Class Features Winningest Coaches in Men’s Basketball and Softball, Pair of Sisters, First Baseball Player

PHOTO: John Sileno shootingMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- SUNY Orange’s Colt Athletic Hall of Fame will welcome its first baseball player and the College’s winningest coaches in men’s basketball and softball when it inducts the five-member Class of 2015 at 9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 7 at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown.

Comprising the Colt Athletic Hall of Fame’s fourth induction class will be John Basalyga ’70, Sherry Morris ’89, Stacey Morris ’89, Paul Rickard and John Sileno ’66. This year’s class carries a strong “sibling” feel as the Morris sisters will be enshrined alongside Rickard, who’s sister Theresa Rickard ’76 was honored last year. Basalyga is the Hall of Fame’s first baseball player while this year’s quintet also represents the sports of women’s basketball, women’s soccer, softball, men’s basketball, men’s soccer and golf.

“This year’s class is outstanding, and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate the achievements of these five inductees,” said Wayne Smith, SUNY Orange athletic director. “We have our winningest coaches in men’s basketball (Rickard) and softball (Stacey Morris) and we celebrate two sisters who are among the most accomplished female athletes in our history.

“Additionally, we reach back into our rich athletic heritage to induct a basketball player who overcame injuries to make a significant impact, and we round out the class with our first baseball player,” Smith added. “And, like each of our groups before, this class brings a legacy of success that extends well beyond their on-field exploits at SUNY Orange.”

The induction ceremony will be part of the College’s two-day Homecoming and Reunion Weekend that kicks off with an alumni cocktail reception on Friday, Nov. 6 and features a basketball game and full slate of Family Day activities on Saturday, Nov. 7. For more information, contact Mary Roth, alumni relations coordinator, at (845) 341-4179. Tickets for the Hall of Fame induction are $15 and can be purchased online via the College’s web site.

PHOTO: John BasalygaBasalyga played baseball for SUNY Orange in 1969 and 1970, leading the team in batting average (.353) and slugging percentage (.549) in 1969. A versatile catcher/first baseman, he was an all-conference and all-region honoree. He also served as the soccer team goalie for one season. He has enjoyed an outstanding soccer coaching career during stints at Turpin High School in Cincinnati, Ohio (24 years), and Northern Kentucky University (the past 12 seasons). His Turpin teams posted 22 winning seasons, won three state championships, captured 15 sectional titles and compiled a 325-93-58 record. He enters the 2015 men’s soccer season as NKU’s winningest coach with a 12-year record of 152-68-30, having guided the Norse to the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2010 and ushered the team to Division I status in 2012.

A 1989 graduate of SUNY Orange, Sherry Morris (#20 in team photo below) spent two years on the basketball, softball and soccer squads for the Colts. She was named to the all-region team in all three sports during each of her two years at the College. She was named Mid-Hudson Conference Softball Most Valuable Player in 1988. She was also a 1,000 point scorer in basketball and led the team to the National Tournament in Tyler, Texas in 1989. She later played basketball and softball at Wagner College. She was named to the Northeast Conference Softball first team in 1990 and still is among a host of players who hold the Division I single-game record for triples in a game (three). On the hardwood, she averaged 13.8 points per game and 11.8 rebounds per game during the 1990-91 campaign. That season, she was an all-conference honoree and set career highs of 26 points and 18 rebounds.

PHOTO: Soccer teamStacey Morris (#6 in team photo at right) graduated from SUNY Orange alongside her sister in 1989 after also authoring stellar careers in softball, basketball and soccer. She was named to the all-region team for each sport in both of her years at the College.
Morris was SUNY Orange’s female “Athlete of the Year” in 1989. She scored more than 1,000 points and was a third-team NJCAA All-American in basketball in 1989. Morris also carved a standout career at Wagner College, where she is considered one of the great dual-sport athletes in school history. As a senior, Morris was one of the predominant softball players in the entire nation, leading the country in slugging percentage (.954) while ranking second nationally in batting (.556), and third in home runs (10) and RBI (43). Her penchant for on-field excellence continued when she returned to SUNY Orange to serve as head softball coach. In 17 years (1993-2010), she amassed more than 300 career victories and guided the Colts to 12 regional and conference championships. She was inducted into the Wagner College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.

PHOTO: Paul RickardRickard has been a fixture at SUNY Orange as both a professor and a coach for the past 35 years. He has taught as a member of the mathematics faculty since 1980. He coached the men’s basketball team for 25 years (1981-82 through 2005-06), guiding the Colts to 323 wins and a handful of regional and conference championships. He retired as the golf team coach in 2014 following 32 years at the helm. In 2006, Rickard led the Colts to a 23-8 record, a district championship and the program’s first ever appearance in the NJCAA Division II National Championship Tournament. That year, he was named the NJCAA Division II “Coach of the Year” in District 9. While coaching golf, Rickard took the Colts on many trips to the National Golf Tournament.

Sileno (action shot above and head shot below) was a standout men’s basketball player who spent the 1964-65 and 1965-66 seasons with the Colts. He was named the 1965 Region XV Tournament “Most Valuable Player” and was an honorable mention All-America selection. He helped SUNY Orange to the championship game of the Region XV Tournament in 1966, where the Colts suffered a 102-94 overtime defeat at the hands of Wesley Junior College in Dover, Del. Despite playing just nine games in his first season, Sileno was named an honorable mention all-conference selection. That season, he averaged 27.8 points per game, 17.2 rebounds per game and 10.2 assists per game. He led Region XV in assists as the Colts forged an 8-16 record. In 1965-66, he appeared in 30 games, was second on the team in scoring (20.9 ppg.) and led the team in rebounding (11.8 rpg.). For his career, Sileno scored 902 points (in 39 games), averaging 22.6 ppg.

PHOTO: John SilenoThe 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 inductees were chosen by a nine-member selection committee that represented the following areas of the College: athletic director (Smith); administrator (Mike Albright, communications officer); faculty member (Ann Marie Boffalo, movement science professor); former coach (Gary Dross); student athlete (David Leiter, baseball); student services staff and member of the Athletic Advisory Committee (Anthony Scalia, academic advisor and retention specialist), alumnus (Daryl Williams ’93, home events and sports information coordinator); current coach (John Lauro, women’s basketball) and existing Hall of Fame member (Linda Tjepkema Boychick, HOF ’12).

The Colt Athletic Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2012 included 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. The Class of 2013 was comprised of Walter Cawein ’57, Susan Deer ’71, Lois Hayes ’79, Richard E. Morse ’58, Achilles J. “Kelly” Rossi ’53 and John Scanlan. Last year’s class featured David Brownbill ’67, Yogi Davis ’71, Donna Frazier ’93, Bob Heins ’71 and Theresa Rickard ’76.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940