RENO - Jerry "Jake" Longero had five decades worth of memories - not to mention acquaintances - rekindled Friday afternoon.
Longero, a star athlete at Carson High School in the early 1950s who later coached and served as athletic director at Yerington, was among nine men and women inducted into the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Lawlor Events Center.
"It really is an honor to be part of a select group like this," Longero said. "I really enjoyed this."
The NIAA Hall of Fame's Class of 2000 included Earl Dunn, a star athlete for Stewart in the 1940s and later a coach; Gary Batchelor, former Moapa Valley coach and administrator; Bonnie Flaagan, who coached volleyball and softball in Las Vegas through the 1970s and '80s (16 zone and four state titles between the two sports); Wayne Frediani, former Sparks High athlete and later an official; Larry Fromhart, who formerly coached in Las Vegas and passed away in August of 1999; Ken Fujii, former Reno High athlete and coach; Horrace Smith, former Las Vegas High star athlete and later coached (his Western teams won state football titles in 1975 and '76); and Dr. LeRoy Wolever, team physician at Clark High for 13 years.
Longero, retired since 1988, still resides in Yerington and enjoys finding time to fish and play some golf.
"I try to keep healthy," Longero said.
There are also two grandchildren - Brady, 10, and Jake, 4 - to keep track of. And one of his nephews, Cody Longero, is currently a basketball standout at Carson High.
Among Longero's achievements as an athlete at Carson, he is still remembered for the 1951 game against Bishop Manogue in which he rushed for 274 yards (the Senators had 291 yards rushing as a team that day). He also ran an impressive 15.3 seconds for the 120-yard high hurdles to set a record at the Yerington Relays, plus he helped a seven-member Carson track and field team win zone and state championships in 1951.
Interestingly enough, Longero later spent 30-plus years as meet director for the Yerington Relays. He still helps out at the Relays - one of the oldest and most prestigious prep track and field invitationals in Nevada.
Longero ran three years of track at the University of Nevada and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1957. He also coached Yerington to state track and field team titles in 1961 and 1964.
Among his other achievements, Longero was honored as Yerington's Teacher of the Year in 1986 and was the Yerington Lions Club Lion of the Year in 1991. He also served on the Nevada State Fish and Game Commission for 16 years.