Greenwich High to induct Young, Merz and Bella in newly-formed Hall of Fame

The Greenwich High School Sports Hall of Fame, a newly-formed entity which will honor the most outstanding athletes in the school’s 115-year history, announced today that it has selected three inaugural inductees for its 2013 honors: Steve Young, the Hall of Fame quarterback and three time NFL Most Valuable Player with the San Francisco 49ers; Sue Merz, an Olympic gold medalist in 1998 and a Silver Medalist in 2002 for Women’s Ice Hockey; and John “Zeke” Bella who played for the Kansas City A’s and New York Yankees during the 1940s and 1950s and later local umpiring legend, were the trio of top athletes chosen.

A committee of seven, chaired by Patrick Mediate a Physical Education Teacher at GHS, includes six others who have been active professionals in the Town of Greenwich for many years.

“Greenwich High School has maintained one of the best athletic programs across all sports in the country,” said Mediate. “We felt the time had come to honor the achievements of those athletes that had performed to the highest levels during their years at the school. The field of possible athletes from which to choose was quite large but we do feel that the three we chose to be in our first class of inductees represent the highest curve of excellence which all three continued after they graduated.”

Mediate said that the committee will meet once every two years to select additional members from the ranks of Greenwich High School’s numerous sports programs, including coaches. Steve Young, a 1980 GHS graduate and who served as co-captain in baseball, basketball and football during his junior and senior years, was thrilled with the selection.

“I have achieved so much during my professional football career but none of that would have been possible were it not for my years at GHS and the coaches, teammates and educators who helped shape my life,” Young said. “My years at GHS were among my most cherished so this selection ranks with some of the highest honors I have ever received.”

Although there was no girls ice hockey program during Merz’ years at GHS she was very active athletically participating on the school’s softball, lacrosse and field hockey teams.

“I am very honored to be chosen in this first class of honorees,” Merz said. “I had great memories of my time at GHS so this is quite a thrill.”

Bella graduated from GHS at age 16 and, after a one-year stint at Eastern Military Academy, he played semi-pro baseball in North Carolina and Nova Scotia. Bella signed with The New York Yankees in 1951. Following his pro baseball career, Bella jumped over to the officiating side of the diamond and became a legendary umpire; calling contests for Junior and Senior Babe Ruth Baseball and for baseball games at the junior and high school levels.

The three inductees will be honored on Sunday, Oct. 20 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich. There will be a reception and dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. All three inductees have agreed to attend and will each deliver short acceptance speeches.

Young, Merz and Bella, along with future inductees, will have their names inscribed on a Hall of Fame plaque which will be housed in the athletic wing at Greenwich High School. The event is open to the general public and tickets to the event will be available at various venues in Greenwich which will be announced at a later date.

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