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Saint Joseph High School Announces Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023

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Saint Joseph High School Announces Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023
Tim LeCras

A nationally ranked basketball team that claimed a Tournament of Champions title headlines the Saint Joseph High School Athletics Hall of Fame’s newest induction class.

The Class of 2023, which also includes eight individuals, will be honored during a ceremony and dinner at the Metuchen Country Club on Saturday June 8, 2024.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of Saint Joseph High School and the Falcon family, it is my honor to congratulate our newest members on being selected for the Saint Joseph Athletics Hall of Fame,” Saint Joseph President John G. Nolan, Jr. said.

The Athletics Hall of Fame, which returned in 2019 following a 17-year hiatus, affords Saint Joseph an opportunity to recognize deserving individuals who have made a profound impact on the high school’s storied sports programs.

A total of 27 individuals were inducted into the Saint Joseph Athletics Hall of Fame during a four-year period from 1999 through 2002. Twenty-three individuals and two teams were inducted since the Hall of Fame was resurrected four years ago.

“This year’s class features outstanding representatives from a variety of sports,” Nolan said. “The Saint Joe’s Athletics Hall of Fame is a special place and serves as a source of pride for the entire Falcon family. The Hall of Fame is a celebration of our commitment to excellence in all endeavors, including academics, athletics, and sportsmanship.”

Inductees bring recognition, acclaim, and pride to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and to Saint Joseph High School. Their record of sportsmanship and lifestyle of integrity and probity makes them role models for current and future Saint Joseph student-athletes.

“I look forward to welcoming our Class of 2023 back to Saint Joe’s and inducting them into the Hall of Fame and thanking them for the contributions they made during their time at Saint Joe’s,” Nolan said. “They are all most deserving of this recognition. They are Saint Joe’s men.”

Saint Joseph has accumulated more than 165 county or conference team championships and nearly 50 state team titles in 16 varsity sports.

In addition, Saint Joseph has produced hundreds of All-American, All-State, All-County, and All-Conference players, as well as countless college scholarship student-athletes.

A seven-member Athletics Hall of Fame Selection Committee, chaired by alumnus Ryan Carter ‘91, presented nominees for Class of 2023 induction. 

The Athletics Hall of Fame Selection Committee identified, reviewed, and verified the achievements of all qualified nominees before making a final recommendation of inductees to Saint Joe’s leadership and Board of Directors, both of which approved the Class of 2023 for induction.

The Saint Joseph Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2023 includes:

CHRIS BIELAK '09, BASEBALL

An integral member of the only baseball teams (2008 and 2009) in school history to win back-to-back Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament (GMCT) championships, Bielak also had one of the finest all-around seasons of any player to wear a Falcon uniform. In 2009, The Star-Ledger named Bielak first-team All-State, selecting him as one of New Jersey’s 13 best players. The right-handed pitcher and shortstop contributed at the plate and on the mound. He batted .488 with 40 hits (nine for extra bases), 30 runs, and 22 RBI while fanning just twice in 102 plate appearances. Bielak posted an 8-1 record with a 2.02 ERA and one save while striking out 65 batters over 55 and a third innings. After scoring the winning run in a 1-0 triumph over Christian Brothers Academy in the 2007 NJSIAA Non-Public A South final to help the Falcons reach a state title game for the first time since 1989, Bielak scored the winning run in a 3-2 victory over Old Bridge for the 2008 GMCT championship. He capped his clutch scholastic career in 2009, hurling a complete-game shutout and delivering a two-run single while leading Saint Joseph to its second consecutive GMCT crown with a 6-0 blanking of North Brunswick. Bielak, who batted .306 with 17 stolen bases and three victories on the mound as a junior, went on to enjoy a stellar collegiate career. A four-year letterwinner at Division I Marist, Bielak worked out of the Red Foxes bullpen as a freshman before converting to a starter and becoming the program’s ace. He hurled 196 and a third career innings and won a dozen games. Bielak led the Marist staff in strikeouts as a junior and senior. In 2013, Bielak compiled a 7-3 record with a 3.59 ERA, fanning 64 batters over 82 and two thirds innings to earn second-team All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference honors. Bielak’s 3.94 career ERA ranks ninth all-time in Marist history.

MATT DOHERTY '91, TRACK & FIELD

Among the greatest distance runners in school history, Doherty won the state’s Meet of Champions 3,200-meter race as a senior during both the indoor and outdoor seasons. He holds the school winter track record for the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:25.3. During his junior campaign at the New Jersey Catholic Track Conference Championships, Doherty used a strong finishing kick to win both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races. At the 1991 National Scholastic Indoor Championship, he finished eighth in the 3,200-meter race with a 9:26.07. As a senior, Doherty was also first-team all-state in cross country after finishing ninth overall at the 1991 NJSIAA Cross Country Group Championships. He won individual titles at the Greater Middlesex Conference and New Jersey Catholic Track Conference championship meets. The Edison native’s illustrious scholastic résumé features the 1990 Parochial A 1,600-meter outdoor title, as well. That junior season Doherty also swept the GMC’s 1,600 and 3,200 titles in the winter and spring. Doherty earned a scholarship to compete at Georgetown, where he currently has the fifth best time in the 5,000-meter run, 14:03.97. Doherty set his personal best time at the 1993 Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Outdoor 5K. His second-place finish at the IC4A Indoor Championships in 1993 set the tone for the Hoyas to capture the team title. Doherty has since worked in finance and as a public servant, including as mayor of Belmar.

ED FERN '72, TRACK & FIELD

A county and state champion jumper, Fern finished runner-up in the high jump at the Meet of Champions as a senior both indoors and outdoors. During his time as a Falcon, he set school records in the high jump (6’ 6.5”) and triple jump (46’ 3”). As a junior, Fern won Middlesex County and Parochial A titles in the high jump, and put forth a top-five finish at the outdoor Meet of Champions. The following year he won gold in the Parochial A high jump both indoors and outdoors. Fern added a Penn Relays runner-up finish and a third-place showing at the AAU National Junior Olympics to his list of accomplishments. In 1992, against the top track & field talent in the metropolitan area, Fern set the Westchester Invitational meet record of 6 feet, 6.5 inches. Fern received a scholarship to compete at Clemson, where he earned All-American status and was a two-time NCAA participant. During his four years as a Tiger, Fern won five ACC titles, a school individual record at the time. Fern held the Clemson high jump record from 1976 until 1983. The product of Plainfield/Piscataway went on to compete for the U.S. Junior team in Europe in 1973 and later at the U.S. Olympic Trials. He also won 15 New Jersey senior men’s high jump titles. Fern coached at Saint Joseph from 1976-80. Author of Ed Fern’s Flight School, as an International Amateur Athletic Federation Level 5 Jumps Coach, he has the highest accreditation possible in high jump and has coached the national team in New Zealand, where he now lives.

KEVIN McEVOY '72, TRACK & FIELD

A former state champion in multiple sports, McEvoy set several Falcon school records on the track. The Edison native was a first-team all-state soccer player, who helped lead the program to its first state title his senior year in 1971. Meanwhile, McEvoy established school-best times in the 60-yard high-hurdles (7.5), 120-yard high-hurdles (14.4), and 180-yard low hurdles (19.6). He was also a member of a school-record setting shuttle hurdle relay (59.8). As a senior in 1972, McEvoy contributed to an outdoor track and field team state title, as he won the 120-yard hurdles. Individually, he claimed gold in the 1972 indoor 60-high hurdles. At the 1972 Parochial A meet, McEvoy won both the 60-yard and 120-yard championships. McEvoy continued his running career at Seton Hall. His collegiate highlights included competing on a shuttle hurdle relay squad that won a Penn Relays Championship of America crown on the way to All-American honors. Additionally, he was a member of IC4A championship-winning teams and captained the program as a senior. McEvoy and his shuttle teammates will forever hold two Shuttle Hurdle records at Seton Hall, a 27.6 and 57.3 in 1975. Following college, McEvoy served East Brunswick High School as a teacher and coach for 35 years. Leading East Brunswick to three Group IV state championships and guiding future Olympic discus thrower Sam Mattis, McEvoy is a member of the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In 2011, McEvoy was named the National Federation of Coaches Track and Field Coach of the Year. He was recognized as The Star-Ledger’s State Coach of the Year in 2012. Since retiring, he has continued to serve the East Brunswick community as a board of education member, mayor, and municipal township council president. 
 

JON SOT '18, FOOTBALL

Among the finest multi-sport athletes in school history, Sot was a punter/kicker/receiver on the gridiron and centerfielder on the diamond. In 2017, The Star-Ledger named Sot second-team All-State in football as a kicker and third-team All-State in baseball as an outfielder. That year, Sot batted .381 with 37 hits, 23 runs, and 21 stolen bases while leading Saint Joseph to the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament championship. Among the state’s most dynamic baseball players during his varsity career, Sot blended gap-to-gap power with blazing speed that enabled him to steal bases at will and track down fly balls to make sensational diving catches. Over his final two baseball seasons, the quintessential leadoff hitter batted .384 with 75 hits, 53 runs, 40 steals, 27 RBI, 17 doubles, three triples and two homers. During his senior year on the gridiron, Sot converted 50 extra points and made five field goals, including a 55-yarder, the state’s longest that season. He also caught 17 passes for 435 yards and six touchdowns for a 25.6 yards per catch average while leading Saint Joseph to an unblemished 9-0 regular-season mark. Sot went on to play football at Harvard University, where as a two-time first-team All-Ivy League selection he averaged 40.8 yards per punt over three seasons with 50 punts inside the 20 and 24 punts of 50-plus yards. Only four of Sot’s 137 punts at Harvard were touchbacks and his longest punt sailed 76 yards. As a graduate student in 2022 at the University of Notre Dame, Sot finished 29th nationally with 43.9 yards per punt, ranking him sixth all time among single-season leaders in school history. At Notre Dame, Sot had 13 punts of 50 or more yards including a 75-yarder. He also forced 28 fair catches and placed 21 of his 49 punts inside the 20 while hitting just three touchbacks. Opponents were limited to just 10 returns against Sot, who was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award as college football’s best punter.

DAVE TURCO, BASKETBALL COACH

A member of the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Turco guided the 2013-14 team to the program’s only Tournament of Champions title. Owner of a 448-121 career record during a combined 21 seasons at Saint Joseph, Carteret and South Brunswick high schools, Turco is the only coach in Greater Middlesex Conference history to win five consecutive league tournament crowns (2010-14 with the Falcons) and the only coach in Saint Joseph history to win a Non-Public A championship, claiming three such titles in succession from 2012-14. Turco won 20 or more games in 12 of his seasons at St. Joseph (2004-17), which was ranked among the Top 10 in The Star Ledger’s final statewide rankings seven times. He posted a 285-59 mark with the Falcons and made 10 consecutive conference tournament finals appearances. Turco coached 11 of the school’s 18 players who scored 1,000 or more points. His resume includes 15 division titles, 10 sectional finals appearances, and a Central Group II championship. Turco went on to enjoy continued success at the collegiate level. In 2018-19, after inheriting a Middlesex College team that won just 13 games, Turco led the Blue Colts to a 27-7 record that included a Region XIX title and National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament appearance. Turco was named Region XIX Coach of the Year and Region VI National Coach of the Year for orchestrating the remarkable turnaround. After winning 23 games the next season with the Blue Colts, Turco was named Kean University’s mentor, where he continues another successful rebuilding effort. Turco took over a program that finished 6-19 overall and 3-15 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. After a pandemic-shortened 2020-21 campaign, Turco guided the Cougars to 14 wins the following year and an 18-8 record last season, marking Kean’s best finish in more than a decade.

BREEIN TYREE '16, BASKETBALL

During his first season at Saint Joseph, Tyree made an immediate impact, starting as a sophomore on the 2013-14 team that claimed the program’s lone Tournament of Champion title. Tyree went on to score 1,221 career points during three varsity seasons. A complete player, Tyree also tallied 351 assists, 344 rebounds, and 246 steals. As the lone returning starter on the 2014-15 squad, Tyree led Saint Joseph to the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament final. He helped Saint Joseph win the 2015-16 league tournament championship. That season, The Star-Ledger named Tyree third-team All-State, selecting him as one of New Jersey’s 15 best players and calling him “one of the most exciting to watch.” Renowned for his dunking ability and athleticism (Tyree also quarterbacked Saint Joseph’s football team), Tyree continued his career at Ole Miss, where after transitioning from point guard to shooting guard, he blossomed into a two-time First-Team All-Southeastern Conference selection, earning the honors at the end of the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns. During his junior year, Tyree helped Ole Miss become nationally ranked (AP Top 25 poll) for the first time since 2012-13 and for only the seventh season in school history. Tyree ended his college career as Ole Miss’s sixth all-time leading scorer (1,797 points). He also ranked sixth in three-point goals (207), ninth in free throws made (384), 10th in field goals made (603), 10th in assists (325) and 10th in minutes played (3,634). As a senior, Tyree averaged a team-leading 19.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 34.2 minutes while shooting 42.6 percent from the field, 36 percent from three-point range and 82.2 percent from the foul line. Tyree signed as an undrafted free agent with the Miami Heat following the 2020 NBA draft. He has gone on to play professionally overseas.

2013-14 BASKETBALL TEAM

Under the direction of New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame Coach Dave Turco, the Falcons defeated Newark East Side 49-47 to claim the school’s lone Tournament of Champions title. Saint Joseph averaged 73.6 points per game on route to a 30-2 record and a No. 17 national ranking. The team’s only losses were to national powers DeMatha of Maryland and Montverde of Florida, which ended the year ranked No. 1 in the country. The Falcons also won their third consecutive Non-Public A championship and unprecedented fifth straight Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament title. All five starters commenced their collegiate careers at Division I programs and two of those players eventually became NBA first-round draft picks. The team’s marquee performer, Gatorade National Player of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns, was a McDonald’s and Parade Magazine All-American. Following one season at the University of Kentucky, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Towns first overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. A year later, the Memphis Grizzlies chose Wade Baldwin, who played two seasons at Vanderbilt, with the 17th overall pick. Starter Breein Tyree became a two-time first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection at Ole Miss and starter Marques Townes led Cinderella Loyola of Chicago as a No. 11 seed to the 2018 NCAA Division I Final Four. Both went on to play professionally overseas. The team’s fifth starter, Raven Owen, played at Canisius before transferring to ASA College in Florida, where he led the National Junior College Athletic Association in 2016-17 with a 93.5 free-throw shooting percentage. Saint Joseph’s top contributors off the bench were Marcus Ashamole and Michael Cintron, who went on to become the Rutgers University football program’s starting punter. The rest of the roster featured Deladem Abadevoh, Bryan Carley, Brandon Goldy, Michael Granda, and Connor Klementowicz.