The Rome Sports Hall of Fame will salute its ninth group of honorees for the William J. Coughlin Memorial on Sunday, June 10, during a 2 p.m. ceremony at the Hall of Fame located at 5790 Rome-New London Road.
This year’s honorees for the Hall’s permanent tribute are Anthony Colon, Kiel Santos and Todd Traxel.
The Coughlin Memorial honors outstanding athletic standouts from the community whose playing days were tragically cut short. The memorial is named in honor of the longtime Rome Free Academy coach and athletic director who was killed when he was struck by a car driven by a drunk driver while training for a marathon. Coughlin’s daughter, Roseanne, will present the awards.
A ribbon-cutting for a new Coughlin Memorial exhibit case will be held prior to the ceremony, which is open to friends and family of this year’s honorees as well as those of honorees from previous years.
Here’s a look at this year’s honorees, based on information provided to the Hall of Fame:
¿ While Colon also participated in track and field and lacrosse at RFA, the Rome native was best known for his success as a running back for the Black Knights. He went on to play lacrosse as a midfielder at Mohawk Valley Community College and for the Oneida Indian Nation Silverhawks in the Iroquois Lacrosse Association. He died on July 19, 1996, at age 20.
¿ Santos was born in Smithtown and moved permanently to Rome as an eighth-grader. His favorite sport was football, beginning on the Pop Warner level before he moved on to play on the junior varsity and varsity at RFA. He saw playing time as a wide receiver but was primarily a defensive back. He died in a car accident on Dec. 17, 2000, at age 17 in his senior year at RFA, and his family was presented a honorary graduate diploma on his behalf the following June.
¿ A graduate of Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, Traxel was employed by Revere Copper and Brass and was an active runner with the Roman Runners and volunteered in many events. He had a goal of taking part in road races in all 50 states and had run events in 38 states at the time of his death. He was also a member of the Verona Rod and Gun Club. He died on April 27, 2012, at age 53.
Individuals honored by the Hall are memorialized with plaques housed in glass casing. Some of the monies necessary for the exhibit come from the Bill Coughlin Memorial Fund.
Nomination forms for the award are available at the Recreation Department at City Hall and the Rome Sports Hall of Fame. Nominations submitted in written form with qualifications included will also be accepted. They can be sent to: Bill Fleet or Ruth Demers, P.O. Box 774, Rome, N.Y., 13440-0774.