NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Iona Prep dedicated its athletic field on Saturday Wellington Mara, former co-owner of the New York Giants and one of the most influential figures in the history of the National Football League.
In renaming Iona Prep’s football field after Mara before a crowd of hundreds of friends, family, alumni and students, Iona Prep President Brother Thomas Leto cited Mara’s legacy on-and-off the field and praised his generosity and commitment to the Iona community.
“It is an honor to dedicate this field to Mr. Mara, a man who believed in working hard, giving back and being strong — traits that we hold dear,” Brother Leto said. “On behalf of Iona Prep, I would like to thank the Mara Family for not only supporting our mission, but for being living examples of it.”
Mara, who had four sons and 10 grandchildren attend Iona Prep, was committed to the school and enjoyed watching football games while sitting under the pine tree overlooking the field. He passed away in 2005.
The plaque commemorating the Wellington T. Mara Field reads: “Once a Gael, always a Gael.”
Members of the Mara family were on hand for the field dedication, as were Brother Leto, Athletic Director Bernard Mahoney and New York Giants scout Tim McDonnell, Mara’s grandson who graduated from Iona Prep in 2001.
The dedication of the football field was a fitting honor for Mara, one of the National Football League’s most prominent and respected figures. Starting out as a ball boy for the team, he spent his entire adult life with the Mara family-owned Giants, and he was widely regarded as one of the league’s most influential owners. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Under Mara's direction the New York Football Giants won six NFL titles (including two Super Bowl wins), nine conference championships and 13 division championships.
After the ceremony, Giants President and CEO John Mara, Iona Prep Class of 1972, said the school has always meant a lot to his family.
“I don't think my father would have liked the attention though; he would had stayed under the tree back there,” John Mara said. “But it’s a nice honor for the family, and we're very appreciative that Iona Prep would do this.”
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