The Little East Conference (LEC) will honor 12 individuals as part of the 2016 Hall of Fame Class as announced by the conference office today. This year’s class, the LEC’s fourth Hall of Fame Class in its history, will be celebrated on Sunday, October 23 with its bi-annual induction ceremony taking place at the Providence Marriott Hotel at 3:30 p.m.
This year’s class, nominated by their alma maters and voted upon by the league’s eight Athletic Directors, will include individuals representing every Little East institution. The Class of 2016 is comprised of 10 former student-athletes, one administrator and one coach from our eight member institutions.
The induction ceremony will be open to the public, with a $50 per person price of admission, and also streamed live at www.littleeast.tv. Tickets and congratulatory program advertisements can be purchased online at http://mkt.com/LEC. All eight Little East Conference athletic departments also have a limited number of tickets available for sale. The purchase deadline for program advertisements is October 1, 2016.
The 2016 members include: former administrators from Western Connecticut State, Athletic Director Ed Farrington and Eastern Connecticut State baseball head coach Bill Holowaty. The 10 student-athletes include: Michelle Cunningham, a two-sport athlete from Eastern Connecticut State; Chris Coates (Men’s Basketball) and Meghan McLoughlin from Keene State College; Joshua Stolp (Men’s Lacrosse) from UMass Boston; Jonathan Garcia (Track & Field) from UMass Dartmouth; Brett Scaccia (Men’s Soccer) and Katie Sheridan (Women’s Soccer & Lacrosse) from Plymouth State; Kyle Teixeira (Men’s Soccer) from Rhode Island College: and Tim Bonsant (Men’s Basketball) and Renee Heath Towne (Field Hockey & Softball) from the University of Southern Maine.
Long-time Athletic Director, Ed Farrington enters the Little East Conference Hall of Fame after 29 years at the helm of the Western Connecticut State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Since his arrival in 1986, Western’s programs have made 62 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. Farrington has overseen a department that includes approximately 350 student-athletes each year in 14 varsity sports, including the addition of women’s soccer in 1994, swimming and diving in 1996 and women’s lacrosse in 1998. Farrington played a vital role in Western Connecticut’s acceptance as a full member into the Little East Conference, furthering the enhancement of the Western Connecticut State athletics brand.
Bill Holowaty, arguably one of the greatest baseball coaches in the New England Region, will also be inducted in the 2016 LEC Hall of Fame class. Coach Bill Holowaty is credited as the motivating force behind the rise of the entire Eastern Connecticut State athletic program to national prominence. The Mohawk, N.Y. native served as the University’s director of athletics for 14 years and concluded his 22nd season as head baseball coach in 1990 with his second NCAA Division III national title. Holowaty retired after his 45th season as head baseball coach in 2013 with four national championships and an overall record of 1,404-525-7 and at that time was the winningest baseball coach in the New England Division III history and was rated second in victories among all active Division III mentors. Under Holowaty’s tutelage, Eastern Connecticut State won 11 LEC Regular-Season Championships, seven LEC Tournament Championships, four National Championships (1982, 1990, 1998, 2002) as well as 12 NCAA Division III Regional Championships.
Michelle Cunningham was an all-time great two-sport athlete for volleyball and softball from the Eastern Connecticut State Warriors from 1995-1998. Cunningham is the only four-time All-Region selection volleyball player in program history and was also a four-time All-New England selection. In 1998, Cunningham became the first student-athlete named as the Volleyball LEC Player of the Year recipient as well as the 1998 LEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Cunningham currently holds the Warriors’ program record with 4,206 assists, which are 1,400 more than any other Warriors’ volleyball student-athlete. Cunningham also finished a stellar softball career with a program record .371 career batting average (tied 7th all-time through 2015) and currently fourth all-time in slugging with .590.
Former men’s basketball standout, Chris Coates’ arrival at Keene State coincided with the resurgence of an Owl men’s basketball program that was making the transition to Division III and the Little East Conference. Coates, a two-time All-Conference player, including the 2001 LEC Player of the Year recipient, led the Owls to two appearances in the LEC Tournament Finals and earned three ECAC berths. Coates, who averaged 19.3 points and 7.8 rebounds, wrapped up his Keene State career in 2001 becoming the programs first All-American. He finished second in scoring with 1,970 points and fifth in rebounds with 795 on Keene State’s all-time career lists.
Meghan McLoughlin, a two-time LEC Pitcher of the Year recipient, was an imposing figure in the pitching circle for the Keene State softball team during her 2002-2005 career. A ferocious competitor whose desire for perfection elicited performances unmatched by those who came before and after her. McLoughlin, who tossed the first-ever perfect game in Keene State program history against Eastern Connecticut State as a junior and led Division III with a miniscule 0.21 ERA as a senior and finished with a career 0.39 ERA. McLoughlin left Keene State with a career 39-14-5 record and 422 strikeouts, including a school-record 15 strikeouts in a win over Norwich in 2005. McLoughlin pitched the Owls to the LEC Championship and an NCAA postseason berth, where she notched a complete game win over top-seed Tufts.
Joshua Stolp is among the greatest lacrosse players in UMass Boston history. Over his four-year career, Stolp scored an incredible 190 goals to rank first among Beacons leaders and 16th all-time in NCAA history in only 60 career games. He amassed 250 total points to rank second in program ranks, while his 60 career assists put him seventh all-time. The 2003 LEC Offensive Player of the Year remains the only student-athlete in Beacons history to garner the LEC’s highest athletic award. During his senior campaign, Stolp was ranked ninth in the nation in goals per game, averaging 3.25 and led the team with 65 points and 52 goals in 16 games. His goal total is the seventh-most in a single season in school history. Stolp led the Beacons in 2001 to the programs’ first-ever LEC Championship game.
A six-time NCAA Division III All-American and a three-time national champion, Jonathan Garcia is among the top student-athletes to compete under the UMass Dartmouth Athletic Department banner. Garcia appeared in seven NCAA championship races throughout his indoor and outdoor track career. Garcia won his three national championships in three consecutive years, taking the 55-meter hurdles indoors in 2006, the 110-meter hurdles outdoors in 2007 and in his final race for the Corsairs, won the 55-meter hurdles indoors in 2008. Garcia earned the New England Division III Men’s Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Five years after his graduation, Garcia’s name still rests atop several events in the Corsairs’ record book, including the 55- and 60-meter high hurdles indoors, plus the 110-meter high hurdles outdoors.
The second-leading scorer in Plymouth State men’s soccer history, Brett Scaccia, played three seasons for the Plymouth State Panthers, leading the team in scoring all three years and earning All-Little East Conference First Team honors. Scaccia ranks second on Plymouth State’s career scoring list with 65 goals and 139 points, including the LEC 1997 Player of the Year after scoring 26 goals and guided the Panthers to the NCAA Regional Final. Scaccia is a two-time LEC Player of the Year (1995, 1997), including LEC Co-Player of the Year in 1993. Scaccia led the Panthers to the LEC Tournament Championship in 1993 and 1997, including the NCAA Regional Final (1997) on his way to being named a First Team All-American. Scaccia had a combined record of 39-14-3 as a member of the Plymouth State men’s soccer team.
One of the top two-sport athletes in Plymouth State history, Katie Sheridan earned Little East Conference Player of the Year honors in both soccer and lacrosse as well as being named All-New England in both sports. A native of West Sayville, N.Y., Sheridan made her biggest marks in lacrosse, finishing as one of the top scorers in NCAA Division III history. Sheridan was a two-time All-LEC Conference selection in soccer, including the 2003 LEC Defensive Player of the Year. Sheridan amassed 270 goals and 363 points in her lacrosse career, graduating fifth in NCAA Division III in goals and seventh in total points. Sheridan was the LEC Offensive Player of the Year recipient for three consecutive seasons (2002-2004) and holds every Plymouth State scoring record in the history of the program. Sheridan finished her career with a 59-11 record, winning four straight LEC championships and two NCAA tournament berths, including reaching the 2003 NCAA Regional Final.
Kyle C. Teixeira, Rhode Island College’s class of 2007 is one of the greatest men’s soccer players in the history of the program. He closed out his career having played in 80 games, starting 77. Teixeira also holds the school records for the most goals and points in a career and is second in career assists. Teixeira still holds the school record for most goals scored in a season with 24 goals. He was a three-time Little East Conference Offensive Player of the Year selection and was named First Team All-LEC in each of his four seasons at Rhode Island College. Teixeira was the second player in LEC history to earn Offensive Player of the Year honors three times to go along with four straight First Team All-LEC selections. Teixeira is currently an academy staff coach with the New England Revolution.
One of the most prolific players in the history of the University of Southern Maine Men’s Basketball program, Tim Bonsant finished his career with 1,616 points and presently ranks fifth on the Huskies’ All-Time scoring list. Bonsant was named the LEC Player of the Year for the 1990-91 season and earned NABC All-New England and Division III All-ECAC honors. Bonsant is still ranked in the top-10 in seven career statistical categories, including a school record 150 blocked shots. Bonsant led the Huskies in scoring during the 1989-90 and the 1990-91 seasons and led the team in rebounding for three consecutive seasons. Over his four-year career with the Huskies, Bonsant helped USM to an 85-32 record. Bonsant led the Huskies to the 1988-89 NCAA Division III Final Four, averaging 13.8 points and 8.0 rebounds a game and then posted career highs the following season, averaging 19.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game and a second straight NCAA Regional Tournament. Bonsant concluded his four-year career in 1991 with his third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and averaged 16.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
Renee Heath Towne distinguished herself in two sports during her four years at Southern Maine. A member of the field hockey and softball teams, Heath Towne earned numerous conference and regional awards in both of her chosen sports. As a member of the softball team, Heath Towne served as the team’s captain in 2003 and 2004, helping the Huskies to a record of 108-56-2 and finished in the top seven of 11 career statistical categories. Heath Towne was named a National Fast-pitch Coaches Association Regional (NFCA) All-American in three consecutive seasons (2002-2004) and All-NEISCA player (2002-2004) and an All-LEC selection for all four years (2001-2004). Heath-Towne was one of the top field hockey players in the region as well, earning NFHCA All-Region and All-LEC honors. She is still in the top six in games played (4th, 89 games), points (5th, 91 points), goals (6th, 34 goals scored) and assists (3rd, 23 assists). During her senior season, Heath-Towne led the Huskies to a 17-6 record, the program’s first Little East Conference championship and an invitation to the NCAA Division III tournament, leading the Huskies to reach the Sweet 16.
Formed in 1986, the Little East serves as New England’s premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. Featuring 19 championship sports, the Little East sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes. Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenship.