Lester achieved star status as both an athlete and a scholar during his high school and college career. Lester graduated from MTHS with a 4.4 GPA due to advanced courses in calculus, science, and engineering. He earned eight varsity letters in three sports. He was a high school academic All American as well as a USA Today All American on both the offensive and defensive side of the football field. Lester was awarded the Garden State Distinguished Scholar Athlete Award in his senior year.
Lester's athletic talents truly matured during his college career at Stanford. A four-year starter on the defensive line for the Cardinals from '86-'89, Lester tied a school record with 45 consecutive starts. In his senior year, he achieved second team All PAC 10 honors and was fourth on the team with 57 tackles. Lester was the recipient of the Jim Reynolds Award at Stanford for "his courage on the field and devotion to the game."
The Green Bay Packers selected Lester in the seventh round of the NFL draft in 1990. In 1993, he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons where his career blossomed. During the next six years, he started 75% of Atlanta's 93 games averaging 86 tackles per year. In 1997 and 1998, he recorded 18.5 sacks and has 19 career forced fumbles. In this six-year span, Lester missed only two games due to injury, and amazing record for a defensive lineman. In '97 and '98, he was named to USA Today's All JOE Team, which honors "the unrecognized, the overlooked, and the hard working stiffs in the NFL."
At the 1999 NFL Players Awards Banquet, Lester was the recipient of the "Unsung Hero Award" sponsored by Players, Inc. which recognizes those NFL players whose remarkable efforts on and off the field go unnoticed. Lester retired after the 2000-2001 season as a member of the Denver Broncos.
Lester and his wife Kathy (herself an outstanding MTHS athlete) reside in Georgia with their son and two daughters, Lester IV, Kellyn, and Carsyn.
Bruce graduated from MTHS in 1983 where he starred on both the football field and baseball diamond. As a football player, Bruce was a wide receiver with exceptional speed and great hands. He was second team All State as senior and All County and All Conference several times during football career at Montville.
Bruce's main passion was always baseball. Bruce achieved All County and All Conference status three times during his baseball career culminating in First Team All State status in his senior year. Bruce was MVP of the baseball team and voted "Male Athlete of the Year" in his senior year at MTHS.
Bruce attended William Paterson College where he again achieved baseball stardom as a center fielder. He attained All Conference, All State, and All American recognition in his junior and senior years. In 1987, he was named as the "New Jersey College Athlete of the Year." Upon graduation, the Los Angeles Dodgers selected Bruce in the 17th round in baseball's annual draft.
From 1987 through 1990, he played with the Dodger's minor league teams in Vero Beach, Florida; Bakersfield, California; and San Antonio, Texas. During 1989 he was named "Minor League Player of the Month."
In 1990, he was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies and played on their teams in Reading and Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was again named "Minor League Player of the Month" in May, June, and August 1991. Bruce was then placed on the Phillies major league roster in 1992.
In 1993, Bruce signed a free agent contract with the Baltimore Orioles and was called up to the major leagues in 1994. Injuries cut short his Orioles career and his baseball career ended as a member of the Texas Rangers AAA team Oklahoma City.
In 1996, Bruce started his own company, Stonebridge Title Services, Inc. He currently resides in Montville with his wife, Lou Ann and his daughter Amber. Bruce has always enjoyed working with and mentoring youngsters. He is currently Assistant Coach for the MTHS varsity baseball team and the coach of two Montville Township Little League Teams.
Born in March 1963 in Morristown, NJ, Brett grew up at 4 Church Lane in Montville. He attended Cedar Hill, Montville Elementary, Valley View and Central Schools prior to entering Montville Township High School in 1977. While a MTHS, Brett was a member of the Soccer and Wrestling teams. Upon graduation in 1981, Brett entered the United States Naval Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation in May 1985, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy.
After completing 15 months of nuclear power and submarine training, Brett was assigned to the nuclear powered, fast attack submarine, USS MINNEAPOLIS-SAINT PAUL (SSN 708) in November 1987. During this tour Brett completed qualifications for Submarine Warfare Officer and Nuclear Submarine Engineer and was promoted to Lieutenant. In December 1989, Brett was assigned for two years to Naval Reactors Headquarters in Washington, DC. During this tour Brett earned a Masters in Engineering Administration from Virginia Polytechnical Institute. He was assigned as Chief Engineer of USS CINCINNATI (SSN 693) for three years. During this tour Brett qualified for command of a nuclear powered submarine and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. In August 1995, Brett reported to the Bureau of Naval Personnel where he was an assignment officer for other submarine officers. In October 1997, Brett was assigned to USS HYMAN G RICKOVER (SSN 709) as an Executive Officer. He completed this tour in September of 199 and was then assigned as a Special Assistant to the Commander of the U.S. SIXTH Fleet based in Gaeta, Italy. He was promoted to Commander in July 2000. Brett is currently under orders to take command of USS ALBANY (SSN 753) based in Norfolk, Virginia following training in Washington, DC and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. While under his command, USS ALBANY contributed to the global war on terrorism while deployed with the GEORGE WASHINGTON Carrier Strike Group to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf.
Dan was born and raised in Montville Township. A 1976 graduate of TMHS, Dan stared in baseball and was awarded All State honors in his junior year. Upon graduation, Dan headed south to Rollins College in Florida where he played baseball and received his business degree. Upon graduation, Dan was selected from among 3,500 applicants to serve an internship under Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn.
Dan joined the Baltimore Oriole organization where he spent the next five years of his career. Dan spent the first two and one-half years in the Oriole broadcasting and marketing departments and the final two and one-half years as Assistant Director of Player Development and Scouting.
In 1988, he joined the Cleveland Indians organization as their Director of Player Development. His first four years were spent overseeing the Indians AAA team, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. During that period the Sky Sox advanced to the Pacific Coast League playoffs four straight seasons and won the league championship in 1992.
In 1992, Dan was promoted to Assistant General Manager. Dan was directly responsible for cultivating future All Stars such as Charles Nagy, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, and Jeff Shaw. During Dan’s tenure in Cleveland, the Indians won four American League Central pennants and advanced to the World Series in 1995 and 1997.
Dan joined the Colorado Rockies in 1999 as Executive Vice President and General Manager. Dan has orchestrated major changes in the Rockies organization based upon a focused and creative plan. He has completely changed the face of the team, looking for more athletic, defensively sound players with offense focused on quality at bats and on base percentage. As one of the youngest General Managers in baseball, Dan’s accomplishments to-date have been outstanding.
Dan lives in Greenwood Village, Colorado with his wife, Jacqueline and their children, Christopher, Alexa. And John Daniel.
Jim (affectionately known as “Bambi” to his friends) began his athletic career as a dominating pitcher in Montville’s Little League program. In high school, this 6’5” multi-talented athlete was a star in three sports: football, basketball, and baseball.
As a sure-handed tight end football, a high scoring power forward in basketball and a dominating pitcher in baseball, Jim garnered multiple awards including:
||All Conference and Captain
||All Conference / All County / MVP
||All Conference / All County / All State / MVP
In his senior year, Jim was selected as the “Outstanding Male Athlete” at MTHS.
Jim attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, California where he played both baseball and football. At Stanford, Jim achieved stardom on the gridiron as a tight end where he was All PAC 10 and Second Team All American in his senior year. He was a starting pitcher for two years and was a member of Stanford’s 1987 National Championship Team.
Upon graduation in 1989, Jim signed a professional football contract with the Los Angeles Rams. He earned starting status in 1991 and 1992 caught 70 passes with 4 touchdowns. In 1993, Jim played for the Dallas Cowboys team that went on to win the Super Bowl.
Currently, an agent in Los Angeles representing actors, writers, and directors, Jim also has become involved in the producing side of television and movie features.
The rice family beginning with Jim’s parents, Maryellen and Gene, along with Jim’s brother, Michael, sisters Kathy, Liz, and Tracy, all contributed to Montville’s rich athletic history. It is only fitting that a member of the Price family be included in the first group of Hall of Fame inductees.
Born in Brooklyn, Will moved to Montville in 1970 where he currently resides. Coaches who have been associated with the MTHS athletic program since its inception refer to Will as the “greatest all-around athlete” ever at MTHS. Will’s high school athletic achievements include:
||Captain and MVP
||Captain and MVP
||Captain and MVP
Will was named to All Area, All County and All State teams in all three sports. To this day, he still holds the MTHS basketball record for most total points in a career.
Will attended Monmouth University on a full athletic scholarship and starred in both basketball and baseball through his junior year when he signed a professional baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs. He completed his undergraduate from Monmouth in 1979.
At Monmouth, Will was captain and MVP in both basketball and baseball. Additional honors included: All State (3 years), All District (3 years), All Area Eight (3 years), and All American (3 years). In 1977, he was selected “Morris County Collegiate Athlete of the Year.” Will’s professional baseball career was cut short due to an injury after three years.
Will is currently employed by the Sussex County Sheriff’s Department where he supervised the first County Jail Industry Program in New Jersey. He now serves as a Team Leader for the Special Operations Group.
Will is also a partner in Rookies Baseball Instruction, Inc., a business that conducts baseball clinics and camps throughout the tri-state area and provides private baseball lessons for Little Leaguers through college-age players.
Justice Verniero graduated from MTHS in 1977. While at MTHS, Peter earned numerous awards including the highest senior class award “Mustang of the Year,” and served as senior class president, editor-in-chief of the school newspaper and treasurer of the National Honor Society. He was also selected “most likely to succeed” by his classmates.
Peter graduated Summa Cum Laude from Drew University in 1981 where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Upon graduating with Honors from Duke University School of Law in 1984, Peter was admitted to the Bar of New Jersey in that same year. Justice Verniero served as law clerk to the now-retired New Jersey State Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert L. Clifford during the 1984-1985 court term.
In private practice, Justice Verniero was an associate with the law firm of Pitney, Hardin, Kipp & Szuch and a director of the firm Herold and Haines. In 1986, Peter was an Adjunct Professor of business Law at the County College of Morris.
In January 1994, Peter was appointed by Governor Christine Todd Whitman as her Chief Counsel and served in that capacity until February 1995 when he became the Governor’s Chief of Staff. He remained in that position until Jun1 10, 1996, when he was sworn in as the Attorney General for the State of New Jersey. Peter’s reappointment as Attorney General was confirmed on January 20, 1998. While Attorney General, he personally handled several landmark cases, appearing for example in defense of Megan’s Law before the U.S. Court of Appeals, which upheld the law in 1997.
Gov. Whitman nominated Peter to the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1999. He was sworn in as an Associate Justice in September 1, 1999.
Justice Verniero resides in Hunterdon County with his wife Lisa and his two daughters, Jennifer Lynn and Madeline Rose.
Anna Marie Vesco
Anna Marie’s quiet demeanor off the field belied her ferocious competitive spirit once a contest began. Ann Marie was an incredible field hockey and lacrosse player during the early eighties on teams coached by Pat Vytell and Cindy Beradino. She led the ‘83 and ’84 field hockey teams to County and Conference Championships and a State Championship in 1984.
In 1984, she achieved All County, All Conference, and All State status in field hockey. Individual county and state honors were not awarded for lacrosse in 1984 but, if they had been, Anna would certainly have been First team. Ann Marie was captain of the 1984 lacrosse team, MVP of the ’84 State Lacrosse Tournament and voted “Female Athlete of the Year” b the Mustang Association. Anna Marie’s talents were not limited to outdoor sports as she was a member of the varsity basketball team for three years and also an outstanding gymnast for two years.
Anna Marie graduate from Penn State in 1988 after leaving her mark as one of the Nitany Lions greatest lacrosse players. In 1987, Penn State was the national champion in lacrosse and runner-up in 1986 and 1988. She was a two-time All American, scored over 100 goals in her career and represented Pen State in the North/South All Star Game.
Ann Marie continued playing lacrosse after leaving college. She was a member of the 1991 USA National Team and participated in the 1991 Stars and Stripes Tour to Japan. From 1990 to 1997, she captained the Central Club Lacrosse Team and led them to National Club Championships in 1991 and 1993.
In 1993, Anna Marie became the head coach of the Rutgers University Women’s Lacrosse Team and continues in that position today. She has more victories then any other female lacrosse coach in Rutgers history. In five of her seven seasons, Rutgers was ranked in the Top 20 in the nation and in three of those years; they were ranked in the Top 15. Her 1999 Team gained entrance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the program’s history and ended the season ranked eleventh in the country.
Dr. Robert O. Stafford
Dr. Stafford was a beloved and respected teacher and administrator at MTHS. A life-long resident of Montville, Dr. Stafford attended Tuskegee University from which he graduated with a B.S. in Commercial Science in 1949. In 1963, he received his Elementary Education Certificate from Newark State Teachers College now Kean University. In 1964, he began his teaching career in Montville as a teacher in Central School (now Lazar Middle School). In 1972, Bob joined the high school staff as Administrative Assistant. In 1974, he was promoted to Vice Principal, a position he maintained until his retirement.
During his tenure at MTHS, he was part of the first Drug Abuse Council and conceived and mentored Project ink-Up. There was never a program or affair at the high school that Dr. Stafford did not support with his presence, help, and guidance.
Dr. Bob’s main interest was the success of the students at MTHS. He was always there for “his” students. Each day students could be found in his office, not for discipline but for counseling, advice, assistance with a project or just plain “rapping.”
Dr. Stafford was a member of the Rotary Club of Montville and also ran the family’s paving business. Dr. Stafford is survived by his wife, Johnie May, their children and many grandchildren.
Dr. Stafford passed away on August 23, 1997. He will always be remembered as a true gentleman whose main goal as an educator was to “have each student achieve his or her greatest potential.”