October 4, 2006
SEVEN TO GAIN HALL OF FAME INDUCTION NOVEMBER 5
Six additional individuals, plus the 1981 national softball title team, will be honored
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Seven members of the athletic community will be inducted into the ECSU/E-Club Hall of Fame during ceremonies Sunday, Nov. 5 at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium on the Eastern campus.
In addition to the inductees -- who represent the sports of softball, soccer, basketball, baseball and track & field -- longtime supporter James LoMonaco will receive an award for service, and five individuals will be recognized for the their pioneering efforts in the development of the intercollegiate athletic program.
Additionally, the 1981 national softball championship team -- coached by Eastern Hall of Famer Clyde Washburne -- will be honored on the 25th anniversary of its achievement as Eastern’s first national champion.
The induction class of 2006 – the 13th class since the inception of the Hall of Fame in 1986 – includes Greg Andrulis ’80, Christine Brennan ’85, Kimberly Durocher Wise ’88, Steve Krajewski ’77, John McNally ’87, Judy Pemberton Bell ’86, and former three-sport coach John Risley.
Greg Andrulis, a Litchfield native, is one of the most distinguished alumni in Eastern athletic history, having been named Coach-of-the-Year and winning the U.S. Open Cup as head coach of the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer earlier this decade. At Eastern, he was a four-year soccer goalkeeper and senior captain and MVP who led the Warriors to a .638 winning percentage and an ECAC tournament berth. Four years after graduating, he served on the staff of the 1984 NCAA Division I national champion Clemson Tigers, then was named head men’s soccer coach at Division I Wright State University, where he compiled a 12-year record of 134-72-28 as the program’s all-time winningest coach. He spent ten years with the Columbus Crew, the last five as head coach. He is currently in his second season as head men’s soccer coach at Division I George Mason University.
Christine Brennan, a Mount Vernon, NY, native, was an All-New England point guard who led the women’s basketball program to its first two NCAA women’s basketball tournaments, one
ECAC tournament berth and a four-year winning percentage of .626. Described as one of the top defensive players in program history by Eastern Hall of Fame coach Bob Miller, Brennan graduated as the program’s all-time leader in steals and as the all-time and season leader in assists. Today, she remains ranked among the top four all-time in both of those categories.
Kim Durocher Wise, a native of East Freetown, MA, pitched four complete-game shutout victories in the championship round of the 1985 and 1986 national tournaments. In those two seasons, the right-hander led Eastern to consecutive NCAA Division III national championships – a feat which has yet to be duplicated in the 25-year history of the NCAA Division III softball tournament. In two years of NCAA post-season play, Durocher Wise won 11 of 13 decisions with 60 strikeouts and a 0.26 ERA in 82 1/3 innings. She completed all 11 of her starts, recording shutouts seven times.
In baseball, Rockville native Steve Krajewski played both third base and first base and batted in the middle of the order as a four-year starter between 1974 and 1977. The right-handed batter hit for power (299 total bases) and average (.338 average) and was a catalyst for teams which amassed four straight 30-win seasons and a composite .744 winning percentage. In that span, the Warriors averaged 33.5 wins per season and won two NAIA District 32 championships (1974-75), one NAIA Area 8 title (1975) and qualified for the first two NCAA Division III tournaments in program history (1976-77).
A native of Avon, MA, John McNally was a four-year starter at shooting guard in basketball and a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter as a left-side infielder in baseball. Today, McNally remains one of only three individuals in Eastern athletic history to compile as many as 1,000 career points (1,069) in basketball and collect as many as 100 career hits (157) in baseball. As a junior in 1985/86, he led the Warriors to their most wins (18) in 15 years and into the semifinals of the ECAC New England Division III basketball tournament. In baseball, he played on teams which won 75 per cent of their games and qualified for four straight NCAA Division III tournaments.
Like Durocher Wise, Judy Pemberton Bell has earned Hall of Fame status based on a two-year career. The Norwich native remains the only male or female in track and field history to earn All-America accolades as many as three times in outdoor competition. As a freshman in 1983, she ran to All-America honors at both 200 and 400 meters; as a sophomore in 1984, she was named All-America based on her finish at 400 meters at the national championship, while also qualifying in the preliminaries for the finals at 200 meters. That year, she was the New England champion at 200 meters.
A long-time area resident, John Risley joined the Eastern coaching staff in 1972/73 as freshman men’s basketball coach and went on to serve as head and assistant softball coach and assistant baseball coach before retiring from the staff following the 2005 baseball season. Risley served four seasons (1972/73-1975/76) on the basketball staff and 18 seasons (1973-1984/1998-2000/2003-05) on the baseball staff, primarily as the pitching coach. In 1985, he joined the staff of the fastpitch softball program and later took over as head coach for the 1994 and 1995 seasons.. With Risley, the baseball program won two NCAA Division III national titles (1982 and 1998) and seven regional championships, qualifying for post-season play in all but three seasons.
The softball program won three national titles (1985-86, 1990) and eight straight regional championships with Risley and qualified for NCAA tournament play in ten of 11 seasons
James LoMonaco will receive the Michael A. Atkind Exceptional Service Award, which is named in memory of the Norwich native and 1975 Eastern graduate who passed away unexpectedly in 1991. An Agawam, MA native, LoMonaco has been a member of the Eastern administrative staff since 1974. An ardent supporter of Eastern athletics since joining the staff, LoMonaco served as a committee chairman when Eastern hosted NCAA Division III national softball tournaments in 1985 and 1987 and was also a member of the 1991 national softball tournament committee.
Those recognized as “pioneers” will be Donald Beerworth ’61, the late Tommy Johnson ’59, Ignatius “Iggy” Lombardo ’51, Bert Nussbaum ’63, and Annie Noheimer Robinson ’76.
Beerworth was a three-sport athlete; Johnson played basketball and baseball; Lombardo played football, basketball and baseball and also returned from the war in the mid-1940s to help coach the basketball team until the appointment of a permanent coach in January of 1948; Nussbaum was a dedicated member of the athletic program, where he served in numerous capacities, not the least of which was as a liaison and correspondent between the athletic program and local media. He was the statistician for the basketball and baseball teams, manager for the basketball team, represented the athletic department at student budget meetings, and participated as a student-athlete. As a student-athlete, he was a member of the first-ever soccer team in 1961 and also played sub-varsity basketball; Noheimer Robinson was a member of the first women’s basketball team in 1971 and helped build the foundation of current intercollegiate volleyball and softball programs by participating on club teams in the 1970s.
For the ninth time, WILI Radio personality Wayne Norman will serve as the banquet’s Master of Ceremonies. Tickets are priced at $45 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Dr. David Yeo at 860-465-5166.
Scott Smith contributed to this story
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