From Phil Schoff to Rusty Vitallo

Phil Schoff –  Schoff was one of the most talented basketball players to come out of the Capital Region.  He played high school ball for St. Johnsville.  He later played his college ball for Syracuse alongside All-American Dave Bing and Jim Boeheim in the early 1960s.  He followed up a fine college career with a stint in the Eastern Basketball League. This ultimately led to a tryout with the Atlanta Hawks.  The strong swingman was the last player cut by the Hawks that year.

Al Bagnoli – The former Union College head football coach of the late 1980s was named the American Football Coaches Association College Division III Region I Coach of the Year in 1989.  It was the second time that Bagnoli, who showed an eight year record of 67-17-0, had been chosen for the award.  He first won it following the 1983 season.  Bagnoli’s record ranked him third among Division III coaches with five years or better, and sixth among all coaches at any level. He later moved on to coach Penn.

Bruce Hooker – Hooker led the Scotia High basketball team to an 18-3 record and a berth in the Class B Sectional Tournament in the 1950s.  He was a 6’3″ guard who also jumped center on the opening tip.  He was a real jumping jack.  Hooker led the Tartans in rebounding and scoring and was a first-Team All-County selection.  Hooker also high jumped, and his best effort was 6-feet.  He continued his high-jumping career at Hofstra and jumped 6’5″ in the Penn Relays.  Later, he became a business reply clerk for the Schenectady Post Office.

Ryan Mason – A great running back for Union College in the late 1980s, he set many school records his senior year.  In the final NCAA Division III statistics, he placed 17th among the nation’s ball carriers with his 115.6 yards per game average.  Mason amassed 1,545 yards, breaking Sam Hammerstrom’s mark of 1,143 in 1939.  His 17 touchdowns broke John Johnson’s mark of ten set in both 1983 and 1984.  Mason also tied Johnson’s rushing touchdowns of 26 and finished third on Union’s all-time career rushing chart with 2,490 yards.  Mason was injury prone, and it should be noted that if he had been healthy throughout his career, he very well could have held every single Union rushing record.

Doug Ericson – Ericson was the Draper High football coach.  His teams were always very fundamentally sound, and they consistently played well against all opponents at the Class B level.  He was a pretty good college football player himself at Syracuse University.  Ericson lost out to future Green Bay Packer great Jim Ringo for the starting center position.

Rusty Vitallo – Vitallo was a two-sport standout for Linton in 1964.  He was one of the top players on their basketball team which competed against Lew Alcindor and his Power Memorial High School  team.  A pitcher in baseball, Vitallo had a blazing fastball.  He signed a contract with the Oakland A’s, and the great Vida Blue was a teammate of his in the Oakland farm chain.  They were also roomates.

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