The New Jersey Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Stillwater, Oklahoma, is once again preparing to induct new members at its annual induction banquet on Sunday, September 16, at the Westin Hotel in Princeton, New Jersey. Lifetime Service to Wrestling Awards will be presented that day in a banquet setting to: Jeff Buxton, Jack Kinner, Dr. Joseph Nisivoccia, Gary Taylor, Robert Hogan (Deceased), and the Medal of Courage Award recipient is Mark Whitford (Deceased).
Jeff Buxton was the highly successful coach for many years at nationally and perennially ranked Blair Academy, located in Blairstown, New Jersey. His teams enjoyed tremendous success both on an individual and team basis, and Jeff was recognized for preparing many wrestlers who advanced their skills at all collegiate levels, several of them becoming All-Americans, as well as NCAA champions. Jeff now directs his own school for wrestling in the Garden State.
Jack Kinner’s roots run deep through the community of Audubon, and for the high school in that name. After committing several years to coaching at the school, Jack turned his interests to providing assistance, supervision, and direction to the NJSIAA and its organization of its annual state wrestling championships hosted in Atlantic City, NJ. Jack was inducted into the South Jersey Hall of Fame for his contributions, and his induction into the New Jersey Chapter is the “Jewel in the Crown”.
Dr. Joseph Nisivoccia was a former NJSIAA Champion representing J.P. Stevens High School, and later went on to wrestle at Rutgers University. He is the brother of Hall Of Fame Inductee Gerry Nisivoccia of the Class of 2013. Joe’s success as a coach was garnered at Belleville High School in Essex County New Jersey where he secured a number of team conference and state sectional championships, along with coaching a number of individual state champions while at Belleville.
Gary Taylor is one year removed as the second head wrestling coach at Rider University. After 39 years of stewardship with that program, Gary amassed well over 400 victories placing him at that time 4th on the all-time list of active coaches in the field. A skillful recruiter who blazed a trail in the Northeast corridor for its rich talent and rewards, Coach Taylor produced several conference championship teams, qualified several wrestlers for the NCAA Division I Championships, and was honored frequently with “Coach of the Year” honors.
Robert Hogan (Deceased) was the pride of the City of Millville, New Jersey. As one of its renowned graduates at Millville High School, Bob was its first two time NJSIAA wrestling champion who later went on to ply his wrestling skills at Rutgers University. It can also be said that Bob was an outstanding halfback at Millville, and upon his collegiate graduation would return to the school to coach football and wrestling, and later assume the position of Director of Athletics.
Mark Whitford (Deceased), a New York City Firefighter gave his life in an effort to save others during the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. Mark had graduated from Seton Hall University where he and the team made its mark in Division 1 wrestling. Mark had a distinguished career at Seton Hall wrestling for Hall of Fame coach Al Reinoso whose team placed in the Top 20 Mark’s senior year at the NCAA Championships. A “come from behind” win over Lehigh also made that year a most enjoyable one.
The Class of 2018 will be joined by a host of honorees from the previous 17 years, and many wrestling enthusiasts will have all eyes focused on the Westin Hotel on Sunday, September 16, for what should again prove to be a significant event in the history of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. The dinner begins at 1 PM with the awards program to follow in what has proven to be an event which has consistently been attended by over 325 guests.
We look forward to yet another successful induction ceremony on Sunday, September 16.