NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The Little East Conference recently honored its Hall of Fame Class of 2013 this evening during a reception at the Providence Marriott Hotel. The 12-member class is comprised of a college president, two athletic administrators, two coaches, and seven former student-athletes.
The second Class in conference history will include: former Rhode Island College President John Nazarian, Little East Commissioner and former University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Athletic Director Robert Dowd, and Eastern Connecticut State University sports information director Bob Molta.
Rhode Island College softball coach Maria Morin and University of Southern Maine baseball manager Ed Flaherty will represent the conference coaches.
The seven former student-athletes include: Joanna Brown of the University of Southern Maine, Kevin Kolek of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Moses Jean-Pierre of Plymouth State, Mark Miller of Keene State College, Kim (Jeffs) Popieniek of Plymouth State, Mary Proulx of Keene State College, and Quazi Sadruzzaman of the University of Massachusetts Boston.
QUAZI SADRUZZAMAN, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON
The greatest men’s tennis player in UMass Boston history, QUAZI SADRUZZAMAN is the only student-athlete to capture four consecutive Little East Flight One Singles Championships. He anchored the Beacons’ lineup from the No. 1 singles position between 2001 and 2004, posting a career singles record of 50-6 (.893). Sadruzzman made it his trademark to play short matches, defeating the opponent in straight sets 44 times. He was dominant over his final two and a half years in an UMass Boston uniform, sporting a 28-match unbeaten streak that spanned from April 27, 2002 to May 8, 2004. Sadruzzman’s success was not limited to singles play as evidenced by his 36-17 doubles record. He partnered with Dat Nguyen to raise the 2004 Little East Flight One Doubles Championship. Sadruzzaman is the Beacons’ career leader in matches played (109), total matches won (86), and singles matches won (50), while ranking third in highest career winning percentage (.893). He is the only men’s tennis player to be inducted into the UMass Boston Hall of Fame.
|Quazi Sadruzzaman is presented his Hall of Fame ring by Don Tencher, Chair of the HOF Committee and Dr. Sara Jayne Steen, Plymouth St. University President||Quazi is congratulated by UMass Boston Vice Chancellor of Athletics & Recreation and 2012 Little East Hall of Fame Inductee Charlie Titus following the ceremony|
JOANNA BROWN, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE
One of the most decorated players in the history of the University of Southern Maine women’s basketball program, JOANNA BROWN became the fourth Husky to earn Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division III All-American honors during the 1997-1998 season after garnering WBCA Honorable Mention All-American status the previous two campaigns. The 1998 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Player of the Year led Southern Maine to a record of 92-15, including four consecutive trips to the NCAA Division III tournament. In 1998, Brown helped the Huskies advance to their first appearance in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball National Championship Game. The three-time Little East Player of the Year guided Southern Maine to a 47-3 mark within the conference circuit, four regular-season titles, and three tournament championships. Brown, a 6-0 center, is the career leader in field goal percentage, converting on 57-percent of her attempts in 111 career games. She is second in scoring average (16.6 ppg), while ranking third in points (1,845) and rebounds (962). Brown was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
ROBERT DOWD, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH
The second commissioner in the history of the Little East Conference, ROBERT DOWD guided the conference between 1990 and 1995. He was instrumental in the conference’s expansion to seven members with the addition of Western Connecticut State University in 1993. Dowd also oversaw the operation of the conference’s six championship sports with the inclusion of women’s soccer in 1990. He was named as the Little East Interim Commissioner in March 2013. Dowd enjoyed a 42-year relationship with UMass Dartmouth, serving as an administrator and coach. He led the Corsair athletic department from 1988 to 1996, in addition to a second stint as Interim Athletic Director during the 1997-98 academic year. Dowd remained on the UMass Dartmouth senior staff before retiring in 2009.
ED FLAHERTY, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE
In 28 seasons as head coach of the University of Southern Maine, ED FLAHERTY has directed one of the most successful and widely respected baseball programs in the nation. He has compiled a career record of 842-379-4, which ranks seventh on the Division III baseball all-time wins list. The Huskies have captured two NCAA Division III Championships (1991, 1997) and seven Regional Championships in 20 NCAA tournament appearances. Southern Maine became the first collegiate team from the State of Maine to win a national championship in 1991. Six years later, the Huskies became just the second New England institution to capture multiple national titles, when Southern Maine defeated the College of Wooster. Flaherty has guided the Huskies to seven Little East regular-season titles, while sporting four conference tournament championships. He was named 1991 and 1997 NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and was voted New England Coach of the Year in 1989, 1990, and 1991. Flaherty was tabbed as the Little East Coach of the Year seven times, including this past season after leading Southern Maine to a program-record 46 victories and a berth in the NCAA Championship Game.
KEVIN KOLEK, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH
A member of the Little East Men’s Basketball 25th Anniversary Team, KEVIN KOLEK was the cornerstone of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth teams between 1984 and 1988. In 109 career games, Kolek averaged 19 points, five rebounds, and six assists, while connecting on 51-percent of his attempts from the field. He is the Corsair leader in career assists (670) and three-point field goal percentage (.505), while ranking fourth in scoring (2,027 points). During his tenure, Kolek led UMass Dartmouth to a record of 86-23, including three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III tournament. The shooting guard earned the Most Outstanding Player Award for helping the Corsairs capture the 1986 NCAA Regional Championship and berth into the National Quarterfinals. He guided UMass Dartmouth to the Little East regular-season and tournament titles in 1987 and 1988. Kolek was the first player to be honored as the Little East Player of the Year in 1987, while sharing the conference’s top player award the following season. Highly decorated, Kolek was named the 1986 New England Basketball Coaches Association Unsung Hero, 1987 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Player of the Year, and a member of the 1988 Converse All-American second-team.
MOSES JEANNE PIERRE, PLYMOUTH STATE
One of the most dominant men’s basketball players in NCAA history, MOSES JEAN-PIERRE is the Plymouth State all-time scoring leader and 16th overall in Division III with 2,483 points. He set nearly a dozen Panther school records from 1990-1994, including career assists (669), steals (497), and consecutive games with a successful three-pointer (32). The guard from Cambridge, Mass. established a new career Division III standard for steals per game (5.51), while setting the single-season record for steals per game (6.3) and total steals (189) in 1994. During his time at Plymouth State, Jean-Pierre led Plymouth State to an overall record of 66-42, two Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournaments, and an appearance in the 1994 Little East Championship Game. The three-time All-New England selection was named the 1994 ECAC New England Player of the Year and first-team All-America, when he averaged 28.8 points per game. Jean-Pierre is just one of three Panther basketball players to have their uniform number (12) retired in Foley Gymnasium. He was inducted into the Plymouth State Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1999.
MARK MILLER, KEENE STATE COLLEGE
The most honored male athlete in the history of Keene State athletics, MARK MILLER is the College’s only male runner to win multiple national championships. During his unprecedented career between 1999 and 2003, Miller was a four-time national champion and a 10-time All-American. The Shelburne Falls, Mass. product dominated in the 1,500-meter run throughout his tenure, capturing both the indoor and outdoor national titles in 2001, the 2002 outdoor championship, and the 2003 indoor meet. Miller also achieved national success on the cross country trails, racing to All-America honors in 2000 and 2001. He posted the fastest time at the Little East Cross Country Championships, covering the UMass Dartmouth course in a time of 24 minutes, 00.14 seconds in 2001 for the first of his two conference titles. Miller also set two Little East indoor meet records –800-meter run and 1,500-meter run—en route to capturing seven first place finishes, while also adding five outdoor titles. He was enshrined in the Keene State Hall of Fame in 2009, earning the milestone in his first year of eligibility.
BOB MOLTA, EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
The only full-time Sports Information Director in Eastern Connecticut State University history, BOB MOLTA is a former Little East Conference publicist and has been involved with the conference since its inception in 1986. Since 1985, Molta spent many years coordinating publicity and statistics for the conference before the appointment of the conference’s first official publicist. A member of the College Sports Information Directors Association of America, Molta has witnessed the conference’s expansion as a basketball-only alliance to its current status as one of the top conferences in Division III, which currently sponsors 19 intercollegiate championships. Molta has coordinated publicity and statistics for the conference baseball tournament nine times since 1998, and for the Little East softball tournament three times in the last five years. At Eastern, Molta formerly coordinated the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) weekly rankings for eight years and the New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) rating service for three years. During Molta’s tenure, Eastern has hosted the NCAA Division III national softball tournament three times and the national baseball tournament twice.
MARIA MORIN, RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE
The winningest coach in Rhode Island College history, MARIA MORIN built the Anchorwomen softball program into a perennial power between 1995 and 2012. She solidified her place among the legendary names in New England collegiate softball with a career record of 458-252-4. Morin’s 458 career victories rank 40th on the Division III wins list. Rhode Island College captured two NCAA Division III New England Regional Championships (2007, 2008) in five appearances in the national field. In 2009, the Anchorwomen registered the most successful season in program history in terms of total victories with a 42-7 mark. Under her watchful eye, Rhode Island College became the first program to win five consecutive Little East regular-season titles. The Anchorwomen represented the conference as its automatic qualifier in the NCAA tournament in four straight seasons between 2006 and 2009. Morin mentored two National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III All-Americans, while also advising 22 All-New England selections. Rhode Island College was named the NFCA Division III New England Coaching Staff of the Year twice, while Morin was selected by her peers as the Little East Coach of the Year three times.
PRESIDENT JOHN NAZARIAN, RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE
DR. JOHN NAZARIAN was appointed the eighth president of Rhode Island College in May of 1990 after serving two previous terms (1984-85; January 1990 – April 1990) as acting president. The Presidency of John Nazarian was characterized by strong fiscal stewardship; significant expansion and improvement of the College’s campus; advocacy for programs to support opportunity and access to higher education; strengthening of the College’s School of Education; establishment of two new Schools within the College, the School of Management and the School of Nursing; creation of a Presidential Scholars program; development of new undergraduate majors and graduate programs – including the College’s first Ph.D. program, offered jointly with the University of Rhode Island; initiation of a new, widely-acclaimed general studies program; major improvements in academic and administrative technology; and the successful completion of the College’s first-ever capital campaign. In addition to his responsibilities at Rhode Island College, Nazarian served as the first President of the Little East Conference during its formation, while also becoming the league’s first representative on the NCAA President’s Council in 2006.
KIM (JEFFS) POPIENIEK, PLYMOUTH STATE
One of the top pitchers in Division III collegiate softball history, KIM (JEFFS) POPIENIEK represented Plymouth State on the All-America teams in 2002 and 2003. In 115 games, Jeffs posted a career record of 66-36 with an earned run average of 0.86 and 38 shutouts. She shattered every Panther pitching record during her career (2002-2005), while currently ranking among the national leaders in career strikeouts (7th, 1,109). The two-time Little East Pitcher of the Year established a Division III standard for strikeouts in a single-game (20), while also owning the most strikeouts in a season (375) at the time of her graduation. The Stoughton, Mass. product also registered 19 strikeouts against Coast Guard Academy, marking the fifth highest total in a seven-inning game in NCAA history. Jeffs, the ace of the 2003 Plymouth State staff, led the Panthers to the programs most victories in a single season (30), including the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Championship. She was inducted into the Plymouth State Hall of Fame in 2010.
Mary Proulx, Keene State College
The most decorated student-athlete in Keene State College history, MARY PROULX is the all-time NCAA leader in the 10,000-meter run, posting the fastest time (33:21.80) by a Division III runner at the prestigious 2003 Penn Relays. During her unparalleled career (1999-2003), Proulx was the first Owl female track All-American and national champion. She captured five national championships and earned 15 All-America citations. The Ashland, N.H. native won both the 3,000 and 5,000-meter races at the 2001 NCAA Outdoor Championship, while also placing first in the 5,000 and 10,000-meter events the following year. Proulx defended her 10,000-meter outdoor title at the 2003 spring championship. A three-time cross country All-American, she placed fourth at the 2002 NCAA Championships in Northfield, Minn. Proulx recorded two fastest times in Little East Cross Country Championship history, including setting the conference meet record (17:21.14) in 2001. She also set two Little East standards in the indoor championship, 1,5000-meter run (4:41.12) and 3,000-meter run (9:53.27), while breaking the 1,500-meter record on the outdoor track (4:31.37). The only two-time Keene State Female Athlete of the Year was inducted in the Owl Hall of Fame in 2009.
Formed in 1986, the Little East serves as New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. Featuring 19 championship sports, the Little East sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes. Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship, and citizenship.