OSWEGO — In their achievements as leaders of Oswego High School athletics, they excelled.
But the six people inducted Saturday into the Oswego High School Athletic Hall of Fame were recognized just as much because of the content of their character.
The 2019 induction class included longtime athletic trainer Michele Wink, coach of championship softball teams Mike McCrobie, versatile three-sport stars Tom Farrell (Class of 2003) and Dennis “Gary” Richardson (Class of 1967), distance running great Jacob McAndrew (Class of 2006), and football standout Carmen Ruggio (Class of 1936).
The Buccaneer Boosters sponsor the hall of fame and the induction ceremony, which took place at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center in Oswego.
Here’s a look at this year’s inductees.
Wink graduated from Ithaca College in 1994 and was hired as Oswego’s athletic trainer in 1996. She served as the athletic trainer for the Oswego City School District until her untimely death in 2018.
Her husband Tim gave an emotional speech in presenting her for hall of fame induction.
He pointed out that Michele worked in many capacities in several local, regional, and national events. These included the NCAA wrestling finals in Indianapolis, the Empire State Games, and the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse event. She was offered positions elsewhere, but each time she turned them down.
“She’s been offered a lot of jobs, but one of the things she always said is, ‘This is home,’” Tim said. “She bled Buc blue all the way through.”
Michele had a positive impact on the lives of athletes and non-athletes in the district. Not only did she provide expert care, she showed support, encouragement, and compassion for everyone.
Tim thanked family members and the entire OHS family of student-athletes, coaches, staff, and administrators for their love and support of Michele. They knew what he knew. Michele was something special.
“Those who shine from within don’t need a spotlight, and that’s my wife,” he said. “I married my wife for her qualities and her character. Her beauty was just a bonus.”
Longtime Oswego varsity softball coach Mike McCrobie led his teams to several league and Section III championships on the way to an overall career record of 431-214.
Under McCrobie’s leadership, the Bucs claimed league titles in 1993, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2011, plus Section III Class AA crowns in 1993-1995. In 1993, McCrobie was named the state Coach of the Year.
His Buccaneer teams earned New York State Scholar-Athlete Team honors in 21 consecutive seasons.
In presenting McCrobie for induction, event master of ceremonies Mark Mirabito shed light on some of the reasons for McCrobie’s success. He pointed out that McCrobie put in thousands of additional hours coaching summer softball, conducting softball clinics, working in the New York State Amateur Softball Association, and serving as the adviser to the phenomenally successful Buccaneer Bulletin student newspaper.
“This was not just something he did. This is who he was,” Mirabito said.
The coach said that one main reason his teams achieved so much was “I was blessed with tremendous softball players.” Several of his former players attended the induction ceremony.
He also thanked other coaches in the softball program, and OHS administrators and his fellow coaches. His biggest thank you was saved for his wife and family, who supported him throughout his coaching tenure.
McCrobie said he always emphasized to his players the importance of being a good teammate. He said his goals were to make the athletes better players and help make them better people. In turn, he said his players made him a better coach and a better person.
“I think I got a heck of a lot more out of teaching and coaching at Oswego High School than I put into it,” he said.
A 2003 graduate of Oswego High School, Farrell starred in football, basketball, and baseball for the Bucs.
He played guard, linebacker, and fullback in football. He served as team captain in 2003 and earned first-team all-league honors. He received the Coach’s Award and the Heart and Soul Award that year for football.
Farrell was a two-year co-captain for the basketball team, showing his leadership from the point guard position.
Perhaps his greatest athletic contributions were as a shortstop on the baseball diamond. He batted .370 and stole 11 bases in 2002, receiving all-league honorable mention. In 2003, he batted .437 with 38 hits, two home runs, and 20 RBIs. He was the Bucs’ Offensive MVP and a first-team all-league selection. He made the All-CNY third team.
Described as hard-working, unselfish, and a great teammate, Farrell was named the OHS Outstanding Male Athlete in 2003.
He served as a class officer throughout high school. In college, Farrell starred for the Oswego State baseball team, three times earning second-team all-conference honors.
“Tom Farrell played each and every play of each and every game in each and every sport he played with the fiercest competitive spirit and purest joy of playing of any player I have coached or observed in my time in Oswego athletics,” said teacher and baseball coach Tom Frawley as he presented Farrell for induction on Saturday. “Every team he played on was more of a team because of his presence.”
Farrell congratulated all the other inductees.
“This induction class is special to me as I grew up close to the McCrobies, and Michele was my trainer,” he said. “I want to let the Wink family know how much we all miss Michele and how great of a person she was.”
He also thanked his family, his friends and teammates, and all his coaches, especially Frawley.
“Mr. Frawley, not only did you teach me about baseball, but more importantly, you taught me teamwork and what it means to be a family. These are valuable lessons that I apply daily,” he said.
McAndrew starred for the Bucs in cross country and indoor and outdoor track, graduating from OHS in 2006.
In cross country, he earned team MVP honors three years in a row and twice competed at the state meet. McAndrew went undefeated in league competition during his senior season and won the prestigious McQuaid Invitational.
He won many honors and awards during all three sports seasons. In track, McAndrew was Oswego’s Outstanding Runner in 2006, taking fifth place in the 3,200 meters at the state meet with a time of 9:14.83. That year, he also won the OHS Section III Scholar-Athlete Award with an academic average of 100.29.
He went on to excel with the Le Moyne College cross country team, earning NCAA Division II All-Region honors. In 2010, McAndrew was presented with the Le Moyne College Scholar-Athlete Award.
McAndrew was unable to attend Saturday’s ceremony. Mirabito said McAndrew’s athletic accomplishments were remarkable, but his actions as a student and as a person are just as impressive.
“He was an outstanding student and a true gentleman,” Mirabito said.
A 1936 graduate of OHS, Ruggio is being inducted posthumously for his noteworthy varsity football career with the Bucs.
Ruggio was a fullback, halfback, defensive end, and punter for Oswego from 1933-36. He was a member of the 1934 North Central Football League championship team, scoring both of the touchdowns in the 12-6 championship game victory over Watertown. In 1935, Ruggio was named as a first-team Central New York All-Star halfback.
He was considered a triple threat in football for his ability to kick, pass, and carry the ball. A Palladium-Times article said he was “one of the finest blockers to ever work in the Oswego High backfield.”
Ruggio also played varsity baseball for Oswego.
While still in high school, he served in the Naval Militia and later served his country in World War II.
Ruggio was presented for induction by his sister Frances Ruggio Enwright and his daughter Vita Ruggio Lombard.
Frances said she had an idea why Carmen became so great on the gridiron.
“By shoveling coal, he became strong. That’s how he became a great player, I think,” she said.
Vita said her father shoveled coal from the age of 12 until he was 15. She said she had no idea just how good her father was on the football field.
“My sisters and I knew he was a good player, but we were ignorant as to how good he really was,” she said.
She said he learned so much from his father and from football coach Dave Powers.
“From his father he learned dedication to family and a very strong work ethic,” she said. “From Coach (Dave) Powers, he learned not just how to play football, but also the meaning of fair play, the belief in good sportsmanship, and how to function as a member of the team and the school community.”
Dennis “Gary” Richardson
Richardson excelled in football, basketball, and track for Oswego, graduating OHS in 1967.
He was on the varsity track team for four years, earning first-team all-league honors the last two. In his junior year he set a school record with a distance of 51’ 3” in the shot put and led the Bucs in scoring.
In basketball, Richardson played three varsity campaigns and twice received all-league honorable mention. In one memorable game in November 1965, Richardson canned 13 points in the third quarter, finishing the game with 20 total points, to spark OHS to a 74-58 triumph over Oswego Catholic High School.
He was a punter, tight end, and defensive end on the football team over two varsity seasons, and was an honorable mention all-league selection.
He served in the Naval Reserves and saw active duty in the Vietnam War. He was later a member of the Oswego Fire Department, and in 1995 was decorated for heroism by the OFD and the City of Oswego for saving a man’s life while he was off duty.
He was presented for induction by his wife, Phyllis.
“Being a successful athlete takes, among other qualities, I believe, talent, physical endurance, and discipline. I feel that they have all helped Gary with his adult life experiences,” she said.
Richardson thanked the hall of fame selection committee. He noted that his father kept a scrapbook of his OHS accomplishments.
“I don’t know that I deserve this award,” he said. “The things that I did were team-oriented things.”
Phyllis said her husband was always “a good role model for his family.”
About the hall of fame
The OHS Athletic Hall of Fame Committee has received several nominations, and those not chosen for induction in 2019 will be considered for future classes.
Nomination forms are available at www.Oswego.org. Completed forms may be dropped off at the athletic director’s office at OHS or mailed to Rhonda Bullard, Director of Athletics, Oswego City School District, 2 Buccaneer Blvd., Oswego, NY 13126.
Nominees must have attended the Oswego City School District and participated in Oswego athletics for a minimum of two years, or must have coached in the district for a minimum of 10 years, or must have made significant contributions through interscholastic athletics, or must have attended school in the district and made significant contributions in the world of sports.
Also considered are Oswego varsity teams that had major accomplishments.
For athletes, a 10-year waiting period is required for induction from the time leaving OHS.
OHS Athletic Hall of Fame
Class of 2008 (inaugural class): David Garrow, Brian Akley, Erik Cole, Robert Sheldon, Elmer Akley, Helen Jermyn, Sally (Dowd) McCrobie, Pete Sears, Dave Powers, 1932 boys basketball team.
Class of 2009: Helen Kessler, Jim Jermyn, Wendy Seaton, Robert L. Farrell, Joseph Wilber, William Symons, 1983 softball team.
Class of 2010: Charles Hutcheson, David Maniccia, Theodore Kerley, 1991 boys bowling team.
Class of 2011: Denise Sawyer, Kim Schneider, Dr. Wallace Brown, Bobbi Jo Louis, Dr. Dan Gould, 1941 football team.
Class of 2012: Francis Carl, Sherry (Brown) McCann, Howard McCann, Debbie (Miller) Lyons, Erwin “Jeep” Dewey, 1995-96 and 1996-97 boys hockey teams.
Class of 2013: Howard J. Mulcahey, Debbie Mann, Maggie Lester, Alice Reardon, 1991 boys tennis team.
Class of 2015: William Drumm, Katie Frawley, Donna (Clark) Gayne, Stephen Jermyn, Anthony Richmond.
Class of 2016: Mike Skinner, Michele Kunzwiler, Barb (Verdoliva) Carroll, Robert E. Farrell, Emily (Kaier) Cromwell.
Class of 2017: Mike Boyzuick, John Glinski, Dave Perlman, Abby (Delia) Molinari, Josh Molinari, 1975 girls soccer team.
Class of 2018: Doug Leavens, John Edwards, Ashley Wallace, Nancy Nitardy, 1990-91 and 1991-92 boys hockey teams.
Class of 2019: Michele Wink, Jacob McAndrew, Tom Farrell, Mike McCrobie, Carmen Ruggio, Dennis “Gary” Richardson.