SUNY ORANGE INTRODUCES INAUGURAL ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME CLASS

10/23/2012

Ten to be Inducted into Colt Athletic Hall of Fame During Ceremony on Nov. 10 in Middletown

PHOTO: Colt logoMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – The inaugural induction class in SUNY Orange’s newly created Colt Athletic Hall of Fame, set to be enshrined on Saturday, Nov. 10, reads like a veritable “Who’s Who” among athletes and administrators from the formative years of the College’s intercollegiate sports program, including the first Athlete of the Year, first athletic director, first female athletic director and the guiding force in the creation of women’s sports at the College.

In all, 10 former athletes and administrators comprise the debut class, including Charles J. Cawein ’52, Chris G. Chachis, Mary B. Diana, Glen M. McGinnis ’55, Marie A. Piccone ’63, Chris Schmid ’54, James Stanfield ’59, Art Stegen ’66, Linda Tjepkema ’76 and Gary Ventimiglia ’71. Induction ceremonies are set for 9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 10 at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown.

The players to be enshrined represent the men’s sports of basketball, soccer, tennis, cross country and wrestling, along with the women’s sports of basketball, soccer and field hockey. Those inductees who coached at SUNY Orange guided nearly every intercollegiate program offered by the College.

“This class represents the foundation of our athletic program,” explains Wayne Smith, SUNY Orange athletic director. “It features the earliest administrators, people like Chris Chachis and Mary Diana, and some of the earliest athletes in folks like Charles Cawein and Chris Schmid. This group is also full of accomplished athletes who were recognized as among the best in their respective sports, not just at the College, but regionally and nationally as well.

“But, to me, the most impressive thing about this class is not only the contributions our inductees made to Orange County Community College athletics, but the longstanding impact many of them had upon their sport and their communities throughout much of their life after SUNY Orange.”

Cawein, who was also the first student to apply for admission to Orange County Community College when it was founded in 1950, was the College’s first Athlete of the Year after excelling for the men’s basketball team. Chachis was an original faculty member and served as the College’s first athletic director. Diana lobbied diligently to create a recreation program for women at the College and coached many of the women’s teams, and Piccone returned to her alma mater to become its first female athletic director.

McGinnis has crafted a long and successful high school coaching career in the Cornwall School District after his basketball and soccer days at the College. Schmid, a longtime supporter of SUNY Orange, was a three-sport standout in soccer, basketball and tennis en route to earning the 1954 Athlete of the Year award. Stanfield was among five Colts named to the inaugural Junior College Soccer All-American team in 1958 and Stegen, a cross country runner as a collegian before building a sterling competitive and coaching career in biathlon, guided the United States biathlon team at the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Tjepkema was widely considered the finest women’s basketball player to have donned the Blue and Orange, ultimately earning a full scholarship to Seton Hall, when she led the Lady Colts to the 1976 New York State championship. Ventimiglia was a national wrestling runnerup who later was a highly decorated and respected high school wrestling coach on Long Island.

The primary goal of the Colt Athletic Hall of Fame is to recognize those individuals, who by outstanding achievement in athletics or service to the College, have made lasting contributions to the sports program. While athletic achievement is the primary qualifier for eligibility, the character of the nominee and their contributions to the institution and the community were also considered.

Annually, the selection committee may elect to present honorary Hall of Fame Awards to those individuals who have distinguished themselves through exemplary service and commitment to the SUNY Orange Athletic Department. The committee also reviews contributions and achievements of past SUNY Orange athletic teams and can choose to present Hall of Fame Team Awards.

Athletes and administrators may be nominated for the Hall of Fame at any time throughout the year. Alumni and friends of the College may submit athletes for consideration, but athletes are also able to nominate themselves if they choose to do so.

The induction ceremony will be part of the College’s two-day Homecoming and Reunion Weekend that kicks off with afternoon and evening events on Friday, Nov. 9, and concludes with a full slate of activities throughout the day on Saturday, Nov. 10. For more information, contact Mary Roth, alumni relations coordinator, at (845) 341-4179 or visit the Homecoming and Reunion web page.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame induction are $15 and can be purchased online via the College’s web site.

The inaugural class was chosen by an eight-member selection committee that represented the following areas of the College: athletic director (Smith); administrator (Mike Albright, communications officer); faculty member and member of the Athletic Advisory Committee (Ann Marie Boffalo, movement science professor); former coach (Gary Dross); current student athlete (John Jonas, baseball); student services staff (Edmond Lugo, assistant director of Student Activities and past chair of the Athletic Advisory Committee); alumna (Stacey Morris; assistant athletic director, former softball coach and 1989 graduate); and current coach (Paul Rickard, golf coach and former longtime men’s basketball coach).

Colt Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2012

PHOTO: Charles CaweinCharles J. Cawein ‘52
Charles Cawein will always hold a unique spot in the history of Orange County Community College. He was the first student to apply for admission to the College upon its founding in 1950, and soon after set forth on a sterling athletic career during the formative days of the Colts’ competitive sports program. As captain and leading scorer of the men’s basketball squad, Cawein was named the College’s first Athlete of the Year in 1951. He averaged a team-high 19 points per game and set a single-game scoring record of 30 points versus Albany that stood for several years after his graduation. His 15 points-per-game scoring average in 1951-52 also led the Colts’ hardwood efforts. Cawein was named captain of the College’s first soccer team in 1951. Away from the competitive environment, Cawein served as a member of the Student Council for two years and was appointed as a special assistant to athletic director Chris Chachis. Cawein instructed selected physical education classes in order to free up Chachis for his expanded duties as athletic director. Cawein has remained an ardent supporter of the College over the years. In 1977, at his 25th class reunion, he donated the inaugural 1951 “Athlete of the Year” cup for display in the Physical Education Building. He also delivered the 50th Anniversary Commencement address, on behalf of the College’s alumni, in May 2000. Cawein, who was chief financial officer of Horton Hospital from 1966 to 1995, was honored by Orange County Executive Mary M. McPhillips when she proclaimed May 18, 1990, as “Charlie Cawein Day” in the county.

PHOTO: Chris ChachisChris G. Chachis
One of the original 10 faculty members on staff when Orange County Community College was founded in 1950, Chris Chachis organized the College’s first intercollegiate team (cross country) within weeks of the College’s opening and is recognized as the founder of SUNY Orange’s athletic program. During his 17-year tenure as athletic director, he coached, at one time or another, every SUNY Orange sport except golf. However, it was on the soccer field where Chachis shone brightest. From the time he started the first Colts soccer team in 1951, his squads posted a remarkable .716 winning percentage behind a record of 104-37-14. His teams reached the national junior college championship game in five successive years, winning three straight titles in 1958, 1959 and 1960 before finishing as runners-up in 1961 and 1962. Chachis led the campaign to establish the All-American recognition program for junior college players. In 1967, he was inducted into the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame for College Directors of Athletics. The SUNY Orange male “Athlete of the Year” award bears his name. He was the City of Middletown’s “Sportsman of the Year” in 1967 and was credited with building the popularity of soccer in southern New York. The SUNY Orange soccer field was dedicated in his honor on Sept. 23, 1984.

PHOTO: Mary DianaMary B. Diana
In February 1954, at the urging of Mary Diana and others, the Orange County Community College Board of Trustees approved a petition for a girl’s activity program. During the 1955-56 academic year, Diana formed and coached the College’s first women’s basketball team. During her time at SUNY Orange, she also coached or advised the cheerleaders, bowling team, twirling club, tennis team and field hockey team, as well as several student clubs. She was also a campus leader who was heavily involved in the Faculty Association and community services efforts. She first joined the College faculty as a part-time professor (1953-56) before being hired full-time in 1956. She remained at SUNY Orange until retiring in 1982. Away from the College, Diana was an outspoken advocate for equality in women’s and girl’s sports. She was a three-time member of the Middletown Recreation Commission and played an important role in the development of Women’s City League softball and basketball in Middletown. She organized sports officiating clinics for women and developed women’s varsity athletic tournaments in Region XV of the National Junior College Athletic Association. She was named Middletown Sportsman of the Year in 1973, becoming the first woman to win the award. An outstanding athlete in her own right, Diana was a low handicap golfer and above average bowler. She won the Orange County Tournament of Champions (golf) twice, Mid-Hudson Golf Association Championships five times and nine club titles at the Orange County Golf Club in Middletown. In 1961, she bowled a 672 series, the highest score in New York State that year, in the state tournament at Niagara Falls. Diana attended all-expense paid tryout with the South Bend (Ind.) Blue Sox of the Midwest Professional Women’s Softball League in 1949. She was offered a contract as a shortstop and catcher, but was unable to get time off from her duties as a teacher in the Middletown school system and had to decline. In 2009, the College named its new on-campus softball field in her honor.

PHOTO: Glen McGinnisGlen M. McGinnis ‘55
A two-sport star at SUNY Orange, Glen McGinnis played soccer and basketball during his days at SUNY Orange. He was a center midfielder for the soccer squad and played guard for the 1954-55 Colt hardwood team. Upon graduation from SUNY Orange, he transferred to SUNY Brockport where he made an immediate athletic contribution by helping lead the Golden Eagles to the 1955 national championship. McGinnis has crafted a remarkable 54-year coaching career, garnering more than 800 victories and mentoring countless athletes in such sports as football, baseball, basketball, swimming, soccer and softball. He began teaching and coaching in 1957, but joined the Cornwall Central School District in 1961 for what would become a 35-year career as a sixth grade teacher. At various times, he has coached modified, junior varsity and varsity teams. McGinnis won two Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association titles and two Section 9 championships in varsity baseball, and was named OCIAA Baseball Coach of the Year in 1969. He became Cornwall’s first-ever swim coach in 1980-81. He coached varsity boys soccer for one season and girls modified soccer for 15 seasons. His junior varsity softball coaching tenure spanned 19 seasons. He coached junior varsity and varsity boys basketball for 24 seasons. His varsity hardwood teams finished 21-0 in both 1970-71 and 1971-72,. He was named basketball Coach of the Year by the New York State Sportswriters Association and Middletown “Times Herald-Record” in 1971. The New York “Daily News” accorded him that same honor in 1972 and 1973. McGinnis was inducted into the SUNY Brockport Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1955 national championship squad. He is a past president of the Orange County Basketball Coaches Association and served on the Board of Directors of the New York State Basketball Coaches Association for 25 years. The Cornwall High School holiday basketball tournament was renamed the Glen M. McGinnis Holiday Basketball Tournament in 2010.

PHOTO: Marie PicconeMarie A. Piccone '63
Marie Piccone was a three-sport star at Orange County Community College, toiling for the women’s basketball, field hockey and softball teams. At her graduation, she was presented with the 1963 Athlete of the Year award. She returned to the College in 1970 as coach of the Colts’ women’s volleyball and softball teams. For more than 20 years, she guided the volleyball team to numerous district and regional championships. Her 1973 team placed third at the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national tournament in Miami, Fla. Her regional powerhouse softball teams were equally as successful. The 1975 Colts advanced to the national softball tournament. She was a member of the Physical Education Department faculty for 28 years (1970-98) and holds the distinction of being the College’s first-ever female athletic director. She was instrumental in developing a host of new physical education courses. Piccone served as a representative of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) office at national volleyball tournaments. Well after her collegiate playing days, Piccone could still be found on the local fields and courts as both a competitor (basketball and softball) and official (volleyball and softball).

PHOTO: Chris SchmidChris Schmid '54
When Chris Schmid graduated from SUNY Orange in 1954, he proudly accepted the College’s “Athlete of the Year” Award. Schmid was a standout for the Colts’ men’s basketball, soccer and tennis teams. Upon graduation from Orange County Community College, Schmid earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell in 1956 and a master’s degree in education from the University of Rochester in 1960. He was a high school teacher and coach from 1956-62 before joining the physical education faculty at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., in 1962. He was an assistant coach with the men’s basketball, football and lacrosse teams from 1962-70. He served as head coach of the basketball team from 1966-69, leading the Dutchmen to a 25-35 record. Since retiring from teaching and coaching in 1970 to pursue a successful real estate career, Schmid has been a loyal and longtime supporter of both SUNY Orange and Union College. He has singlehandedly provided countless scholarships to help students attend SUNY Orange and is one of the College’s staunchest benefactors. In 2009, he was inducted into the Union College Athletic Hall of Fame. He founded and organized the Fighting Dutchmen Gridiron Club and has supported many initiatives undertaken by the Union athletic department. Additionally, he has mentored countless former Dutchmen student-athletes.

PHOTO: James StanfieldJames Stanfield '59
James Stanfield was named a first-team soccer All-American in 1958--on the first-ever junior college All-American team selected by the National Soccer Coaches Association--while leading the Colts to a 9-1 record and the first of three successive national championship under coach Chris Chachis. Stanfield played center halfback and represented the College at the Third Annual Sunshine Soccer Bowl at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. in December 1958. Stanfield also played basketball for the Colts during the 1958-59 campaign.

 

 

PHOTO: Art StegenArt Stegen '66
Art Stegen has dedicated his past 40-plus years to the development of the sport of biathlon in the United States. He served as coach of the U.S. Biathlon team from 1978-81, guiding the U.S. team during the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., and introducing women to the sport. He medaled at the 1974 U.S. National Championships, and served as an alternate for the 1976 Olympic team. While at SUNY Orange, he ran cross country in 1964 and 1965, finishing third in the conference championship race and fifth in the Region XV championship in 1965. The 1964 team suffered just two dual meet losses. He was the first program director for the U.S. Biathlon Association in 1981, serving for two years before becoming a teacher and coach at New Paltz High School. He coached several cross country and track athletes to state and national championships at NPHS. Stegen was instrumental in forming the Empire State Games and was biathlon coordinator for the New York State Ski Racing Association. While serving in the New York National Guard, he became the first New York soldier to earn All-Guard honors at the Lincoln Marathon Championships. He directed the National Guard biathlon program from 1993 through 2003, sending many athletes to the national and Olympic teams. Stegen has also served on the USBA Board of Directors. National Team coach. He was inducted into the NYSSRA Hall of Fame in 2006 and the USBA Hall of Fame in 2009. Upon retiring from the military, he was presented with the Meritorious Service Medal. In the early 1970s, he became the first American to be certified in cross country skiing and biathlon at the Norwegian Sports Institute.

PHOTO: Linda TjepkemaLinda Tjepkema ’76
Widely considered to be the finest women’s basketball player to have toiled for the Colts when she graduated from SUNY Orange in 1976, Linda Tjepkema crafted a remarkable career on the hardwood for head coach Paula Urbin. She helped lead the Colts to a sterling 16-3 mark as a freshman in 1974-75, averaging 19 points and 14 rebounds per game. She was named the Most Valuable Player at the 1975 New York State tournament after scoring 25 points in each of the team’s two games there. During her sophomore season, she averaged 21 points and 17 rebounds per game as the Colts captured the New York State championship before ultimately earning a third-place showing in the regional tournament. Tjepkema earned a full athletic scholarship to Seton Hall University. She led the Pirates in rebounding as a junior, snaring 8.8 boards per game. During her two seasons, the Pirates combined to win 33 of 51 games and advanced to the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national championship tournament at the conclusion of her senior campaign in 1978. The Pirates won a school-record 21 games in 1977-78. Tjepkema graduated from Seton Hall as the program’s career leader in blocked shots (87) and currently ranks ninth on the Pirates’ all-time ladder in that category.

PHOTO: Gary VentimigliaGary Ventimiglia ’71
Gary Ventimiglia was a standout high school and collegiate wrestler but it was his significant contributions to the sport as a competitor and a coach--during an all-too-short career ended by his death in 1992--that earned him a hallowed spot in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame this past April. At SUNY Orange, Ventimiglia carried the Colts’ blue and orange colors to the 1970 Junior College national tournament where he finished in second place at his weight class. He later capped his collegiate career by winning a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship at 150 pounds in 1972 while competing for Lock Haven University. Ventimiglia’s greatest contributions to the sport of wrestling came as a high school competitor and coach on Long Island. As a student at Island Trees High School, he was a two-time Nassau County champion and placed second at the 1968 New York State high school wrestling championships. He later returned to his alma mater to work alongside legendary coach Ted Petersen, helping guide Island Trees to two Nassau County team championships. He also coached many wrestlers to county and state titles before assuming command of the wrestling programs at North Shore and East Meadow high schools. At East Meadow in 1983, he was named Nassau County Coach of the Year. Ventimiglia was also an assistant football coach at Levittown Division Avenue High School.

 

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Mike Albright
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Middletown, NY 10940
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