25 Years Ago in Bonac Sports 01.02.14

Local sports history

December 1, 1988
    Wojciech Wysocki, Artie Fisher, Kevin Barry, Jane Kenney, Dawn Marie Brown, and Leslie Hauquitz won Thanksgiving holiday road races on the South Fork last week.

    Wysocki, of Shelter Island, and Fisher, of Montauk, won the six-mile and three-mile Thanksgiving Day races cosponsored by the East Hampton Town Recreation Department and Keeshan realty, each in record time. Kenney, of Shelter Island, and Brown, of Riverhead, were the women’s winners.

    Wysocki won the six-miler in 31 minutes and 35 seconds, bettering the course record that Barry set last year by 15 seconds.

    Fisher, an East Hampton High School senior, won the three-mile race in 15:34, bettering by 11 seconds the course record set last year by his cross-country coach, Rick Colon.

December 8, 1988
    It seems there is a basketball revival taking place among the youth of Sag Harbor. Not since the early ’60s has the interest been so great. The man responsible, Bob Ratcliffe, of North Haven, watched last Thursday night’s clinic, given by the nationally known Lehmann brothers, George and Austin, with the same wide-eyed wonderment as his pupils, Sag Harbor’s youth hoop team.

    He has them eating and sleeping basketball. “Bob Ratcliffe,” George Lehmann told the students, “is someone you’re going to remember for the rest of your life, just like I remember my first coach.”

    In about 1995 or so, Pierson High School may have one heck of a basketball team. One could see the future in more than 100 pairs of young eyes last Thursday evening. It could also be seen in the broad smile on Bob Ratcliffe’s face.

December 12, 1988
    Thomas (Hollywood) Henderson, the former Dallas Cowboy linebacker and star of the 1976 Super Bowl, made an emotional appearance at the Pierson High School auditorium last Thursday night. Henderson was considered to be the top linebacker in the National Football League before drugs and alcohol ruined a promising career.

    . . . “I’m surprised more parents didn’t attend this session,” Henderson said at one point. “I guess they feel a drug and alcohol problem doesn’t exist in this community, but, believe me, it does.”

    “Don’t be afraid to kiss and hug your kids, to tell them you love them. Believe me, they need to hear it. No one ever hugged me. I never knew my father. I thought ‘mother’ was the first half of a dirty word. By the time I was 15, I was on my own.”

    . . . By the time he was 25, Henderson had appeared in three Super Bowls, but he was also drinking a quart of gin a day. Then he turned to drugs. He finally hit the bottom at 29 — morally, spiritually, and financially.

    The session was sponsored by the Human Understanding Growth Seminar Peer Group. David Churchill, a Pierson student, organized it. Henderson chastised the community for not supporting Churchill’s efforts. He urged parents to confront their children if they suspect drug abuse.

    “They start off as weekend warriors. This means partying on Friday and Saturday nights. By the time they grow up, believe me, partying becomes a full-time job,” Henderson said.

December 22, 1988
    Dick Tarrant, head basketball coach at the University of Richmond, flew up to attend the East Hampton-Smithtown West game Saturday night. Tarrant, who is said to be one of the top five basketball coaches in the country, is known to covet East Hampton’s 6-foot-5-inch senior center, Kenny Wood.

    “I envision him as a wing man [small forward] at the college level,” Tarrant said. “He’s obviously more comfortable facing the basket.”

    . . . Tarrant’s Richmond Spiders stunned the defending National Collegiate Athletic Association champion, Indiana University, in the opening round of the national tournament last season, and continued on to the final 16.

December 29, 1988
    Don’t get him wrong: John Niles doesn’t like to lose, but yesterday he sounded pretty happy for a coach whose team had, over the course of the week, lost three straight.

    The reason Niles, coach of the Bridgehampton High School boys basketball team, is sanguine has to do with the fact that in each of last week’s contests, all with Class A schools, tiny Bridgehampton put up, in Niles’s words, “a helluva fight.”

    “We’re playing so well,” he added, “that, barring any further injuries, I think we’ve got a good shot at winning the state Class D championship.”

    If the Killer Bees do, it would be the sixth state championship for Bridgehampton in the past 11 years.