Ryan Creighton was home washing dishes when he received the good news. He received a phone call from athletic secretary Joan Dinizio, who told him he was among five people to be inducted as part of the inaugural class in the new Greenport High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
“That was awesome,” he said.
Amid plans for the future, Greenport took a big step toward remembering its nearly 100-year athletic past Thursday night when it inducted its first five hall of fame members in a ceremony in the school’s gym. Creighton, Long Island’s all-time leading scorer in basketball with 2,799 points, joined his former coach, Al Edwards. Both received standing ovations as they were announced and walked onto the basketball court to receive their plaques and certificates.
You can be a living legend or a dead legend, but it’s great to be a living legend.Al Edwards, Inductee
Former football player and golfer Bill Fuccillo could not attend the ceremony and was represented by a friend. The other two members, coaches Dorrie Jackson and Richard “Dude” Manwaring, were inducted posthumously and represented by family members.
“This feels great, just the people that I’m being honored with … that’s quite an honor right there,” said Edwards (Class of 1972), who was an All-American high school basketball player, scoring 2,117 career points for the Porters before going on to play for East Carolina. He coached Greenport’s boys basketball team from 1979-2013. Under his guidance, the Porters won 383 games, 12 league championships, 10 Suffolk County titles and made three trips to the state final four. Edwards was inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2017, the basketball court in Greenport’s Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium was named Coach Al Court.
“I’m glad to still be alive,” Edwards said after the 16-minute ceremony. “I thank God for letting me still be able to witness this moment, you know. I mean, you can be a living legend or a dead legend, but it’s great to be a living legend.”
Greenport’s two retired basketball numbers, Creighton’s No. 34 and Edwards’ No. 33, hang side by side in the school gym.
Asked for his reaction to his induction, Creighton, 30, said, “It’s great, but it’s also a little weird because, you know, I was the youngest one by far.”
Being immortalized in the hall of fame, he said, “means a lot. Records are meant to be broken, you know. Some day pretty soon, actually, somebody is going to break my [scoring] record, you know, but to be etched in stone, it’s a really great accomplishment.”
Creighton (Class of 2009) was Newsday’s Suffolk Player of the Year in 2009 and a four-time winner of The Suffolk Times’ Athlete of the Year award.
“It’s legacy. Now it’s solidified,” Creighton said. “It’s a great feeling for everybody because everybody had a part in me being successful and I could never repay them.”
Jackson was a legendary coach during Greenport football’s golden era. The Porters went 148-43-7 under Jackson, who coached the team from 1951-78, winning the Rutgers Trophy, which goes to Suffolk’s top team, in 1958. His teams won 11 league championships, he was a league coach of the year eight times and Suffolk’s coach of the year twice. Jackson is also a member of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame, the Ithaca College Hall of Fame and the Westerly High School (R.I.) Hall of Fame. Greenport’s football field is named after him.
Manwaring (Class of 1944) was a three-sport athlete for Greenport who went on to play semi-pro football for the Greenport Rams. He coached football, boys basketball, baseball and softball at Greenport. As a basketball coach from 1966-78, he guided the Porters to six league titles and a Long Island crown.
Fuccillo (Class of 1974) was an All-American football player and a league champion and state tournament qualifier in golf for Greenport. He also played basketball for the Porters.
Greenport athletic director Chris Golden, who acted as the master of ceremonies, said this inaugural class had to be an impressive one. “This class really, I think when you look at it, it really stands alone,” he said.
Golden said the idea of creating a hall of fame had been in the works for a little more than a year. “It’s a long time in coming,” he said. “Athletics have been here for almost a hundred years, so there have been many people that have played, coached, and when you look at it, you know, it’s time that we recognized those people who really, really stood kind of maybe head and shoulders above their peers.”
One of those people, Creighton, expressed his appreciation for the honor.
“It made me feel good, you know,” he said. “It made me feel like I really accomplished great things while being here in Greenport. There was a point where I could have probably left Greenport, but I’m happy I stayed.”