Paul Arrigoni - Class of 1933
The legend of Paul Arrigoni, the winner of the RHS’ Excellence in Athletics award in 1933, has lived on long after a tragic automobile accident claimed his life during his freshman year at Fordham University. In football, he was a powerful, shifty runner, a capable field general and a fair kicker who came up with his greatest performances when the chips were down.
While his basketball abilities were just average, he excelled in baseball. A versatile player, he was used as a pitcher, catcher, outfielder, and infielder and he played all the positions well. Jack Coffey, Fordham’s varsity baseball coach at the time, called him one of the greatest high school hitters he had ever seen and put him down as a sure fire major league prospect. Arrigoni played catcher on Fordham’s unbeaten freshman nine in 1934 before he was killed.
Pete Campbell - Class of 1957
When he graduated, the 6-foot-2, 160 pound Campbell held every individual scoring record at Ridgewood High School as well as four league standards and one county mark. With his accurate one-handed jump shot, he tallied 578 points in 22 games in his senior year and averaged 20 rebounds per game. He was All-Ivy three years at Princeton University, leading the Ivy League in scoring one season, ranking second the other two.
A brilliant math mind, Pete graduated from Harvard Business School and worked first at Price Waterhouse, then as comptroller at First Boston. He then became the CFO of Dillon, Read, and finally, was an options trader on the American Stock Exchange. He also was golf champion at Ridgewood Country Club. He passed away on October 23, 1995 at home in HoHoKus. Pete was an All-American basketball player who broke Chet Forte’s Ivy League scoring record.
Doug Cook - Class of 1996
He held every RHS basketball scoring record when he graduated. Cook had a 23.9 points per game average his senior year and finished his scholastic career with 1,287 points. During his three seasons at Davidson College, (1967-70) he scored 1,221 points and never scored fewer than 13 points per game in a season for coaches Lefty Driesell and Terry Holland.
For his career, the 6-foot 6-inch center averaged 14.6 points and 9 rebounds per game. He was an accurate shooter, hitting nearly 50% of his field goal attempts. He was named the All-Southern Conference second team as a sophomore, gained the conference tournament MVP award as a junior, and was first team all-conference as a senior, averaging in double-double (15.6 points, 10.2 rebounds). Davidson advanced to the NCAA Tournament all three seasons he was on the squad.
Becky Deetz - Class of 1977
She held the Bergen County indoor and outdoor high jump records for 23 years, the state outdoor standard for 8 and the indoor for 10, with leaps of 5-feet 8 inches outdoors and 5 feet 8 ¼ inches indoors. She won the 1975 Bergen long jump and high jump titles and the 1976 long, triple, and high jump titles in the group meet.
Becky narrowly missed making the U.S. Olympic Team in 1976 and was selected on The Record’s All Century Track and Field Team. She went on to win the Big 8 indoor and outdoor high jump titles at Iowa State University. Deetz, who also played basketball at RHS, lives in Louisville, Colorado and is a sales manager of the Colorado Division of Trend Technologies, a plastic injection molding company.
Oach Otis H. Grendler (1946-1963)
Boys’ Tennis Coach for Ridgewood High School where his teams winning percentage over a 17 year span exceeded .880. His teams won five New Jersey State Tennis Championships, had eight consecutive undefeated seasons, and spanning a decade, won 129 consecutive matches.
Many of his players continued on to illustrious collegiate tennis careers. “Oats” was a master motivator, a caring coach, and he made competitive tennis fun for all of his players.
Jodi Hartwig - Class of 1991
Named to the All Bergen County Century Team at forward in soccer. Second leading scorer in school history with 96 goals and 43 assists. 1988, 1989, 1990 1st Team All NNJIL. 1989, 1990 1st Team All Bergen County. 1990 Team co-captain. 1990 NJ State Soccer Coaches Association 1st Team All State. New Jersey State Soccer Coaches Association Senior Showcase player and Most Valuable Player and NSCAA 1st Team All East. 1990 set single season scoring record for goals with 38.
Tied season assist record with 18. Accepted athletic scholarship to the University of Notre Dame where she became a 4-year starter for the Fighting Irish. 1993 named to “Soccer News” All-American Team. Played last NCAA Division 1 match in the National Championship game vs. North Carolina. She was also an outstanding basketball player and played on the State Group IV Championship team at RHS.
Gene Links - Class of 1946
A four-sport athlete who earned 12 letters in three seasons (freshman could not play on the varsity in that era), the versatile Links was All-County in three sports (football, basketball, and baseball) and an All-State player on the gridiron. He was the highest scoring end in the state as a junior and an all-state halfback when he led the team in scoring in his senior year. He batted .400 in baseball playing the outfield.
When he graduated, he held the single-season basketball scoring record. Athletic Director Duke DeRochi said, “He’s the best all around athlete I’ve seen since Paul Arrigoni.” DeRochi’s tenure at RHS went back to 1936. Links was also a sprinter in track and ran the leadoff leg of the gold-medal mile relay team at the Penn Relays. After spending a year at Eastern Military Academy, (four sports), he went to William & Mary and played halfback. He signed a professional baseball contract with the Phillies organization. He was drafted in the Army after three years in the minor leagues. After his military service, he went into small loan and auto finance and owned his own company, Jefferson Loan Company in Paramus, for 20 years. He scouted for Ridgewood football for 11 years and assisted coaches Frank Mozeleski and Roger Sweeney for a number for years. He lives in Kinnelon.
Debbie O'Connell - Class of 1985
The first female to score 1,000 points in basketball at RHS, O’Connell was also a sparkplug of the Maroons’ unbeaten (29-0) state champion softball team in 1983. She shared the 1985 RHS Award of Excellence in Athletics with Margaret Scutro. As a freshman, she was a starter in three sports- basketball, softball, and field hockey.
She earned four letters in basketball at Western Kentucky University and ranks third all-time at the school in games played (130). She is the head golf professional at Island Dunes Country Club in Jensen Beach, Florida, and was named to the Ladies Professional Golf Association and was named the 2002 Professional of the Year by the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division.
Aimee McGuire - Class of 1994
Named to All Bergen County All Century Team as Defensive Midfielder. She was the second all time leading scorer in RHS women’s soccer with 80 goals and has the RHS assist record with 56. 1991, 2nd team all NNJIL, 1992, 1st team All NNJIL, 1st team All County, NJGSCA, 1st team All State, Star Ledger 1st team All Groups All State, NSCAA All East Team.
1993 1st team all NNJIL, 1st team All County, NSCAA All East Team, Star Ledger 1st team All State. She was selected to play in the NJGSCA Senior Showcase and the only RHS soccer player named twice to the Star Ledger all state honors. Aimee was also an outstanding basketball player.
She is currently the Associate Director of Athletics at Boston College.
Walt Perdue - Class of 1949
Margaret Scutro - Class of 1985
The four-sport athlete was an all-state running back and team co-captain his senior year season when the Maroons had a 6-3 record. He also played defensive back. Perdue capped his career by accounting for 207 of Ridgewood’s 302 yards gained (including two runs of over 60 yards) in the 32-6 Thanksgiving Day victory over Fair Lawn. He scored three touchdowns in the Lodi win.
Perdue played basketball three years, earned two varsity letters in track and one in baseball. He was awarded the RHS Award for Excellence in Athletics in 1949 and also the 18th annual High Y Award. He was offered several scholarships. He sandwiched a stint in the Marine Corps in his college years at Lehigh, playing football in college. He owned Perdue’s Sport Shop in Ridgewood for a number of years.
Margaret was a member of the National Record holding 4x1 mile relay team, a record that stood for 1 years. She was the State of New Jersey Meet of Champions champion whose state record in the mile still stands. She was the RHS record holder in the 800 meters and the 1600 meters.
Her Bergen County record in the 1600 meters still stands. Margaret was fourth all-time in New Jersey Women’s Cross Country. Her National Record in the 1,000 meters stood for 18 years. At Georgetown University she was an All East selection.
Tom Simos - Class of 1943
The recipient of the RHS excellence in Athletics Award in 1943, Simos was a three-letter winner in soccer, basketball, and baseball. He was captain of the soccer team that was regarded as one of the most outstanding scholastic teams in the East and batted over .400 in baseball his junior year before a broken ankle curtailed his play as a senior. He served 38 months in the Navy, with stints on Guam and in French Morocco, and then starred in baseball and soccer at Springfield College.
He played outfield on Springfield’s baseball team that advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska getting two hits in a 2-0 loss to Tennessee, and was co-captain of the soccer team that lost only one game. Simos, who taught the sport of soccer to HoHoKus youngsters for 35 years, has been inducted into the Bergen County Soccer Hall of Fame and the Bergen County Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kazbek Tambi - Class of 1979
A three-year starter at RHS, Tambi is still the fourth all-time scorer in soccer at RHS with 81 career points. He was All-County twice and All-State his senior year when he was team captain. He was a member of four Ivy League championship teams at Columbia University and was captain of the Lions his senior season. He graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
He was a member of the NASL’s New York Cosmos in 1984-85, serving as the team captain during the international schedule. He was captain of the U.S. Olympic and Pan American teams. His career has also included stints with the Minnesota Strikers of the MISL and the Jersey Eagles of the ASL. Since 1990, Tambi has been director of training for more than 200 youth teams in New Jersey and been director of the World Class Soccer Camp for 15 years. He has served as the New Jersey Olympic Development coach. He earned his law degree from Seton Hall Law School in 1990 and is an attorney at law at the firm of Kopleton and Tambi in Wayne. He lives in Paramus.
Jack VanYperen - Class of 1968
The 6-foot, 180 pound scrambling quarterback scored 54 points and passed superbly in a brilliant senior season when he was accorded All County and All Suburban first-team honors. In addition to two varsity football seasons, he played baseball three years and basketball two years. He was the recipient of the RHS Award for Excellence in Athletics in 1968.
He went to Taylor University in Upland, Indiana for one year, playing football and baseball, and then for three seasons of both sports at Auburn University where he started in the defensive backfield on the football team. He was an NAIA All American pitcher at Taylor and had the best ERA of the league in one season at Auburn. He has taught at RHS for 28 years, currently teaching physical education in the elementary schools and the high school and teaching and coordinating driver education at RHS.
Bob Whitaker - Class of 1965
Ridgewood High School’s only state wrestling champion, Whitaker was 21-0-1 his senior year when he captured the 123-pound NJ crown and winning district and regional titles. He compiled a brilliant 47-1-1 record for two varsity seasons on the mats.
In his sophomore year, he attended Will Rogers High School in Oklahoma where he was a state champion at 120 pounds. He now lives in Pine Brook.