Saturday’s homecoming will mark the return of one of the oldest high school football rivalries on Long Island, the one between East Hampton and Southampton that dates to 1923, and will feature as well the induction of East Hampton High School’s first Hall of Fame class.
The honorees will include Fran Kiernan, the 102-year-old former athletic director who coached football, basketball, and baseball here from 1945 to 1960 and served as the A.D. from 1952 until the late 1960s, and Ed Petrie Sr., who over a 52-year career oversaw numerous championship boys basketball teams and became the winningest public high school boys basketball coach in New York State.
Kiernan is credited with “shaping the future of East Hampton’s athletic program.” He celebrated his 102nd birthday at the end of last month, and wrote from Florida, where he lives, that “the trip north is a bit much for me.” His son, F.J. Kiernan, will stand in for him.
Among the athletes to be feted will be the basketball stars Howard and Kenny Wood; Ross Gload, the professional baseball player, who won the Carl Yastrzemski award in 1994; LeRoy DeBoard, a 1951 graduate who was a four-sport athlete (football, basketball, baseball, and track) and was named to Benedict College’s Hall of Fame in 1994; Ed Budd, a 1983 graduate who was the first East Hampton High athlete to be named to all-county teams in three sports (football, wrestling, and baseball); Margaret Dunn, a 1979 graduate who was a four-sport athlete (field hockey, basketball, volleyball, and softball) and held the career scoring record in girls basketball, and Ellamae Gurney, a 1994 graduate and all-around athlete (field hockey, basketball, and softball) who played on the county championship field hockey team of 1993 and went on to play varsity softball at Brown University.
In addition, there will be five posthumous inductees — Walter Sheades, Frank Jewels, William McDonald, Kendall Madison, and Richard Balnis Sr. — as well as two teams, the 1952 undefeated, untied football team coached by Kiernan, and the 1989 state-finalist field hockey team coached by Ellen Cooper.
It’s been said of the late Walter Sheades, a member of the class of 1930, that “he was a standout athlete who never quit and often inspired his teammates with motivational speeches when needed; he played quarterback and fullback for East Hampton football teams in the late 1920s.”
Frank Jewels, a classmate of Sheades’s, “lettered in baseball, basketball, and track, and was a standout shortstop for the 1929 Class A champions. He went on to attend the University of Alabama on a baseball scholarship, and played semi-professionally.”
Richard Balnis Sr. (1963) “was known for his passion to be the best on and off the field. His sports were football, basketball, and track. He played football at New Mexico State and co-founded the East Hampton Youth Football organization. As a physical therapist, he dedicated his life to helping other athletes play the sports they loved.”
Bill McDonald (1966) “was a standout athlete in football and wrestling at East Hampton High School. A second-team all-American football player in 1965, he went on to captain Vanderbilt University’s football team. He was named to the all-Southeast Conference team as a sophomore.”
Kendall Madison (1991), whose untimely death at the age of 21 in January 1995 shocked East Hamptoners, was an outstanding three-sport athlete and honor roll student here before winning a full athletic scholarship to the University of Connecticut, where he was the strong safety on its football team and majored in economics. The Kendall Madison Foundation was formed shortly after his death to keep his joyous, confident spirit alive. It gives out four-year college scholarships each year to East Hampton High seniors, who, in turn, are required to act as mentors to younger children here.
The 1952 football team members were Scott Bennett, Don Bovie, Frank Cafiso, Dave Cheney, Louis Cicero, Jim Clark, Frank Dragotta, Charles Gould, Russell Peele, Richard Sage, Daniel Shields, John Tilley, Fred Yardley, Robert Yardley, John Astorr, Edward Conklin, Richard Cooper, William DeBoard, Charles Gould, Joe Green, Steve Kaiser, Charles Kaiser, Dave Kerstisin, Robert Lynch, Francis Orr, Kennel Schenck, Robert Taylor, and Joe Embro.
The 1989 state-finalist field hockey team comprised Shana Menu Altschuler, Megan Barnett Anderson, Diane Brubaker, Dawn DaCostafaro, Nicole Ficeto, Danielle Ficeto, Danielle Bateman Gaines, Michelle Hammer Hill, Meredith Diefendorf Hinz, Bridget McSweeney Keane, Diana Lys, Renee Grau McCormack, Jennifer Vish Palmer, Paula Hatch Rubley, Carolina Vargas Schaefer, Rebecca Libath Stryker, and Andrea Wyche Wilson.
A number of East Hampton’s varsity teams are to be playing Saturday, beginning with girls soccer versus Harborfields and boys volleyball versus Half Hollow Hills at 10 a.m., followed by girls tennis versus the Ross School at 10:30, girls volleyball versus Rocky Point at 11:30, and boys soccer versus Miller Place at 4.
A carnival is to be held on the high school’s front lawn at 2 p.m., there is to be a bonfire at 6:30, and the Hampton Cup football game is to begin at 7. The Hall of Fame inductees are to be honored at halftime.