March 2, 2014
QUEENS, N.Y. - In a celebration of a rich sporting legacy that spans more than a century as well as some of the special individuals responsible for building it, St. John's University inducted an esteemed group of seven former standout student-athletes into the Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday night. The second inductees welcomed into the Athletics Hall of Fame since 2004 and members of the University's 19th induction class, the group includes student-athletes representing men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, baseball, lacrosse and volleyball.
Late St. John's men's basketball great Malik Sealy, an NCAA All-American and one of only two players in school history to score more than 2,000 in his career, highlights the Class of 2014 inductees, which also includes 15-year Major League Baseball veteran Rich Aurilia, three-time volleyball All-American Wioleta Leszczynska, women's soccer all-time points and goals leader Adriana Burke, lacrosse career leader in points and assists Mike Bolger, women's basketball 1,000-point scorer Janet Roos and men's soccer single-season goals record-holder Fred Bischoff.
More than 100 family, friends, alumni, and members of the Athletics Department were in attendance at the dinner ceremony, which was held in the D'Angelo Center on the University's Queens campus. The evening began with opening remarks from both Director of Athletics Chris Monasch and Campus Minister for Athletics Rev. Richard Rock, C.M., before dinner was served. The members of the Class of 2014 were then formally inducted into the Hall of Fame and each was honored with a slideshow featuring pictures of their playing days at St. John's.
During the program, each inductee addressed the crowd and reflected on his/her experience of attending school in Queens and the honor of being inducted into the St. John's Athletics Hall of Fame. In honor of Malik Sealy, Lisa Sealy spoke of her late husband's love for St. John's and reminisced about meeting her future husband and one of the most generous and humble figures to leave his mark on the University.
"It's a blessing that Malik is receiving this great honor," Lisa Sealy said. "We all miss him, and I'm so grateful that he has the opportunity to have his name up alongside the other inductees. He would have been very honored. He loved this university. He did every he could for it and he would be amazed at what it has become."
Aurilia also spoke fondly of Sealy, having attending St. John's at the same time as the hardwood all-star, while Leszczynska, the first-ever volleyball inductee, expressed her honor in being inducted alongside such elite company.
"I have great memories of being a student-athlete here at the University," said Aurilia. "Remembering all my friends, roommates, teammates, coaching staff and alumni, everything that went into it, is a great experience. And to go in at the same time as Malik is an honor, because we were in school at the same time and I think his passing came way too soon. I don't think people realized what a great person he was. Not only a great ball player but a great person."
"I am very, very honored," said Leszczynska. "This has been such an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and be around such prestigious names. I could never ask for a better award, ever. I'm very blessed to be inducted as the first volleyball player in St. John's history."
The SJU Hall of Fame has now inducted 120 individuals since its inception in 1984.
The St. John's Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2014
Rich Aurilia (Baseball, 1990-92)
Rich Aurilia burst onto the scene as a freshman in 1990 when he earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Year honors. The shortstop also earned first team All-BIG EAST accolades as part of a career in which he helped St. John's win back-to-back BIG EAST regular season titles and advance to one NCAA Tournament. He was drafted in the 1992 MLB Draft and went on to a 15-year career that spanned from 1995-2009. A 2001 All-Star, he earned the National League Silver Slugger Award that same season.
Fred Bischoff (Men's Soccer, 1979-82)
A standout soccer player for St. John's, Fred Bischoff was a two-time first team Tri-State men's soccer player and an All-New York State honoree as a senior. One of just two St. John's players all-time to register at least three-career hat tricks, Bischoff graduated with a program-record 48 goals as well as a program-best 115 points. Both records stood until 1994 as Bischoff now ranks second all-time in goals and tied for second in points.
Mike Bolger (Lacrosse, 1983-84, `86-87)
An elite playmaker with a knack for unlocking even the stingiest of defenses in his days, Mike Bolger remains St. John's all-time leader in two of the three main offensive categories in the sport of lacrosse, tallying a program-record 122 assists and 219 points during an illustrious four-season career in Queens from 1983-87. One of just three players in program history to tally 100 career assists and the only one to reach the 200-point plateau, Bolger averaged 2.34 assists and 4.21 points in 52 games wearing the St. John's garb. Saving his best for last, he put up 40 assists and 70 points in his final season in 1987, both program single-season records which stood 26 years before being broken in 2013.
Adriana Burke (Women's Soccer, 1988-92)
An explosive offensive talent throughout her four-year career, Adriana Burke graduated as the program's all-time leader in both goals and points, records that stand to this day. Burke put together the finest statistical season of her career as a sophomore scoring 15 goals to go with four assists in 14 starts. She finished the year with 34 points, a single-season program record at the time and a mark that still ranks third most all-time at St. John's. On September 1, 1989, Burke set the single-game point record with eight against Florida International, a record she held alone until it was matched in 2013. In total, Burke tallied 91 points on 40 goals and 11 assists at St. John's, averaging close to two points per game for her career.
Wioleta Leszczynska (Volleyball, 2006-08)
A three-time AVCA honorable mention All-American and the 2008 BIG EAST Player of the Year, Leszczynska was also a two-time first team All-BIG EAST selection (2007-08) as well a second team honoree in 2006. The 2007 BIG EAST Female Scholar of the Year further demonstrated consistency by earning first team AVCA All-Northeast Region honors in each of her three seasons. Leszczynska set the single-season program-record with 1,760 assists as a junior and also ranks third on the all-time list with 4,374 career assists. She led the Red Storm to three-straight BIG EAST regular season titles as well as the 2007 BIG EAST Championship, while guiding St. John's to its only two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Janet Roos- Women's Basketball (1981-85)
A member of the University's prestigious President's Society and of St. John's elite 1,000-Point Scorer Club, Janet Roos exemplified what it means to be a St. John's student-athlete. At St. John's, Roos saw action in 118 contests, averaging 8.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game over her career. During her career, Roos was selected to the All-BIG EAST First Team, Second Team and consecutive BIG EAST All-Tournament teams. Her name remains throughout St. John's record book as she ranks in the top five of four different categories, including second all-time in career assists with 530.
Malik Sealy (Men's Basketball, 1988-92)
One of the most dynamic players and personalities ever to grace the collegiate and NBA hardwood, Malik Sealy's basketball skills only scratch the surface of what he brought to St. John's University. Sealy is one of only two players in St. John's history to score more than 2,000 points for his career. His 2,402 career points place him second, behind only Chris Mullin, on the program's All-Time scoring chart. Selected 14th overall by Indiana in the 1992 NBA Draft, he played eight seasons in the league until his tragic passing in 2000. He was the recipient of St. John's University Basketball Legacy Honors in January of 2006 and his number 21 hangs permanently in the rafters of Carnesecca Arena.