Athletic Hall of Fame Inaugural Class will be Inducted During SUNY Orange Homecoming
MIDDLETOWN, 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. (Gary Vertimiglia shown below) The list of honorees includes 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. Induction ceremonies are set for 9 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 10 at Kuhl's Highland House in Middletown. 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.
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. "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."
Charles Cawein 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.
Chris Chachis 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.
Glenn McGinnis 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.
Jim Stanfield 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.
Linda Tjepkema 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.
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 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 website.
Tickets for the Hall of Fame induction are $15