Miller Place Olympian inducted into Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame


The Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame announced its inductees for the Class of 2018 on Tuesday in Smithtown, and there were some local names on the list.

Nine individual athletes from Suffolk County (full list below) were selected, along with a group award. The names were unveiled at Watermill Caterers.

“It’s with great pride that we introduce the Class of 2018,” said the new executive director of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame, Chris Vaccaro. “We have a diverse group from pro to amateur athletics, all with an undying passion for their hometown of Suffolk County.”

Among the list was Matt Ryan, a Miller Place native who was a professional handball player.

“He is one of the most prolific handball players in U.S. history,” said Vaccaro.

Ryan, the 1996 U.S. Olympic captain, won three U.S. Handball Player of the Year awards. He participated in 225 international matches, which is still an American record.

In high school, Ryan played basketball for Miller Place, where he won New York Basketball Player of the Year in 1984.

Ryan, who missed the press conference because he works for Georgia Tech, will be at the induction ceremony on May 10 at the Watermill.

Tickets will be available online for the event.

the inductees

  • Stephen Bowen: Former NFL player from Half Hallow Hills West who currently works for the NFL
  • Robert Burkley: Longtime track and field coach from Middle Country School District, went 26 years without a loss
  • Joe Dooley: Highly regarded Suffolk County football referee for 39 years
  • Cheryl Klein-Obelar: Recorded-breaking discus and shot put thrower for Bellport High School and University of Houston
  • Edward Morris: Former executive director of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame; he served from 2000-2017
  • Matt Ryan: U.S. Olympian handball player from Miller Place
  • Shannon Smith: All-American lacrosse player from West Babylon who coaches Hofstra’s woman’s lacrosse team.
  • Clem Stancik: Winningest tennis coach in New York State history for Brentwood High School
  • Hans Wiederkehr: Former NFL player, Babylon football coach, and Suffolk County football administrator
  • Special Recognition Award: Bay Shore Junior Fire Department Racing team

Top: Some of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. (Credit: Nicholas Esposito)