Eleven individual honorees, two coaches who were also athletic directors, and two teams were inducted into East Hampton High School’s Hall Of Fame Saturday.
The teams were the undefeated, once-tied 1965 football team coached by the late Gary Golden, which boasted the best defense in Suffolk County, and the 1976-77 boys basketball team coached by Ed Petrie that was the Southeast Regional champion (a state champion in effect).
The individual honorees included Sandy Fleischman Richman (’79), “the best female tennis player ever to come out of Suffolk County,” according to her former coach, John Goodman; Eric Kaufman (’87), a Cornell graduate and three-time all-county wrestler who compiled a 102-12-1 record here in the mid-80s, and Melanie Anderson (’97), who played in three National Collegiate Athletic Association softball tournaments while at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania.
Kim Hren (’85) was a gifted multisport athlete who was the first girl to play Little League baseball here, and who played tennis, volleyball, and softball in high school. Lara DeSanti-Siska (’98) was “the most outstanding field hockey player our school has ever had,” according to her former coach, Ellen Cooper. Mylan Le-Eckardt (’98), a softball teammate of Anderson’s at Bloomsburg, captained the field hockey, girls basketball, and softball teams here.
Anthony Gilliam (’78) won 10 varsity letters in football (the Murray Hantz winner in his junior and senior years), basketball, and baseball. William Myrick (’68) excelled in football (the Murray Hantz winner in his junior and senior years), basketball, and baseball before going on to become Stony Brook University’s first 1,000-point scorer in men’s basketball.
John Gilmartin (’32) was a four-year starter on the football team whose “remarkable kicking, passing, and running abilities made him one of the most valuable backfield men on Long Island.” He went from East Hampton to Villanova on a football scholarship. After leading East Hampton to a 6-1 record, Mark Ryan Jr. (’35) was named by the Island News to its all-scholastic team at right halfback in 1934. Harry O’Rourke (’49), “known as the runner who could put the ball in the end zone,” according to a bio provided by the school’s current A.D., Joe Vas, was the winner of 11 varsity letters. He led the county in scoring in his senior year before going on to attend Staunton Military Academy and Miami University.
The coaches-A.D.s inducted were Richard Cooney Sr., “the one who really was responsible for extending the sports program here to what it is now,” and Mike Burns, a longtime inspiring coach of football, boys track, and lacrosse. He has said “if he were cut, he would bleed maroon and gray,” Vas wrote.
The 1965 football team, said Jim Nicoletti, who heads the Hall of Fame committee, “had the greatest number of standout athletes on its 31-man roster of any team in East Hampton’s history. . . . They also won championships in baseball, wrestling, and basketball.”
The ’76-77 boys basketball team, on which Howard Wood (who was inducted last year), Anthony Gilliam, Kenny Carter, and Ed Petrie Jr. played, went as far as it could go at the time in state competition, and thus was effectively a state champion.
Fleischman Richman, according to Goodman, would have had a professional tour career had she not suffered an elbow injury at the University of North Carolina. In her senior year here (after having played five years on the boys varsity) she won the state girls tennis championship, besting her semifinal and final opponents 6-0, 6-0.
Norton Daniels has described John Gilmartin as “unquestionably East Hampton’s finest fullback, in addition to being a fine passer and, without doubt, one of the best punters in school history. His long, high-spiraled punts were something to behold. One in particular, with a slight breeze behind it, carried close to 80 yards.”
Of Mark (Junie) Ryan, Daniels has said, “When the all-county halfback ran, he appeared to be galloping, with high-flying knees and vicious stiff-arms, which made it so difficult to bring him down.”
Kaufman, who was a state runner-up in wrestling at 112 pounds, went on to become the Ivy League’s rookie of the year at Cornell. He led East Hampton to three consecutive league championships between 1985 and ’87.
Barry Mackin has called DeSanti-Siska, who went on to play field hockey at Smith College, where she was a first-team Division III All-American, “easily one of the finest athletes I have ever coached.”
Lou Reale, Melanie Anderson’s softball coach here, said she is the best hitter he’s ever seen. She captained the field hockey, girls basketball, and softball teams when at East Hampton.
Gilliam “set school records in baseball for most hits in a career and in a season, and holds the career batting average record at .478.”
DeSanti-Siska “still remains in Smith’s top-10 for individual career goals and assists.”
Myrick, Gilliam, DeSanti-Siska, Anderson, and Le-Eckardt were winners of the Paul Yuska Award given to the East Hampton senior class’s best athlete.