Greg Frigoletto is passionate about many things. However, education and athletics are near the top of that list.
So, his appointment to succeed Tom Jenkins as chairman of the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame selection committee three years ago was a no-brainer.
A graduate of Honesdale High School where he excelled both on the wrestling mat and in the classroom, Frigoletto went on to become a teacher and coach at his alma mater. From there, he rose quickly through the district hierarchy to his current position of superintendent.
Over the course of the past three years, Frigoletto has channeled his professional passion into each job. He’s leading the school district through turbulent economic times and steering the Hall of Fame toward a more efficient and streamlined approach.
The Class of 2012 features just 14 names, down from 25 and 20 in past years. It includes male and female athletes, coaches and supporters from all three Wayne County school districts.
This year’s honorees are: Jeff Firmstone, Sharon Peifer Gleichman, David Hopkins, Amy Keen Jones, Scott Kinzinger, Steve Langendoerfer, Patti Tuman Lipperini, Jim McHugh, Kate Meagher, Maria Langendoerfer Miller, Wes Simons, Bob Tamblyn, Irv Williams and Kevin Edwards.
The annual Induction Dinner is scheduled for Saturday, September 22. As has become custom, the evening will begin with a social hour at 5:00 p.m., followed by a sumptuous meal and ceremonies. Once again, the Inn at Woodloch will act as host.
Tickets for this wildly-popular event are still avaiable, but going fast. Please contact Dottie Rickard to reserve your place (570-488-5282). Cost is $40 per adult, $20 for children 3-12 and $25 for students.
A Key Role
Frigoletto took time out from his hectic schedule to meet with TWI Sports Friday morning at the Visitors Center in Honesdale.
There, surrounded by dozens of fascinating local artifacts, he held forth on the important roles athletics (in general) and the Hall of Fame (in particular) play in Wayne County.
“Sports teach so many positive things to our boys and girls,” he said. “Just about every person you see on our list of inductees every year has contributed significantly to the community...not just in athletics.”
Frigoletto’s point is well-taken. Just a cursory examination of the inductee list reveals men and women who’ve come back to the area to teach, coach, officiate or sponsor youth sports.
“It’s a terrific example for our young people,” he said. “I have great memories of watching some of this year’s class play. To some extent, they were heroes to me. When you’re a kid, seeing these men and women do such amazing things...it was like the NBA or NFL to me. They were just amazing.”
As a teacher and administrator, Frigoletto recognizes the positive influence being part of an athletic team can have on a child. It’s a well-documented fact that junior high and high school students tend to perform better academically during their chose sports season.
And, according to Frigoletto, that’s no coincidence.
“To be successful in athletics, you have to work extremely hard,” he said. “Team sports teach every kid the value of a solid work ethic. It teaches sportsmanship and discipline. The formula for doing well academically is very similar to the formula for doing well in the classroom.”
The selection committee takes great pains to choose a balanced class of inductees.
It’s been the mission of the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame since its inception in 1993 to feature men and women equally. This year’s class includes five women and nine men. There are gridiron warriors, baseball and softball heroes, golfers and track stars...even a couple of folks whose main contributions were as coaches or sponsors.
“We take that idea very seriously,” Frigoletto said. “We want the Hall of Fame to represent the entire spectrum of sports. It’s very important to us and I think the committee is doing an excellent job.”
One of the most popular aspects of the Induction Dinner is social hour. There, hundreds of people mingle in a relaxed atmosphere and swap stories. Some are 100 percent accurate, some are lovingly embellished. All are entertaining.
“That may be my favorite part of the entire night,” Frigoletto said with a smile. “Just getting to hear some of my childhood heroes tell their stories is a privilege. It’s just so much fun. You can see the twinkle in their eyes as they re-live those magical moments.”