Three former standout athletes representing three different decades have been selected for the Napa High School Athletic Hall of Fame, which is now in its 23rd year.
Scott Ruggiero (1988 graduate), Jillian Imrie (1998) and Joe LeMasters (2003), whose graduating classes span 15 years, lead the 2019 Hall of Fame class, as chosen by a committee, selection committee chairman Duey Green announced.
Don Inglis and Bob Chance, who handle the filming duties for Napa High freshman, junior varsity and varsity football games, will enter the Hall of Fame as special category inductees.
“The class as a whole is something that Napa High and the Hall of Fame committee can be very proud of,” said Green, who is also vice president and a member of the Hall of Fame Foundation’s board of directors. “This class of five going in … there’s talent.
“The special category, it means a lot, especially to get recognized, for what they do.”
The newest class will be honored at a dinner and induction ceremony on Oct. 12 at Embassy Suites by Hilton Napa Valley. A social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. and is followed by dinner at 7 p.m.
Ruggiero will be inducted posthumously.
The Hall of Fame’s selection committee votes on the nominees after reviewing the nominations and hearing presentations by nominators. A successful nominee needs 75 percent of the total points possible.
Individuals may be nominated in one of three categories: athlete, coach and special.
To date, there are 149 members of the Indian Hall of Fame, whose membership dates to 1912. The NHS Athletic HOF Foundation is a nonprofit organization.
In 1997, the Hall of Fame was formed, with 36 inductees in the inaugural class.
The purpose of the Napa High Athletic Hall of Fame Foundation is to honor the school and its department of athletics by recognizing the achievements of former athletes, coaches and others who have made significant contributions to the school’s athletic programs, while celebrating Napa High School scholar-athletes for their work in the classroom, community and in athletics, according to napahighhof.org.
To be eligible as an athlete, an individual must have graduated from Napa High at least 15 years ago (2004 or earlier), participated in at least one interscholastic sport as an undergraduate, and lived an adult life that did not discredit the school or the community.
To be eligible as a coach, an individual must have coached at least one interscholastic athletic team at Napa High, been employed by or contributed services to Napa High as a coach for at least five years, no longer be active as a coach at Napa High, and lived an adult life that did not discredit the school or community.
To be eligible in the special category, an individual must have participated in an activity that brought honor or positive recognition to the athletic department of Napa High, contributed in some substantial way to the improvement of Napa High athletic programs, and lived an adult life that did not discredit the school or the community.
The Hall of Fame has awarded $90,000 in scholarships to student-athletes over the years. The scholarships are funded by contributions. The Hall of Fame awards two annual scholarships to deserving scholar-athletes who have represented Napa High well in athletic competition, as well as in the classroom and community, according to napahighhof.org.
A look at this year’s Hall of Fame class:
As a three-sport athlete, Ruggiero played football (wide receiver, safety, special teams), basketball (point guard), and baseball (pitcher, shortstop, center field).
He set a school record with 11 receptions in a game. He was named All-Napa County offense, All-Monticello Empire League and received Napa’s coaches’ offensive award.
At one time, Ruggiero held the school record for single-season earned run average at 0.98. He was also selected to the Vallejo Times-Herald North-South All-Star Baseball Game. He was named as the most valuable pitcher of the 1988 Napa Invitational. He also played for Yountville American Legion.
He coached in the football program as an assistant at Napa High for several years and was also the head JV baseball coach. He also volunteered his time as a youth football coach in town.
A memorial scholarship in Ruggiero’s name has been established at Napa High.
Imrie played volleyball, soccer and basketball.
She was named All-MEL and All-Napa County in volleyball and was the league’s Player of the Year as an outside hitter.
She was one of five athletes honored by KVON-1440 AM radio as the KVON Athlete of the Year.
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Imrie was awarded a full athletic scholarship to the University of Missouri for volleyball.
In volleyball, she played on Napa teams that won three MEL championships.
She played as a junior on the 1996 team, which after winning the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title and beating St. Francis-Mountain View in the Northern Regional Division II final, lost in the state Division II championships to Huntington Beach, 3-0, at Cal State Fullerton.
Napa, led by coach Barb Franco, had a 34-2 record that season. Napa was ranked No. 2 in the final CIF Volleyball Coaches Poll for Div. II schools.
Imrie played for the Empire VBC club team and was on the Napa High honor roll all four years.
“Jillian Imrie, what a career she had. What a fabulous talent,” said Green.
Imrie left the program as one of the best outside hitters/blockers to play at NHS, said Franco, Napa’s coach from 1980-1996 who is in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame (coach) and the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Athletic Hall of Fame. Franco was also Napa’s principal from 2002-2015.
“Jillian became a force to be reckoned with on the court, both offensively and defensively,” Franco wrote to the Hall of Fame selection committee. “Jillian was tough on the court, steady at the net, calm in the back court with a serve that was virtually impossible to return.
“As a coach, she kept me on my toes and wanted no more than to play her best, support her teammates and make the Blue and Gold proud.”
LeMasters played football and baseball and was honored as the Napa High Male Athlete of the Year and KVON Athlete of the Year. He was a Napa High Athletic Hall of Fame scholarship winner.
He played quarterback and safety in football and second base, shortstop and catcher in baseball.
He was named team MVP, All-Napa County and first-team All-MEL in baseball and was listed as a Top High School Baseball Player in the U.S. by Collegiate Baseball.
LeMasters was All-MEL, Newcomer of the Year on the All-Napa County team and Offensive Player of the Year on the All-County team in football.
He set a school record for career passing percentage (58 percent).
He was captain of both the football and baseball teams as a senior.
LeMasters played baseball at Napa Valley College and received honorable mention All-Bay Valley Conference honors.
He received a baseball scholarship to Alderson Broaddus University, an NCAA Division II school, in Philippi, West Virginia.
Don Inglis and Bob Chance
Inglis has filmed Napa High football games for the past 39 years. He has missed only 10 games during that time due to having hip replacement surgery.
Chance has filmed games from the sideline and end zone cameras.
Chance has also filmed track and field meets and basketball games for Napa coaches.
“Those are a couple of the unsung heroes of the football program,” said Green. “They attend all the games. A couple of the most humble men that I know, Don and Bob. They’re tops in my book, that’s all I can say.”
Hall of Fame information
To make a reservation for the dinner program, contact Carol Stein at (707) 226-5090 or email@example.com.
For more information, visit napahighhof.org.