October 31st, 2012
Orange announces Athletic Hall of Fame class
MIDDLETOWN - The inaugural induction class in SUNY Orange’s newly created Colt Athletic Hall of Fame, set to be enshrined on Saturday, November 10, 2012, 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, November 10th at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown, NY.
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 long-standing impact many of them had upon their sport and their communities throughout much of their life after SUNY Orange.”
Charles J. Cawein, who was the first student to apply for admission to Orange County Community College when it was founded in 1950, was also the College’s first Athlete of the Year after excelling for the men’s basketball team.
Chris G. Chachis was an original faculty member and served as the College’s first athletic director.
Mary B. Diana lobbied diligently to create a recreation program for women at the College and coached many of the women’s teams.
Marie A. Piccone returned to her alma mater to become its first female athletic director.
Glen M. 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.
Chris 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.
James Stanfield was among five Colts named to the inaugural Junior College Soccer All-American team back in 1958.
Art Stegen, a cross country runner as a collegian before building a sterling competitive and coaching career in biathlon, guided the U.S. biathlon team at the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Linda 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.
Gary Ventimiglia was a national wrestling runner-up who later became 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, November 9th, and concludes with a full slate of activities throughout the day on Saturday, November 10th. Tickets for the Hall of Fame induction can be purchased online via the College’s website.