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For the first time in its 17-year history, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Athletic Hall of Fame will welcome a team honoree that will be enshrined along with a former school president as well as athletes representing the sports of baseball, women’s cross country, outdoor track & field and football during induction ceremonies on campus on Friday, November 10th.
Members of the 2001 offshore sailing team that captured the Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s offshore national championship by winning the John F. Kennedy Cup Regatta at the United States Naval Academy will become the first team inductee in school history. The group, coached by longtime Academy Boat Donations director and Sailing program director Chuck Fontaine, topped the University of Rhode Island by five points to capture the Kennedy Cup crown on the waters of Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, Md., as the competition also included the host Midshipmen along with teams from the St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the United States Coast Guard Academy, the State University of New York-Maritime College, College of Charleston, the University of Michigan, Maine Maritime Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. The Buccaneer squad members competing in the Kennedy Cup were Britton Thorn ‘01, Keith O’Leary ‘01,Patrick Donovan ‘02, Kenny Gross ‘02, Ed Scott ‘04, Dale Harper ‘02, Alex Woodworth ‘03 and Ryan Lynch ‘01.
Retired Rear Admiral Rick Gurnon, who provided distinguished leadership and vision throughout his decade as Massachusetts Maritime’s President from 2005-15, heads this year’s individual inductees into the Buccaneer Athletic Hall of Fame. Gurnon served in various administrative capacities upon his arrival in Buzzards Bay in 1978, and his vision led to an unprecedented era of growth and expansion for intercollegiate athletics during his presidency, including the renovation and construction of both Clean Harbors Stadium and the Clean Harbors Athletic Center. Gurnon also oversaw the installation of the current stadium turf surfaces as well as the expansion of varsity women’s programs with the addition of soccer in 2008 and lacrosse in 2012.
Meredith Hall ’11 is the first member of Massachusetts Maritime’s women’s cross country and outdoor track & field programs to be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. The Duxbury, Mass. native and current South Berwick, Maine resident served as a team captain in both sports, and she helped build the fledgling track & field squad in its formative years as a varsity program while holding several school records, including the javelin. In 2011, Hall was one of four recipients of the NCAA Sportsmanship Award following her actions at the UMass Boston Codfish Bowl cross country race in September 2010, as she stopped competing in the five kilometer event to assist a fellow competitor from Brandeis University who was suffering an asthma attack. Meredith, the 2010-11 Academy Alumni Female Athlete of the Year, also received the MASCAC’s Presidential Sportsmanship Award following her actions in the Codfish Bowl race, and she becomes the fifth female inductee into the Athletic Hall of Fame.
Tom McHugh ’83 still holds school records for his prowess on the baseball diamond under fellow Hall of Famer Bob Corradi, as the Peabody, Mass. resident played a key role in leading the Buccaneers to both the 1982 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference and Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships. An all-New England and all-MASCAC honoree during the course of his career, McHugh matched fellow Hall of Famer Jim Cabucio’s ’82 single season mark with eight wins as a senior, and he holds both the season (84) and career (264) records for innings pitched while being named as Corradi’s most outstanding pitcher in both 1980 and 1983.
The final member of this year’s induction class enjoyed a distinguished career on the gridiron, as Walter Butler ’12 capped his career by earning the nod as the 2011 New England Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year. A native of Bourne, Mass., Butler became the fourth player in school history to earn all-New England accolades by earning a spot on the 2011 New England Football Writers Association Division II/III all-star team, and the defining moment of his award-winning senior season came when he recorded three sacks and nine quarterback hurries while returning a fumble recovery for a 48-yard touchdown in a 34-6 Admiral’s Cup triumph over rival Maine Maritime. Walter, who also collected D3football.com all-regional honors for his performance as both a linebacker and defensive lineman, became the second Buccaneer to be featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces In The Crowd” column in the November 7, 2011 issue, as he concluded his career with 195 total tackles (145 solo), 11.5 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, seven forced fumbles and five blocked kicks.
The purpose of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Hall of Fame is to honor former athletes, teams, Academy staff, alumni and individuals that have made a significant contribution to Academy athletics. Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the oldest continuously operating maritime academy in the nation, has maintained a reputation of excellence for over 125 years. Student-athletes shall be eligible for consideration and induction into the Hall of Fame beginning no less than five years after graduation from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and teams are now eligible for consideration based upon their achievements during their given year or years of competition.
“It is once again a privilege for all of us in the Massachusetts Maritime family to honor gifted student-athletes and an incredibly supportive administrator, and I want to congratulate this year’s class on a well-deserved induction into our Athletic Hall of Fame,” Massachusetts Maritime Director of Athletics Garin Veris said of this year’s induction class. “Their lasting impact on the Academy will undoubtedly inspire future generations of Buccaneers to achieve the highest standard of excellence possible.”
With the addition of the Class of 2017, the Massachusetts Maritime Athletic Hall of Fame will boast of 89 individual inductees after this year’s 18th annual ceremony, which begins at 5:15 p.m. with the unveiling of the induction plaques inside the lobby of the Clean Harbors Athletic Center. For more information on the Buccaneer Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Friday, November 10th, please contact the Massachusetts Maritime Department of Athletics at (508) 830-5053 or log-on to www.mmabucs.com.