Ray Hanley Sr.’s earliest memories of wrestling include Wantagh’s First Long Island Wrestling Champion, Pete Venier and Long Island Champion, John Codignotto. His High School coaches, Joe Marcino and Steve Babyak, could never have guessed the far-reaching impact this introduction would have on the future of Wantagh Wrestling.
Ray looked up to John Kelly, Bob Murphy, John Sterling and Wally Roll. At Wantagh High School, from 1962-1966, his teammates and friends, Pete Henning, Billy Germann, Steve Comiskey, Jimmy Baron, Mike Junod, Bob Werner, Ted Levin, Bob Goslin and Hall of Famer Terry Phelan, began a tradition of teamwork, friendship and success that continues in Wantagh Wrestling to this day.
In 1966, Ray was a member of the Conference Champion Wantagh Warriors. After graduating from Drake College in Florida, Ray proudly served in the US Army from 1970 to 1972.
Together with his wife, Veronica, they settled in his beloved Wantagh and raised Raymond and Colleen. Ray would only allow Colleen to marry another Wantagh native, Doug Buckley, and they’ve recently made Ray a very happy grandfather to Jack Gregory.
From 1993 to 1996, Ray became involved coaching Little League Baseball, winning two World Series titles and cheering loudly for his kids, their friends and anyone who was out there trying.
In 1996, Ray voluntarily began the Wantagh Wrestling Youth Program. He has been the Head Coach of this program for over 23 years. Ray is also the Assistant Varsity Coach since 2011, Head Middle School Coach since 2012 and Volunteer JV and Varsity Coach since 2002. Ray also founded Wantagh Wrestling Alumni & Friends with Jerry Liguori, Tony DeGregorio and Chris Hooker.
Under the leadership and mentoring of Ray Hanley, Sr., Jerry Liguori, Nick Grassi and Mark Grillo, the success of the Wantagh Youth Program speaks for itself: New York State Dual Meet Champions in 2012, 2013 and 2018, NY State Individual State Champions in 2009, 2013 and 2018 and Nassau County Champions in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Always willing to give his time, energy and infinite patience to kids of all ages, Ray has become synonymous with Wantagh Wrestling. With the talents of current coaches Paul Gillespie, Reggie Jones, Jr., Ray Hanley, Jr., Todd Bloom and Brian Hooker, the legacy of Wantagh Wrestling lives on for the next and future generations.
NWHOF, Downstate New York Chapter
Ray Hanley: Addendum to Nomination Form, Candidate for Life Time Achievement.
1995-present on the fundraising committee for Wantagh wrestling
Founder and head coach Wantagh Youth Prestling 1996 to present.
1998-1999 wrestling team score keeper
2001- 2005 varsity/ jv volunteer assistant coach
2008-present assistant varsity coach
2014-present middle school head coach