Hall of fame inductions are usually based on impressive statistics, such as touchdowns caught or home runs hit.
The newest members of Fordham's Athletic Hall of Fame: (l to r): Javarus Dudley (CBA '04), Kevin Eakin (FCRH '04), Sophie Namy (FCRH '00), Akira Kosugi (CBA '96), and Kirwin Watson (FCRH '04). Ioana Dragan (CBA '02) was also inducted but could not
attend the ceremony. Photos by Gina Vergel
The six newest members of Fordham’s Athletic Hall of Fame have stats aplenty. But they also possess attributes that cannot be quantified, said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, at the annual induction ceremony on Jan. 23.
"They are not inducted solely for what they did on the field, on the court or in the pool, but for the way in which they live their lives," Father McShane said. "Today we honor you and thank you for the example you set. You are now counted among the Fordham saints, and what we refer to when we tell our students what it means to be men and women for others."
Former women’s tennis coach Cathy Patricola Vasey echoed Father McShane’s sentiments when discussing inductee Iaona Dragan (CBA ’02), one of Fordham’s most successful tennis players.
"[Dragan] is the whole package," Vasey said. "She was a great leader for the team, but she is also a sweetheart, an intelligent person and a caring individual. She encouraged everyone around her to do her best. She helped us build our program. Tennis recruits wanted to play at Fordham because they wanted to play with her. She is so deserving of this honor."
Dragan, who was in Romania, could not attend the event. In an email interview, she said being involved in athletics at Fordham shaped her life in a unique way. "From teaching one discipline, hard work, fair play, team spirit, respect, confidence and more,” Dragan said. “I feel lucky to have been a student athlete at Fordham, where I could pursue a tennis career, get a solid education recognized in my resume today, and a life education which I treasure every day."
Other new honorees include Sophie Namy (FCRH ’00), who became one Fordham’s top rowers after a soccer injury curtailed her soccer career; and Akira Kosugi (CBA ’96), who, despite competing with the men’s swimming team for only one year, set enough records to make it into the Hall of Fame.
"To be inducted into the same hall of fame as Vincent Lombardi is something I would have never imagined," said Kosugi, who went on to compete at the Japanese Olympic Trials in 1996.
Rounding out the group are members of Fordham’s 2002 Patriot League Championship football team, nicknamed the "Sunshine Boys" because of their South Florida roots: running back Kirwin Watson (FCRH ’04), wide receiver Javarus Dudley (CBA ’04) and quarterback Kevin Eakin (FCRH ’04).
"Even though as individuals we excelled in our particular sports, we all shared the common blessing of being educated at this University," said Kirwin Watson, who served as a regional scout for the New York Jets from 2004 to 2009.
"I’m sure my fellow honorees would agree that there are people [at the induction ceremony] who have done things for us that we can’t really put a price on," he said. "They taught us how to be leaders."
Watson said the inductees continue to grow and learn.
"The one thing that I’m still learning is that a Fordham education—Fordham’s tradition and what it stands for—seeks to build well-rounded individuals. Being a leader means giving back, and I think we do that," he said.
The Yankees' 2009 World Series Trophy.
The Hall of Fame ceremony contained an added element this year as it was graced by the New York Yankees’ 2009 World Series trophy. The championship hardware from the Yankees' 27th title was on display for fans to view and take photographs with at the Hall of Fame proceedings, which were hosted by Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay (FCRH ’82). Later that day, the trophy appeared at the men’s basketball game versus the Temple Owls.
Several Fordham connections helped to bring the trophy from Yankee Stadium up the Major Deegan Expressway, across Fordham Road and onto campus.
Ryan Ruocco (FCRH ’08) of the Yankees’ video team brought the idea to Executive Director of Athletics Frank McLaughlin (FCRH ’69). The Yankees’ assistant director of corporate/community relations, William “Rocky” Halsey (FCRH ’99), and director of stadium tours, Tony Morante (FCRH ’79), escorted the trophy to their alma mater.
Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to approximately 14,700 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in Westchester, the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y., and the London Centre at Heythrop College in the United Kingdom. 01/10