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Joseph Holland Lifetime Achievement Award

Haverstraw High School

Class of 1953

Track officials in Rockland County and the Southern Catskill
region have developed a sterling reputation as among the best
in New York State. Thorough knowledge and fair application
of the rules, respectful dealings with athletes, and a professional
approach to their duties are hallmarks of our local officials. For
more than 35 years, Fred Adler has personified these qualities
and dedicated himself to the furtherance of track & field in
Rockland County and well beyond our borders.

Yes, he has ruffled a few feathers with his gruff exterior, but the
caustic barbs and incisive wit cannot mask the noble intentions
and spirit of service that permeates Fred Adler’s work. He has
consistently applied that ethic of service throughout a Hall of
Fame officiating career at all levels of the sport – youth, high
school, college, national and international. A product of Haverstraw
High School, class of 1953, Fred plied his athletic skills
and earned letters in tennis, basketball and track & field, gaining
proficiency in sprinting, throwing the discus and taking flight
in what was then known as the broad jump, a.k.a. long jump.

At Oswego State Teachers College, where he earned a degree
in Industrial Arts Education in 1957, Fred continued his track
& field career and also played volleyball and basketball. More
than two decades after competing in his last collegiate track
meet, his affinity for the sport re-emerged through the exploits
of his children, Giulia and Tim. “I had participated in track in
high school and in college, and it was one of my favorite
sports,” Fred explains. “When my children got involved in the
sport, I decided I was going to get involved also. I decided to
become an official to try to make things better.”

In 1979, 10 years into a career teaching Industrial Arts, or
“shop class,” for the Clarkstown School District, Fred joined
the officiating ranks. He learned the ropes from such pros as
Lila and Ned McEwan, the Stony Point couple who coordinated
officials in Rockland and Section 9, and whom Fred calls
his “heroes.” Fred started on the high school level, added college
officiating to his repertoire in 1982, and became a master level
official on the open level in 1988. Like a multi-layered
dance performance, track meets have lots of moving parts that
need to be choreographed and in sync if the whole enterprise
is to proceed smoothly. The officials set the tempo for this production,
shepherding their individual roles by event and integrating
them into a running-jumping-throwing mosaic.

For scholastic competitions, Fred has been the choreographer
and lead role player as a clerk, starter, photo evaluator, timer,
chief field judge, chief finish line judge and overall coordinator
of officials. He has rendered distinguished service at 16 national
indoor championships, 14 New York State indoor and
12 outdoor championships, 32 Loucks Games, been a starter
for numerous New York State and Federation cross country
meets, and worked countless Rockland County, Section 9 and
Section 1 championship and invitational affairs.

College meets have been another favored venue for Fred, having
officiated more than 125 outings at Army West Point, Patriot
League indoor and outdoor championships, Ivy League
Heptagonals, Northeast Conference championships, major invitationals
at the NYC Armory, the NCAA Northeast Region
qualifying meet and two NCAA Championship meets. Just last
June, he was coordinator of officials for the track & field portion
of the Warrior Games at West Point, which brought together
“wounded warrior” soldier-athletes with disabilities
from the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, U.S. Special
Forces and the United Kingdom.

The rapport that Fred has developed with high school and college
athletes extends to his interactions with open and elite level
performers. As a starter, Fred’s calm, confident manner
has reassured legions of jittery competitors about to find out if
they’ve got the right stuff to measure up. He’s worked as a clerk,
chief starter and coordinator of officials at numerous marquee
competitions, including 14 national indoor championships,
four outdoor USA Track & Field meets, the Olympic Trials,
Grand Prix meets, Millrose Games, Penn Relays and Goodwill
Games. He’s also played instrumental officiating roles in world
championships for the Special Olympics, juniors, masters,
senior and Paralympics, as well as national cross country, racewalking
and club championships, and not least, the Empire
State Games, New York State’s Olympics-style competition.

Administratively, Fred was president of the Rockland division
of SOCAT, the Southern Catskill track officials association,
from 1996 to 2014, and vice president of that umbrella organization.
Known as the Track Maestro, a soubriquet he readily
embraces, Fred recruited, trained, assigned and coordinated officials
for a host of scholastic, NCAA and USA Track & Field
competitions. For USATF, he served as certification chairman
of the Metropolitan New York association, and was vice chairman
of the Northeast region from 1990 to 1996.

The Rockland Sports Hall of Fame kudos only adds to the accolades
Fred has reaped during his illustrious career. Among his
more noteworthy laurels, he was the New York State Official
of the Year in 1999 and earned the Loucks Games Outstanding
Service Award in 2007 for 25 years of work at that flagship
meet. In Rockland, he was honored in 1994 with the Dick Teetsel
Award for outstanding service to Rockland track & field, the
Bill Markiewicz Award in 2008 for meritorious contributions
to cross country, and as an inductee into the Rockland County
Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2011.

Fred retired from Clarkstown’s Felix Festa Junior High in 1996
after a 27-year career as a shop teacher. He and his wife, Giovanna,
whom he met during a two-year U.S. Army deployment
in Italy, have been married 56 years and reside in Stony Point.
As noted, both of their children also pursued track in high
school, at North Rockland. Tim, class of 1983, was a sprinter
and hurdler, and Giulia Adler Duitz, class of 1980, found her
niche as a sprinter and jumper and later as a coach of state- and
national-champion jumpers at Clarkstown South. Giulia’s two
children, Trevor and Cassandra, both ran track and cross country
at Suffern.