LVHS Hall of Fame Inducts Newest Members

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The newest members of the Locust Valley High School Hall of Fame were inducted during a beautiful ceremony following Homecoming on Saturday, October 26, 2013. The Locust Valley Central School District, along with the Falcon Pride Athletic Booster Club hosted the ceremony. Inducted into the Hall of Fame were Locust Valley High School alumni, coaches, and community members who contributed to the high school’s athletic program over the years. This was the second annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and the honorees will now be included in the electronic Hall of Fame in the high school hallway outside of the gymnasium. Falcon Pride provided a complimentary catered barbecue dinner following the ceremony.

The inductees were Joe Coviello, Class of 1973; Tom Pillari, Class of 1981; Kim Soergel Myers, Class of 1975; 1979 Wrestling Team; Matt Sanzone, Wrestling Coach; Tony Grandinette, Gymnastics Coach; and Al Staab, Class of 1973.

You can read the biography for each inductee below:


Joe Coviello, Class of ’73
Baseball, Football, Basketball


Joe Coviello was a three-time All-County football player in ’70, ’71and ‘ 72. Fred Smith called him one of the greatest players he had ever coached. After graduating from Locust Valley High School, Joe went on to play football at Franklin and Marshall. In 36 games as a starter, Joe compiled a record of 32 and 4 with 52 TD passes. He was the team offensive MVP all four years at F&M and the Conference MVP three times in ’73, ’75 and 76. Joe was inducted into the F&M Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988. .
Joe quarterbacked the Franklin and Marshall College football team for four years between 1973 and 1976. During that period, F&M was the dominant force in the Middle Atlantic Conference, winning 32 games and losing only four. Individually, Joe was credited with many school and conference records. His most important career records are: ranked third all-time in total offense with 5868 yards; third in pass completions percentage at 56.5 %; and second in touchdown passes with 52.
Joe was team MVP for four consecutive years, conference MVP three times, All ECAC in 1976 as well as All-American. A member of Chi Phi fraternity, Joe was also a catcher on the baseball team for one season. At Locust Valley High School, Joe was an All-County Baseball selection in both 1972 and 1973 and with his Brother, Andrew, played on Locust Valley’s first division championship team in 1970.  
Joe has two sons, both of whom are graduates of the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, Captain Ross Coviello, KP ‘06 and Alex Coviello, KP ‘ 13. Joe and wife Diane currently reside in Cape Coral, Florida. He is employed as the Southwest Regional VP of Sales for PEMCO (Progressive Employer Management Company).

Tom Pillari:  Class of ‘81
Wrestling, Football, Baseball


Tom Pillari was wrestling team captain in 1981, the same season that he went on to be the 155 pounds. County Champ. That same year he was named the outstanding wrestler at the LV Invitational Tournament.  Tom went on to attend Binghamton University and wrestled from 1982 -1985.  He was inducted into the Binghamton University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.  He was a two-time All-American.  In 1984, Tom became a national champion at 177 pounds.  He allowed just four points in five NCAA matches and finished the season with a 28-4 record.
Tom wrestled at Binghamton from 1982-85. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1985.  A two-time All-American and one of three BU national champions, Tom led the 1984 Colonials to the school’s best-ever national finish in any sport - third in the country. In front of a home West Gym crowd, Tom capped his junior season with five straight wins to capture the 177-pound championship. He allowed just four points in five NCAA matches, scoring a 4-3 decision in the finals. That year, he also captured titles at both the New York State and SUNYAC Championships, and finished the season with a perfect 12-0 dual mark and an overall record of 28-4.
A three-time team captain, this exceptional athlete earned his first All-America honor in 1982, placing fifth at 167 pounds. He also was one of BU’s most successful wrestlers at the All-Division New York State Tournament, adding two runner-up finishes to his 1984 championship.
Tom Pillari was Binghamton’s “Athlete of the Year” in 1984 and the recipient of the school’s Jake Pitler Award in 1985. In his four-year career, he only lost two dual matches, amassing 37 wins for a record-winning percentage of .925. A model student-athlete, Tom was named the SUNYAC “Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year” in 1984 and also was an Academic All-American that same year.
Following graduation from Binghamton, Tom attended Temple University Law School in Philadelphia, graduating in 1988.  He then worked with Denis Dillon for three years as an Assistant Nassau County District Attorney.  Tom currently practices general law in Nassau and Suffolk counties.  
Tom lives with his family in Cold Spring Harbor and remains a staunch advocate of both LVHS and Binghamton University wrestling programs.


Kim Soergel Myers:  Class of ’75
Softball, Gymnastics, Cheerleading, Track and Field


 Kim attended Locust Valley High School form 1971-1975. While there, she participated in several sports including softball for two years, and gymnastics, cheerleading and track and field for four years. Kim was the first Locust Valley female athlete to receive an athletic scholarship. She attended Florida State University from 1975-79 and qualified for two outdoor and three indoor NCAA National Championships. In 1973, at the first Nassau County Track and Field competition, Locust Valley’s track team came in first and Kim won first place and All-County honors in every event she entered: 100-yard dash, long jump, and she anchored the winning 440 relay. In 1974 Kim again placed first in the 100-yard dash, the long jump, the 50-yard hurdles and anchored the 800 relay at the counties. She then went on to the first New York State girls’ track and field meet where she set a New York State record and won the long jump.  Kim’s record at Locust Valley has never been broken. This year that record of 17’ 9 3/4” will be 40 years old. In 1975, a sports documentary was made about Title IX called “Girls Sports: On the Right Track.” The film featured Kim and her teammate Sue Dalton. The movie showed Kim winning the state championship and included interviews with her about being a female athlete. While at FSU, she was photographed for the Athletic Journal demonstrating proper long jumping technique.

Kim lives in Huntington with her husband, Tim Myers, and they have three boys who have all graduated from college. Kim received her Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Florida State and her Master’s degree in Health Education from Hofstra University. She works in the Half Hollow Hills School District as an elementary physical education teacher, for kindergarten through fifth grade.

Track has always been a big part of her life. After finishing her own track career at Florida State she came back to New York and coached the boys track team at Locust Valley High School. She taught and coached track and gymnastics for thirteen years at Our Lady of Mercy Academy, sending quite a few girls to the Catholic School Championships and the New York State Meet. She then went to Half Hollow Hills to coach middle school track, where her teams often went undefeated. Kim gave up coaching in order to attend her own sons’ track meets. When her sons graduated, Kim became a Suffolk County Track Official and she still works varsity and middle school meets throughout Suffolk County.

1979 Wrestling Team
The Greatest Team


Over the last five decades, The Locust Valley Wrestling program has fielded many, many outstanding teams, but one stands above them all defined by the character of its members, the toughness of their competitive will, their pride in wearing the Falcon uniform, their loyalty and commitment to the team, and their monumental achievements on the mat. This was not a one-year miracle, but rather a year that was forged over three seasons in which so many competed against the best, both in the schedule of dual meets and tournaments, and within the wrestling practice room.
Each practice day the team members drilled and scrimmaged against their teammates, many of whom were already state champions, county place winners and division champions and place winners. Coaches who visited Locust Valley to scrimmage would marvel at the depth of talent that this team displayed. With a coaching staff led by Matt Sanzone and Doug Axman, supported by Fred Smith and Kenny Klein, everyone knew this team would be ready to compete at the highest level.
The team was led by tri-captains Al DeStefanis, Rich Goudis and Paul Pietrofere, who collectively won 207 matches during their careers wearing the Falcon uniform. They, and many others, were members of Locust Valley teams from 1977-79 that achieved a collective dual meet record of 41-3 while winning multiple championships,  but it was the ’79 team that reached the heights. Other greats on the team included Tore Barbaccia, Matt Stapleton, Doug and Rick Johnson, Chris Pascucci (future league and all-county wrestlers), and a 10th grader, Tom Pillari (who went on to win an NCAA championship at Binghamton) and defending state champion, Carl DeStefanis who captured his NCAA title wearing the Penn State uniform.
The ’79 team captured all tournaments in which it competed, including the three most prestigious ones: the Nassau County Dual Meet, Nassau County Sectional and the New York State Intersectional Championship.
The team, as always, received tremendous support from the community, wrestling alumni and parents who made the team feel the pride that Locust Valley expressed toward their efforts and team spirit. The coach’s wife, Carolyn, constructed a special banner which read “Locust Valley: Home of Wrestling Champions” which was displayed at all dual meets. It was a magical season and marked the pinnacle of Falcon Wrestling!


Matt Sanzone


Matt graduated from Wheatley High School where he excelled in football, wrestling and track, earning All-County honors in each. He went on to graduate from Springfield College where he continued his success in those sports and captured three New England Championship titles as a heavyweight wrestler.
In the fall of 1964 Matt started his teaching and coaching career at Locust Valley High School with the challenge of initiating the wrestling program. The first three years were daunting and the team posted a three year record of 12-25, but with Matt’s dedication and talent, the program soared began to soar and the team began winning multiple team and individual championships. Coach Sanzone’s teams won 16 league championships, one Nassau County championship and one New York State championship during his 24 years as head coach. Matt was named Coach of the Year twice in recognition of his work. In 2002, Matt was inducted into the New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame and in 2003 he was inducted into the National Hall of Fame.
Matt has always said that over the 24 years that he coached the Falcon wrestling teams, he had the privilege of teaching and coaching many of the finest young men in the country. He is most proud that under his leadership, Locust Valley Wrestling earned a reputation throughout New York State as the “Home of Wrestling Champions.”
Today he sees the same coaching leadership and wrestler dedication that have defined the program.
Matt and his wife Carolyn reside in Great Barrington, Ma. They relocated to the Berkshires in 1989, Matt to accept a principal’s position and Carolyn to head the North Adams State College Foundation. Their two children, Matt and Rob, finished their high school years in the Berkshire Hills Regional School District. They both enjoyed very successful academic and athletic careers, excelling in Football and Wrestling.  Matt graduated from Williams College and Rob from UMass Amherst. Both are married and proud fathers. Rob and his wife Kristin have two children, Lily age 7 and Jack age 4. They live in the Berkshires and hold teaching positions. In addition, Rob is a professional musician who has performed around the country. Matt and his wife Katherine are the proud parents of twin girls, Maya and Ava, ages 5. They live in South Berwick, Maine and both teach in the Marshwood School system, Matt high school social studies and Katherine 7th grade science.
Carolyn and Matt spend time between Maine and Great Barrington enjoying time with their families and with their grandchildren, who know them as Lala and Papa!



Anthony Grandinette

Tony Grandinette literally wrote the book on New York State scholastic gymnastics. A prime mover in the organization of the sport for high school, Tony became the first gymnastics chairman for the New York State Public School Athletic Association. He wrote the original rule book, provided guidelines gleaned from the AAU and NCAA specifically adapted for the nascent high school competitors. His concept of modified rules for various age groups was later adopted by the International Olympics Committee for its own national rule book.
A native of Carbondale, Pa., Tony grew up in Syracuse where he attended Central High School. He served two years in the Air Force and after his discharge in 1946, he attended Syracuse University for a year before transferring to Cortland. He competed for the Red Dragon football, gymnastics, baseball and track teams and coached tennis at Cortland High School. He loved the complexities of gymnastics best, but also displayed style as a football running back. His 75-yard touchdown in the 1948 opener against Clarkson still ranks as one of the longest in the school’s history. Active in the MAA, Beta Phi Epsilon, the Newman Club and the Lyceum Committee, Tony earned a B.S. in physical education in 1949.
Between 1949 and 1953, Tony taught in the Syracuse School District while earning a master’s degree from Syracuse University. From 1953 to 1955, he worked, as a civilian, for the U.S. Department of Air Force in Tripoli, Libya, teaching and supervising physical education for children and directing the base-wide recreational program at Wheelus Air Force Base. Additionally, he organized a basketball tournament between the Italian, Arabic and American schools in Tripoli. In appreciation for his efforts, the schools named the tournament trophy in his honor.
After returning to Syracuse for a year, Tony began his long association with the Locust Valley School District - a union that would span from 1956 until his retirement in 1982. His teaching career on Long Island began in Brookville - upon centralization of the school district, he taught in Locust Valley Elementary school and was moved to  the Bayville Schools when Brookville was closed. He remained active in the NYSHPH&R and was Nassau Athletic Council Gymnastics Chairman for seven years.
During his tenure as gymnastics coach, Tony, (affectionately known as “Mr. G.”) coached his teams to multiple first place division titles and a County Championship. His teams also won a staggering 22 consecutive dual meets as well as an undefeated record from 1972 through 1974.  Mr. G is also credited with starting Bayville’s first Little League football and baseball programs.
In his home community, Tony was a village trustee, chaired the Recreation Commission, organized youth baseball and football programs, directed the Catholic Youth Organization Gymnastic Clinic and served as a Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor. Tony and his wife, Ida, have three children: Maria, Steven and Anthony Jr.


Al Staab:  Class of ‘73

Al is recognized for his contribution and support of the athletic programs in our community. Raised in Bayville, he attended Bayville Elementary Schools and graduated from Locust Valley High School in 1973.  While at Locust Valley he was a three-sport athlete playing football, basketball and track.  He received All-Division honors for football and was named Defensive MVP under Hall of Fame Coach Fred Smith. He attended Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus and earned a B.S. in Education.
Upon graduation, Al relocated to San Diego, California where he built a chain of car washes with his two brothers. In 1994 Al returned to Bayville with his family and immediately became involved in the community. Al is a former member of the Board of Directors for the San Diego Chapter of the National College Football Foundation.  He was a founding member and is the current President of the Oak Neck Athletic Council, Co-Chairperson for the St. Gertrude’s Feast, founding Member of Falcon Pride Athletic Booster Club, Vice President of the Italian American Citizens Club of Oyster Bay and Co-Chairperson for the Feast of Saint Rocco’s in Oyster Bay.  Al is also a Trustee for the Village of Bayville.  
Al was the recipient of the prestigious Frank Luisi Award by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame for his contribution to youth football. He was also invited to become a member of the Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Association Board and the Bayville Centre Island Republican Club chose him as the first recipient of the Edward Minicozzi Sr. Award in recognition of his community service. This past February, Al was the recipient of the Annual Lincoln Day Award, a humanitarian award presented by Town of Oyster Bay Councilman Chris Coschignano and the Syosset Woodbury Republican Club.
Al is very dedicated and prides himself on always doing a good job. His strength is his ability to work well with people. Additionally, he has extraordinary organizational skills and a determination to help others.  Al recognizes the importance of team sports and the benefits received by those who play them.  
In his spare time, Al enjoys being with his wife, Nancy, daughter Christina (Brian) and son, Al.