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Stony Brook University

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Victor Ochi, right, races toward the quarterback in a game for Stony Brook last season. File photo from SBU

Victor Ochi realized his dream on Saturday evening when the senior member of the 2015 Stony Brook University football team signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League.

If he makes the team, Ochi would join former Seawolves teammate Will Tye as an active player in the NFL. Tye, the first SBU graduate to play on the big field, earned NFL All-Rookie honors as a tight end on the New York Giants roster in 2015 after making the squad as an undrafted free agent.

Ochi, a 2015 All-America selection and the Colonial Athletic Association co-Defensive Player of the Year, led the nation with 13 sacks through the regular season and was top in the CAA with 16.5 tackles for a loss. For the 2015 season, the Valley Stream native recorded 47 tackles in the Seawolves’ 10 games, including his 13 sacks — the second most in a single season in the program’s history. He also had four games with at least two sacks, including 3.5 against the University of New Hampshire.

During the 2015 season, Ochi became Stony Brook’s career leader in both sacks and tackles for loss. He collected 32.5 sacks and 49 tackles for a loss in four seasons.

In addition, he made a splash at the 2016 East-West Shrine game in January and turned some NFL scouts’ heads after being invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February.

File photo: Stony Brook University's social and behavioral sciences building
Miguel Angel Condori mugshot from SCPD
Miguel Angel Condori mugshot from SCPD

Stony Brook University Police are deploying additional officers around campus this week after a graduate student was forcibly touched over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

The suspect, who police identified as 33-year-old Miguel Angel Condori, was accused of groping a graduate student on Saturday inside the third-floor bathroom of the social and behavioral sciences building on campus, university police said. Officers have been searching campus buildings for the suspect and continue to do so while increasing police presence at strategic locations.

A surveillance image and mugshot of the suspect was posted to the Stony Brook University emergency alerts website, showing the location where the incident allegedly occurred around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The image described the suspect as a light-skinned Hipsanic male standing at about 5 feet, 5 inches with black hair pulled back into a bun, university police said.

Any information on the suspect was to be directed to university police at 631-632-3333.

Stony Brook University students took a break from drowning in their studies to continue a storied tradition by dumping makeshift vessels made out of cardboard into a campus pond, hoping they could stay afloat.

The Roth Pond Regatta shipped off its 27th consecutive year at the university on Friday as a way for students to blow off steam before finals start next week. Each year, students cram into their homemade boats made of cardboard, duct tape and paint and race across the 200-yard body of water at the center of campus.

More than 3,000 people make their way through the regatta each year, a university spokeswoman said. This year’s special theme for the race was “under the sea and far beyond,” with some of the nearly 40 boats including the S.S. Leaky Leakey, the S.S. Free Willy, and the Titanic itself.

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Dana Husband leaps over the high-jump bar. Photo from SBU

Junior Dana Husband broke a 27-year-old outdoor program record in the women’s high jump as the Stony Brook track and field teams swept the Wolfie Invitational Saturday.

Husband cleared 5-8/1.73 meters to surpass the mark of 5-8/1.68 set by Sara Lechner in 1989. Her jump also achieved the ECAC standard in the event. Husband broke the indoor record earlier in 2016 at 5-8/1.70.

Sophomore Kaylyn Gordon also recorded an ECAC standard, as she won the women’s triple jump at 39-10.5/12.15. Gordon also finished second in the long jump with a mark of 17-11.0/5.46.

The Seawolves took the women’s team title with 226 points, 86 points ahead of second-place Quinnipiac University. The men’s squad finished first with 199 points, 62 clear of second-place Sacred Heart University.

“We asked everyone to come with a competitive attitude to this meet, and for the most part that is what we got,” Stony Brook head coach Andy Ronan said. “Overall, on a decent weather day, we got a lot done individually and team wise.”

Senior Kate Pouder won the women’s 1,500 in 4 minutes, 34.97 seconds, and sophomore Jane Clark captured the women’s 800 in 2:13.69.

“Dana’s and Kaylyn’s performances were backed up by good runs from Kate Pouder and Jane Clark,” Ronan said.

Senior Gabe Vazquez won the men’s 1,500 in 4:00.12, and sophomore Michael Watts took the men’s 3,000 in 8:38.97.

The quartet of Gordon and freshmen Sarah Militano, Chinque Thompson and Nikki Fogarty won the women’s 4×100 relay in 47.36 seconds.

Thompson (25.15) and freshman Nailah Jones  (25.19) grabbed the top two spots in the women’s 200.

Seniors Raven Dorsey  (18:01.99) and Tara Peck (18:11.87) took the top two spots in the women’s 5,000.

The Seawolves took the top five spots in the women’s 100, led by Thompson (12.04), Fogarty (12.31),  Gordon (12.33) and freshman McKyla Brooks (12.33). Brooks (18-10.0/5.74), Gordon (17-11.0/5.46) and Jones (17-10.25/5.44) took the top three spots in the women’s long jump.

Senior Mitchell Kun and sophomore Dan Galford finished first and second in the men’s 5,000, respectively. Kun won the event in 15:05.84, with Galford behind at 15:19.58. Freshman Wayne Williams won the  400 in 49.25. Sophomore Darian Sorouri took the 3,000 steeplechase in 9:52.96.

The Seawolves captured the top three spots in the men’s triple jump, with freshman Izzy Matthew at 43-3.0/13.18, freshman Bradley Pierre at 42-11.75/13.10 and freshman Brendon Alerte at 41-11.50/12.79.

Freshman Yanik Martin won the men’s long jump with a leap of 21-11.75/6.70, while Pierre took third with 21-1.50/6.44.

The Seawolves are Philadelphia through Saturday for the Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Jeff Boals joins the Seawolves after spending seven seasons as an assistant at Ohio State

Jeff Boals coaches the Ohio State University men's basketball team from the sideline. Photo from Ohio State University

Jeff Boals, who spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State University, has been named the head men’s basketball coach at Stony Brook University.

“[I am] extremely excited to become a part of the Stony Brook community and university,” Boals said. “[I am] grateful for the opportunity that Dr. Stanley and Shawn Heilbron have given me and I look forward to working with the team, building upon the success of last season and continuing it into the future. I can’t wait to get started.”

That success last season was Stony Brook’s first Division I NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship appearance, after an 80-74 victory over the University of Vermont in the America East Championship. With the win, the Seawolves earned their 26th single-season victory — a new Division I program record for the Seawolves. The No. 13 Stony Brook team played No. 4 University of Kentucky in the NCAA tournament’s opening Round of 64 but fell, 85-57.

Jeff Boals, on right, cheers on the Ohio State University men’s basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics
Jeff Boals, on right, cheers on the Ohio State University men’s basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics

Boals will be officially introduced as the 11th head coach in the program’s history to the Stony Brook community at a press conference on Monday, April 11, in Island Federal Credit Union Arena.

“Jeff Boals will be a great addition to the Stony Brook community,” the Boston Celtics’ player Evan Turner said. “His commitment, passion and knowledge of the game is second to none. I’m excited to see the rise of the Stony Brook basketball program.”

A member of Thad Matta’s staff since 2009, Boals helped guide Ohio State to seven postseason appearances, including six NCAA Tournaments. The Buckeyes, who won or claimed a share of three Big 10 titles, advanced to the Final Four in 2012. Ohio went 193-62 during Boals’ time in Columbus.

“Jeff has done a remarkable job at The Ohio State University in his seven years as a Buckeye — he is certainly ready to be a head coach and has an amazing opportunity at such a fine institution,” Matta said. “Jeff has a great basketball mind and will bring energy and enthusiasm to the great situation that Stony Brook University offers.”

Boals was instrumental in bringing some of the top players in the nation to Ohio State, including current NBA stars Jared Sullinger and D’Angelo Russell, along with Aaron Craft, the all-time steals and assist leader in Ohio State history. He also coached Turner, the 2010 National Player of the Year, during his collegiate career with the Buckeyes.

“My focus during this search was to find the right person who could lead Stony Brook men’s basketball to new heights, and Jeff Boals is the right guy at the right time,” Heilbron said. “He is prepared for this opportunity, which comes at a critical time in our history following our first America East title and NCAA Tournament appearance.”

Jeff Boals, who was formerly an assistant coach at Ohio State University, will replace Steve Pikiell at the helm of the Stony Brook men's basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics
Jeff Boals, who was formerly an assistant coach at Ohio State University, will replace Steve Pikiell at the helm of the Stony Brook men’s basketball team. Photo from Ohio State University athletics

Prior to Ohio State, Boals spent three seasons at the University of Akron, as the team’s recruiting coordinator while working with players. The Zips advanced to three Mid-American Conference championship games, winning the title in 2009. It was Akron’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 1986.

“The first thing about Jeff is that he’s won everywhere he’s been,” said Keith Dambrot, Akron’s men’s basketball coach. “I like to think of Jeff as a diversified coach. He’s a terrific recruiter, understands in-game strategy and is relentless.”

Boals also recruited Anthony “Humpty” Hitchens, an All-freshman performer, and Zeke Marshall, a national recruit.

“Jeff has coached at the highest level as a member of Thad Matta’s staff at Ohio State and he understands what it takes to win,” Heilbron said. “I am excited for our players to learn from him on the floor and, more importantly, he will serve as a strong mentor to our student-athletes in all areas of their lives outside of basketball.”

Boals spent two seasons (2004-06) at Robert Morris University and four years (1999-2003) at Marshall University. In his final season at Robert Morris, the Colonials posted their first winning record in 15 seasons. He also spent a total of four seasons at Division II University of Charleston in two different stints.

A 1995 graduate of Ohio University, Boals was a two-time captain and four-year letterwinner for the Bobcats, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1994. The following year, Ohio University won the Preseason NIT Championship after wins over Ohio State and No. 14 Virginia, as well as George Washington and New Mexico State, at Madison Square Garden.

“Knowing that he is pursuing his dreams to be a head coach is big time,” Los Angeles Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell said. “He has always been super supportive and a major mentor to me and my family throughout my process. P.S. [I] just became a Stony Brook fan.”

—Stony Brook Athletics

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Warney tallies career-high 43 points in America East Championships victory

Fans celebrate along with the Stony Brook University men's basketball team after the Seawolves claimed the American East Championship title and its first NCAA Division I appearance at the Island Federal Credit Union Arena on March 12. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University men's basketball standout Jameel Warney speaks to reporters with the net draped around his neck after his team earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University men’s basketball standout Jameel Warney speaks to reporters with the net draped around his neck after his team earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University

Senior Jameel Warney tallied a career-high 43 points and senior Carson Puriefoy added 23 to help secure the Stony Brook men’s basketball team’s first trip to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship with an 80-74 victory over the University of Vermont in the America East Championship at a raucous, sold-out Island Federal Credit Union Arena.

Stony Brook (26-6) erased a 15-point second-half deficit to storm back and punch its ticket to the field of 68, which will be fully announced Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on CBS. Stony Brook will host an NCAA tournament selection show event Sunday at Island Federal Credit Union Arena.

Junior Lucas Woodhouse dished out eight assists for the Seawolves, who avenged their only home defeat of the season and closed out their home slate 15-1, before hitting the road next week for the NCAA tournament.

Trae Bell-Haynes had 17 points to lead Vermont (21-13), which had three players in double-figures with 11 points from Ernie Duncan and 10 from Cam Ward.
Vermont led 48-33 with 15:17 remaining before a 24-10 Stony Brook run cut the deficit to 58-57 with 7:48 to go on a Woodhouse jumper. The Seawolves took a 62-61 lead with 5:59 remaining and the teams traded baskets for the next two-and-a-half minutes before a free throw by junior Ahmad Walker with 3:14 to go gave the Seawolves a lead they would not relinquish.

Warney was a remarkable 18-for-22 from the field in the victory to go with a 7-for-10 showing from the free-throw line. The Seawolves senior added 10 rebounds and four blocks in his final home game at Stony Brook. Warney’s third-consecutive double-double gave him 59 for his Seawolves career. He tallied 25 of his 43 points in the second half.

The Stony Brook University men's basketball team huddles together. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University
The Stony Brook University men’s basketball team huddles together. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University

The 43-point, career-best performance for Warney eclipses a 36-point outing against the University of Hartford on Feb. 8. It is also the highest total in the Division I era by any Seawolves player. The last 40-point output by a Seawolves player was Emeka Smith’s 49-point performance against Lehman College on Dec. 7, 1991.

Puriefoy, who notched 16 of his 23 points in the second half, drained all five of Stony Brook’s 3-point makes and was 8-for-10 from the charity stripe. He added four assists and two of Stony Brook’s seven steals. Puriefoy played all 40 minutes in a regulation game for the third time this season. Puriefoy moved within 28 points of D.J. Munir (2000-04) for third on the Division I scoring list. He has 1,562 points through Saturday.

The 26th victory of the season set a new Division I program record.

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team will play the University of Kentucky in the Round of 64, the NCAA Selection Committee announced Sunday evening.

The Seawolves, seeded 13th, will face No. 4 Kentucky Thursday at 9:40 p.m. ET on CBS.  Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson will broadcast the game. Stony Brook will be making its first appearance in the Division I Tournament. The Seawolves, known then as the Patriots, last made the NCAA Tournament in 1991 as a member of Division III.

The Stony Brook University men's basketball team topped the University of Vermont to claim the America East Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University
The Stony Brook University men’s basketball team topped the University of Vermont to claim the America East Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs. Photo by John Griffin/Stony Brook University

“We are going to play a historic program — one of the best programs in college basketball — with a Hall of Fame coach and first round draft picks all over the place,” Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said. “This is a great opportunity for our guys to go and continue their season and play one of the best teams in the country.”

Kentucky advanced to its 55th NCAA Tournament with a victory over Texas A&M University in the Southeastern Conference Championship game. The two squads faced each other in 2007, and the Wildcats held off the Seawolves, 62-52.

The winner of Thursday’s game will face Indiana University or the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the second round.

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By Judith B. Greiman

With the new year comes a new policy at Stony Brook University, and we hope it will inspire some resolutions for 2016 — all campus locations including Southampton and Manhattan are now 100 percent tobacco-free.

Stony Brook strives to maintain a respectful, safe, healthy and clean community. We’re following the lead of more than 1,000 colleges nationwide, including several SUNY schools that have already implemented tobacco-free policies. Our new policy is also consistent with the greater cultural shift toward smoke- and tobacco-free public places, such as restaurants, hotels, parks, airplanes and sporting venues.

The tobacco-free policy applies to all students, faculty and staff as well as visitors on campus, including vendors, volunteers and contractors, attendees at all our events (such as Seawolves football games and shows at the Staller Center for the Arts) and families and friends of students, faculty and staff.

Products that may not be used on campus include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, pipes, hookah-smoked products and oral and smokeless tobacco.

The University started researching and developing best practices for implementing a tobacco-free policy in 2013. Working groups and an advisory council involving a cross-representation of campus, including students, contributed to the new tobacco-free policy and initiative.

Our new initiative, An Air of Respect, addresses going tobacco-free with a supportive approach that recognizes not only the negative health and environmental effects of using tobacco products but also the real challenge tobacco users face when trying to quit.

Judith B. Greiman is Chief Deputy to the President and Vice President for Government and Community Relations at Stony Brook University.

Stony Brook University’s 2015 Pre-College Concerto winner Samuel Wallach will perform a piano solo at the concert. Photo from Susan Deaver

By Rita J. Egan

The University Orchestra at Stony Brook University is busy rehearsing a fun night of music for family members of all ages. On Tuesday, March 1, they will present their Annual Family Concert, this year titled Musical Humor, on the Staller Center for the Arts Main Stage at 7:30 p.m.

Susan Deaver, conductor of the university orchestra and faculty member at Stony Brook, said the annual concert was already taking place when she began working at the university in 2000; however, up until 2013, it was called the Annual Children’s Concert. 

“We just discovered that the students and parents and grandparents and friends that they came with, everyone had a really good time, so we decided to rename it,” Deaver said.

The conductor said every year there’s a different theme such as magic, outer space, movies, and masquerade. “Every year I try to think of something that we can tie in some classical musical,” she said.

This year Deaver said the 70-member, all-student ensemble will celebrate musical humor, explaining that orchestral music isn’t as stuffy or complicated as many think and often is used in cartoons.

The conductor said attendees can expect to hear pieces such as the “William Tell Overture,” which was used as the “Lone Ranger” theme song, and excerpts from Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of Animals,” where instruments imitate the sounds of creatures such as chickens or kangaroos jumping. The show will also include music from American composer LeRoy Anderson who has written short tongue-in-cheek pieces. Deaver said they are performing one of his pieces titled “Typewriter Concerto,” which replicates the sounds of an old typewriter.

A tradition during the concert is a solo by the winner of the Stony Brook University Pre-College Concerto Competition. “It’s a really great way to feature young talent. We’ve had really good soloists,” Deaver said.

The 2015 winner Samuel Wallach will perform a solo on the piano, the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12. Deaver said each student participating in the competition had a 10-minute slot to perform a movement from a concerto, and a committee of judges decided who was best. She said, “Sam played great. He was wonderful.”

Wallach, a sophomore at Ward Melville High School, said in the month of February, he’s been practicing every Tuesday with the university orchestra and at home with his piano teacher. The young pianist said he’s happy that he won the competition.

Wallach became interested in piano when he started playing with an electric keyboard as a small child. His parents signed him up for piano lessons around the third grade. While he’s performed solo and with a chamber group of four musicians, this is the first time Wallach will be playing with an orchestra. “I don’t know quite how to picture it; I’m excited,” Wallach said.

Deaver said every year the concert includes surprises for the audience, too. Last year at the end of the show, while the orchestra played the theme from “Frozen,” “Let It Go,” someone came on stage dressed as Elsa. The surprise was a big hit with the children who were singing along.

The orchestra also interacts with the audience and gives short demonstrations of the different instruments. Deaver said she asks audience members things like: Who plays string instruments? Who plays wood wind instruments? The conductor said the orchestra members always enjoy the interaction with the audience.

The show keeps children engaged not only by talking directly to them but also by keeping the show to an hour. Deaver said the concert is a great opportunity for kids to hear all the instruments together, and it’s more approachable, because when it comes to orchestral music, “sometimes people think it’s too sophisticated or untouchable.”

“I really hope they are inspired to listen to more orchestral music and music in general. And, for the youngest ones who are not playing an instrument yet, I hope it inspires them to consider studying an instrument. For those who are already studying an instrument, I hope it inspires them to want to achieve even more,” said Deaver. “If nothing else, it exposes them to new and great music, because it’s a very different experience hearing it live, as opposed to a recording or YouTube, because all your senses are really activated, ears, eyes, everything, and there’s perspective,” she added.

Tickets for the concert are $5 and are available at the Staller Center Box Office or by calling 631-632-2787. For further information about the University Orchestra, contact the Stony Brook Department of Music at 631-632-7330 or visit its website at www.stonybrook.edu/music.

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No Suffolk County team averaged more than Kings Park’s 69.5 points per game this season.

That offensive success paid off in dividends as the No. 3-seeded Kingsmen finished the regular season 16-2 overall and took a 12-game winning streak into the postseason, where the undefeated League IV champions took down No. 14 Hauppauge and No. 6 Huntington, making their way to the Suffolk County Class AA semifinals at Stony Brook University Sunday afternoon.

Although challenger Commack, the No. 2 seed, was also 18-2 heading into the game, the usual onslaught that had been expected with Kings Park was non-existent on the Seawolves’ home court.

This was because the Cougars valued defense above all else — something that Kings Park head coach Tom Edmundson said was lacking from his team’s game Sunday.

“Our help defense was not what it needed to be and we talked about that all year, really,” he said. “We’ve come a long way from the beginning of the season, and it’s been something we’ve focused on and we’ve focused on, and today we just didn’t put it all together on the defensive side of the ball.”

Commack scored the first six points of the semifinal game before sophomore guard Sam Schultz swished a 3-pointer to cut the lead in half. The Cougars countered with a field goal and two free-throw points to re-extend the lead. Despite a free-throw point by junior guard and forward Taylor Slicklein, Commack grabbed an offensive rebound to pull ahead 12-4, forcing Edmundson to use one of his timeouts to try and regroup.

The pep-talk proved successful, as Schultz scored a layup and a field goal, Slicklein tacked on a 3-pointer and junior guard Selena Ubriaco tallied a trifecta of her own with 3.6 left in the first quarter to help her team pull within five, 19-14, heading into the second stanza.

“I think we definitely didn’t start as strong as we needed to today, and Commack made the most of it — they started as strong as they could and that allowed them to take the lead in the end,” Schultz said. “We fought back, but it wasn’t enough.”

The deficit only grew from there, with Commack taking a 35-23 advantage into the locker room.

“You’ve gotta take your hat off to Commack they played great defense,” Edmundson said. “Jackie DelliSanti dominated. She’s a phenomenal player. We knew we needed to try and slow her down and we were unable to do that, and that was the big difference.”

DelliSanti was the difference-maker, scoring a game-high 22 points.

In the second half, though, Kings Park mounted a strong comeback effort, outscoring its opponent 15-9 in the third quarter, with help from Schultz, Ubriaco, senior guard Kiera Ahern and Taylor Slicklein’s twin sister Tiffany.

Tiffany Slicklein, who averaged 17 points per game, was held to 13, which helped open the lane for Schultz, who finished with a team-high 17 points herself. Still, the sophomore said the team’s junior co-captain is such a dominant player that despite the heavy guarding, Slicklein was able to excel.

“They have to key on her,” Schultz said of Slicklein. “That allowed me to be more open to the point where it’s hard for them to key on two girls, so I think that helped open up some lanes for everybody. But she definitely made really smart choices and passes and never forced any shots, which helped.”

Despite Kings Park’s strong season coming to a close, the head coach said he’s proud of his girls’ accomplishments.

“They battled all year and they came together as a team,” he said. “We have some freshmen and some seniors and the dynamics don’t always work out well, and with this group, it did. They all came together.”

Schultz said she thinks the outcome may have been different had the team learned from its mistakes early on in the game, but is excited about the future of her team, although the loss of senior starter Kiera Ahern will prove difficult.
“If a couple of shots would’ve fell or if we made that extra pass one or two extra times, I think the outcome could’ve been a little different,” Schultz said. “Now that this season is over all you can worry about is next year, so I’m excited. We’ll have probably a little freshman come up and be a starter, and I think only good things for us next year.”

2016 Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame inductees Tom Combs, Chuck Downey and Rich Cimini pose for a photo at the induction announcement press conference. Photo by Alex Petroski

The Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday that they will be inducting eight new members in 2016. The class includes Setauket resident Rich Cimini, the New York Jets beat reporter for ESPN; Commack resident Chuck Downey, the first Stony Brook University athlete to sign a professional sports contract; and Setauket resident Tom Combs, the athletic director at Patchogue-Medford High School and a standout football star for Smithtown, among others.

Television and radio host David Weiss introduced the inductees at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hauppauge during the press conference.

“It’s an honor to be associated with such great inductees, great athletes and coaches,” Cimini said during the press conference after he was introduced. “I’m just a guy who got cut from his varsity baseball team by Bill Batewell. At least he’s a Hall of Famer, so I can say that I got cut by a Hall of Fame coach.”

Cimini graduated from Sachem High School in 1981. He has covered the Jets for Newsday, the Daily News and now ESPN during his long career as a reporter.

“It has been such a great ride that I have a fear that I’m going to wake up one day and realize it’s just been a dream, and that I actually have to go out and get a real job,” Cimini said.

Downey, who is currently a Battalion Chief for the FDNY, credited his parents for instilling values of hard work that led him to be successful in life. His father Raymond, who was also an FDNY firefighter, was killed in the line of duty on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Suffolk is very special, and to be here today with these other inductees — thank you very much,” Downey said during the press conference. He was a three-sport athlete at Deer Park High School, before playing football at Stony Brook University, and ultimately signing an NFL contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988.

Combs has played, coached and been an athletic director in Suffolk County dating back to the 1970s. He is also a member of the Hall’s board of trustees.

“This is quite a talented class,” Combs said. “I’ve been involved with the Hall of Fame for the last five years and I can honestly say this is a very intimidating group with some amazing accomplishments.”

The other inductees include Jillian Byers, a thre-sport standout from Northport who went on to become a four-time All-American in lacrosse; Frank Romeo, who was a longtime boys’ basketball coach at Comsewogue High School who was inducted into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame last year; and Laura Gentile, Maria Michta-Coffey and Isaac Ramaswamy, all of whom went to Sachem.

Richie LoNigro, owner of Port Jefferson Sporting Goods, will also receive a Special Recognition Award for his dedication to the athletes of Suffolk County. He is one of only six people in the country to receive the Rawlings Sporting Goods Silver Glove Award, which has been given to some of the most respected people in the sporting good industry

The ceremony for the 2016 inductees will take place on May 6, also at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hauppauge. Tickets are $95. For more information visit http://www.suffolksportshof.com.

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