Edison, N.J. – In conjunction with the 2014 MAAC Basketball Championships at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass., the MAAC has announced the latest class to be inducted in the MAAC Honor Roll, in which honorees will be enshrined in “The MAAC Experience” exhibit at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“The tremendous response from the 2012 and 2013 honorees reinforced within the MAAC the value and honor of being associated with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with this event,” notes Rich Ensor, Commissioner of the MAAC. “The 2014 class of honorees is deep in basketball success, and the conference membership looks forward to their induction in March into the MAAC Basketball Hall of Fame Honor Roll.”
Each member institution of the MAAC will have one male and one female of its basketball “family” as part of the 2014 induction class. A dinner event will be on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Court of Dreams to recognize the Honor Roll inductees, and the Honorees will be added to “The MAAC Experience” exhibit.
Each honoree will be profiled in the game program for the 2014 MAAC Basketball Championships, and will also be featured in a video display at The MAAC Experience. The honorees will also be recognized at halftime of the men’s championship evening quarterfinal round (session 5).
The 2014 MAAC Hall of Fame Honor Roll includes:
||Dr. Ellen Conley
||Kelly Eckardt Zawodny
||Lisa (Serafino) Ruggiero
Frank Swiatek – Canisius College
Frank Swiatek played three seasons of varsity basketball for the Golden Griffins from 1962-65, after averaging 20 points per game while leading the freshman team to an 11-3 mark in 1961-62. As a senior, he led Canisius in both scoring (22.3 points) and rebounding (7.9 per game) while serving as co-captain. As a sophomore, he helped the Griffins’ advance to the championship of the NIT, scoring 12 points in a semifinal round win over Villanova. As a junior he averaged 20.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Swiatek is a well known speaker, coach and consultant in the areas of leadership, management, sales and marketing, and in addition to running his own firm, he has served as an adjunct faculty member at Canisius.
Dr. Ellen Conley – Canisius College
Dr. Ellen Conley has served the Canisius College community since 1970, and most recently was the Vice President for Student Affairs. Her impact on the Athletics Department has been immeasurable, having served as assistant director of athletics for women’s sports and financial aid from 1987-89, and athletics scholarships coordinator from 1987-90. Under Dr. Conley’s direction, the women’s athletics program at Canisius was formed, and grew from one club level team to seven varsity teams. Dr. Conley also served as chair of the undergraduate Physical Education Major Program, and Coordinator of the Physical Education Graduate Program. While Vice President for Student Affairs, the Department of Athletics was under her supervision.
George Bisacca – Fairfield University
George Bisacca was the head coach of the Fairfield men’s basketball team from 1958-68, and led the Stags’ transition to Division I status from College Division. After an 11-11 season in his debut year as head coach, Bisacca guided Fairfield to a 54-21 mark in the next three years, including three appearances in the NCAA College Division playoffs. The 1964-65 season was the transition year to Division I play, and Bisacca guided Fairfield to a 61-29 record in the next four season. In his final year at the helm, Bisacca led the Stags into a schedule that included Houston and its All-America center Elvin Hayes, Niagara and its do-everything guard Calvin Murphy, and St. Bonaventure and another Hall of Famer, Bob Lanier. Bisacca, who began his coaching career at Fairfield Prep, was also an attorney who kept his practice while coaching. In his 10 seasons as head coach, he led the Stags to a 151-87 record. During his tenure, he produced three NBA draft choices, as well as future coaching great Nick Macarchuk.
Dianne Nolan – Fairfield University
Dianne Nolan served as head coach of the Fairfield women’s basketball team for 28 seasons, where she posted a program-record 456 victories, and led the Stags to four NCAA Tournament appearances and one WNIT berth. Nolan guided the Stags to three MAAC championships, and was named “Coach of the Year” in the MAAC five times. She oversaw the Stags’ transition to the Division I level in 1981. Under Nolan’s guidance, every senior that she ever coached at Fairfield graduated on time. With the Stags 69-53 win over Rider on Jan. 29, 2006, Nolan became the 28thcoach in Division I history with 500 career wins. Prior to her time at Fairfield, she served as head coach at St. Francis (NY) for five years. Nolan is currently in her fourth season as head coach of the Lafayette women’s program, after three seasons as an assistant coach at Yale.
Kevin Hamilton – Iona College
Iona College men’s basketball has a reputation for producing outstanding shooters, and Kevin Hamilton was one of the best. Hamilton ended his career as Iona’s all-time fourth leading scorer with 1,412 points, and his .883 free throw percentage during the 1976-77 season still ranks among the best in the Iona annals. The 6-3 guard enjoyed an outstanding four-year career that helped elevate the Gaels’ program into the national spotlight. The standout from North Babylon High School helped lead Iona to an 84-31 record and two NCAA Tournament appearances. In 1979, Hamilton poured in a career-high 37 points in a win over Pittsburgh, at the time the ninth-best single-game performance in Iona history. During his senior season, Hamilton scored 32 points against Georgetown before a nationally-televised audience on NBC’s “Game of the Week.” Hamilton was chosen in the 4th Round of the 1980 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
Celeste Grier-Jonathan – Iona
One of the top players in the history of Iona women’s basketball, Celeste Grier-Johnathan helped the Gaels to a pair of Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Regional Final appearances (the AIAW was the forerunner of the NCAA for women’s intercollegiate competition). She averaged 13.0 points and 6.6 rebounds for the Gaels, who compiled a 59-52 record during her career, including a 19-10 mark her freshman season. Known as Celeste Grier during her playing days, she tallied 1,441 points and shot 43.4 from the field. She hauled down 737 rebounds and also dished off 249 assists. Known as a selfless player, Celeste poured in a career high 28 points in a 72-56 win over New York Tech in the ’79-’80 season.
Luis Flores – Manhattan College
Luis Flores is recognized as one of the greatest players in Manhattan College history, and helped engineer one of the greatest wins in school history. He scored 26 points to lead 12th seeded Manhattan to a 75-60 NCAA Tournament first round victory over fifth-seeded Florida on March 18, 2004. Flores, who grew up in Washington Heights, began his college career at Rutgers but transferred to Manhattan, where he scored 2,046 points in just three years, eighth best all-time in the MAAC. Flores averaged 24.6 points per game as a junior, the highest single season mark in Manhattan history, and concluded his career averaging 22.7 points. In his three years at Manhattan, Flores led the Jaspers to a 68-22 record, including two appearances in the NCAA Tournament and on NIT appearance. He is the Jaspers’ all-time leader with a career free throw percentage of .879, No. 2 in free throw made and No. 3 in field goals made all-time. He was a two-time MAAC Player of the Year, and two-time MAAC Championship tournament MVP.
Marianne Reilly – Manhattan College
Marianne Reilly enjoyed an outstanding career as a member of the Manhattan women’s basketball program from 1978-82. She was the first Manhattan women’s player to surpass the 1,000 point mark in her career, and finished with 1,305 points and 860 rebounds. As a junior, Marianne led the Jaspers to their first-ever winning season, averaging 15 points and nine rebounds per game as they finished with a 17-12 mark. Following graduation, Marianne was as an assistant coach for two seasons at Fordham before serving as head coach at Mount St. Vincent from 1984-86. She returned to coaching at Fordham in 1986, and eventually was named Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance and Senior Women’s Administrator (SWA) in 1993. Marianne was promoted to Senior Associate Athletic Director in 1996, and in addition to overseeing compliance and eligibility, she also directs the department’s lifeskills program and is administrator for a number of intercollegiate sports.
Mike Hart – Marist College
Mike Hart was a local product out of Poughkeepsie who stayed home and became a standout for the Marist College basketball program. The 6-5 Hart played primarily at small forward and power forward, but also saw action in the backcourt when needed. The lefty was known as a smooth shooter. Although plagued by a leg injury that limited him to just nine games as junior, Hart still managed to score 1,343 career points, the all-time leader when he graduated, and still in the Red Foxes’ Top 10 at No. 8. Hart helped the Red Fixes advance to the NAIA Region 31 championships in as a senior, when Marist posted a 16-10 record. He prided himself on being a coachable athlete, under the tutelage of head coach Ron Petro. Following his graduation from Marist, he went on to a successful career as a land surveyor.
Julianne Viani – Marist College
Julianne Viani was one of the all-time great backcourt performers in Marist basketball history. The 5-8 point guard led Marist to four consecutive MAAC Championships and the accompanying automatic berth to the NCAA Championship tournament. Viani scored 1,447 points, No. 5 all-time at Marist and good for 11.2 points per game. More importantly, she directed the Red Foxes from her point guard position, leading the Red Foxes to a 113-20 record overall, and 67-5 mark in MAAC play. She contributed 441 assists, third all-time in Marist history. Julianne earned All-Rookie honors her freshman season, and was an All-MAAC selection as junior and senior. She has since gone on to a bourgeoning career as a TV sports announcer. She has served as the analyst for the MAAC’s women’s basketball championship, shown on ESPNU, for two consecutive years.
Ron Kornegay – Monmouth University
Ron Kornegay will forever be remembered as an all-time great player and coach for Monmouth. The program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,526 points, Kornegay was a first team All-NAIA selection in both 1968 and 1969. Known as a lightning quick guard, in his four seasons at Monmouth, the Hawks posted a 112-17 record and advanced to the NAIA national tournament three times. His jersey number, 22, was retired in 1998. Kornegay also served as head coach of the Hawks for 10 years (1977-87) and compiled a 129-130 record. He guided the Hawks to a 25-4 mark in 1980-81, an 21-9 in 1981-82. Kornegay went on to a career as an educator and is currently Director of Athletics at Manasquan High School.
Joan Martin – Monmouth University
For 33 years, Joan Martin was a fixture in the Monmouth athletics program, serving as a coach, assistant and associate athletics director, senior women’s administrator and compliance director. Martin began as a coach at Monmouth in 1969, and remained there for 13 years until she joined the administration. Martin coached the Monmouth women’s basketball team for 13 years, and also served as softball coach for 11 years and field hockey coach for eight years. She moved into administration in a full-time role in 1982, and has spearheaded the establishment, development and continued growth of the women’s athletics program at Monmouth, to where it is today, a comprehensive 12-sport program.
Juan Mendez – Niagara University
Juan Mendez is one of the top players in Niagara and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference history. Mendez averaged 18.0 points per game during his career, and tallied 2210 points, fourth best all-time in the MAAC. He also pulled down 1053 rebounds, the No. 6 all-time career total in the MAAC. The 6-8, 245-pound forward was a three-time first-team All-MAAC performer after beginning his career in the MAAC in 2001-02 as an All-Rookie selection. Mendez was the MAAC Tournament MVP after leading the Purple Eagles to the championship in 2005, after appearances in the finals in 2002 and 2004. In 2005, he became one of just two Purple Eagles to be named to the Associated Press All-America team, when he earned AP All-American Honorable Mention honors after averaging 23.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, joining all-time Niagara great Calvin Murphy on that prestigious list.
Joan Thornton – Niagara University
Joan was all about “firsts” when she was a standout for the Purple Eagles’ women’s basketball program. She was the first scholarship player in Niagara women’s basketball history, and was also the first to surpass the 1,000 career point mark. Joan scored 1,106 points, and averaged 11.3 points per game during her career. She still appears in the Niagara record book where she is “first” in all time field goal percentage, hitting 62.1 percent of her shots. During her career at Niagara, the Purple Eagles compiled a 84-19 record. She earned first-team Academic All-America honors in 1980, and at her 1980 commencement ceremony, she was the recipient of the Kevin Mulkern Award, which is presented annually o the senior student-athlete who has the highest ideals of sportsmanship, competition and fair play, in the spirit of Niagara University. She was elected to the Niagara University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996.
Keith Gaither – Quinnipiac University
His is a familiar profile at the TD Bank Sports Center for every home Bobcats basketball game. Keith Gaither, recognized by everyone at Quinnipiac as the No. 1 fan for both the men’s and women’s basketball programs, sits in the corner straight across from the home bench, cheering on both Bobcats’ squads. While Gaither may be in a wheelchair and slowed by cerebral palsy, in no way does it stall his passion for Quinnipiac basketball. He never misses a game, and always arrives early to get set in position. “He’s a great fan, and our kids really enjoy him. He lights up a room with his enthusiasm, said Bobcats’ men’s basketball coach Tom Moore. “He’s so passionate and competitive on game nights.” Quinnipiac honored him two years ago with a ceremony declaring him as the Bobcats No. 1 fan, and he was greeted with a standing ovation.
Pat Hayes – Quinnipiac University
Pat Hayes is one of those “behind the scenes” individuals that helps make a large organization run with success. Pat is Accounting Secretary in the Bursar’s Office at Quinnipiac, which can be one of the toughest, and most unforgiving, positions on a college campus. However, she is always able to do her job with a smile and a kind word. She regularly interacts with students and student-athletes. Pat is also one of the most dedicated fans of Quinnipiac athletics, and a devotee of the men’s and women’s basketball programs. She was recognized in 1999 with Quinnipiac athletics’ “Behind the Scenes Award,” given by the department to dedicated fans for their support, and again in 2004 with the university’s Excellence in Service to Students Award.
Jack Madden – Rider University
Jack Madden was a two-sport standout at Rider. He finished his basketball career at Rider, which spanned 1956 to 1959, with 1,341 points in 77 games, averaging 17.3 points per game. He also grabbed nearly 800 rebounds while leading the Broncs to a 49-29 record in his three seasons, including a 20-7 record in 1956-57. Madden was also an outstanding pitcher for the Rider baseball squad, and compiled a 20-5 record with 220 strikeouts in three seasons on the hill for the Broncs. He signed with Cincinnati following his junior year. Madden went on to a prolific career as an official in the professional basketball ranks, working in both the NBA and the ABA. He was one of only seven officials to have worked 25 NBA Championships. He was a charter member of the Rider Athletics Hall of Fame, inducted in 1990.
Kelly Eckardt-Zawodny – Rider University
Kelly Eckardt enjoyed a storied career at Rider, emerging as a star in Rider’s inaugural decade of Division I women’s basketball. She concluded her career with 1,652 points and 848 rebounds. Kelly broke into the Broncs’ starting lineup in her sophomore year, and averaged 13 points and nearly eight rebounds a game and was named Rider’s Most Valuable Player. She was MVP again following her junior year, when she raised her scoring average to 15.8 points, and grabbed 7.9 rebounds per game. Kelly exploded as a senior, averaging 21.9 points per game, and leading the Broncs in scoring in 25 of 28 games, including a career high of 30 against Maryland-Baltimore Country. She tallied 20 or more points in 20 games, and was Rider’s top rebounder in 22 games, including a career high 19 boards vs. Monmouth. Kelly was a three-time MVP for the Broncs, and was inducted into the Rider Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996.
Don Kennedy – Saint Peter’s University
Don Kennedy is Saint Peter’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach, with a record of 323-195 from 1950-1972. He guided the Peacocks to five NIT appearances, and coached eight 1,000 point scorers, during his tenure. The Peacocks posted winning records in 19 of his 22 seasons, including three 20-win seasons. In 1967-68, Saint Peter’s registered a program record 24 wins. Kennedy was a proponent of a fast paced offensive game. Saint Peter’s advanced to three consecutive NAIA Tournaments, before making their first NIT appearance in 1956-57. The Peacocks enjoyed one of the best seasons in program history in 1967-68 when it finished 24-4 and fourth in the NIT. During that NIT run, Kennedy guided the Peacocks to a 100-71 win over top-ranked Duke. In Kennedy’s final two seasons at the helm, Saint Peter’s posted a combined 34-18 record and a trip to the NIT.
Tonya Grant – Saint Peter’s University
Tonya Grant was a force for Saint Peter’s from 1986-90. She concluded her career as the Peacocks all-time leading scorer, 2,020 points, and fourth leading rebounder, with 964 boards. Tonya was named to the MAAC’s 25th Anniversary Team in 2006. She is currently the MAAC’s fifth all-time leading scorer, tied for sixth in per game average at 18.0 points per game, fifth with a .542 field goal percentage, and 13th with 964 career rebounds. Grant was an All-MAAC selection all four years of her career, including a two-time first team choice (1988-89, 1989-90), and was chosen as MAAC Player of the Year in 1990. She scored a Saint Peter’s record 716 points as a senior, averaging 25.6 points per game, also a school record. During her career at Saint Peter’s, she led the Peacocks to a 79-33 record. She was inducted into the Saint Peter’s Hall of Fame in 1996.
Billy Harrell – Siena
Billy Harrell’s number “10” Siena jersey was retired at a halftime ceremony of a game in January, 2006. That should give you a good idea of his impact on Siena College. Billy played for Siena from 1949 to 1952, and during that time, the Saints (known as the “Indians” back then) compiled a gaudy 70-19 record. Harrell was the leading scorer, averaging 9.7 points per game, and rebounder, 12.1 per game, for Siena’s 1949-50 team that compiled a 27-5 record and won the National Catholic Invitational Tournament title. Harrell averaged 14.6 points per game for the 1951-52 team which went 24-6. He is still in the record books, tied for No. 2, for Siena’s top single season rebounders with his 12.1 average in 1949-50. Known as the “Flash,” he earned UPI Honorable Mention All-America honors in 1952. Billy then went on to play four seasons of major league baseball, three with the Cleveland Indians (1955, 1957-58) and one with the Boston Red Sox (1961).
Lisa (Serafino) Ruggiero – Siena
Lisa Serafino was a sure-shot on the basketball court and in the classroom. The 5-4 guard, known for her quickness, was a crafty playmaker who could also sink the three-point shot. She averaged 5.1 assists per game in 1992-93 for the Saints, the No. 9 all-time single season mark. For her career, Serafino dished off 364 assists, a 3.3 average, still No. 7 all-time for Siena. Serafino stroked 139 three-point field goals in her career, 1990-94, sixth all-time for the Saints. Serafino is rated No. 7 all-time at Siena for career three-point field goal percentage, after hitting .346 (139-402) of her shots behind the arc. Serafino was also proficient in the classroom, and in 1994 was a GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team selection.
Courtesy of MAACSports.com