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Peter Bonomolo Peter Bonomolo
Inducted: 2011 - Graduated: 1969

Sportswriters dubbed him “the little dynamo” and “the Maury Wills
of the PSAL.” At a diminutive 5-foot-6, he had speed to burn and
a hankering to showcase it. “The coaches allowed me to steal
whenever I got on base,” says Peter Bonomolo, and steal he did: 14
times in 1968, 20 more in ’69, both league-leading and County
record-setting marks.
“Pete was a great team leader,” said Rich Loughlin, Pete’s varsity baseball coach his senior year. “He made the
big play, and he could practically steal at will. He was an accomplished base stealer and was very coachable.”
Pete was much more than a demon on the basepaths, however. A two-time, fi rst-team All-County second
baseman, “Green Light Pete” batted a robust .340 his senior year with 17 hits, 18 runs scored, 10 RBI and a
whopping .539 on-base percentage – 34 times in 63 trips to the plate. His junior year he reached base safely 27
times in 47 at-bats (.574 percentage), scored 15 runs, slugged a grand slam, and turned 18 double plays. Paced
by Pete and the All-County battery of catcher Dick Berich and pitcher Ken Wegman, Nanuet fi nished third in
the PSAL in 1968 with a mark of 8-6 – the fi rst winning record in the program’s history.
“He holds our infi eld together and makes the best double-play pivot in the league,” Chuck Holland, Pete’s coach
before senior year, said in the ’68 All-County writeup. “He has sure hands and wide range.” Pete also earned
second-team All-Metropolitan Area honors from the New York Daily News and was voted Most Inspirational
Player by his teammates. Those teammates included second-team All-County choices Ed Walkley and Steve
Riegert, Anthony Magnetti – an All-County fi rst-teamer in ’69 – Greg Little, Joey Vitiello, Bob Sharpe, Jim
Rinaldi, Kirby Varacalli, Norman Roth and Craig Mandel.
The name Bonomolo is well known to Nanuet sports devotees, of course. Pete’s uncle Jerome fashioned a Hall
of Fame coaching career for the Knights, primarily in basketball, and cousins JP and Gary both excelled in football
and baseball. But, growing up in the Bonomolo household on Ludvigh Road, Pete was the only male sibling
in a family full of sisters – Joann (class of 1963), Sharon (1965), Barbara Jean (1966), and MaryRose (1983).
Fortunately, his next-door neighbors, Tom and Brian Fay, were also sports-minded kids and together they grew
up playing football, baseball and basketball, the latter sport in the Nowicki family’s yard on Middletown Road.
Pete attended George W. Miller School through fi fth grade and moved on to Nanuet Junior-Senior High School
in sixth. By ninth grade he was refi ning skills he would later display on varsity squads in all three seasons. He
earned nine varsity letters and started on eight of those teams. In football, Pete was a two-way starter at quarterback,
fl anker and defensive back, and helped engineer a stunning 17-7 upset of undefeated Tappan Zee in the
’67 season, knocking the Dutchies out of the running for the PSAL title. “We controlled the ball in the second
half by me handing off to Dick Berich and Ralph Mercado, and I had my best day ever in passing,” Pete says.
“We converted a lot of third-down passes for fi rst downs.”
Another highlight from the 1967 campaign was a fourth-quarter, two-point conversion pass to fellow Hall of
Famer John Hassler that clinched a 13-13 tie with Goshen. Pete was protected by a veteran offensive line that
included Steven DiGiovanni, Matt and Mark Vaccaro, Michael Kushner and Al Drake. Hassler anchored the
defensive front line along with Ken Thorn, Steve Riegert, Alan Veltidi, George Wagner and Phil Kennedy, and
Pete patrolled the defensive backfield with Jimmy MacRobbie and fleet-footed Thad Wilson. Chuck Holland
was Pete’s varsity coach for three years and Rich Loughlin was his freshman coach.
“Peter Bonomolo was a pepperpot, a scrappy type of player,” remembers Coach Mike Achille. “He was gutty in
football for his size. He caught people off guard and did the unexpected.” Berich, the brawny fullback, recalls
little Pete surveying the defense from his lower vantage point. “Petey was short for a quarterback,” Berich says.
“We used to joke that we had to lift him up over the center so he could see the field.”
In basketball Pete was a three-year starting point guard and senior captain who played a key role in helping
the Knights reach the 1969 Section 9 championship game, in which they bowed to Rondout Valley of Orange
County. The 1968-69 season was Jerome Bonomolo’s rookie season as head coach, and he immediately sized
up Pete’s value to the team as a ball distributor. “He told me, ‘You will not shoot the ball. If you want to
win, get the ball to the big guys.’” Those big men included Joe Nowicki, John Hunter, Wayne Morris and a
budding sophomore named Darryl Brown. Bob Cavanaugh, Andy Doniger and John O’Keefe were also
solid contributors.
Pete’s three-sport prowess was duly acknowledged with the Jerry Leo Memorial Scholarship award for 1969.
He later went into the family deli business, helping his father, Peter, operate the Valley Cottage Deli for 27
years. While living in Valley Cottage, Pete served as Nyack High School freshman and JV boys’ basketball
coach for 20 years under head coach Gary Gray. During that stretch the Indians made two State final fours and
advanced to the State championship game once, losing in overtime.
Pete, who is 60, moved to southern New Jersey from Valley Cottage almost 10 years ago and now runs the
kitchen and café for “an award-winning natural foods market” called Black Forest Acres in Hamilton Square,
N.J. He lives in Bradley Beach, N.J., with his wife, the former Patti Baccaglini, his high school sweetheart to
whom he’s been married 41 years. They have two daughters, who were both athletes at Nyack: Cara, 40, a
soccer and lacrosse player whose husband, Jamie Furey, is also a former Nyack athlete; and Megan, 37, who
played basketball and softball. The Bonomolos also have two granddaughters, whom Pete calls “future Nyack
athletes” – Caitlin, 8, and Keira, 5.