The SUNY Oswego Alumni Association inducted six former stars and one booster to the Oswego State Athletic Hall of Fame, celebrating their dedication to sports and community in a ceremony Oct. 30 in Sheldon Hall ballroom.
The eveningâ€™s first inductee was Michael Snell, class of 1987, who was recognized for his accomplishments in ice hockey. Snell described his experience as unforgettable.
“Those four years were the most memorable years of my life,” Snell told the 175 audience members at the banquet. “I had amazing teammates and coaches that inspired me to do my best.”
Snell was the former menâ€™s ice hockey team captain and established the mark for the most goals in a single season. He currently ranks third on the menâ€™s ice hockey all-time scoring list with 263 points (137 goals and 126 assists in 131 games). After graduation, Snell went on to play two years of professional hockey in Germany.
The class of 1985’s Barry Dillon, accompanied by his son Connor, was acknowledged for his accomplishments in baseball. One of the collegeâ€™s all-time great pitchers, Dillon holds the record for career wins with 37.
“As a freshman, I learned quickly from our veterans what the word â€˜teamâ€™ really meant,” Dillon said. “To say that you guys were a large part of the award would be short-changing you.
“This award represents the fun and success we had together â€“ every one of you had a piece of this. I am only a caretaker,” he said.
Former Oswego State womenâ€™s basketball player and 1983 graduate Eileen Sommers was recognized not only for her achievements and dedication to the team â€“ she was the single-season scoring record holder with 264 points and the first SUNY Oswego woman to score 1,000 points â€“ but also for her work beyond college.
She recently received a meritorious honor for her work with troubled teens over the past 22 years with the New York state Probation Department.
“Being on a team was a great experience for me,” Sommers said. “I learned to work together with people, to accept success and defeats with some sense of grace. And there was some comfort in knowing that together, working as a team, much can be accomplished. Those experiences have brought me far in life.”
Former Laker soccer player Robert Zabronsky, class of 1982, was honored for his accomplishments, which include making the All-SUNY Athletic Conference first team in each year that he played. He was also recognized for his commitment to community service.
“Soccer has been a big part of my life,” Zabronsky said. “I played in high school and here in Oswego. I also got the opportunity to represent the United States as a member of the Maccabiah team, which afforded me the luxury to travel to Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Israel, Germany and all over the United States, and allowed me to make everlasting friendships along the way.”
The class of 1977’s James Hauptfleisch was recognized for a wrestling career that included multiple championships and even a match with a 610-pound bear. He was the SUNYAC individual champion in 1975 as well as state heavyweight champ in 1975 and 1977, the same year he was named an All-American.
“I really appreciate being part of the Oswego Hall of Fame and looking back on all the great times I had wrestling and all the great friends I had the chance to meet,” said Hauptfleisch, who will be inducted into the New York state Wrestling Hall of Fame in January.
Charles Wiltse, class of 1963 and master’s class of 1969, was recognized for his accomplishments in and commitment to cross country and track. He served as coach for cross country and track in the Baldwinsville Central School District from 1963 to 1984. The Syracuse YMCA also recognized him for community service in 1978.
“The cross country and track teams’ coaches instilled in us the value of hard work that leads to lifelong success,” said Wiltse, who spent most of his career as a school administrator. “All these accomplishments that you heard really are not solely mine. Without the help from fellow coaches and colleagues, we would not have helped the many young athletes that we have served. Thank you very much for this honor, and go Lakers!”
Dick Johnson was the nightâ€™s final inductee, but the first Hall of Fame member ever who did not play sports for the college.
He was recognized for his role in co-founding the Blue Line Club, whose members ardently support the Oswego menâ€™s ice hockey team while fostering college and community spirit. He was also the Blue Line Clubâ€™s first president.
“It is certainly an honor to be the first non-athlete in the hall of fame,” Johnson said. “Itâ€™s been more than perfect.”
Any SUNY Oswego alumni can nominate a former athlete at any time. The deadline for 2011 Hall of Fame class nominations is Jan. 1.
PHOTO CAPTION: Class of 2010—The 10th Oswego State Athletic Hall of Fame class included, back row, from left: James Hauptfleisch, class of 1977; Barry Dillon, class of 1985; Michael Snell class of 1987; and Dick Johnson. Pictured front row, from left, are: Charles Wiltse, class of 1963 and master’s class of 1969; Robert Zabronsky, class of 1982; and Eileen Sommers, class of 1983.
(Posted: Nov 11, 2010)