Quinnipiac University inducted seven former athletes and two teams into its Athletic Hall of Fame during a special dinner ceremony in the recently renovated and expanded Recreation Center.
The Hall of Fame’s Class of 2003 includes: Lester Ayala ’91 (men’s basketball), Richard Ciardiello ’87 (men’s ice hockey), Rose Mary DeGrand (women’s tennis coach, athletic administrator), Dennis Flanagan ’72 (men’s soccer), Joyce Furman ’85 (women’s basketball), Boyd Johnson ’91 (men’s basketball) and Frank Trasacco ’84 (baseball).
In addition to the seven individual inductees, the 1972-73 men’s basketball and 1965 men’s soccer teams were enshrined. This marked the first time a team is inducted into Quinnipiac’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Lester Ayala was a four-year starter for the men’s basketball team. He ranks seventh all-time with 1,687 points, sixth with 815 rebounds and tied for fourth with 112 games played. As a junior in 1991, Ayala was an All-Northeast-10 selection after posting 500 points.
Richard Ciardiello, a right wing on the men’s ice hockey team, stands seventh all-time with 61 goals, fourth with 97 assists and fifth with 158 points. As a senior in 1986-87, Ciardiello registered 34 assists (tied for third all-time in a season) and 55 points (fourth) to lead Quinnipiac to the ECAC Finals and to a 22-7-1 record.
Rose Mary DeGrand, Quinnipiac’s head women’s tennis coach from 1977-96, was named the school’s first director of physical education in 1970, a position she still holds. A 32-year Quinnipiac employee, DeGrand was the school’s first female administrator and coach.
Dennis Flanagan, a four-year member of the men’s soccer team and a U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam, is a member of Quinnipiac’s Board of Trustees. A letter winner for the soccer team, Flanagan played from 1966-67, then served in Vietnam before coming back to Quinnipiac in 1970 to finish his collegiate career. As a fullback, Flanagan tallied three goals and two assists in his career.
Joyce Furman, a four-year letter winner on the women’s basketball team, ranks fifth all-time in rebounds with 641 and eleventh in field goals with 486. An All-New England selection in 1983, Furman scored more than 900 points in her career, played in back-to-back national tournaments and was a member of the winningest team in the program’s history in 1983-84 when Quinnipiac went 28-3.
Boyd Johnson, the all-time steals leader with 232, was a four-year starter for the men’s basketball team. Johnson, a member of the 1988 Northeast-10 Championship squad, also ranks first in games played (115), ninth in points (1,641), ninth in rebounds (781) and eighth in assists (292).
Frank Trasacco, who ranks tied for fifth all-time in victories with 18, was one of Quinnipiac Baseball’s top pitchers in the 80’s. Ranked third all-time with 209 strikeouts, Trasaco went 6-2 with a 3.50 earned run average and 58 strikeouts while leading the team to a 25-8 record as a senior in 1984.
The 1965 Quinnipiac Men’s Soccer team finished the year with a record of 10-6. The team’s biggest accomplishment came when it defeated Castleton, 3-2, and Gordon, 5-0, to win the NAIA District #32 title and advance to the NAIA National Tournament.
The 1972-73 Quinnipiac Men’s Basketball team posted a 22-7 record while winning the NAIA District #32 South New England Championship. The team advanced to the NAIA National Tournament, where it defeated Ouachita Baptist, 79-66, before losing to Slippery Rock, 104-75.
The induction will bring the Quinnipiac Athletic Hall of Fame to 92 members and two teams, dating back to the inaugural ceremony in 1971. Portraits of the inductees will hang in the new and expanded lobby of the Athletic Center.
Inductees were also recognized during home athletic contests on Saturday, Feb. 8 as part of Quinnipiac’s Hall of Fame Weekend.