Richard J. “Dick” Ambrose
~ 1990 ~
Dick Ambrose’s football accomplishments seem endless. He played ten years in the NFL as middle linebacker for the Cleveland Browns and in 1977 he led the team in tackles with 161. That same year he was named Cleveland Browns defensive Player of the Year.
He attended University of Virginia and not only became a three year starter but was named MVP in 1974. “Bam Bam”, as he was nicknamed, was selected to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team for two years. As a high school student at Iona Prep, he was selected first team All-County for two years. His impressive career started with him learning the basics from The New Rochelle Youth Tackle League Program.
A life long resident of New Rochelle, whose close association with sports, includes All-County from New Rochelle High School in both baseball and basketball. During the mid 1940’s he played with the Baltimore Orioles and on two occasions pitched both ends of a double header. Al was player manager in the Colonial League for the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians and the Philadelphia Phillies. He managed the famous LA Dodger “Skipper”, Tom LaSorda. He was a scout at the major league level for the Cleveland Indians. Al also spent a short time as a referee in the NBA. He refereed baseball and softball as well as coaching basketball at Salesian and Blessed Sacrament High Schools. He also was Commissioner of Umpires for the City of New Rochelle.
~ 1990 ~
New Rochelle’s most accomplished boxer was also one of New Rochelle’s most dedicated athletes. Bruce’s boxing career spanned 14 years (1927-1940) and over 200 bouts. His impressive victories over American Lightweight Champion Jimmy Goodrich and Chilean Lightweight Champion Stan Loayze led many boxing people to call him the leading black lightweight in the country during that era.
In 1928 Everlasts’ boxing record book call him “The World’s Colored Lightweight Champion.” Westchester County’s Boxing Hall of Fame’s first inductee in now the first boxer inducted into the New Rochelle Sports Hall of Fame.
~ 1990 ~
Coach Bill McKenna’s place in New Rochelle Sports history is already evident by the naming of New Rochelle High School’s home field in his honor, “McKenna Field.” He produced some of the finest football and baseball teams New Rochelle has ever fielded by building the character of every athlete who ever played for him.
From 1932-1935 his teams had a 21 game winning streak and an overall record of 31-1-1. During that streak New Rochelle High School defeated the State Champions of Illinois, Chicago’s Lane Tech 36-0. The Huguenots were crowned National Champions. Coach McKenna’s over all record was 108 wins, 36 losses and 9 ties.
Coach William H. McKenna
~ 1990 ~
As a standout in both football and track, Dick left his imprint in the New Rochelle sports history. In 1949 he was captain of the NRHS football team and led Westchester County in scoring. He was first team All-County and in 1949 was selected third team All-American. His track accomplishments included WIAA Mile Championship, Section Championship in the half-mile, and a member of the mile and 2 mile relay team that were Eastern State Champions. It is no wonder that he won the NRHS Most Valuable Athlete award. At Princeton, Dick was a two year football starter at halfback and his Princeton team was ranked 6th in the country. Yaffa set school track records in the 600 and 1000 yard runs. In 1953 he won gold, silver & bronze at the Maccabiah Games in Israel representing the USA.
Richard “Dick” Yaffa
~ 1990 ~