Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J.'S All-Around Sportsman

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

N.J.'S All-Around Sportsman

Article excerpt

Ron Mastrolia played it. He coached it. He umpired, refereed and officiated it.

In short, Mastrolia was a master jack-of-all-trades on the New Jersey athletics scene for more than a half-century.

The former Hackensack High School and Rutgers three-sport standout had a long and distinguished stint as an arbiter in the three sports he performed in so well: football, basketball and baseball.

Now retired and living outside of Tampa in Redington Shores, Fla., Mastrolia was a quality craftsman on the gridiron, the court and the diamond - before he conquered the world of first-down markers, foul-call whistles and ball-and-strike calls from behind the plate.

"I'm very proud of what I accomplished as an athlete and coach, but I'm just as satisfied with the impact my time as an official made an imprint, too," said the 82-year-old Mastrolia. "I wanted to contribute in any way I could, and I think I achieved something tangible in that regard over a rather extended period of time."

Born in Passaic, Mastrolia moved with his family to Rochelle Park when he was about 12.

He was a 5-foot-10, 135-pound tailback and safety for Hackensack and played under legendary coach Tommy Della Torre. In his senior season in 1949, the Comets had one of their bigger wins against Leonia, 21-0 and then rallied from a 19-7 deficit after three quarters to stun Englewood High School, 41-19. Included among his teammates on the 9-0 state championship team was Chet "The Jet" Hanulak, who later became a star at the University of Maryland and played a couple of seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

In basketball as a heady backcourt presence, Mastrolia played on a Hackensack team that shared the conference championship with Ridgefield Park his senior season. The coach was another Bergen County iconic figure, Howard Bollerman Sr. He was the captain of the Hackensack team in 1925 that ended Passaic's and coach Ernest "Prof" Blood's Wonder Five record 159-game winning streak, 39-35. …

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