UPDATED: St. John's Athletics To Induct 18th Hall Of Fame Class On June 11

Men's basketball legend Walter Berry, the 1986 national player of the year, highlights the first Hall of Fame class honored since 2004.

April 18, 2013

  • RSVP Online: 2013 St. John's Athletics Hall of Fame Induction

    QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's University will induct the 18th class into its Athletics Hall of Fame on Tuesday, June 11, at the D'Angelo Center on campus, celebrating another chapter of a rich sporting legacy that spans more than a century.

    St. John's men's basketball legend Walter Berry, the 1986 national player of the year, highlights the first Hall of Fame class honored since 2004. The hardwood star will be joined by Olympic fencers Keeth Smart and Arlene Stevens, 1994 BIG EAST women's soccer championship MVP Cristin Burtis, 1988 BIG EAST women's basketball champion Dolores Dixon, two-time men's soccer All-American Huey Ferguson, all-time softball wins leader Courtney Fitzgerald, two-time BIG EAST Most Outstanding Track & Field Performer Youree Spence and All-American gridiron standout Anthony Zito.

    In addition, the late Donald and Eleanor Taffner, benefactors of the Taffner Field House men's and women's basketball practice facility and longtime University supporters in capacities within the St. John's Board of Trustees, will be inducted as part of the Class of 2013. The Taffner Award, now established to honor Donald and Eleanor's legacy and commitment to Red Storm Athletics, will recognize noteworthy contributors in future Hall of Fame classes.

    "We look forward to honoring nine former student-athletes, as well as Eleanor and Donald Taffner, for their significant contributions to our storied history. This year's class was selected from an extensive list of accomplished candidates. Congratulations to the Hall of Fame Class of 2013," said Chris Monasch, St. John's Director of Athletics.

    All are invited to attend the 2013 St. John's Athletics Hall of Fame induction, which will take place on campus in the D'Angelo Center Ballroom on Tuesday, June 11. A 6 p.m. cocktail hour will be followed by a 7 p.m. dinner and ceremony. Tickets are available for $175 per attendee. Interested individuals can register online here.

    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Austin, Assistant Director of Athletic Development Special Events (718-990-2548; austine@stjohns.edu).

    Biographical snapshots for the St. John's Hall of Fame Class of 2013 follow:

    Walter Berry (Men's Basketball, 1984-86)

  • 1986 recipient of the John R. Wooden Award, naming him the nation's top collegiate player; honored with 1986 Adolph R. Rupp Trophy, given to the player of the year in college basketball by the Associated Press; selected 1986 Kodak Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, UPI Player of the Year, The Sporting News Player of the Year, Basketball Weekly Player of the Year, CBS/Chevrolet Player of the Year.
  • 1986 BIG EAST Player of the Year; 1986 AP and UPI first team All-American.
  • Shattered the school single-season scoring record in his final season as a junior, scoring 828 points; at the time, was the fifth player in St. John's history to reach the 1,000-point mark in two seasons.
  • Earned second team All-BIG EAST honors and first team All-Metropolitan honors in 1985; averaged 17.0 points per game (second on the team behind Chris Mullin) while leading St. John's to the 1985 Final Four and its first No. 1 ranking since 1951.

    Cristin Burtis (Women's Soccer, 1991-94)

  • 1994 BIG EAST Tournament MVP as a member of St. John's conference championship squad.
  • 1994 NSCAA/adidas Northeast Region All-American first team member.
  • All-time St. John's career leader for points in a season (41), goals in a season (17).
  • Ranks second in St. John's history for career points (178), goals (37) and shots (178).
  • Four year member of the softball team from 1993-96, batting .317 as a sophomore, .352 as a junior and stealing 11 bases as a senior.

    Dolores Dixon (Women's Basketball, 1984-88)

  • No. 18 scorer in program history, finishing her career with 1,026 points.
  • No. 10 all-time in career rebounds with 634; No. 6 in career free throws (260).
  • Helped St. John's win the 1988 BIG EAST Tournament Championship with a 21-point effort.
  • Named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament team twice (1987, 1988) and the 1988 BIG EAST All-Conference second team.
  • Part of the first women's basketball team to win a NCAA Tournament game.

    Huey Ferguson (Men's Soccer, 1991-94)

  • Two-time All-American and three-time all-region honoree.
  • Three-time first team All-BIG EAST selection.
  • Ranks first all-time in school history in both goals scored (50) and points (130), and second in assists (30).
  • Helped St. John's win three-straight BIG EAST Tournament championships.

    Courtney Fitzgerald (Softball, 2000-04)

  • Holds St. John's career wins record with 59.
  • Holds program's career record in innings pitched (711.2), appearances (102) and shutouts (21).
  • Named to the NFCA Division I Mid-Atlantic Region first team and the All-BIG EAST second team in 2004.

    Keeth Smart (Fencing, 1996-2001)

  • In 2003, became the first-ever U.S. fencer to be ranked No. 1 in the world.
  • Competed for the U.S. Men's Saber Team in three Olympic Games (2000, 2004, 2008).
  • At the 2008 Olympic Games, led the U.S. Men's Saber squad to a silver medal - its best-ever finish.
  • While at St. John's, won two individual national championships (1997, 1999), led the Red Storm to a NCAA Championship in 2001 and was a four-time All-American.

    Youree Spence (Track and Field, 1984-88)

  • Two-time BIG EAST Most Outstanding Performer at the conference championships who totaled 11 BIG EAST individual titles.
  • Earned All-ECAC honors on five separate occasions.
  • Holds the St. John's record in the indoor 300-meters with a 39.02 second time during her victory at the 1987 BIG EAST Championships.
  • One of the more accomplished sprinters in St. John's history who ranks among the program's top-10 all-time in six different events.

    Arlene Stevens (Fencing, 1999-2003)

  • At 19 years old, was the youngest fencer in the world to compete at the 2000 Olympic Games, where she was a member of the U.S. Women's Epee Team.
  • While at St. John's, was a four-time All-American and played an integral part in winning the 2001 national title.
  • Won a silver medal at the 2001 NCAA Championship.

    Anthony Zito (Football, 1995-98)

  • As the leader of the fourth-best scoring defense in Division I-AA during his junior year, paced the team in sacks in a season as St. John's went 8-3.
  • Named Football News' Defensive Player of the Year and was named a first team All-American by the publication his senior year.
  • Holds the St. John's career sack record (38.5) and the single-season record as well (18.5, 1998).
  • Named to the ECAC Division I-AA Football Honor Roll his senior season.
  • A two-time All-MAAC selection.

    Donald and Eleanor Taffner (Contributors)

  • Benefactors of the Taffner Field House practice facility, which opened in 2005.
  • As chair of the Athletic Committee of the Board of Trustees, Eleanor, a board member from 1995 to 2010, like Donald, particularly supported and cheered for St. John's student athletes - on the field, on the court and in the classroom.
  • Donald, a St. John's College graduate in the Class of 1953, served as a member of the Board of Trustees' Athletics subcommittee and Student Affairs Committee.
  • Lived lives of quiet grace with a deep sense of caring for family, friends and the students of St. John's University.
  • With all the success the realized in their lives, their most abiding legacy is the kindness they showed others.
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