ROAR LION ROAR
Columbia Establishes Athletics Hall of Fame
By Alex Sachare ’71
Columbia is establishing an Athletics Hall of Fame, with the inaugural event scheduled for February 18 in Low Library Rotunda. Up to 20 male and 10 female former Columbia student-athletes will be named to the charter class of the Hall, along with additional candidates from several other categories including teams, former coaches, athletics administrators, support staff and other individuals.
“The Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame will recognize the University’s finest athletes and teams,” said Athletics Director M. Dianne Murphy. “As we take Columbia athletics to new heights, it is important that we remember, honor and pay tribute to all those who paved the way for our current student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”
Who will be the first inductees? As part of the Varsity “C” Letterwinners Club, an Athletics Hall of Fame subcommittee has been formed and is part of the Selection Committee, which Murphy will chair. The 14-person committee consists of members of Columbia’s athletics administration and alumni.
When Spectator compiled a list of Columbia’s greatest athletes of the 20th century, its panel of experts came up with a top 10 of Lou Gehrig ’25, baseball; Sid Luckman ’39, football; Cristina Teuscher ’00, swimming; Jim McMillian ’70, basketball; Chet Forte ’57, basketball; Archie Roberts ’65, football; Cliff Montgomery ’34, football; Eddie Collins (Class of 1907), baseball; Lou Kusserow ’49, football and Katy Bilodeaux ’87, fencing.
For further information about the Hall of Fame, contact Todd Kennedy, director of athletics communications: 212-854-7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the inaugural event, including ticket information and sponsorship opportunities, contact Rachel Hitchcock, athletics development officer: 212-870-3416 or email@example.com.
Brett Boretti, former coach at Franklin & Marshall, is Columbia’s new head baseball coach. He succeeds Paul Fernandes, who completed his 23rd year and second term as coach in May. Boretti compiled a 116–82 record in five seasons at F&M, leading the team to the Centennial Conference title last season with a 15–3 league mark. He was an assistant coach at Endicott College, Davidson (his alma mater) and Brown before becoming F&M head coach. Boretti was a two-time All-Southern Conference baseball player at Davidson, where he also played football. After college, he was a catcher for the North Central Professional Baseball League champion Brainerd Bears of Minnesota. In 1995, Boretti spent spring training with the Cleveland Indians.
Alex Oberweger ’92, ’01 Business has been named associate athletics director for athletics communications. Oberweger was associate director of Columbia250 and most recently a strategic planning consultant for athletics. He has been a producer and director for ESPN and for Madison Square Garden’s in-arena production facility. A former WKCR broadcaster who earned a master’s in communications from Syracuse, Oberweger has been a public address announcer at Columbia’s home football and basketball games during the past six years.
Wade Fletcher ’05, two-time All-Ivy tight end, has been signed by the New York Giants. If he makes the team, he would provide depth behind Jeremy Shockey and Visanthe Shancoe. Fletcher had 1,449 receiving yards in two seasons at Columbia including 874 yards in 2003, the fifth-best single-season receiving total in school history.
Other former Columbia players who were in NFL training camps include Marcellus Wiley ’97 of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Johnathan Reese ’02 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Michael Quarshie ’05 of the Oakland Raiders.
Matt Preston ’05, former team captain and two-time All-Ivy forward, has signed to play professional basketball in Europe. The 6-foot-5-inch Preston, who led the Lions with 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last winter, joined the Omniworld Almere of the Dutch Eredivisie League last month.
Maiya Chard-Yaron ’06 earned a bronze medal playing for the Israeli national softball team in the 17th Maccabiah Games, an international Olympic-style competition for Jewish athletes that was held in Israel in July. Chard-Yaron had 12 hits in 18 at bats in the tournament and pitched a three-hitter with five strikeouts in the bronze medal game against Canada.
Rob Thomson ’07 and Emre Vural ’08 competed in the Nations Cup, the Under-23 World Championships, which were held in July in Amsterdam. Thompson, rowing with the Canadian heavyweight eight, finished third in the A Final, while Vural, rowing for Turkey in the lightweight pair, finished sixth. Mike Zimmer, Columbia’s men’s heavyweight coach and director of rowing, served as coach of the United States men’s lightweight four without coxswain. The U.S. rowers finished second to Canada in the B Final and placed eighth overall.
Columbia’s football team was picked to finish last in the Ivy League preseason media poll, but coach Bob Shoop says that should only serve to spur on the Lions, who return 12 starters and 35 letterwinners. “Based on last season’s (1–9 overall, 1–6 Ivy) results, I knew we’d be picked somewhere in the lower half,” says Shoop, “but I feel the chemistry of this team is strong enough that the team will use this as a motivating tool. We’ll have 29 opportunities to meet before our first kickoff (at Fordham on September 17), and rest assured that Columbia will come ready to play every game.” Penn edged defending Ivy League champion Harvard by a single point to lead the preseason media poll.