The 31st Newark Athletic Hall of Fame Annual Awards Dinner brought together some of the greatest to wear a uniform or coach a team. 18 more recipients were inducted into the Hall from different eras. The event was held at the Best Western Hotel in Newark on October 17.
Television personality Lisa Durden was a track star at Vailsburg High School and was part of the 1982 record-breaking mile relay team. It took Columbia High School 28 years to break that amazing time. Durden is pleased to see girls/women get their due in the Hall.
"We took athletics as seriously as the boys. When I went to Vailsburg High School and I ran track for four years, I meant business. When I hopped on that track, I wanted to break chicks on that track. But track was a gentlewoman's sport. I went on the track, all about my business, but when its over, 'hey girl hey'.
Jyavona Ellis was a star basketball player at East Side High School where she broke the school's record of scoring 44 points in one game. Ellis was moved by the Hall of Fame honor.
"To me it's like a life-changing moment because it's very rare to be inducted into a Hall of Fame when your team isn't recognized for being popular in basketball but you're being recognized for individual, I think it's very interesting."
When Iasia Hemingway played basketball at Malcolm X Shabazz High School people took notice. Hemingway would go on to play college ball at Georgia Tech and Syracuse...and then joined the WNBA's New York Liberty. Her message to other yong ladies adn girls involved in sports?
"I just want them to understand that hard works pays off and if you keep that tunnel vision and you stay focused on a goal you will be very successful."
Hemingway was named New Jersey "Player of the Year" in both 2006 and 2007.
Brian Logan graduated from Weequahic High School in 1982. He's had a brilliant coaching career in both high school and college and is currently the head football coach at Weeaquahic. His story of coaching his squad to two state championship in inspiring.
"I think about how we started 0-9, then in the Meadowlands on a snowy day. One of the kids who passed away on my team, he was murdered. We dedicated that game to him. It was amazing how the score ended, it was 20-0, his jersey number on the scoreboard at the Meadowlands, so that's when I knew God was real."
Logan, a former guest on SportsJam with Doug Doyle, is a retired police officer and detective from the Newark Police Department.
Each inductee received a beautiful plaque. They also have the opportunity to purchase a HOF ring.
You can see the entire list of inductees which included Dr. James Lee, Jr. WIley Williams, Bill Jamieson and Amiri "Middy" Baraka, at www.newarkathletichalloffame.org.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and New Jersey State Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake were both on hand for the celebration.
The Board President of the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame is Harry Snyder.
Click above to hear the night's emcee, Doug Doyle, give his thoughts on the evening.