiRamio founded this organization in 1968. Eligible recipients must be 55 years of age or older to be considered for induction.
- In 1975, the Pep DiRamio Award was established to recognize a member of the committee for special efforts in the success of our program.
- In 1997, the Memorial Award was established to recognize the deceased individuals who were never selected.
- In 1991, John Laurendi and Tony Quaranto reorganized the Hall after it had been discontinued.
- The Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame meets the second Wednesday of every month.