Eight athletes, a coach, and two teams are to be inducted into East Hampton High School’s Hall of Fame during the homecoming weekend in September.
The inductees-to-be were announced at the high school’s athletic awards dinner last night.
Among them are: Paul Annacone (1981), the former pro tour tennis player; Ellen Cooper, credited with developing a strong field hockey program during a coaching career that spanned 1975 and 1996; Richard Cooney Jr. (1983), a three-time all-county selection in football, wrestling, and baseball in his senior year; Charlie Ecker (1983), an all-Long Island football player who still holds East Hampton’s shot-put record; James Nicholson (1957), a Paul Yuska award winner who earned 11 varsity letters between 1954 and ‘57; Gary Greene (1966), also a Paul Yuska award winner, who received nine varsity letters here, in football, basketball, and baseball.
Nicole Ficeto (1992), an all-county field hockey and volleyball player who captained three teams in her senior year and went on to star in Division 1 field hockey at Davidson University; Annemarie Cangiolosi Brown (1998), who, after starring in softball here for four years, became one of the top pitchers in SUNY Cortland’s history, and Erika Vargas (1995), “the best field hockey goalie we’ve ever had,” in Ellen Cooper’s words, who went on to play four years at the College of William and Mary.
The two teams slated for induction are the 1988-89 state-champion boys basketball team coached by Ed Petrie and the 1991 state Final Four baseball team coached by Jim Nicoletti.
The state-champion basketball squad comprised Kenny Wood, Troy Scribner, Terrell Dozier, Lance McDonald, David Hicks, Greg Darvin, Bill Barbour, Ernie Vorpahl, Keith Arkinson, Mark Lisi, Tom Dennis, and Kendall Madison.
Nicoletti’s squad comprised Ross Gload, Scott Loper, Steven Quick, Jonathan Baker, Kevin Somers, Justin Geehreng, John Barbour, Marcus Borowsky, Darrin Downs, Michael Ferrara, James Fisher, Robert Gurney, Anthony Pontecorvo, Paul Poutouves, Brennan Stein, and Michael O’Conor.
Gload, who went on to a Major League career, was one of three freshman starters that year (the others being Somers and Geehreng).
That team compiled a 25-5 record, “the most wins in East Hampton High School history,” according to Nicoletti. Eleven of the 16, moreover, “went on to play college baseball.”
It’s the 25th anniversary of the state-champion boys basketball team, which upset the state’s top-ranked Class B team, Gloversville, 58-57 in a semifinal before defeating Rye 57-53 in the championship game.
Kenny Wood, the tournament’s most valuable player, scored 31 points, hauled down 11 rebounds, made 4 assists, and blocked 3 shots (including one in which he pinned a shot to the glass in the second quarter) in the game with Gloversville.
Scribner led the team in the final, with 22 points and 11 rebounds (eight of which were made off the offensive boards), and Wood, who had 15 points, set a single-game record with his 20 rebounds.
Annacone was at one time in his 10-year career the world’s top doubles player, and was ranked as high as 11th in singles. Among other highlights, he had wins over Stefan Edberg, then ranked number-one, in the Los Angeles Open, and over John McEnroe, in a first-round match at the U.S. Open. He and Christo Van Rensberg won the Australian Open doubles championship and were finalists at the U.S. Open.
As an eighth grader at Shoreham-Wading River High School, Annacone, who was a student at East Hampton in his freshman and senior years (attending the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla., in his sophomore and junior years), went undefeated, winning the conference and county individual championships. He lost in the state quarterfinals to Jimmy Gurfein, a senior, who then went on to play at the University of California Los Angeles, but Annacone, who was to win a full athletic scholarship to the University of Tennessee, defeated Gurfein numerous times as a professional.
In 1984, after winning the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s singles championship, Annacone swept through his Wimbledon opponents before losing to Jimmy Connors in the quarterfinals. After his tour-playing days were over, Annacone, in separate stints, coached Pete Sampras, Tim Henman, and Roger Federer.
It has been said that there would have been no field hockey program here if it were not for Ellen Cooper, who, in a 22-year career, compiled a record of 155-95-34. Her teams won one Southeast Regional championship, two overall county championships (in 1993 and ’94), two county classification championships, two Long Island classification championships, three divisional championships, and four league championships.
Ecker, who played football at Cornell, was a member of Newsday’s all-Long Island team in 1981, playing both ways on East Hampton’s county Class B championship team of that year. He captained the team that won the first Hamptons Cup as a result of defeating Southampton in 1982. In track, he was a three-time league shot-put champion, and the county champion in 1983. His record of 55 feet 1 inch, which he set in ’83, still stands.
Gary Greene played for three league-champion teams, in football, basketball, and baseball in the mid-1960s, and was the Paul Yuska award winner in a year, 1966, in which Bill McDonald, a high school all-American who went on to captain Vanderbilt’s football team, was also up for consideration. His football number, 22, was worn in successive years by the best football player from Springs.
Richard Cooney Jr., the second athlete (Ed Budd being the first) to earn all-county designations in three sports in the same year, also was named to six all-league teams, in football, wrestling, and baseball.
James Nicholson, who went on to a teaching and coaching career at Wantagh and Uniondale High Schools, was also a Paul Yuska award winner. He earned four varsity letters in football and baseball, and three in basketball during his years here in the mid-1950s. He was the football team’s most outstanding player, as well as honorable mention all-county in football and basketball in his senior year.
Ellen Cooper, who nominated her, said Nicole Ficeto “was the captain and M.V.P. in field hockey, basketball, and volleyball in her senior year, earning all-conference designations or better — a record, I think, for girls in sports at East Hampton High School.”
Annemarie Cangiolosi Brown was a four-year starter (as a pitcher) and two-time M.V.P. on East Hampton’s softball team. She was all-county in her junior and senior years, and was all-state, as well, in her senior year, 1998. She was SUNY Cortland’s starting pitcher for four years, earning one all-E.C.A.C., three all-SUNYAC, and three all-region awards. She was Cortland’s most valuable athlete in 2002, her senior year, the year she pitched the U.S.A. Athletes International Team to a gold medal in the Netherlands. She is among Cortland’s top 10 in more than a dozen pitching categories, including a top ranking in career earned run average, with 1.35, and third in most complete games (32), and most innings pitched (434). She was the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s pitcher of the week eight times.
Concerning Erika Vargas, Cooper said, “I coached a lot of goalies, but none who had the commitment and talent that Erika did. . . . She is the best we ever had, and probably the best we will ever have. . . . During her senior year she allowed only 7 goals vis-a-vis 105 saves, a 94.3 save percentage. She was all-county three years, as well as all-state. She finished out her senior year by playing in the National Field Hockey Festival in Palm Springs, Calif., and accepting a full athletic scholarship to William and Mary, where she played the next four years.”