Hall of Fame inducts four, honors basketball

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation hosted the 2012 Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday Sept. 22 in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom.

The department honored All-American Amy Cleary, ’97, and three men’s basketball players: Richard Woodward, ’71, Stanley Janas, ’72, and Griffin Coles, ’00. The 1997-98 and 1998-99 SUNYAC men’s basketball championship teams were also honored.

According to George Gagnier, assistant athletic director and director and chair of the sports hall of fame committee, in order to select each year’s inductees, the committee determines which players and teams meet the qualifications, taking thoughtful consideration of who to induct.

According to Michael Mooney, director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation, “Every year there is a committee from a number of faculty, staff and some community members.”

“We try to make sure we’re getting everybody involved,” Mooney said.

“Most of the time the process for the committee is looking at who is the most deserving, but we also try to pair people who have played together or a similar sport,” Gagnier said. “It’s a really nice way to recognize the accomplishments of our former student-athletes and coaches.”

Gagnier also said it is not just athletes who are inducted, but anybody who has had a positive influence on the athletic department is also eligible. This new category, called Legends of the Blue Knights, began in 2000.

Previously, the ceremonies took place during halftimes at basketball games and at the annual President’s Recognition Dinner. Since a suggestion made in 2001, the induction ceremony has joined the series of events during Homecoming Weekend.

Coles, the youngest of the inductees, said he was “really surprised” at his induction to the Hall of Fame.

“The only reason I’m getting inducted is because of the teams I was a part of,” Coles said. “We turned it on at tournament time, the coaches did a great job and we were a close group of guys.”

Coles credits a lot of his personal success to those around him and the close relationships they built.

“Basketball-wise, the memories are all over the place,” Coles said. “Winning that SUNYAC tournament, the practices, remembering the time and commitment … it teaches you a lot about dedication and commitment and I loved it.”

“I’m really excited to be here,” Cleary said. “I feel really lucky that I’m still friends with my good friends from the swim team.”

“I was a sprinter,” she said. “I swam mostly the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle.” It was the 800 free relay, however, that defined Cleary as an All-American.

“I loved being a part of the team and going to the races and being part of something when we were all cheering for each other,” she said. “I had a lot of really great people supporting me.”

Woodward’s accomplishments are particularly noteworthy, as he remains a record holder today.

“I’m still number two rebounding all-time,” Woodward said. “And I haven’t been here in 40 years so I guess there is something to be said about still being up in the numbers.”

“My junior year, we went 18-5,” Janas, who played alongside Woodward in the ‘70s, said. “And that was the most memorable year.”

“The team really gelled and fit together well,” he said. “When I left I was second in team scoring, but I didn’t know it at the time. It was surprising, I was like, ‘I held a record?’”

The 2012 Sports Hall of Fame inductees join 31 previously inducted classes in the annual tradition.

“We’re giving people a reason to come back,” Mooney said. “And if you make a nice program, it keeps adding to the persona of it.”