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Sports Notables Yogi Berra, Lou Lamoriello, & Paul Tagliabue To be Honored at NIAF East Coast Gala in NYC


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(WASHINGTON, DC – April 7, 2004) Yogi Berra, baseball legend, Lou Lamoriello, president, CEO and general manager, New Jersey Devils, and Paul Tagliabue, National Football League (NFL) commissioner, will be honored at the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) East Coast Gala, Tuesday evening, April 20, 2004 at the Grand Hyatt New York, in New York City. The gala begins with a reception and silent auction at 6:00 PM followed by dinner at 7:00 PM.

Berra, one of the greatest catchers in baseball history, was instrumental in bringing the New York Yankees 14 pennants and 10 world championships during his 18 years with the club. Berra will be inducted into the Italian American Hall of Fame at the gala.

Lamoriello will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Sports and Business. Lamoriello has led the New Jersey Devils for nearly 20 years. Under his leadership, the Devils have won three Stanley Cups (1995, 2000, 2003) and have made the playoffs in 12 seasons.

Tagliabue, NFL’s fourth commissioner, succeeding Pete Rozelle in1989, has expanded the league’s international presence, secured the largest television contracts in entertainment history, created the first league-wide Internet network for fans, and has expanded the league from 28 teams to 32. Along with Berra, Tagliabue will be inducted in the Italian American Hall of Fame.

Lawrence Babbio, president and vice chair of Verizon Communications, and Ernest Borgnine, actor, will also be honored that evening. Babbio will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business and Borgnine will be inducted in the Italian American Hall of Fame.

Actress Liza Minnelli will present a student with the NIAF/Vincenzo Minnelli Scholarship in Music in honor of her father. The gala awards dinner is chaired by NIAF Board Member Vincent Viola, senior strategic advisor of the New York Mercantile Exchange and vice chairman of Brooklyn Basketball LLC. NIAF Board Member Christina Johnson is the gala honorary chair. Actor Danny Aiello and singer Tony Bennett are some of the celebrities attending the gala.

Dinner tickets start at $250 per person. Attire: Business. To purchase tickets, contact Bonni Cellini at 202/939-3114 or Register online at

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. The Foundation has a wide-range of programs that provide scholarships and grants, legislative internships in Congress, conferences and cultural seminars. Visit our website at