By BRIAN CUNNIFF
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — LaMarr Greer and Tara Davies-Saltzburg always looked comfortable while playing their respective sports at Middle Township High School.
They didn’t necessarily look comfortable Friday evening.
Greer and Davies-Saltzburg, two of the best to ever play basketball and soccer, respectively, in Cape-Atlantic League history had the spotlight thrust on them entirely ahead of a boys basketball game against Pleasantville as the school held a ceremony to retire their jersey numbers.
Both were humbled and seemed genuinely embarrassed by the attention as each took their turn unveiling the banners symbolizing the retired jersey numbers that will hang in the school’s gymnasium forever.
Greer, who wore No. 44 at Middle, is one of South Jersey’s all-time great players. He scored 2,637 high school sports, led Middle to back-to-back state championships in 1993-94 and as a senior was the New Jersey Player of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American.
He went on to an outstanding career at Florida State and later played professionally domestically and overseas for well over a decade.
Greer, now an assistant coach at Middle, was introduced by head coach Tom Feraco, who recounted stories of how Greer “always wanted to get his teammates involved” and of his star player’s “incredible will to win.”
After taking the microphone himself, Greer spoke about how the honor was for the program and not just for him and how he always wanted to help the players who came after him, just like he was helped by the players who came before him.
Davies-Saltzburg was truly ahead of her time when it came to girls soccer in this area. The sport was at its beginnings at the high school level in Cape May County when she burst onto the scene in the early 2000s.
Davies-Saltzburg scored 104 career goals, the best in program history and was considered to be one of the top players in the state even though she hailed from a program that had been in existence for less than 10 years when she arrived.
She went on to become a three-year starter for national power Penn State, helping the Nittany Lions to Big 10 championships as a junior and senior.
Davies-Saltzburg, who wore No. 12 at Middle, was introduced by then-girls soccer coach Bob Wishart. Wishart spoke of how Davies-Saltzburg set the foundation for what was to come at Middle. Shortly after she graduated, Middle became one of the top teams in the CAL National Conference and eventually went on to win a South Jersey title. Wishart said Davies-Saltzburg certainly inspired young girls in the area to take up the game of soccer.
Davies-Saltzburg humbly thanked all who helped her along her journey. She mentioned her deceased mother, Patti, “who I know is smiling down seeing this right now,” Davies-Saltzburg said. She also called her father, Butch, her greatest motivator and said she never would have reached the heights she did as a player without his support.
Prior to each player unveiling their retired jersey banner, a video played in the gymnasium that showed some of their highlights. The crowd gushed during a clip of Davies-Saltzburg’s lone college goal, the outside fullback scoring from a sharp angle from the left flank before celebrating by flipping her body about in a manner that would have made an Olympic gymnast proud. The crowd later lost its collective breath during a clip of Greer dunking over eventual NBA star Kevin Garnett during a national level showcase event.
The game that followed didn’t go Middle’s way, as a talented Pleasantville team rolled to a 79-60 victory. But the evening was nonetheless a success as the school celebrated two of its all-time great athletes and two great people.