Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Celebrates Induction

UNION, N.J. (6/16/15) – Seven new members of the Kean University Benisch Athletic Hall of Fame were inducted as the Class of 2015 earlier this summer. The newest members of the Hall of Fame are former women’s soccer standout Heather Anzivino, baseball All-American Mike Battista, men’s lacrosse star Gerard “Gerry” Benaquista, women’s basketball All-American Shervon James, two-sport standout Deanna Thomas, two-time baseball All-American Dan Zeffiro, and former coach and current administrator Patrick Ippolito.

The 2015 Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place on Thursday, April 30th on the beautiful top floor of the STEM Building. Jack McKiernan, Kean’s Associate Director of Athletics who has been witness to most of the inductees’ athletic accomplishments, was the master of ceremonies and each new Hall of Famer was introduced by a person who had a great influence on their athletic career.

Click here to see a photo gallery from the event.

Anzivino ‘08 is one of the most decorated players in women’s soccer history, being named both the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Player of the Year and Kean’s D’Angola Award in 2006-07.  During her senior campaign, she led the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years.  A four-time All-NJAC award winner, she was named a D3kicks.com All-American.

Battista ’08 became the ninth person in program history to earn All-American honors while helping the team to a then-record 34 wins during the 2005 season.  The first-team All-NJAC, All-State and All-Region award winner was also named Kean’s D’Angola winner after compiling a 9-1 record with eight complete games during his senior year.

Benaquista ’93 anchored the midfield for the Cougars during the early 90s, a very prosperous time in program history.  During his tenure, the team compiled a 52-11 record, capturing two Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) titles.  To date, he owns the school record for groundballs in a season and career and was named the Conference Player of the Year in 2003.

James ’04 became just the second player in school history to record over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career.  She helped to lead the Cougars to a 68-39 record during her four year career, while being named a two-time NJAC Defensive Player of the Year.  The All-American was a part of the 2002 NJAC Championship team and helped Kean to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Thomas ’05 was a two-sport standout for the Cougars on both the field hockey and softball teams during her four year career.  During the fall, her class became the first in school history to record four-straight 10 plus win seasons, including a then-record 15-5 record during her senior season.  For her efforts, she was named a third-team All-American in field hockey and she is still tied for a career best 21 assists.  On the softball diamond, she was tabbed with first-team All-NJAC honors in 2004.

Zeffiro ’08 holds the distinction of being a two-time All-American, in addition to earning the prestigious Rawlings Gold Glove for his defense during the run to the 2007 Division III National Championship.  In the championship run, he tossed a 12 inning complete game gem during the World Series.  During his sophomore season, he posted a 0.90 ERA, the lowest in the nation in all of Division III.

Ippolito was selected from the “Special Contribution to the University” category after manning numerous positions during his time at the University, including men’s soccer coach, professor, assistant to the President and Vice President for Student Affairs.  While overseeing student affairs for 20 years, the athletic department grew in scope and size adding programs such as women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and cross country.