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Walter Kroan Walter Kroan
Inducted: 2005 - Graduated: 1981

The only reasonWalterKroan is not remembered as a terrific

three-sport athlete is because his accomplishments in baseball

and basketball were dwarfed by his legacy on the gridiron.

Sure, he earned All-County honors in both basketball (once)

and baseball (twice) and team MVP accolades in both as

well. But the image that remains etched in memory is of

brisk autumn afternoons at Jerry Leo Memorial Field, the

rangy right-handed quarterback firing bullet passes for first

downs and long bombs for touchdowns to Steve Schucker,

Mike Patsis, John Villafranco and a bevy of other senior


Walter carved out a niche as themost decorated signal-caller

in Nanuet football history, having garnered first-team All-

NewYork State laurels in the fall of 1979 and 1980, his junior

and senior seasons. He also made first-team All-County

both years and was named to the Adidas All-America squad

his senior year.

DuringWalter’s 17-game varsity football career, the Golden

Knights went 16-1 and he had “a hand or foot directly

involved in 234 points,” according to The Journal-News.

Walter currently owns the Rockland County record for touchdown passes in a season, 21, set in 1980, as well as six

team records:

Most touchdown passes in a season . . . .21

Most career touchdown passes . . . . . . . .26

Most yards passing in a season . . . . . . . .1,447

Most career passing yards . . . . . . . . . . . .1,865

Most passes completed in a season . . . . .62

Most passes completed in a career . . . . .89

Despite his many achievements, Walter places the highest

premiumon the teamwork that allowed his individual talents

to flourish. “Every sport I played was a teamsport,” he says.

“Behind every pass in football, basket in basketball and hit

in baseball, there were many talented athletes contributing

to our ultimate goal. There were also so many wonderful

coaches, whomade personal sacrifices to teach us the sports

we love and develop the skills we needed to succeed.”

As with most kids, Walter was introduced to sports by his

family and through the numerous pickup games in his

neighborhood. Two people who played a vital role in Walter’s formative years were his father, Walter Sr., and

his grandfather, John Speight.Most childrenwho attended

Miller School knewSpeight as “Mr. John,” the school janitor

who delivered milk to the kindergartners, but in Walter’s

family (with whom he lived) he was simply known as

“Gramps.” Gramps spent many hours playing all sorts of

games, from running bases to Frisbee to Wiffleball and

everything in between. One of Walter’s fondest memories

is having “Gramps” take himto Miller School on the weekend

and open up the gym for Walter to play while his

grandfather worked. “I’d be in the gym for hours on end

and used every piece of sporting equipment you could possibly

imagine,”Walter recalls. “Iwas never bored, not even

for a second.”

There were others who influencedWalter beyond theMiller

School gym. His first experience in organized sports was in

theNanuet Little League, playing at the former ballfield on

the grounds of St. Agatha’s Home.Walter learned valuable

lessons there, taught by the likes ofMr.Pickford,Mr.Guliano.

Mr. Toto,Mr. Villafranco andmany other dedicated adults

from the Nanuet community.

Walter’s football career began at the Nanuet Middle

School under the guidance of coaches Bruno Ablondi and

Rich King. He played offensive tackle and defensive end at

first but was later moved to fullback on the offensive side

of the ball. He played in the same capacity under freshman

football coach Rich Loughlin. But a glimpse of his future

quarterback stardom came the year before, as recounted

by varsity football coach Rich Conklin in a Journal-News

interview. “One day the varsity was practicing on the

upper field and a ball got loose down to the stadium field,”

Conklin remembered. “I yelled to Walter to throw

the ball back and he did – 65 yards in the air. I just

filed that little morsel of information in the back of

my mind.”

InWalter’s sophomore year, Conklin acted upon

that impromptu audition and moved him fromfullback to

quarterback. Walter initially balked at the change but

eventually accepted, and then embraced, his new role.

By the fall of 1979, Conklin had assembled a solid team

that was marked for greatness. In his first varsity start,

Kroan threw for 245 yards against Brewster and made

the previous year’s 4-5 record a distant memory.

Kroan and a cadre of seniors – key players Schucker

andVillafranco aswell asBobPorco,LouPetriella and

Mike Patsis – formed the core of the first undefeated (9-

0) football team in Nanuet history – a feat that has been equaled only once since in Golden Knight grid annals. The

’79 Knights also captured league and bowl championships

and were ranked 5th in N.Y. State. Walter’s quest for perfection

as a varsity quarterback was denied the following

year when the Knights suffered their lone loss against

Somers in their two-year run, ending his senior year at 7-1

and ranked 3rd in N.Y. State.

Walterwas highly recruited by numerousDivision I colleges,

including Pittsburgh, Penn State, Syracuse, Rutgers and

Boston College. After a difficult decision process he selected

Kent State in Ohio. Walter played three years for the

Golden Flashes but then decided to put his focus on the

rigors of academics rather than the football field.

After his collegiate days,Walter settled in Ohio and currently

lives in the Cleveland suburb of Middleburgh Heights.

He is employed as a product controlmanager forKey Bank

and has a 13-year-old son, Kevin, and an 11-year-old

daughter, Kelly.