Joseph P. Ingrassia is a
former NYAC president, a two time national champion in handball and a 1987 Hall
of Fame inductee.
Ingrassia joined the NYAC
in 1949. Throughout the 1950s, he was one of the best handball players in the
country. In addition to a semi final appearance in 1950 and a second place
finish in 1953, Ingrassia won the AAU National 4-wall doubles championship in
1954 and 1957. For his success on the court, he was inducted into the New York
Handball Hall of Fame.
In 1979, as a long time
member of the Club, Ingrassia was elected as NYAC president. In addition to the
many rigors of being NYAC president, Ingrassia decided to tackle a daunting
Prior to his presidency,
the NYAC displayed many of its medals and trophies in the Trophy Room, located
on the second floor. Regrettably, the room did not accurately reflect the
incomparable athletic history of the Club. Ingrassia, therefore, took the
initiative and suggested that the NYAC honor its history appropriately with a
hall of fame.
Doing so was much easier
said than done. Ingrassia appealed to members for donations so as not to impose
too great a financial strain on the Club. In the end, he raised $250,000 for
the project, enough to offset all costs.
On November 14th,
1981, the Club opened the doors to its Hall of Fame. The event honored the 1982
class of inductees, which includes, among others, the NYAC founding fathers and
Olympic legend Al Oerter.
Today, the Hall of Fame
stands as a testament to the NYAC’s steadfast commitment to excellence, a
commitment that has lasted almost 150 years. All would have been for not
without the hard work and selflessness of Joseph Ingrassia. Without his
generosity and passion for the NYAC, the Hall of Fame would not exist today.