VERONA, NJ - When John MacEvoy learned the Verona High School basketball team had captured the NJSIAA Group 1 state championship, he decided he wanted to bestow a special honor to the team and its coaches. That idea evolved into MacEvoy’s Verona Inn (VI) hosting a tribute dinner for the team, coaches and their families on Sunday.  

“These young athletes don’t yet realize what they have accomplished and how respected they are by this town," MacEvoy, who grew up in Verona, explained. "We at the Verona Inn consider it a privilege to have this great group of young men, coaches and their families join us and be recognized for all they have accomplished and to demonstrate our pride in them.”

To add flavor to the evening, VI’s Manager, Garrett Hendry-Bodnar contacted Verona Mayor Kevin Ryan, who confirmed he would gladly join the celebration.  According to Ryan, this presented an opportunity on behalf of the township.  

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“When I was asked to attend the Verona Inn’s Tribute Dinner for the Verona Hillbilly basketball team, it presented the opportunity for Verona, and me as mayor, to maintain our township’s custom of providing something special," Ryan said. “We enjoy presenting Certificates of Achievement to Verona residents who provide a special recognition and pride to our town through their successes; In this case these young men persevered to win, against stiff competition, the NJ Division 1 Championship for the first time in 60 years. I hope it doesn’t take another 60 years for such a victory for our great township.”

After reading the Verona Township Proclamation, Ryan presented a copy to each of the 16 members of the Verona High School basketball team.

Verona head basketball coach Eric McElroy expressed his team’s appreciation of the VI’s recognition.

“On behalf of our team players, coaches, and family members we want to thank John MacEvoy, his Verona Inn manager Garrett, and staff for hosting this reception in recognition of our team’s achievements this season." McElroy said. "I also want to thank all the Verona coaches who participate in the township’s youth basketball programs for instilling a passion for basketball in the town’s young athletes and for guiding these players in recognizing their skills and showing them how to develop them.”