An Emmy award-winning sports broadcaster and two professional sports draftees are among the new members of the Westchester Sports Hall of Fame, which honors outstanding men and women in the field of professional and amateur sports.
The 2017 Hall of Fame inductees are Frank McLaughlin, Rick O’Keeffe, Jimmy Roberts, Paul Natale and Rich Leaf.
McLaughlin was the longtime athletic director at Fordham University, his alma mater, where he was also a star basketball player and a New York Knicks draftee. He was also head coach at Harvard, and coached with Digger Phelps at Fordham and Notre Dame. He began his career in the early 1970s and continues today as Fordham’s Vice President of Student Affairs for Athletic Alumni Relations and External Affairs.
O’Keeffe had a 27-7 record with a 0.40 ERA, five no-hitters and a perfect game for Yorktown High School, where he also batted .438. The Milwaukee Brewers drafted him fifth in the nation straight out of high school in 1975. He played 209 games in the minor leagues (53-51) over a span of nine years.
Roberts, a White Plains High School graduate, is best known for his work as a sportscaster with NBC and ABC. He has covered the World Series, the Super Bowl, the NBA finals, the Olympics, and the Masters golf tournament. He has won 13 Emmy awards. His career began in 1975 and he continues to be active to this day.
Natale coached baseball and football at Hendrick Hudson High School beginning in 1971. His career at Hendrick Hudson spanned 35 years. He had more than 500 wins in baseball. Now he volunteers as an adaptive physical education coach with challenged veterans at the Montrose Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, and is involved with “Play for Freedom,” working with PTSD veterans.
Leaf, a Scarsdale High School graduate, is known as “The Voice of the County Center.” He has been the announcer for the Section 1 boys and girls basketball tournaments for 36 years. He is also the announcer for Iona College men’s and women’s basketball, Scarsdale and Mamaroneck basketball, and numerous tournaments. In addition, he has been officiating soccer since 1981 and is the current president of the Westchester-Putnam Approved Soccer Officials Association.
The athletes, coaches, journalists and other notables recognized by the Hall of Fame have set an example for our community, especially for the young people who look up to them,” Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said when announcing the inductees. “This is our way to recognize the enormous contributions they have made to sports and the future.”
The Hall of Fame honors outstanding professional and amateur sportsmen and sportswomen, living or deceased, who have gained prominence in their fields and who have made substantial contributions to sports in Westchester County. Since its establishment, the organization has inducted more than 200 individuals.
The 50th anniversary induction dinner will be held on Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Westchester County Center in White Plains; reception at 5:30 p.m., ceremony at 7 p.m. To attend, contact Kevin Cook firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, all past inductees are invited for the golden anniversary celebration, and are requested to contact Cook, as should anyone with current contact information for previous inductees.