Manhasset native Jim Brown led the inaugural class of the Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame in its induction ceremony Wednesday at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury.
Brown played five sports at Manhasset during the early 1950s before going on to a stellar multi-sport career at Syracuse University and nine years with the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns that earned him praise as one of the greatest athletes of all time.
“Sports provide our young people with important lessons, personal value, leadership skills, physical activity and social interaction skills that will benefit all involved for the rest of their lives,” Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said in a statement in July, when the 28-member class was first announced.
“The Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame provides an avenue to honor the most gifted athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators and related contributors while helping promote healthy competition here and strengthening interscholastic sports,” Mangano said.
Brown is also a member of the pro football, college football and lacrosse halls of fame and is known for his five-decade film career and outspoken support for racial and social justice issues.
In 2013, Brown was honored in Manhasset as an Allstate “Hometown Hall of Famer” and as the namesake of the newly-reopened multi-purpose field at Manhasset Valley Park.
“This school formed my life. It gave me my foundation. It gave me my confidence,” Brown said during a ceremony at Manhasset Secondary School. “It pointed out to me the value of education, the value of knowledge and wisdom. It taught me never to give up. It taught me that all of us are god’s children.”
Inductees to the Nassau County High School Athletics Hall of Fame were chosen by a 10-member screening committee and then approved by a five-member selection committee. Nominees not selected for induction may be designated for consideration in the next two consecutive years.
To be selected, nominees must be at least 35 years old, made considerable athletic contributions within Nassau County and meet a range of ethical and moral criteria.