News Release


Matt Garziano of Melville and Half Hollow Hills High School East

Receives Inaugural James C. Metzger Outstanding Player Award

Garden City, New York – July 25, 2011 — At an academic and sports award dinner and ceremony held at Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills on June 10, Suffolk All-County lacrosse player Matt Garziano was the recipient of the inaugural James C. Metzger Outstanding Player Award.

Mr. Graziano, a six-foot-three-inch midfielder from Melville who will attend SUNY Albany this fall, is a three-sport athlete who also competed in soccer and basketball. He also performed well academically during his four years at Half Hollow Hills.

The award is named for James C. Metzger, a leading Half Hollow Hills High School East benefactor who also was an All-American student athlete at the school during the 1970s. Mr. Metzger is CEO of The Whitmore Group, a leading insurance services and estate planning company in the New York metropolitan area that is headquartered in Garden City.

Mr. Metzger set assist records (82 in one season) and won many awards during his high school playing days, including All-American honors and the 1977 Ray Enners Award for outstanding Suffolk County lacrosse player when he scored 102 points. Mr. Metzger also starred in football and played varsity basketball as a sophomore in the Suffolk County playoffs.

After graduation, Mr. Metzger played lacrosse for two years at Hofstra University. As an All-American, he led Hofstra in assists during his freshman and sophomore seasons (1979 and 1980). His single season points per game average (4.9) ranks fourth all-time and his single season assist average (2.8) ranks eighth.

Mr. Graziano played varsity lacrosse for three years. While his sophomore season was abbreviated due to a broken collar bone, as a junior and senior he ran first midfield. During his senior season, Mr. Graziano was team captain and scored 39 points, including 16 assists that tied him for second highest on the team. Considered by his coach to be a “human clearing machine,” once he had the ball on a clear he often would run out of the defensive end or make the critical pass to the open player up field.

“Matt is the perfect recipient for this first award,” said Mr. Metzger, who personally presented the honor after he was introduced to the players and their families by Half Hollow Hills trustee Eric Geringswald. “He reminds me much of myself on the lacrosse field at that age. He set an example for his teammates as he worked hard in practice and was a workhorse during games. During the most hotly contested games, he was matched with a number of excellent players and he performed well offensively.

“The school’s coaches, especially lacrosse Varsity Head Coach Gordon Hodgson, have been outstanding when communicating to players and parents about the benefits of playing high school athletics,” continued Mr. Metzger, “and explaining to them that hard work and dedication is required to be successful on and off the field. I was proud to be a part of this night, to present the award to this fine young man, and I look forward to being associated with the excellent lacrosse coaching staff at Half Hollow Hills.”

Mr. Metzger told the players and their parents that his success in business, attributable to all he learned on the sports field, allowed him to establish scholarships and endowments at Hofstra University and Half Hollow Hills. He also explained that he was fortunate to have many opportunities to learn about teamwork and dedication, along with on-field techniques, from outstanding and dedicated coaches, and that the current athletes at both schools enjoy the same learning opportunities if they are willing to listen and put the lessons into play on the field, into the classroom and into everything else they attempt to achieve.
During the awards dinner, Coach Hodgson spoke about the rich history of lacrosse at Half Hollow Hills and acknowledged the groundbreaking program and player development of legendary past coaches — Bill Martens, Lou DiBlasi, Stan Kowalski and Doug Mayer. During halftime of the alumni game this past season, all five of the school’s past and current lacrosse head coaches gathered on the field at the high school to honor Mr. Metzger for receiving the school’s first Suffolk County Ray Enners Award more than 30 years ago.

The Whitmore Group, Ltd., founded by Mr. Metzger during 1989, provides benefits consulting, financial and estate planning, management and sales consulting, business development, operations review, senior management and board consulting, and commercial private lending services.