Four legendary figures, 1957-58 men's basketball team comprise Saint Michael's Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017

Four legendary figures, 1957-58 men's basketball team comprise Saint Michael's Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College Department of Athletics announced its 2017 Athletic Hall of Fame class on Tuesday, with four new members and the 1957-58 men's basketball team set to be enshrined at the 29th Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday evening, Sept. 16, at the Roy Room in the College's Dion Family Student Center.

The Class of 2017 is comprised of: Paul Barous '89, one of the top men's soccer goalkeepers in Northeast-10 Conference history; C.J. Spirito '90, a three-time all-conference cross country runner; Meghan Scalley Fisher '02, an All-America field hockey keeper; Eileen Mullowney '12, a star dual-sport student-athlete and record-breaking swimmer; and the 1957-58 men's basketball team, the national runner-up widely considered the best team ever assembled at Saint Michael's.

The Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet, which is a cornerstone of the College's Alumni and Family Weekend, begins with a reception at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 followed by the dinner and induction ceremony at 7 p.m. Additional details for Alumni and Family Weekend and the Hall of Fame ceremony, including ticket information, is available here.

 

Paul Barous '89, Men's Soccer

Barous, who grew up in Boxford, Mass., and now lives in Andover, Mass., will be the sixth men's soccer inductee. An outstanding goalkeeper during his three-year career, he transferred to Saint Michael's as a sophomore but played only one game behind Hall of Famer John Jordan '87 in the program's historic 1986 season (13-3-1). After Jordan's graduation, however, Barous became the starting keeper, and was one of the Northeast-10 Conference's top keepers for the next two seasons. In the fall of 1987, the Purple Knights' first in the NE10, the team was 7-6-5 overall and 3-3-3 in conference play. Barous led the league in goals-against average (0.75) and save percentage (.934) while adding six shutouts. The Purple Knights made their postseason debut as the NE10's sixth seed and, despite Barous's 11 saves, fell to eventual tournament runner-up Bryant University, the third seed, 1-0, on Bryant's home turf in the quarterfinals. He was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-New England first team while also garnering NE10 All-Conference first team laurels.

In 1988, Saint Michael's was 9-8-3 and tied for second place in the NE10 with Springfield College with a 6-1-2 league mark. After defeating Quinnipiac University, 2-0, in the NE10 quarterfinals, the Purple Knights tied Springfield, 2-2, in a semifinal before falling on penalty kicks, 4-3. Barous had 19 saves. That season, he registered a 0.86 GAA, a .914 save percentage and 10 shutouts, landing on the NE10 All-Conference second team. Barous still holds six records at Saint Michael's: lowest career GAA (0.84), highest season (93.4%) and career (92.1%) save percentages, most season shutouts (10), most season saves (actually the top two totals, 191 and 184), and most keeper minutes in a season (all 1,880 of his team's minutes in 1988). Almost 30 years after his graduation, he still ranks third in NE10 history with his save percentage of .934 in 1987; the figure remains one of the best in the history of NCAA Division II soccer. During his three years with the Purple Knights, the team was 29-17-9 overall and 9-4-5 in NE10 play.

Since graduation, Barous has held several professional positions, invented sanitary beverage cover SANILID, and started a company called Retail Revenue Stream Solution. He holds two patents, one trademark and a business method patent.

 

C.J. Spirito '90, Men's Cross Country

Spirito, a native of Hingham, Mass., and a resident of Burlington, Vt., will be the third inductee with men's cross country ties. The first three-time all-conference runner in program history - and one of only two as of 2017 - Spirito's professional career has seen him make an impact at Rock Point School, an alternative high school in Burlington, since shortly after graduating. He remains tied for the school record with eight career victories, and at one time held program marks for five-mile and 10K races. A two-time captain, he finished as an all-state first team qualifier twice thanks to his performances at the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship. In his rookie year of 1986, the Purple Knights finished third among five schools in the old Mideast Collegiate Conference's championship, but he was not among the six Purple Knights chosen to compete. Over the next three falls, Spirito rattled off his historic run of three consecutive Northeast-10 Conference All-Conference first team placements.

In 1987, Spirito was fifth out of 88 runners at the Purple Knights' first NE10 Championship, as his squad was fourth at the nine-team meet. During his junior season, he again placed fifth at NE10s while helping Saint Michael's take third in a meet it hosted. He closed out his career with a memorable 1989 campaign. In addition to taking a career-high third at the NE10 Championship, Spirito lifted the Purple Knights to what remains the best finish at a league meet in program history, a second-place performance, and a point total just 11 shy of champion Bentley University. On the strength of his second career top-50 showing at the NCAA East Regional Championship, Saint Michael's was 14th out of 35 schools at the regional championship, its best finish in a field of that size until the 2011 team tied for 12th. During the season, Spirito also led his team to second place at the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship, still the best in program history. At the 1990 Block 'M' Dinner, he received the Roger F. Keleher '15 Award as the male student-athlete with the highest grade-point average in the graduating class.

An English literature major, Spirito was heavily involved around campus as an undergraduate, and completed his master's degree from the College in education/school leadership in 2009. He joined the Rock Point School shortly after graduation in 1990 and assumed the Dean of Students position in 1994, serving in that capacity until becoming Head of School in 2011. Rock Point School touts itself as a coed boarding school for high-school-aged young adults who have gotten off track personally or academically. Spirito has also been active in his community, serving as the vice president of Center City Little League for a decade and secretary of the Burlington High School boosters since September 2014. He and his partner, Kathy Butts '89, a former Saint Michael's cross country runner and a current College employee in the Bergeron Wellness Center, have two sons, Miles and Kelly. Miles recently completed his first year as a student at Saint Michael's.

 

Meghan Scalley Fisher '02, Field Hockey

Fisher, a Beverly, Mass., native, will become the 16th field hockey representative in the Hall. One of the top goalkeepers in program history, she only learned the position prior to her sophomore season. A three-year starter, Fisher backstopped Saint Michael's to its first two NCAA Tournaments, two Northeast-10 Conference regular-season titles, and a 39-16 overall mark, including 21-4 in the NE10. She was named NE10 Goalkeeper of the Year as a junior and senior, and landed a National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-America recognition as a junior. Fisher still holds program records for career wins (38) and shutouts (23), stands second in goals-against average (0.97, just 0.02 shy of the record) and minutes (3,758:47), fifth in save percentage (.839), and sixth in saves (270). Her GAA is fourth in NE10 history.

In her first season as a goalkeeper, Fisher posted a career-low 0.89 GAA in 1999. The Purple Knights went 11-6 overall (4-2 NE10), losing matching 1-0 postseason games in an NE10 Tournament semifinal and an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament semifinal. She started all 17 games, going 11-6 with seven shutouts and an .826 save percentage. A 2-2 start was followed by a 9-2 stretch, which included a 1-0 loss at home to Division III powerhouse Middlebury College; that would be Fisher's final career loss on Doc Jacobs Field, as the Purple Knights won her last 17 home games. As a junior, Fisher was 13-4 with eight shutouts, a 1.08 GAA and an .829 save percentage, starting all 18 games for a team that went 14-4 (8-1 NE10), earned its first regular-season league crown and made its NCAA Tournament debut. Saint Michael's announced it was for real thanks to a pair of monumental wins during an 8-0 start: a 2-1 win on September 19 over fourth-ranked Bentley University, snapping the Falcons' 32-game NE10 winning streak, as Fisher made 10 saves; and a decisive 3-0 triumph five days later over Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the No. 1 team in Division II. She made 19 saves, a figure that would stand as the most in her career. During an NE10 semifinal, Fisher made eight saves against Bryant University in a 2-1 overtime win, the first NE10 postseason victory in program history after the league added the sport in 1996. With the old Doc Jacobs Field unplayable for the championship game due to snow on the grass surface, Saint Michael's was poised to be named postseason champion by virtue of its regular-season crown. However, with Bentley, its scheduled finals opponent, also slated to be its foe in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, the conference decided the victor of that game would also be declared NE10 Tournament titlist. While making their NCAA debut, the Purple Knights lost a 1-0 decision to the Falcons, who also made off with the NE10 crown, as Fisher registered five saves. She was named NE10 Goalkeeper of the Year, NFHCA All-America and to the NE10 All-Conference first team. Her eight shutouts were one short of a school record.

Fisher's senior year, during which she was a co-captain with Athletic Hall of Fame member and star defender Angela Potts '02, featured an NE10 regular-season co-championship and another NCAA Tournament appearance, as the Purple Knights went 14-6 (9-1 NE10). While again starting every game, Fisher was 14-6 with eight shutouts, a 0.93 GAA and an .856 save percentage, setting a program record for minutes (1,352:34) while coming within one win and shutout of school marks. After starting the year 3-4, Saint Michael's rattled off a school-record 11-game winning streak; Fisher allowed only three goals in that stretch. As the No. 2 seed in the NE10 Tournament, the Purple Knights downed Stonehill College, 1-0, in a semifinal thanks to her five-save shutout before the netminder was pressed into making 18 more stops in a 4-0 loss at Bentley in the title game. The teams rematched in an NCAA Tournament semifinal, where Fisher made eight saves, but Bentley scored the only goal in the 27th minute of a 1-0 game. A repeat selection as the NE10 Goalkeeper of the Year, she was chosen to compete in the NFHCA North/South All-Star Game, landed an ECAC All-Star selection and again landed on the NE10 All-Conference first team.

Following her time at the College, Fisher returned to her native Beverly and has been a registered nurse at Beverly Hospital since 2007. She married her husband, Tim, in 2006, and the couple has three children. After graduating from Saint Michael's with a degree in business administration, Fisher studied nursing at Salem State University.

 

Eileen Mullowney '12, Women's Swimming & Diving/Tennis

Mullowney, who hails from Burlington, Vt., and currently resides in Bermuda, is the fourth women's tennis representative and the third women's swimming & diving student-athlete in the Athletic Hall of Fame. Mullowney also becomes just the fifth first-ballot Hall of Fame selection in College history, and the fourth woman to pull the feat. She remains one of the greatest dual-sport student-athletes ever at Saint Michael's, and one of the most decorated swimmers. She was also a key member of a women's tennis program that qualified twice for the NCAA Tournament during her tenure. Her accomplishments could have been even greater had she not missed her entire sophomore swimming season - and all but two tennis matches that year - due to injury. Upon graduation, Mullowney held 11 swimming school records. She was an eight-time Northeast-10 Conference All-Conference qualifier, five-time league champion, and five-time New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association (NEISDA) Championship champion. In the water, she became the first Saint Michael's swimmer to earn all-conference - necessitating a top-two finish in an event at the NE10 Championship, which began in 2003-04 - and won between 89 and 96 combined individual and relay events during her career; records are incomplete for the 2008-09 season.

As a first-year, she set eight school records, was NE10 champion in the 200-yard freestyle while also all-conference in the 100 free, and won the 100 and 200 free races at the NEISDA Championship, breaking the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth's pool record in the 200 free. As a junior, Mullowney reached provisional qualifying times for the NCAA Championship in the 100 and 200 free; won the 100 free at the NE10 Championship while also earning all-conference finishes in the 50 and 200 free; set two school records; won 30 events, including 23 during individual races; and was chosen as NE10 Academic All-Conference. Mullowney capped a standout senior year with dominant performances at both of the Purple Knights' championships. She won the 50, 100 and 200 free at both the NE10 and NEISDA championships, reached NCAA Championship provisional times in all three events, and was named NEISDA Championship Swimmer of the Meet. She set seven school records, won 36 events (27 individual) and served as team captain. Also a standout in the classroom, she was chosen for Capital One NCAA Division II Academic All-District while landing her second career NE10 Academic All-Conference laurel.

On the tennis court, Mullowney was 36-17 during her career while helping the Purple Knights qualify for the NCAA Tournament each of her first two years. Saint Michael's was 52-29 overall (39-12 NE10) during her career. As a first-year, she made an immediate impact with a 24-11 mark, going 10-6 between No. 4 and 5 singles and 14-5 across all three doubles positions. Saint Michael's went 14-7 overall and 9-3 in the NE10. Mullowney was 2-2 during her abbreviated sophomore year and 1-0 as a junior, in a doubles match. She rebounded to put together a 9-4 mark between singles and doubles as senior, including 6-4 while appearing at all three doubles spots, with the Purple and Gold going 13-8 overall and 10-3 in the NE10.

An accounting major with a mathematics minor, Mullowney was inducted into Pi Mu Epsilon, the mathematics honor society. Following graduation, she earned her MBA from Clarkson University before beginning to work toward her CPA license in her native Burlington. Soon thereafter, she moved to Bermuda, where she is a tax accountant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, specializing in U.S. and international tax compliance and strategy for insurance companies and investment funds. Still a high-level athlete, she won the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Association World 10-mile Swimming Championship on Lake Memphremagog in Northern Vermont, and followed that up by claiming the 2016 Bermuda National Open Water Championship.

 

1957-58 Men's Basketball Team

The 1957-58 men's basketball team, affectionately known as the Iron Knights, is the most storied team in the history of Saint Michael's Athletics, finishing as runner-up in the NCAA College Division Tournament as the first team at the College to advance to a national championship game. It is the third team to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. The 1957-58 season marked the second in a remarkable four-year span that saw the Purple Knights advance to the Sweet 16 each season, including advancing to the Elite Eight in Evansville, Ind., the last three winters. Because of illness and injuries, the Purple Knights played their way to the national championship using just five players upon arriving in Evansville: Drew Denmead '58, Hank Gretkowski '59, Tony Nicodemo '59, Jim Browne '60 and Dick Zeitler '60. The national media, covering the tournament, began to refer to them as the Iron Knights in their game stories, in reference to their 40-minute, ironman-like efforts. Each of the starting five, reserve Warren Tessier '59, head coach George "Doc" Jacobs and assistant coach Ed Markey '51 are already enshrined in the Saint Michael's Athletic Hall of Fame. Frank McCaffrey '58, Joe Spychalsky '58, Dave Mracek '59, Ralph St. Peter '59, Ted Burtis '60 (DNG), Tom O'Rourke '60 (DNG), Artie Orlando '60 (DNG) and Joe Watson '60 rounded out the roster. Denmead, Jacobs, Nicodemo, O'Rourke, Orlando, Watson and Zeitler are deceased.

The Purple Knights finished 19-7, playing only seven home games during an ambitious 21-game regular-season schedule. The slate included a 5-1 mark in Green Mountain Conference (GMC) play and the team's sixth GMC title in nine years; a home-and-home series sweep of eventual NCAA counterpart Adelphi University; three losses by six points or fewer, including 60-54 against a powerful Quantico Marines team comprised mostly of college graduates in the Marine Corps; and a 68-53 loss to Providence College, which ended the next three years in the prestigious National Invitation Tournament (NIT) while being led on the court by future three-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Lenny Wilkens. For the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the Purple Knights picked up a pair of surprisingly easy victories. First up was a 72-56 triumph over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which touted the nation's seventh-best scoring average (55.1). Following that was a 97-58 blowout of an Adelphi squad which had earned an automatic qualification to the tournament by running the table in its conference, and had knocked off host Brandeis University the prior day. Nicodemo scored 49 points in that game, then a tournament record.

With a Northeast title secured, the Purple Knights were among eight teams to head to Evansville with a national crown on their minds. In the national quarterfinals, Saint Michael's met a Grambling State (La.) University team that carried a 27-3 mark and had scored 100 points nine times, including 120 twice. Nicodemo scored 31, and the Purple Knights claimed an 84-76 victory and the right to take on local favorite Evansville University, the third-ranked team in the nation, in the Final Four the next day. The Aces, who carried a 22-3 record, won 14 of 15 contests heading into the national semifinal, but each Purple Knight starter scored in double figures during a 78-70 victory. Jacobs said Evansville's coach told him afterwards that he'd never heard of Saint Michael's College: "He knows all about us now." Evansville, which won the next two NCAA titles, took the third-place game the next day, when the Purple Knights also played their third game in three days, in front of 4,709 people - including 170 students that made the trek from Colchester - who came to see them oppose the powerful University of South Dakota. With all five starters having played all 80 minutes the prior two days, Saint Michael's ran out of gas in the championship game. As one Evansville sportswriter noted, the Purple Knights would beat South Dakota eight times out of 10 if they played during the season. Jacobs was similarly reflective, saying his squad could win seven of 10 given additional rest. As it was, South Dakota ran its winning streak to 20 with a 75-53 victory, capping a season during which four of its setbacks came to current major Division I squads (Missouri, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin). When they arrived home at the Burlington Municipal Airport at 8:05 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, the Purple Knights' airplane was met by more than 2,000 cheering fans who braved the wet snow, including the mayors of Burlington and Winooski, and they were swept away in a parade of convertibles provided by the Burlington-Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce, driving through the heart of Burlington and Winooski to the cheers of thousands.

1957-58 Men's Basketball Roster
No. Name Cl. Pos. Ht. Hometown/High School
3 Tom O'Rourke So. G 6-0 Jersey City, N.J./Saint Peter's Prep
4 Frank McCaffrey Sr. G 5-11 Manhasset, N.Y./Chaminade
5 Hank Gretkowski Jr. F 6-5 Jersey City, N.J./Ferris
10 Ralph St. Peter Jr. F 6-1 Burlington, Vt./Cathedral
11 Drew Denmead Sr. G 6-0 Upper Darby, Pa./West Catholic
12 Warren Tessier Jr. G 5-9 Plattsburgh, N.Y./Our Lady of Victory
13 Tony Nicodemo Jr. G 5-10 Jersey City, N.J./Ferris
14 Jim Browne So. F/G 6-2 Rutherford, N.J./Ridgefield Park
15 Ted Burtis So. G 6-0 Harrison, N.Y./Iona Prep
17 Joe Watson So. C 6-7 Mexico, Maine/Maine Central Institute
21 Dave Mracek Jr. C 6-5 Elizabeth, N.J./Saint Mary's
22 Joe Spychalsky Sr. C 6-9 Carle Place, N.Y./Saint Dominic's
23 Dick Zeitler So. F 6-5 Newark, N.J./Irvington Tech
* Artie Orlando So. G 6-2 West Nyack, N.Y./Clarkstown


* unknown uniform number


Head Coach:
George "Doc" Jacobs
Assistant Coach: Ed Markey '51
Captain: Drew Denmead