EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - “The field that Ray built” has been rededicated to honor the late athletic director of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools.
The baseball field on the MCVTS East Brunswick Campus was renamed Raymond J. Cipperly Field at a ceremony May 14 that featured members of Cipperly’s family, Middlesex County freeholders, representatives of sports organizations, MCVTS administrators and faculty, and the members of eight high school baseball and softball teams. Many in the crowd wore “Team Cipp” T-shirts.
Freeholders Charles Kenny and Kenneth Armwood presented Cipperly’s wife, Susan, and his daughter, Lauren, with a proclamation declaring May 14 Raymond Cipperly Day. They then unveiled a plaque on the side of the third-base dugout designating the new name of the field.
Cipperly, a Monroe resident who died last Oct. 11 at the age of 66, was an MCVTS employee for 45 years, starting as a physical education teacher and varsity baseball coach in East Brunswick and then serving as athletic director for the district for almost 20 years. He also was the head groundskeeper for the Somerset Patriots professional baseball team from 1999 to 2010.
With the teams lined up around the infield, MCVTS Athletic Director Michael Pede introduced the speakers, including Superintendent of Schools Brian J. Loughlin; Larry White, assistant director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association; Carl Buffalino, president of the Greater Middlesex Conference, and Frank Noppenberger, a member of the GMC Executive Committee.
Lauren Cipperly said the baseball field came in “a close second” after his family in Cipperly’s affection.
“This place will always be special to me because, when I look around, I see him,” she said.
Loughlin praised Cipperly as “a great educator, a great coach and a great human being.” He said, as athletic director, Cipperly increased the number of sports teams in the district and improved the professional development of coaches.
“He raised the bar for our interscholastic sports teams and coaches,” Loughlin said.
Buffalino hailed Cipperly as a founder of the Greater Middlesex Conference. Noppenberger, a friend of Cipperly’s for almost 40 years, said “the GMC wouldn’t have existed without Ray Cipperly.”
“Ray had knack for taking things from the bottom and building them,” Buffalino said. “He put together one of the most beautiful baseball facilities in the state of New Jersey.”
White said the East Brunswick field is “the best in the state at any level.”
Cipperly was the GMC Coach of the Year in 1989-’90 and a five-time GMC Gold Division Coach of the Year. He received the NJSIAA Service Award and was inducted into the New Jersey State Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1990.
The ceremony was followed by a junior varsity softball tournament featuring teams from the East Brunswick Campus, the Perth Amboy Campus, the Piscataway Campus and the Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge, and a JV baseball tournament with teams from the East Brunswick, Perth Amboy and Piscataway campuses and Sussex County Tech.