The New Jersey Hall of Fame has announced the nominees for its 2012 class: 50 accomplished historical figures, artists, entertainers and innovators, all with ties to the Garden State.
Among this year's nominees is River Dell alumni Bill Parcells, who coached the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, in the Sports category. Parcells graduated in 1959 as a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball) and is honored as a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame.
The "Big Tuna" was born in Englewood, but grew up in neighboring Hasbrouck Heights. His family later moved north to Oradell just before the start of Parcells' sophomore year. As a Golden Hawk, the 6'2" Parcells was a star quarterback, pitcher, and center while wearing black and gold. After graduating from the University of Wichita with a degree in physical education, Parcells' started his 46 year coaching career at Hastings in 1964 and by 1979 had moved on to the NY Giants.
He won two Super Bowl rings with the Giants, defeating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI and the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV. Parcells' led the New England Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI but lost to the Green Bay Packers and then the NY Jets to the AFC Championship Game in 1998. He finished his coaching career with the Dallas Cowboys from 2003 to 2006.
Additional nominees are former Vice President Aaron Burr, former President Grover Cleveland and early women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the historical category.
Salsa singer Celia Cruz, "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve and jazz trumpet great Dizzy Gillespie are among the nominees in Arts & Entertainment.
The Enterprise category includes chef Alice Waters, electronic communications inventor David Sarnoff and newspaper publisher Samuel I. Newhouse.
The Sports category also includes Wellington Mara, who owned the Giants, and broadcasting icon Dick Vitale.
Alexander Calder, the artist who invented the mobile, writer Joyce Carol Oates and cartoonist Charles Addams, who inspired The Addams Family, are included in the General category.
Voters have till January to go online to choose their favorites from five categories. The web address is www.NJHallofFame.org.
The nominees are for the hall's fifth class. It's the most nominees ever, in part because residents have suggested "so many remarkable individuals over the past 12 months," said John O'Brien, who chairs the group's voting committee.
The top vote-getter in each category will be inducted into the hall in June. The top runners-up will also be chosen for induction, said Don Jay Smith, spokesman for the hall.
The hall celebrates New Jersey history by honoring its many talented residents and former residents