BY DOMINIC KEARNS
On Saturday, Jan. 26, Fordham formally introduced 10 new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame in a ceremony in the McGinley Center. The ten inductees, in chronological order, were Michael Dabney (’54 Tennis), Matteo Cucchiara (’65 Track), Wayne McGuirt (’65 Basketball), Frank McLaughlin (’69 Basketball), Tom Penders (’78-86 Basketball Coach), Paul Darrigo (’89 Baseball), Jennifer Akerley (GSB ’01 Rowing), Michelle Maguire Kennedy (’03 Swimming), Kerstin Greene (’07 Track) and Sara Kinney (’07 Softball).
Basketball inductees headlined the group, as three of the 10 inductees called the Rose Hill Gym home.
Frank McLaughlin played on Fordham’s Basketball team in the 1960s and captained the team his senior year. He returned as an assistant coach. He was a member of Digger Phelps’ staff in the 1970-71 season, when the Rams compiled a 26-3 record and earned an NCAA Tournament appearence. In 1985, McLaughlin became the school’s athletic director. Today he serves as the associate vice president of Student Affairs for Athletic Alumni Relations and External Affairs.
Tom Penders took the reins as Fordham’s head coach in 1978, and compiled an impressive 648-438 career record. He led the Rams to five NIT appearances in his eight seasons.
Wayne McGuirt was also a member of the basketball program; he captained the team during his junior and senior seasons.
Michael Dabney is the oldest inductee, but his career singles record for the Fordham tennis team provides ample justification for this honor. During his four years, he went 89-1 on the hard courts. Dabney earned MVP honors during his junior and senior seasons.
Matteo Cucchiara graduated from Fordham with school records in both the indoor and outdoor mile. Thankfully, he learned about his nomination into Fordham’s Hall of Fame just before his father’s death, which apparently brought a smile to the old man’s face.
Paul Darrigo led the Rams to the NCAA Baseball Tournament in 1988. He compiled impressive stats on the mound and was named a conference all-star that season.
Jennifer Akerley accomplished great things in the water during her athletic career, earning gold medals at the A-10 championships and the Dad Vail National Championship. She is likely Fordham’s best female rower of the new millennium.
Michelle Maguire Kennedy won the Hobbs Family Award as Fordham’s premier female athlete in 2003 for her swimming prowess. Kennedy also spoke on behalf of the award recipients at Saturday’s ceremony.
Sarah Kinney graduated Fordham in 2007 with nearly every school pitching record for softball. In addition, she won A-10 Rookie of the Year honors in 2004.
Kerstin Greene is particularly deserving of her induction into the Hall, having won the Hobbs Family Award as Fordham’s Outstanding Female Athlete in 2006 and 2007. She graduated with 14 school records, nine of which she still holds. Greene grew up in Germany, and gave up a possible career as an Olympic speed-skater for the German national team to join her brother at Fordham. Her excellence extended beyond the track, as Greene earned her bachelor’s degree in just three years.
Yankees broadcaster and Fordham alum Michael Kay, FCRH ’82, served as the emcee, and enjoyed spending time at his alma mater.
“Fordham is a family. My best friends are those I went to school with,” Kay said.
Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University, concluded the ceremony with some brief remarks. He commented on the large attendance, and said this was the first time the ceremony was held outside the McGinley 2nd Ballroom in years. For the inductees, McShane delivered a special message.
“Thank you for being examples of integrity, character, constancy and excellence.”