FONDA - The first induction ceremony for the Fonda-Fultonville Athletic Hall of Fame will take place Saturday during halftime of the varsity football game against Coxsackie-Athens.
The first class will be known as the "Legends Class," consisting of former coaches and administrators who helped establish the foundation for Fonda-Fultonville athletics or made a significant contribution to athletics at the Section II and/or state level.
Fonda-Fultonville athletic director Eric Wilson had the Hall of Fame on his radar when he took over for Alex Mancini as the athletic director in 2012 before getting the ball rolling after a push from his superintendent.
Former Fonda-Fultonville boys basketball coach Bill Higgins, left, and former Gloversville boys basketball coach Don Landrio hold their plaques after accepting their nominations to the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame in Glens Falls on March 20, 2011. Higgins will be inducted into the Fonda- Fultonville Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday. (The Leader-Herald)
"It was on my list of things that I would like to see done, last year when I took over," Wilson said. "I wasn't planning on doing it right away. Our superintendent, Ray Colucciello, asked me why we didn't have one yet and encouraged me to get it going."
This year's group includes John G. Boshart, William Higgins, Michael Mongin, John West, Dave Petersen, Bill Bowler and Mancini.
"Everybody told me this was the obvious group of people for the first class," Fonda-Fultonville Athletic Director Eric Wilson said. "I've been here for 14 years, but that's not long enough to know all of the background. I kind of went with what people who grew up here and who have been here for a long time though. This group has been well received as the first class."
Boshart was a supervising principal and superintendent at FFCS from 1956-79. He was intrumental in starting many of the athletic programs and pushing the district onto one central campus. Boshart also was chairman of the Section II basketball committee and president of Section II. All of the athletic fields at FFCS are named after Boshart.
Higgins was the FFCS superintendent from 1979-83 and the high school principal from 1971-78. He was the school's boys basketball coach from 1971-77, compiling an 81-62 overall record and leading the Braves to three league titles. Higgins also served as Section II boys basketball chairman and New York State boys basketball chairman. Higgins was inducted into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. He also is a member of the Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1999 as an official.
Mongin was the high school principal from 1979-2002 and the head football coach from 1970-76. As coach, he led FFCS to five league titles, including the first title in school history. Mongin also served on the Section II Football Committee, as vice president of the Section II Executive Committee and as head of the Section II Transfer Committee.
West was the middle school principal from 1985-2003. He also coached the football, baseball and wrestling teams.
As football coach, West posted a 53-15-6 record, winning four league titles and three Section II championships. West also led the Braves to three league titles on the wrestling mat from 1971-78 after starting the program. He also won a league title as baseball coach from 1971-74. West also served on the Section II football and wrestling committees.
Petersen was the head boys and girls indoor and outdoor track coach at Fonda-Fultonville from 1971-2001, starting the boys program in 1971 and the girls program in 1979. Petersen posted a 483-23 dual meet record, leading the boys to 27 league championships, 16 outdoor sectional championships and nine outdoor sectional second-place finishes. He also led the girls team to 20 outdoor sectional titles, 19 league titles and four outdoor sectional second-place finishes. Petersen also led FFCS to nine indoor sectional titles. He also is still the Section II outdoor track and field chairman and a member of the state outdoor track and field committee.
Bowler was instrumental in advancing girls athletics at FFCS, serving as coach of the girls basketball, softball and girls soccer teams.
He was the girls basketball coach from 1981-91, winning six league titles. Bowler also won two league titles as softball coach from 1975-83, while adding seven league titles and one sectional title as girls soccer coach from 1975-86.
Mancini was a coach, athlete and athletic director at FFCS.
He served as athletic director from 1994-2012 and as head football coach from 1985-2005. As football coach, Mancini led the Braves to a 149-46-1 record, finishing his career with the eighth most wins in Section II history and the eighth highest winning percentage. Under Mancini, the Braves won 11 league titles, two sectional titles and made eight Section II title game appearances. He also served for 21 years on the Section II football committee. As an athlete, Mancini earned 12 varsity letters at FFCS, leeding the football team to three league titles. He also was a first-team all-state quarterback and a Tri-Valley League Most Valuable Player in basketball. Mancini graduated FFCS as the all-time leading scorer in school history and as the all-time leading passer in Section II.
He was inducted in the the Capital Region Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
"I talked to lot of different people who have run hall of fames to see how to do it," Wilson said. "It's been very positive. We're excited about it."
Next year, the automatic inductees will be included into the hall. The inductees will include Olympic participants, a national champions, those that received all-American honors and state champions or player of the year honors in New York state.
The inaugural induction ceremony will be part of a busy day of homecoming athletic contests at Fonda-Fultonville.
The girls varsity soccer team will host Cobleskill-Richmondville, while the boys varsity soccer team will host Schalmont. The FFCS junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams will host Cobleskill-Richmondville, with the junior varsity match beginning at 10 a.m. followed by the varsity contest.
The varsity football team will cap off the day, hosting Coxsackie-Athens at 1 p.m. In addition to the hall of fame ceremonies, halftime also will feature senior recognition and the naming of the homecoming court.
"It will be a hectic day, but it will be fun for our school and athletic program as well," Wilson said.