Four to be Inducted to Athletic Hall of Fame
A former ACHS principal and track coach, a former professional runner and current director of the track and field program at the University at Buffalo, and a former pro baseball scout and university coach, and a Canisius College women's lacrosse standout will be added to the Amherst Central School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Inducted into the 2018 Hall of Fame at the second Annual Tiger Gala on June 21 will be Donald W. Munson, Kim Rustay, Class of 1967, Victoria Mitchell, Class of 1987 and Kristy Grossman, Class of 1998.
"This is a very prestigious group of athletes, coaches, administrators, and community members," said Athletic Director Dr. Kiel Illg. "Their outstanding achievement and contribution to the Amherst Central High School athletic program have deemed them worthy of this great honor."
Donald W. Munson
Throughout a 35-year career in education at Amherst Central School District, Donald W. Munson served students in their academics as an industrial arts teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, and principal. For 10 years, he also coached varsity track and cross country at Amherst.
During his 19 years as principal of Amherst Central High School from 1961 - 1980, Munson hired and supported many dedicated teachers and great coaches. His support of the athletic program helped expand varsity, junior varsity and intramural athletics within the district. During the 1960s, he provided expanded opportunities at ACHS for female varsity coaches and female athletics.
He was awarded the Distinguished Educator Emeritus Award by the Amherst Central Alumni Foundation in 2004. Sadly he passed away Feb. 18, 2013.
He was also a talented collegiate athlete in cross country. Munson, who earned his degree from Buffalo State College in 1945, was inducted to the Buffalo State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986. Running four years of varsity cross country for Buffalo State College, he set five course records as a sophomore. He won the Amateur Athletic Union (“AAU”) National Junior Cross Country Championship in 1943 and was the Niagara District AAU Cross Country Champion three times. He later coached track and cross country at Buffalo State for five years.
Donald's son, Garry, a 1962 ACHS graduate, recalls that as a student at Amherst, he remembers his father attending multiple Amherst sporting events during all sports seasons after completing a busy day in his office at Amherst. Often he would attend sports events at Amherst in the late afternoon until early evening when he would then attend administrative meetings at Amherst.
Kim Rustay, Class of 1967
Kim Rustay, a talented baseball and soccer player who earned All ECIC Division 1 All Star status, was on a path to be drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1967. Instead, his parents had him go to Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky where he earned his bachelor of arts degree in physical education with a history minor in 1971. While there, he was a four-year letter winner in baseball and three years in soccer. He was recognized as a three-time MVP in baseball and as a three-time MVP (defense) in soccer. In 1971, Transylvania University athletics named him outstanding intramural player and an Outstanding College Athlete of America.
Athletics continued to play a key role in his life after college. He was a free agent pitcher with New York Yankees-West Haven Double A. From 1994-97, he was the head baseball coach at Transylvania University and led the revival of the program. He was inducted into the Transylvania University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001.
He cites his greatest achievement as raising two wonderful children, Kyle and Kari, and being happily married for 30.5 years to his late wife Virginia and 12.5 years to wife Vicki. He is proud grandfather to three grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
He is a founding member of Central Kentucky Soccer Officials Association. For 23 years, he has refereed soccer as a high school and college official. He has served as a baseball recommending scout for Pittsburgh Pirates for 15 years and the Minnesota Twins for three years. He retired after 20 years of service as a New York Life insurance agent. He currently stays busy as the parking manager for Republic Parking System at the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington.
He recalls that playing for coach Hettler in Amherst was always an experience. "I can remember to this day when he would always say 'kinda hazy' which was his way of saying whether the game was on or not," he said. "Great coaching staff at Amherst from ninth grade on."
Victoria Mitchell, Class of 1987
In her current role as director and head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country/track and field at the University at Buffalo, Victoria Mitchell oversees all aspects of the program including coaching, recruiting, budgeting, scheduling, home competitions, camps and clinics. Before coming to UB in 1999, she also taught physical education and was the head cross country and track and field coach at Holy Angels Academy in Buffalo. She has also been the assistant men's and women's coach at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo.
She recalls that in late September 1984, she ran the one mile Presidential Physical Fitness Test in physical education class with Mrs. Carol Fitzpatrick. "I was not competitive, but I did want to impress Mrs. Fitz by being the fastest in the class," she said. "Shortly after finishing the timed mile, Mr. McAllister, the boys PE teacher, came over and was talking with Mrs. Fitzpatrick. The next day, I met Mr. O’Donnell and running started. Mr. Bob O’Donnell (XC) and Mr. Brad Tichenor (Track) had a profound impact on my development. They recognized my strengths that I did not know I had. They challenged me but they knew just the right balance to keep me onboard. It is clear I was not an outstanding athlete in high school, but they did not mistake my quiet introverted personality for lack of enthusiasm or commitment. Both provided me with careful guidance and development that set the foundation for future success."
As a student, athlete and coach she has experienced much success and recognition. She graduated magna cum laude in 1991 from SUNY Cortland with a bachelor's degree in physical education. She graduated summa cum laude from the State University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in 1994 with a master's degree in exercise physiology.
As a professional athlete, she was on the Nike Team Boston (’93-94), Brooks Running Team (’94-’98), Reebok (’98-01), Fila USA Team Discovery (01). A two-time USA Olympic Trials Qualifier in 1996 for the 10,000m and 2000 Marathon, she was also a six-time USA Track & Field National Championship Qualifier, 10,000m (’93, ’94 ’95,’96,’98,’99). She was a member of five USA National Teams.
During her NCAA collegiate career, she was a 7-time NCAA Individual National Champion (2 x 1500m, 3000m, 3 x 5000m, 1 x 10,000m, 1 x Cross Country) and a 10-time NCAA All-American. In 1991, she was recognized repeatedly with Student-Athlete of the Year awards.
As a coach at UB, her teams were MAC Individual Conference Champions: 2004 Women’s 10k Champ, 2004 Women’s XC Champ, 2011 Men’s Steeple Chase Champion, 800m Women’s Champion 2013, 2014, 2015 (indoor and outdoor), 2016 Freshman of the year in Cross Country. Twenty of her runners were named NCAA All Americans. She helped earn the bid to host the NCAA Northeast Regional Cross Country Championships in Buffalo for three straight years (’17, ’18, and ’19).
Kristy Grossman, Class of 1998
Kristy Grossman was a three-sport athlete at Amherst High School participating in field hockey, basketball and lacrosse who went on to have a rewarding lacrosse career on the field at Canisius College.
At Amherst Central High School, she was voted team captain and team MVP of all three sports; was a WNY Scholar Athlete, voted All-American Honorable Mention for Girls Lacrosse, voted 1st Team All Western New York for Girls Lacrosse. She participated in the Empire State Girls Lacrosse Tournament and was voted to the All-Tournament Team.
As part of the Division I Lacrosse program at Canisius College, she was the only player in Canisius College Women’s Lacrosse history to receive 1st Team All-MAAC honors all four years of play. She held NCAA Division I records for ground balls in a season, caused turnovers in a season and caused turnovers in a career. She was selected to represent New York State and play on the NYS National 1st Team at the National Lacrosse Tournament. She was selected to the MAAC Lacrosse League All-Academic Team. She was recently inducted into the Canisius College Athletic Hall of Fame for Women’s Lacrosse. She returned to Amherst to coach girls lacrosse in 2004, where she has been part of a coaching staff that helped lead Amherst to eight sectional championships and state quarter final appearances.
During her freshman year after a basketball game, a woman introduced herself as the girls lacrosse coach and asked her if she had any plans yet for the spring. "Since being a member of the track team in middle school, I hadn’t even considered trying out the new sport offered known as lacrosse," she said. "She told me I would be a great fit for the sport. She told me to come to tryouts and said 'just watch, you are going to love it and be my defensive star.' I am so glad she took the time to reach out and instill that confidence in me right from the start. I will forever be grateful that I chose to leave my comfort zone and take a chance on something new. That decision has brought me tremendous happiness and success and ultimately opened many doors to new opportunities and experiences throughout my life. I will remember it forever."
The Amherst Central High School Hall of Fame was created to honor:
- Those individuals who have excelled as athletes while students at Amherst Central Schools.
- Those individuals who have excelled as coaches while at Amherst Central Schools.
- Those individuals or staff members who have been ardent supporters of Amherst Central Schools athletic program.
- Those very special teams that have performed extraordinarily well bringing pride to the school and the community.
The ticketed event is Thursday, June 21 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, 153 Franklin St., Buffalo. Complimentary free parking will be in the Fernbach parking ramp. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the award ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. A buffet dinner and dessert will be available at 6 p.m.