Earlier this year, the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame welcomed new leadership.

And its new executive director, veteran journalist and author Chris Vaccaro got right to work on changes.

“We have a new logo, new website, new social pages. Everything is fresh, new, modern and progressive,”  said Vaccaro, who also teaches journalism.

One of the biggest tasks was taking over the Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony.

“This year’s class is well-balanced, very diverse,” he told Greater LI Sports. “It’s just an unbelievable class with a lot of people who have done amazing things from when high school until their adult lives — which is beautiful.”

This year’s ceremony was held at Watermill Caterers on Thursday.

Scroll down to see the inductees and 15 photos from the night. (Photos by Nicholas Esposito) 

the inductees

  • Stephen Bowen: Former NFL player from Half Hallow Hills West who currently works for the NFL
  • Robert Burkley: Longtime track and field coach from Middle Country School District, went 26 years without a loss
  • Joe Dooley: Highly regarded Suffolk County football referee for 39 years
  • Cheryl Klein-Obelar: Recorded-breaking discus and shot put thrower for Bellport High School and University of Houston
  • Edward Morris: Former executive director of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame; he served from 2000-2017
  • Matt Ryan: Former U.S. Olympian handball player from Miller Place
  • Shannon Smith: All-American lacrosse player from West Babylon who coaches Hofstra’s woman’s lacrosse team.
  • Clem Stancik: Winningest tennis coach in New York State history for Brentwood High School
  • Hans Wiederkehr: Former NFL player, Babylon football coach, and Suffolk County football administrator
  • Special Recognition Award: Bay Shore Fire Department’s Junior Racing team

Bay Shore Fire Department’s Arty Murray with his wife, Amy.

The packed audience applauding the inductees.

Joe Dooley’s son Jim accepting the award for his late father.

(L-R) Former New York Jets running back John Nitti with Marty Lyons.

Silent auction items included memorabilia from Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame member Boomer Esiason

(L-R) 1010 Wins anchor David Weiss with the Sports Hall of Fame’s new executive director, Chris Vaccaro.

Smithtown’s Watermill Caterers packed for the induction ceremony.

Bellport’s Cheryl Klein-Obelar accepting her award.

Olympian Matt Ryan during his acceptance speech.

(L-R) Chris Vaccaro, Bay Shore Fire Department’s racing team’s director Bryan Butler, and chief Edward Kunz.

The crowd enjoying the night’s emcee, David Weiss.

Emcee David Weiss leading the ceremony.

Former NFL defensive linemen Stephen Bowen had to miss the ceremony but shared a video accepting the award.

Longtime track and field coach Robert Burkley looks back at the years.