Bronx, NY—The ten newest members of the Fordham University Hall of Fame were inducted on Saturday at the McGinley Center Ballroom at Fordham’s Bronx campus. The newest group of honorees was the largest since 1999 and included alumni of seven sports. Approximately two dozen previous inductees were present to support the newest members of the HOF. Fordham President Father McShane remarked that the number of attendees for the ceremony was the largest in his 10 years as head of the university.
The inductees included three former members of the school’s basketball team. Frank McLaughlin (FCRH ’69) has been connected with the school for decades and in a variety of positions. In the late 1960’s he was a student-athlete. He captained the basketball team in the first coaching year of the legendary Ed Conlin. During the previous year, he played on the final Fordham team coached by Johnny Bach. After one year as an assistant coach at Holy Cross, McLaughlin returned to Fordham as an assistant to “Digger” Phelps in Fordham basketball’s greatest season. Their leadership led the team to a 26-3 mark and entry to the NCAA Tournament.
After that great year, Phelps and McLaughlin moved to Notre Dame. After several years with Phelps, McLaughlin took the head coaching job at Harvard, which he successfully held for eight years.
He returned to Fordham in 1985 as Director of Athletics and still remains at his Alma Mater. He was promoted to Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation in 1998. Last year, McLaughlin became associate VP of Student Affairs for Athletic Alumni Relations and External Affairs. His accomplishments in his years in athletic administration are too numerous to fit in the space of this article.
Wayne McGuirt (FCRH ’65) joined several of his former teammates in the Fordham HOF. He was team captain in his junior and senior seasons.
Tom Penders, a University of Connecticut grad, was head basketball coach at Fordham from 1978-86. Fordham reached the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) in five straight seasons of the eight he coached in the Bronx. His collegiate coaching career included leading his teams to 648 victories while losing only 438. He is only one of only eight collegiate coaches to lead four different teams to the NCAA Tournament.
Water sports inductees included Jennifer Akerley (GSB ’01), who was a gold medalist at the Dad Vail National Championship and at the Atlantic-10 Championship in rowing, and Michelle Maguire Kennedy (FCRH ’03). Kennedy, a championship swimmer, received the Hobbs Family Award as the school’s leading female athlete in 2003.
Paul Darrigo (FCRH ’89) was a mound star at the ECAC Championship and NCAA Tournament in 1988. During that same year he was named a MAAC All-Star and All-New York State.
Matteo Cucchiara (FCRH ’65) graduated from Fordham holding the school’s indoor and outdoor mile marks. Cucchiara was able to share the news of his induction with his father shortly before the latter’s recent death. He was thankful that he was able to bring a smile to his father’s face, so near to his end.
Michael Debany (FRCH ’54) was defeated in only one match in his four years of tennis competition in college. Debany, the senior member of the honored class of inductees, compiled an 89-1 mark at the university. He was the MVP of the tennis team in his junior and senior years. He recently celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary.
The two most recent graduates in the honored class were Sara Kinney (FCRH ’07) and Kerstin Greene (FCRH ‘07). Kinney earned A-10 Rookie of the Year honors in 2004. She graduated holding virtually every Fordham career pitching record in the school’s softball history.
Greene was the greatest female track & field performer in Fordham history. She earned the Hobbs Family Award as the top female student-athlete at Fordham in 2006 and 2007. The young woman graduated holding 14 Fordham records; she still holds nine of those marks. Before entering college, she was an acclaimed speed skater. She was a member of the German national team and holder of many national records.
Her story at Fordham displays character and ability far beyond the athletic field. The native of Germany had promised her younger brother, Sebastian, that if he was accepted at an American college, she would do her best to join him at that campus. After his acceptance by Fordham, she applied and was also accepted. To do so, she gave up her then career as a model, disc jockey and singer. In addition to her studies at Fordham, she worked as a personal trainer at a health club in the Bronx as well as dedicating herself to excelling on the track & field team. Despite all these endeavors, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in only three years.
New York Yankee broadcaster and 1982 Fordham grad Michael Kay did his usual outstanding handling of the emcee duties. The dedicated Fordham alum said, “Fordham is a family. My best friends are those I went to school with.” An event later in the afternoon was proof of the truth of his words. He and his wife, Jodi Applegate, were presented with gifts from Fordham for their three week-old daughter, Caledonia.
The ceremony ended with remarks by Michelle Maguire Kennedy, who expressed the thanks of the 2013 class of inductees and closing words by Father McShane. To the honorees, he stated, “Thank you for being examples of integrity, character, constancy and excellence.”all oif Fame