On Saturday four athletes were inducted into the Stony Brook School Athletic Hall of Fame as a part of the Homecoming Weekend activities. Here is the induction address given by Dan Hickey ’04, Director of Athletics.
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the 21st induction ceremonies of the Stony Brook School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Today I have the honor of welcoming four new members into an exclusive club that represents the very best student-athletes from the 94-year history of Blue and White Athletics.
A brief note about the process before we begin. This year the selection process for inductees was altered. In an effort to give greater ownership to the current Hall of Fame members, each one was invited to nominate candidates and vote on the final list. The four inductees here today received the highest votes from the eighteen Hall of Famers who participated in the selection. From a list of nine nominees Robbie Marvin ‘96, Paul Ciofrone ‘96, Matt Mattimore ‘95, and Jerry Armfield ‘66 were chosen.
I was pleased with the selections, not only because of the impressive resumes of these four Brookers, but because of the qualities each of them embodies. I also feel a personal connection to each of them. I fondly remember watching Robbie, Paul, and Matt play basketball for my dad. In fact, I had a basketball video game as a kid in which you could create your own team with customizable players. Those three guys were on my team. And we were unstoppable. I also grew up in awe of the black and white pictures I first saw in the 1966 yearbook of this player dunking on hapless defenders. I didn’t know Stony Brook players could dunk. Jerry and I have had a few phone calls since his selection and I’ve enjoyed connecting with with a fellow basketball player and track athlete. Now, to the inductees.
Our first inductee is Robbie Marvin. Robbie spent just two years at the Brook, but what an impact he made in his short time with the Bears. He was an All-County performer on the soccer field, setting a still-standing school record of 20 goals in a season. He was All-Conference in basketball, helping to lead the team to a playoff appearance in 1996. He was a two-time All-County honoree in baseball and the 1996 League MVP as he helped the Brook win League and County Championships. He also won a slew of Class Night awards, most notably the Swanson Award for Best All-Around Athlete, an honor he shared that year with fellow Hall of Famer, Jake Kenney, Class of 1996.
After the Brook, Robbie played second base at the University of Virginia where he garnered All-ACC accolades while leading the team in hitting and stolen bases.
He remembers Stony Brook as a great place to play sports with quality teammates like Paul Ciofrone, Jeremy and Chris Meserole, and Matt Spooner. I remember Robbie as an absolute jet on the court, a fearless player in the game’s biggest moments, and a fierce, fierce competitor. One game in particular stands out to me. In a playoff game in 1996, Robbie scored the first 17 points of the game. At one point it was Robbie 17, Wyandanch 11. In the third quarter he hit a shot I’ll never forget. After walking the ball across half court he pulled up from inside the jump circle, splashing a 35-foot three-pointer. In the third quarter. Of a tight playoff game. He went on to score 39 points in a thrilling upset victory. No one was bigger in the biggest moments. Please join me in honoring, Robbie Marvin.
Our next nominee came into Stony Brook the same year as Robbie. Paul Ciofrone had a difficult start to his Stony Brook career after tearing his ACL early in his junior soccer season. His injury cost him his basketball season as well, but he came back for a sensational baseball season that helped earn him a spot on Long Island’s Empire State Games team.
After earning All-Conference honors during his senior basketball season, Paul earned his second All-County nod in baseball and became the only Stony Brook baseball player to be selected to Newsday’s All-Long Island team. Paul’s power at the plate was without equal. The lacrosse team had to be on high alert whenever Paul came to bat as his long balls found the Bear Cage on more than one occasion. To put that into perspective, the temporary outfield fence I erect every year is a good 40 feet in front of the Bear Cage. By his senior year, it was a routine sight to find professional scouts watching Paul take batting practice after games.
After graduating from the Brook, Paul was drafted by the New York Mets in the 1996 MLB Draft. He went on to play baseball at Hofstra University where he garnered 1st Team All-Conference honors thanks to a .408 batting average to go along with 11 home runs–the ninth highest HR total in Hofstra history. After Hofstra, he spent three years in the minor leagues where he racked up 93 hits, 8 home runs, and 50 RBIs in 139 career games.
When I asked Paul what memory stood out to him from his time at the Brook, he went back to that Wyandanch game. Though Robbie scored 39 points that day, he did not score the winning basket. With the score knotted at 66-all, Robbie took the ball coast to coast in the game’s waning seconds, but left his layup short. Just before the buzzer sounded, Paul tipped in the shot to give the Bears the win. He finished with 18 points in one of the signature wins in Stony Brook Basketball history. What I remember best about Paul was his toughness and sheer love of competition. Paul was a teammate anyone would want to go into battle with. Please join me in honoring, Paul Ciofrone.
Our next inductee simply did it all. Matt Mattimore’s career resume reads like a something out of The Great Gatsby. On the gridiron he was a two-time All-County performer who held four school records when he graduated in 1995. He still holds the record for receiving touchdowns in a season with 12. On the basketball court he was a three-time All-Conference honoree who led the Bears to back-to-back league titles in 1993 and 1994. He hit 42 three-pointers as a freshman, a school record that he beat the following year with 43. He became just the fourth Stony Brook player to score 1,000 career points and held the all-time scoring record for 16 years. On the tennis court he was one part of a doubles tandem that won the 1993 Conference Championship against huge schools like Sachem, Ward Melville, and Patchogue-Medford. On the track he won the 1995 Division Championship in the 100 meters in a school record time of 11.12, a mark that stood for 15 years. He also helped the 4×400 relay team win the Division Championship.
After the Brook, Matt played football at Georgetown where he helped the Hoyas win their first MAAC Conference Championship in 1997, scoring a touchdown to help end Duquesne’s 20-game win streak. In 1998 he was named a 1st Team All-American. He remains seventh in Georgetown history in receiving yards in a game, a season, and a career.
Matt’s accolades are staggering, but what truly set him apart was the fact that he was as true a sportsman as he was a competitor. His greatest memory from playing at the Brook was the pride he felt in competing against, and often beating, much larger schools than ours. He also enjoyed being a fan of his classmates who excelled in lacrosse, swimming, and other sports during a successful age in Blue and White Athletics. Please join me in honoring, Matt Mattimore.
Our final inductee is Jerry Armfield, who arrived at Stony Brook having never played basketball. He remembers long hours spent in Carson Gymnasium working on his skills, particularly his dunks, which he would do 100 times a day. That all came to fruition on one January night in 1966 when he poured in 39 points in a 75-57 win over Poly Prep. The stat of the game? Jerry had 17 dunks. 17! To give you an idea of how imposing a figure Jerry was, Calvin Hill, who would become an All-Pro running back for the Dallas Cowboys, would become physically sick before his Riverdale team had to face Jerry. Calvin told that to Jerry himself several years ago, so it comes from a reliable source.
Jerry excelled in his new sport, earning Ivy League player of the year honors in 1965 and garnering All-Long Island recognition. He was the beneficiary of an accelerated basketball education, thanks to the famed courts of Rucker Park in Harlem that welcomed incredible talent during the summer months. A who’s who of transcendent NBA stars descended on that renowned patch of asphalt and Jerry ran up and down with them. Wilt Chamberlain. Dr. J. Elgin Baylor. Nate “Tiny” Archibald. Earl the Pearl Monroe. His favorite memory from those summer runs? Dunking on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Jerry’s athleticism translated well to the track where he earned a runner-up finish in the discus at the Ivy League Championships. After Stony Brook, Jerry played basketball for four years at New York University, where he actually wasn’t allowed to dunk.
When I asked Jerry what means the most to him from his time at Stony Brook, he gave me a simple answer: Character Before Career. It’s a motto that has remained close to him throughout his life and he remains grateful for the influence of faculty members like Marvin Goldberg and Karl Soderstrom. Please join me in honoring, Jerry Armfield.