Class: 1962Inducted: 2021
Hank Nonnenberg, Sr., grew up in modest beginnings in Asbury Park on welfare, without a father. It was his good fortune to have found positive male role models through his mentors at the Asbury Park Boys’ Club, his teachers and coaches at A.P.H.S., and later at the University of Maryland, his beloved Coach James Kehoe. After stepping into his calling as Head Boys Track & Field Coach in 1968, he would spend his adult years paying it forward to the young men of Neptune High School. His athletes ranked with the very best and collected major honors. What mattered most to him was not the achievement of team titles, but that every athlete, not just those bearing titles, put forth their best effort to be the best they could be and as their coach saw to it that they obtain scholarship assistance and attend college.
Hank helped mold Shore Track into what it is today, in every aspect of the sport. After he and Kenny O’Donnell created the Shore Coaches Association, he saw the need for track coaches to form their own association, so he with Ed Scullion created the Shore Track & Field Association, which began the sophisticated large-scale present-day X-country and track & field competitions. He implemented the use of the automatic timing system which changed the blueprint for the future of track. In 1986 the National Federation of Active Coaches honored him with the High School Distinguished National Coach Award. After retiring from coaching, he became State Rules Interpreter and a Top Shore Referee who has yet to be replaced.
"The greatest compliment I could give Hank about his coaching is that he coached. By that I mean he prepared his athletes for competition and life. He didn’t just put the time in; he worked and worked hard. I couldn’t begin to list the names of athletes he has helped over the years. He was a giant who brought so much to the sport. He gave much more than he ever took. He did the right things . . . he cared; there were never any promises to do something that he didn’t carry out. He was a worker who did his job. He was the only person our age that wasn’t looking forward to retirement. He loved what he was doing and he was the best at it. The track world will never be the same; our meets will never be the same." ..… Ed Scullion
"He came among us, a Big Man who became a Colossus;
A Loyal Man who became a Force;
A Dedicated Man who became an Inspiration;
A Loyal Man who became a Legend;
A Good Man who became a Friend.
He gave to Each and to All, more than he ever got back." …. Charlie Speck
" Hank was an ordinary man who accomplished extraordinary things" …. his wife, Lorraine
Hank lives on in the hearts of his shore track colleagues, his family... sons Todd and Hank, Jr., (& wife, Gwen), and his daughters, Terri and Heather (& husband, Steve), his grandchildren Gabrielle Nonnenberg-Suarez, Esq., (& wife, Shalita), Joshua & Resie Ayers, Ana & Jeremiah Henry James Blau, and Abby Nonnenberg, who in her own right, continues his track legacy at Cornell, as well as in all the phenomenal young men whose lives he was fortunate to have touched, and who are now paying forward themselves.
His favorite saying: "The race isn’t always to the swift, but to those who keep running"