Kingston High’s sports heroes getting a hall of their own

Hobie Armstrong, as seen in his plaque at Dietz Stadium.

The Kingston City School District last week announced the inaugural members of the Kingston High School Athletic Hall of Fame, a veritable who’s who of Tigers legend. The 16 members of the Hall’s Class of 2017 will be officially enshrined in an October ceremony.

“The individuals selected have made outstanding contributions to the Tiger athletic program and in some cases, at the college and professional levels, through their participation as Kingston High School athletes, coaches or administrators,” read a district press release.

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Listed chronologically, the student athletes set for induction include:

  • Thomas Maines, Class of 1938: A four-sport star athlete described by Ron Wood in his book Kingston, A Century of Play and the Major Players as “one of Kingston’s greatest athletes,” Maines lettered in baseball, basketball, football and track.
  • Vincent DeLuca, Class of 1946: DeLuca was a star football player for Kingston High, and after decades of unwavering support for the team, he was named an Honorary Football Captain from 2000-16.
  • Ronnie Scheffel, Class of 1950: Dubbed “The Kid” by KHS basketball coach G. Warren Kias, Scheffel also excelled in football and baseball, playing quarterback and second base respectively.
  • Hobie Armstrong, Class of 1959: A football star at KHS, Armstrong still holds the school record for most career touchdowns (37) and most points scored (249). He also lettered in baseball and basketball before taking his academic and athletic talents to Harvard.
  • “Jumpin’” Joe Uhl, Class of 1961: Uhl was a basketball standout at KHS, with his 1,282 career points in basketball a school record until 2003, and his 44 points in a single game holding up until 2004. Uhl averaged 24.2 points per game as Kingston High.
  • Mike Ferraro, Class of 1962: A three-sport athlete excelling in baseball, basketball and football, Ferraro hit for a .585 average during his senior year of baseball, and scored 53 points as a member of the school’s JV basketball team. Drafted by the New York Yankees, Ferraro tied a major league record with 11 assists in a single game before going on to have a successful career as a manager in the minor leagues, followed by stints as a third-base coach for the Yankees and time spent coaching with the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles.
  • Michael Hoffman, Class of 1969: Hoffman was a star quarterback of the KHS varsity football team with a full athletic scholarship to attend North Carolina State University at Raleigh before he died in a car accident during his senior year of high school. The Mike Hoffman Memorial Award is an annual scholarship given to student-athletes at KHS who’ve displayed dedication and leadership in the sport of football.
  • William “Billy” Costello, Class of 1975: Costello excelled as a baseball player at KHS, but he’s perhaps best known as a world champion boxer, winning the 1978 New York Golden Gloves Open Championship, and then the World Boxing Council’s Light Welterweight Championship six years later. Costello finished his pro boxing career with a 40-2 record, keeping connected after his fighting days as a boxing judge. Costello passed away in 2011 from lung cancer. A statue of Costello stands at the intersection of Albany Avenue, Broadway and Chandler Drive.
  • Ertha Burris, Class of 1977: Burris was a star basketball and softball player at KHS, becoming the first female player in the school’s history to amass over career 1,000 points in basketball. She remains the school’s single game scoring champion with 44 points. At Ulster County Community College, Burris holds the all-time single game scoring record with 58 points.
  • Doreen Benes Harney, Class of 1986: Harney was a three-sport star at KHS, excelling in basketball, volleyball and track. She was just the second girls’ basketball player to surpass 1,000 career points, and is still the school’s record holder for career rebounds (822), rebounds in a single season (366) and rebounds per game in a single season (16.7). She was also an academic star, with a 95 percent average.
  • Jerry Drake, Class of 1988: A standout football player at KHS, Drake also competed in the triple-jump on the school’s track team. After college, Drake spent six seasons as a defensive lineman with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.
  • Kerry Purvis Schultz, Class of 1996: A three-sport star at KHS, Schultz was perhaps best known for basketball, where she was the school’s career leader in scoring with 1,363 points. She also excelled in volleyball and softball, playing the latter at Colgate University where she studied mathematical economics.
  • Keith Simmons, Class of 2003: Simmons was a basketball standout at KHS, where he helped lead the Tigers to three consecutive OCIAA titles and a pair of Section IX championships. He left the school as the second all time leading scorer with a career tally of 1,390 points. Simmons went on to play basketball professionally in Turkey and Germany.
  • Artavius “Tay” Fisher, Class of 2004: A popular member of the Harlem Globetrotters since 2009, Fisher was a basketball star at KHS, where he remains the career scoring leader with 2,119 points, a record he also holds for all of Section IX. Fisher holds the school’s record for single-season scoring average (29.4 points), points scored in a single game (61), and most career three-point shots (334), also a New York State record. Fisher also runs Tay Fisher’s Fundamental Basketball Camp, as well as the annual Fisher’s Fight 4 the Cure, a youth basketball game that raises money for the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation.
  • Vivian “Pat” Burke, coach: A strong advocate of the girls’ sports program at KHS, Burke began her coaching career in 1971 with the varsity volleyball, girls’ basketball and softball teams. Over the next two decades, Burke’s softball teams won found divisional titles, six league titles, and eight sectional titles, including five in a row between 1977-81. Her leadership was recognized by the school district in 1996, when it named the varsity softball team’s home at M. Clifford Miller Middle School Pat Burke Field.
  • Willard Burke, coach and athletic director: Burke came to KHS in 1946 to take over as coach of the varsity football team, and over the course of his 18 years at the helm he amassed 87 wins, six Dutchess Ulster Sullivan Orange (DUSO) titles. The team had three consecutive undefeated seasons between 1956-58. Burke also coached the varsity baseball team to DUSO titles in 1947 and 1948. He became the district’s second athletic director in 1962, a position he’d hold until his retirement in 1968.

The Kingston High School Athletic Hall of Fame Committee will host its first annual induction ceremony and dinner at the Chateau on Saturday, Oct. 7 ad 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children under 12.

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