Fordham Athletics Host 78th Block F Dinner
May 3, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. -
As the 2011-12 season begins to wind down, the Fordham University Athletic Department held its 78th annual Block F Awards Dinner at the Villa Barone Manor on May 2nd to honor Fordham University's student-athletes for their accomplishments during the academic year.
Among those honored were Ryan Meara, who was the recipient of the Vincent T. Lombardi Award as Fordham's top male student-athlete, Jen Mineau, who was the winner of the Claire and Jack Hobbs Award as Fordham's top female student-athlete and head men's soccer coach Jim McElderry, who was presented with the Iron Major Award as Fordham's Coach of the Year.
The Vincent T. Lombardi Award is presented to the Male Athlete of the Year for distinguished athletic achievements in the winning tradition of Vince Lombardi. The award honors the memory of one of Fordham's famed Seven Blocks of Granite, who is considered to be one of football's greatest coaches.
Meara, a true homegrown product who grew up in Yonkers and attended Fordham Prep, was a starter at Fordham from day one. With countless honors over his first three seasons, he saved his best for last, guiding the men's soccer team to its first regular season Atlantic 10 title and posting eleven wins, ten shutouts, and a 0.65 goals against average, all career-bests. He led the league in goals against average (0.65), shutouts (10) and save percentage (.862) this fall and became the school's career leader in shutouts (31).
Selected as the Atlantic 10's defensive player of the year as well as first team All-Atlantic 10 and NSCAA All-Region in 2011, Meara was drafted by the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer as their top draft choice, and has become the team's starting netminder. He also was recently invited to play for the under-21 Irish national team.
The Claire & Jack Hobbs Memorial Award is presented to the Female Athlete of the Year who has achieved outstanding athletic accomplishments. The award is named in honor of the late Claire and Jack Hobbs. Jack was a 1938 graduate of Fordham College and a 1941 graduate of Fordham Law, and he and his wife were avid Fordham followers.
This past Friday, she recorded her 100th career win, becoming the first Ram to reach that plateau, and will graduate with every major school record for pitching, which includes over 40 shutouts, 1,300 strikeouts, and a 1.41 ERA.
Last March, Mineau was drafted by the Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch softball league and was an invitee to the U.S. National Team this past summer.
The night opened with a special recognition of four members of the Fordham Community. Elwood Tuck, Summit Security's client service manager, and three unrelated Fordham Burke's Bill Burke, Jr., FCRH '65, LAW `68, Pat Burke, FCRH '63, and Sean Burke, GSB '99 were presented honorary letters by Frank McLaughlin, the Executive Director of Athletics.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, McLaughlin and Joseph M. McShane, S.J., President of the University, spoke to the room full of administrators, coaches, student-athletes and their parents.
McLaughlin, a 1969 Fordham College at Rose Hill graduate and former basketball Ram, related to the students his experience at Block F as a student-athlete, and two special guests who would attend every Block F Awards dinner.
"When I was a varsity letter winner the Block F Awards dinner was always a special event," said McLaughlin. "In my three years at Block F, two Fordham greats would always be there, Wellington Mara and Vince Lombardi as both had a great love of Fordham and the student-athletes. This was in the 1960's when Lombardi was winning Super Bowl trophies with the Packers and Mr. Mara was winning titles with the Giants. They would each have NFL championships rings but the only ring I would ever see them wearing was their Fordham ring. That's how much this university meant to them."
McLaughlin closed by thanking the student-athletes for their hard work and dedication. "Thank you for representing the university with class and dignity, both on the fields and in the classroom. No other university has student-athletes who do more for the community than those who are here tonight."
McShane remarked how he was amazed by the way that Fordham student-athletes support each other.
"As is always the case at Block F, I am astounded by the way in which you rejoice in the accomplishments of your teammates and try to outdo the other teams," McShane told the student-athletes. "You are a great source of pride for the university."
McShane went on to mention how the crowd reacted loudly three times, when Mineau and Meara received their awards and a when Sister Anne Walsh, RHSM, a member of the Athletic Academic Advising office, was called to the dais. "It says volumes about who we are as a community and who you are as student-athletes. It's a great lesson that I learn each year at Block F."
The president closed his talk with admiration of the student-athletes. "I stand up in awe of your relentless pursuit of excellence," said McShane. "You are men and women of others and of compassion and you continuously seek to make the world a better place."
Below is a list of the other award winners:
Patrick Kenneally Award - Andrew O'Connell (Sports Information Student Worker/WFUV Announcer): The Patrick Kenneally Award is presented to a Fordham student who serves the Athletic Department in capacities other than athletic participation. The award honors the memory of Pat Kenneally, equipment and business manager for 54 years.
O'Connell, a senior who has worked in the Sports Information Office the past four years, has been a jack-of-all trades over his four years of service, but some would say it was in his blood to be a part of Fordham Athletics as his mother, Anne Gregory-O'Connell is the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in Fordham women's basketball history and an Athletic Hall of famer, and his father, Jim O'Connell, served as the Sports Information Director at the school in the 1970's.
O'Connell has served the Sports Information Office as a public address announcer, an Associated Press story writer, scoreboard operator, and was the infamous cameraman behind the Fordham Flip. On top of those duties, he also was a mainstay on WFUV as an announcer for both football and men's basketball games in 2011-12.
Terence O'Donnell Award (Sportsmanship & Dedication) - Courtney Collyer (Women's Swimming): The O'Donnell Memorial Award is presented to the Fordham athlete who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship, loyalty, dedication and self-discipline. The award is in memory of Terry O'Donnell, a 1955 graduate who died in a military plane crash shortly after graduation.
A two-year captain of the women's swimming and diving team who was also named team co-MVP, Collyer led by example through hard work and dedication to guide her team into contention for the Atlantic 10 championship in each of her four seasons at Fordham with the Rams winning their first ever title in 2009 and placing second the past two years. She has been a true leader of the team, a champion who hates to lose and strives for excellence, and one who always puts the success of the team first.
Just because Collyer puts the team first doesn't mean she doesn't pull her own weight. The senior has numerous individual accolades as she leaves Fordham as one of the most decorated champions in her team's history, capturing eight Atlantic 10 event titles, including a rare four-peat as champion of the 200-yard butterfly event.
Jack Coffey Award - Jess Powers (Assistant Athletic Director - Tickets and Business Affairs): The Jack Coffey award is presented to a Fordham administrator, alumnus or coach for outstanding contributions and dedication to the athletic program. It is named for the late Jack Coffey, long-time baseball coach and graduate manager of Athletics.
Powers has been a part of Fordham's athletic department since 2008, when she joined the staff as coordinator of ticket operations and team travel. Through her hard work and due diligence, she was recently promoted to assistant athletic director for tickets & business affairs this past fall.
Benedict T. Harter Award - Craig Staub (Football): The Benedict T. Harter award is presented to the Gabelli School of Business senior athlete who has made significant academic and athletic contributions. The award honors Ben Harter, Gabelli School of Business Class of 1939, a former dean of both Fordham's undergraduate and graduate schools of business, who was an avid follower and supporter of Fordham Athletics.
A Business Administration major with a perfect 4.0 g.p.a, Staub is a three-year member of the football team. He has been a multiple-time selection to the Patriot League Honor Roll, and this season appeared in a career-high nine games for the Rams.
Kieran Award - Aaron Markowitz (Men's Soccer): The Kieran Award, presented to the Fordham College senior athlete who has made significant academic and athletic contributions. The award honors the memory of John Kieran, Fordham College Class of 1912, and a famous radio broadcaster, sports editor of the New York Times and a member of Baseball's Hall of Fame.
A four-year member of the men's soccer team, Markowitz posted a g.p.a. of 3.87 as an Interdisciplinary Math & Economics major. He was an Academic All-Atlantic 10 selection as a senior, and is a multiple-time member of the Atlantic 10 commissioner's honor roll.
On the pitch, Markowitz scored a pair of goals on the year, both coming against La Salle on Senior Day.
Kiwanis Community Service - Brendan Melanophy (Football): Fordham Kiwanis is part of a worldwide service organization that is committed to improving the quality of life through volunteer action. The members of Fordham Kiwanis, comprised of university faculty, staff, and administrators, wish to recognize student-athletes who not only excel in academics and in their respective sports, but who are also committed to working in community service activities.
A three-year defensive back with the football team, Melanophy is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), serving as vice president in 2011-12. Through SAAC, he has hosted a number of ping pong tournament fundraisers to benefit the Harlem RBI Program, and was a driving force behind the "Reps for Kids" charity event this last week, which raised funds for the Michael J. Armstrong foundation. Melanophy has also taken part in the Read-a-Book program with children at the ambulatory care facility across from St. Barnabas Hospital and the Community Classroom at Hunts Point in the South Bronx, and just recently joined his football teammates to create a prayer garden at St. Martin of Tours parish in the Bronx.
On the field, Melanophy, a two-year starter at free safety, made 53 stops last year, 35 solo, and broke up a pair of passes.
Marty Glickman Award - Kyle Kesses: Presented to the WFUV student play-by-play announcer who best follows the examples taught by Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Glickman. The award honors the memory of Marty Glickman, who was the broadcast coach at WFUV from 1987-99.
Athlete Academic Achievement Awards (Presented to senior student-athletes who have been selected for outstanding athletic and academic achievement with a 3.5 GPA or better):
Gabelli School of Business
Note: Rowing and men's and women's outdoor track have not yet named an MVP.