Manhasset High School senior Aidan Mulholland has been chosen as the winner of the second annual Tom Flatley Award by a committee of coaches from the Nassau County Football Coaches Association (NCFCA) and the Nassau County Lacrosse Coaches Association (NCLCA). The award is named after the late Tom Flatley, a Hall of Fame coach who spent his career winning championships and influencing the lives of countless student-athletes at both Sewanhaka and Garden City High Schools.
The award was the brainchild of Greg Raschdorf, a Sewanhaka graduate who played both football and lacrosse for Flatley at the western Nassau sports powerhouse in the mid-1970’s.
“I felt that it was appropriate to have an award with a lasting tribute to Tom Flatley for his contribution to both sports (football and lacrosse) at the high school level in Nassau County” Raschdorf said. “At Sewanhaka we had a similar award for an outstanding football and lacrosse player, the Billy Bocker Award. It just made sense to recreate this award in coach’s memory at the Nassau County level. I am very proud of the coaches that put in the time to make this award possible.”
The selection committee was led by Joe Baccarella, a 1981 Sewanhaka graduate who played for Coach Flatley and later served as an assistant coach for him at Garden City. Other members of the committee included Raschdorf, Garden City football coach Dave Ettinger, Garden City lacrosse coach Steve Finnell, Cold Spring Harbor lacrosse coach Dennis Bonn, Farmingdale lacrosse coach Mike Hungerford, Oceanside football and lacrosse coach Rob Blount, and Plainview Kennedy football coach Chris Rogler, who also serves as the NCFCA president.
The award ceremony recently took place at Sewanhaka, a school that Flatley coached both football and lacrosse for the first 20 years of his storied career. Several committee members spoke about Flatley, his career and his legacy before awarding the winner his plaque and scholarship in front of numerous family members, coaches and friends.
Mulholland was chosen from a number of candidates that had been submitted by their coaches in late June. Criteria for the award stated: “The Tom Flatley Award will be given annually, beginning in 2020, to a Nassau County student-athlete that competed at a high level in the sports of football and lacrosse throughout their high school career. Other criteria that will be considered includes athletic and peer leadership, academic success, school and/or community service and additional extracurricular participation.”
In football, Mulholland helped transform the face of the Manhasset program during his four years on varsity. In his sophomore year, the Indians were the 14th-seeded squad. This past spring, he captained the team to an undefeated season and the Rutgers Cup. He earned All-County honors three times and was voted the Conference III Player of the Year this year. He was also a member of the Golden Eleven and earned Newsday Second Team All-Long Island in 2021. The last Manhasset player to be so highly decorated in football: Jim Brown, the NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown who graduated from Manhasset in 1952.
He will attend the University of Michigan in a few weeks as one of the most highly recruited players in the Class of 2021.
“It became obvious to the selection committee that Aidan Mulholland was exactly the type of student-athlete we were looking for when the Flatley Award was created”, said Baccarella. “He combined athletic dominance in both sports as well as high academic achievement and a strong sense of loyalty to the Manhasset community.”
Flatley, who passed away last year of complications from pancreatic cancer at age 80, spent the majority of his career at Garden City as the football coach in the fall and the junior varsity lacrosse coach in the spring. Flatley was so highly regarded in the sport of lacrosse that in 1982 he was named the coach of the United States National Team. The result? The squad won the World Championship later that year. As the junior varsity lacrosse coach at Garden City from 1988 to 2019, Flatley’s teams had an overall record of 357 wins, 31 losses and two ties, a winning percentage of 92.
—Nassau County Lacrosse Coaches Association