South Jersey Sports Report: The Cape-Atlantic League Sportspersons of the Year
When people are recognized as Cape-Atlantic League Sportspersons of the Year there are many reasons. The list is quite diversified and the selections have been both for accomplishments during just one year or over a longer period of time.
The spotlight has generally been turned on these special people for their success on the field or court. Many of them have been coaches.
That group has included Atlantic City basketball coach Gene Allen, Oakcrest basketball coach Dave Lewis, Hammonton football coach Pete Lancetta, Ocean City girls basketball coach Pat Dougherty, Pleasantville basketball coach Ken Leary, St. Joseph football coach Paul Sacco, Ocean City soccer coach Mike Pellegrino, Wildwood Catholic basketball coach Dave Deweese, Absegami wrestling coach Gene Barber, Ocean City basketball coach Dixie Howell, St. Augustine basketball coach Paul Rodio, Mainland football coach Bob Coffey, Ocean City girls basketball coach Paul Baruffi, Middle Township basketball coach Tom Feraco, Wildwood girls basketball coach Dave Troiano, Ocean City field hockey coach Trish LeFever, Sacred Heart basketball coach Jim Mogan, Millville field hockey coach Claudia McCarthy, Atlantic City/Stockton basketball coach Joe Fussner, Ocean City football coach Gary Degenhardt and Bridgeton track coach Bob Cwik. They are some of the coaches whose programs have brought great pride to the CAL and were Sportsperson of the Year.
Administrators have also been given the nod – people like Frank Campo, Joe Clements, Paul LeFever, Nuncie Sacco, Tony Surace, Harry Ackerman and Mike Gatley.
Sometimes it was for behind-the-scenes contributions – Yogi Hiltner, for his dedication to local sports on all levels; Boo Pergament and Father Ed Lyons, creators of the Seagull Classic; Bob and Rick Traa, for their sponsorship of the McDonald’s Game of the Week on cable television; John Pierantozzi, for his contributions as a coach and basketball official; Ernie Troiano, for his efforts creating and directing the Boardwalk Basketball Classic; both Jason Kaye of FantaSea Flagship Resort and Dave Talarico of Schoppy’s Inc. for the significant support they’ve given to CAL sports; Mike Gill, who took local sports radio to a higher level; Dave Catalana, for his efforts in creating the Shoot Down Cancer Classic; and John Rodio for his progressive ideas about assigning basketball officials and for bringing back the Seagull Classic.
This year, the nod goes to 22 people.