Four Oswego alumni athletes and a former Laker coach and
athletic director were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the
program’s success by being inducted into the Oswego Athletic Association Hall
of Fame. Shirleen Dubuque '85, Joseph Farmer '60, Robert
Heneka '67, Laurie Irving Murphy '83 and John Spring were
honored at the Oct. 26 men’s ice hockey game against Elmira College and
inducted at a luncheon ceremony in Sheldon Hall Oct. 27.
Betsy Oberst, Alumni Association Executive Director, welcomed the
luncheon guests, including SUNYAC Commissioner Dr. Patrick Damore, seven
current Hall of Fame members, former and current coaches, student athletes, and
friends and family members of the inductees. William Foley '74 served as
master of ceremonies for the seventh induction ceremony and current Athletic
Director Tim Hale also offered his congratulations and welcome to the newest
Hall of Fame members.
Shirleen Dubuque '85 was a standout tri-athlete, receiving many
awards for her undergraduate performances in basketball, field hockey and
softball. As a field hockey goalie, she made the most saves in a game (32) in
1981 and made All-State selection in 1982. Dubuque played shortstop for the
Lakers during the time when the softball team was a New York State
Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NYSAIAW) qualifier (1982),
the NYSAIAW champion (1984) and the NYSAIAW runner-up (1985). She was also a
member of the 1984 and 1985 softball All-State Championship teams.
The self-described “restless and competitive” Dubuque expressed some
nervousness when accepting her award. “I would rather be in a huddle talking
strategy with my teammates,” she admitted. “It’s an honor to be here, and I am
touched by your support.”
Dubuque thanked her family, teammates and coaches for their constant
support. “College years are a time for growth,” she said, “for figuring out all
the things that are not taught in a book.” She recalled the semester in her
junior year when she was taking 21 credit hours including courses with labs and
also playing sports. “It showed me I could do it,” said Dubuque. “The
friendships and memories are priceless.” One of Dubuque’s favorite
recollections was the exciting championship game at Buffalo State during her
junior year when the team scored twice in the seventh inning to win the
Dubuque has most recently taken her competitive edge to the golf course, a
sport she has enjoyed much more than she ever anticipated. The pet business
owner also joked that her life has “gone to the dogs” and that she thoroughly
enjoys the challenges that come with small business ownership. “I can’t help
it,” she said with a smile, “I have to win.”
Leslie Hatfield '86 presented the award plaque to Dubuque, officially
welcoming her to the Oswego Athletic Hall of Fame.
Joseph Farmer '60 was recognized for his contributions to both the
wrestling and the track and field teams during his four years at Oswego. Farmer
held the records for the shot put and discus and was named the Wilkes Regional
wrestling champion in 1959. In 1960, Farmer participated in the NCAA wrestling
championship and finished his highly successful undergraduate wrestling career
with a record of 48 wins and one loss.
Farmer said that he learned many life lessons through sports. “Competition
is the same in athletics on the field, the court or the playground,” he said,
“but scholarship is what prevails.” Farmer’s post-graduate resume reflects his
strong belief in quality education.
In his roles as a public school teacher, guidance counselor, principal and
superintendent of schools, he led his districts through such challenges as
implementing a court-ordered desegregation plan and securing grant money to
fund instructional programs. He also served as a councilman and was the special
assistant to the mayor of Yonkers for housing and redevelopment between 1996
In 2000, Farmer became the superintendent of schools for Yonkers Public
School and was awarded the Congressional Citation for Excellence in Educational
Reform and Leadership in 2002. In 2003 he stepped into the role of interim
principal for Ramapo High School and since July of 2005 has worked as the East
Ramapo Central School District deputy superintendent of schools.
“If you want to be a winner, you have to pay the price. I knew where I
wanted to go,” Farmer said. “And all that started at a little college by
the lake called Oswego.”
Farmer noted the many changes that have shaped the campus since he left
Oswego in 1960. But Farmer felt strangely at home in King Alumni Hall when he
checked in for the weekend and was amazed to realize why: “I lived in this
house!” Indeed, Farmer had truly come home during this visit to campus, and
encouraged the current students in attendance that the same will be true for
them. “This family will be yours forever, young folks,” he said.
Foley shared a letter from Sigma Tau Chi Alumni Chairman Sal Canzoneri
'59 congratulating Farmer on behalf of his fraternal brothers. “I
personally saw all of your home matches and rooted for you with all the other
brothers,” Canzoneri wrote. “You are now continuing to bring honors to the
college as well as the fraternity as you did years ago.”
Dean Farmer presented his father with his plaque of recognition.
The third inductee of the afternoon began his outstanding baseball career in
1964 at a time when freshmen were not allowed to play for the varsity team.
Robert Heneka '67 led the freshmen team with a .576 batting average and
became a key varsity member in 1965.
A three-time State University All-Conference catcher, Heneka was selected
for the 1966 All-American team and had a record of 33 hits in a single season.
In that same 1966 season, he was 16th in the nation with an overall
batting average of .408, led the State University Athletic Conference with a
.445 batting average in league play and had a record 12-game hitting streak. As
team captain, Heneka brought the team to the NCAA regional play-offs held in
Yankee Stadium where the team was named the runner-up in the four-team
Following graduation in 1967, Heneka taught until 2003 in the Webster
Central School District, where he coached both football and baseball. The New
York State Coaches Association presented him with the 1989 Honor Award,
recognizing his coaching excellence in both sports.
Heneka credited his family, mentors and former coaches for his success both
on and off the field. Oswego Coach Walter Nitardy greatly influenced Heneka
with his simple, fundamentals-based style, which Heneka has applied to his own
Heneka’s brother Kevin presented him with the Athletic Hall of Fame plaque,
and the honored alumnus encouraged the audience to learn from their experiences
and to savor each moment. “Don’t just celebrate your successes,” Heneka said,
“look at why you’re being successful.”
Laurie Irving Murphy '83 accepted the Athletic Hall of Fame honor for
her outstanding achievements on the Laker swimming and diving team.
Named Rookie MVP for 1980, Murphy won first place on the three-meter board
and second on the one-meter board at the 1980 state championships and placed
16th at Nationals on the three-meter board.
She was a four-time national qualifier and competitor, taking home second
place on the one- and three-meter boards in the 1981 state championship and
rising to 13th on the three-meter board at the National Championship
that year. In 1983, she placed second on the three-meter board at states.
In 1982, Murphy set the Oswego record for the three-meter board with a score
of 279.3, and in 1983 she secured a second-place win for the Lakers on the
three-meter board at the state championship.
“I am honored and humbled to be here today,” said Murphy. “It’s been great,
and it’s brought back fabulous memories.”
In her first visit to Oswego since graduation, Murphy reflected on the
friendships, education and love that she found at her alma mater. Swim coach
Grace Mowatt Burritt – “the glue that held the team together” – and diving
coach Tom “Chooch” Ravesi – so named for the train conductor’s hat that he
often wore – brought Murphy “to new heights” during her athletic career as a
Murphy is currently an attorney and lives in Cincinnati with husband Joe
Murphy '83, a men's hockey alumnus, who toured the Oswego campus with his
then-girlfriend as a high school senior. Former teammate Caroline Coley
Stanistreet '84 presented the Hall of Fame plaque to Murphy.
“What I found at Oswego I have brought with me through a lifetime,” said
Emeritus Athletic Director, Professor and Coach John Spring’s many
contributions to the Laker athletic program established his place in the Hall
Spring began teaching at Oswego State in 1967 as an associate professor and
took over the athletic director position in 1977. In that role, Spring managed
the 10 varsity athletic programs for men, coordinated the 1983 SUNYAC wrestling
championships and served on numerous national and regional athletic
Spring served as head coach for the varsity swim team from 1967 to 1974 and
again from 1980 to 1987. He recalled how team members would pack up two station
wagons to travel to meets and how delighted he was when the swim program moved
from the four-lane pool at Lee Hall to the six-lane pool at Laker.
From 1972 until 1973, Spring was the head coach of the varsity lacrosse team
when the players donned the football team’s practice jerseys for games. Spring
also coached men’s varsity tennis in 1970 and then again led the lacrosse team
from 1976 to 1982.
After leaving Oswego, Spring accepted the position of director of athletics
and recreation for SUNY Geneseo where he worked from 1987 to 1999.
In 2000, he was honored with the Dr. Patrick Damore Distinguished Service
Award for having served at least 15 years as a coach or administrator in
SUNYAC. He was also recognized with the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming and
Diving Championship Appreciation Award in 2001. He is currently the executive
director of the United States International Lacrosse Association based in
Spring shared many memories about his time on campus, from team trips in the
iconic green buses of the late 1970s to training sessions in Florida.
“I spent 20 great years here at Oswego,” Spring said. “Years I’ll never
Current Men’s Lacrosse coach Dan Witmer '82 presented Spring with his
plaque of honor.
-Meagan Smith '07
2007 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees are, seated, from left, Laurie Irving
Murphy '83, swimming and diving; Shirleen Dubuque '85, women's
basketball, field hockey and softball; and standing, from left, John Spring,
emeritus athletic director, professor, coach men's lacrosse, swimming and
tennis; Joe Farmer '60, track and field, and wrestling; and Bob
Heneka '67, baseball.
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Oswego Alumni Association, Inc.
King Alumni Hall - SUNY Oswego - Oswego, NY 13126
315-312-2258 - 315-312-5570 (fax)
Web site: www.oswego.edu/alumni