WASHINGTON – Five former student-athletes, one coach and one athletic trainer will be enshrined into the Gallaudet University Athletics Hall of Fame on Sunday, Oct. 22, as part of Homecoming 2017.
The Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017 includes James DeStefano, '85 (Men's Basketball Coach), Easter Fa'afiti, '13 (Women's Basketball), Tamijo Foronda Coleman, '08 (Women's Volleyball), Joseph Fritsch (Honorary Contributor), Robert Haney, Jr., '08 (Men's Basketball), Brandy Otto, E-'94 (Women's Volleyball) and Tony Tatum, '13 (Football).
A brunch will be held in their honor on Sunday morning (Oct. 22) at 9 a.m. in the Ole Jim on the campus of Gallaudet University. The dress for the ceremony is business casual. There are only 100 tickets available.
The Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame Induction is one of the premier events of the year for the GU Athletics Department. The special event recognizes the men and women, past and present, whose contributions to Gallaudet University Athletics have been deemed worthy of induction into the Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame.
To be considered for the Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame one must be a former Bison student-athlete, coach and/or contributor that is five years removed from the University. One must be nominated in writing and submitted to the Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA) during an open nomination time period. Inductees can be deaf, hard of hearing or hearing. The Gallaudet Athletics Department would like to thank the GUAA for collecting this year's nominations. All nominations are then screened and reviewed by the Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame committee.
A brief description of the Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017 inductees:
James DeStefano, '85 (Men's Basketball Coach) was Gallaudet's men's basketball head coach for 16 years (1987-91, 1992-96, 1999-2007) where he guided the program to 129 NCAA victories in over 400 games played. He holds the most wins (129) in Gallaudet men's basketball history. Coach Destefano is longest tenured Gallaudet men's basketball head coach in the program's history. He was involved in Gallaudet being a founding member of the CAC in 1989-90. DeStefano is a Gallaudet graduate and he coached five Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Famers and helped many former players enter the coaching ranks in college or at the high school level.
Easter Fa'afiti, '13 (Women's Basketball) did more in two years on the Gallaudet women's basketball team than most do in a four-year career. The California native, led the Bison to a 38-16 record in two seasons (2009-11) and helped Gallaudet share the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) regular-season title and make the 2010-11 NCAA tournament for the first time in over a decade. Fa'afiti was named the 2010-11 NEAC Player of the Year and was named to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-America Third Team (2010-11). Fa'afiti earned dozens of honors during her time with the Bison including being named the 2009-10 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Player of the Year. She was one of the faces of Gallaudet's 2010-11 historic season where the Bison began the season 20-0 and earned a national ranking in the Division III Top 25 poll. Fa'afiti and the Bison were featured by national media outlets including the Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, ESPN, Parade Magazine, National Public Radio and many more. Fa'afiti was also a Sports Illustrated's Faces In the Crowd selection. She scored 1,050 career points, grabbed 655 rebounds, 190 steals, 167 assists in 53 games played while shooting 56 percent from the field.
Tamijo Foronda Coleman, '08 (Women's Volleyball) is the most accomplished women's volleyball player in school history. Foronda played five seasons (2002-07), after being sidelined with an injury in 2005, the team went 84-65 with her in the line-up. She helped the Bison win the 2003 CAC championship during her sophomore season and guide the Bison to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament during the 2006 season. Foronda was a two-time CAC Player of the Year (2004, '06) and was a three-time All-CAC first team selection (2003, '04, '06). GU has had several players earn American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American honorable mention honors over the years but Foronda was the first and only Bison to make one of the three teams when she was selected to the third team (2006). Foronda was named the 2006-07 CAC Female Scholar Athlete of the Year, the first in school history. Foronda was one of seven Gallaudet women's volleyball players named to the CAC Silver Anniversary Team in 2014-15.
Joseph Fritsch (Honorary Contributor) worked at Gallaudet for nearly 30 years (1972-2001) as he was hired as the Athletic Department's first full-time athletic trainer in the fall of 1972. Fritsch graduated from the University of Texas and later earned his master's degree from American University. Fritsch was a selfless worker who worked long hours in the background to help student-athletes stay healthy and bounce back from injury or illness. He also served as Athletic Director in the early 1990s. Fritsch was later promoted to the Director of Student Services in 1994 and held that position until 2001.
Robert Haney, Jr., '08 (Men's Basketball) was a four-year letterwinner on the Gallaudet men's basketball program from 2002-06. Haney is one of GU's top scorers in school history as he finished with 1,927 points (second all-time) in 102 games as he averaged 18.9 points per game. He recorded 898 rebounds, 260 assists, 243 steals, and 115 blocks in his career at Gallaudet. Haney was the 2005-06 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Player of the Year as he led the Bison to a 14-12 record his senior season. That capped off a four-year career that saw Haney land on an All-CAC team every season including three straight first team honors (2003-06). He was also the 2002-03 CAC Rookie of the Year during his freshman season. Haney was Gallaudet's only men's basketball player named to the CAC Silver Anniversary Team in 2014-15.
Brandy Otto, E-'94 (Women's Volleyball) was a four-year letterwinner for the Gallaudet women's volleyball program as the team compiled a 110-80 overall record and won the 1992 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) championship for the first time in school history. Otto was a phenomenal blocker as tallied 771 total blocks, 479 block solos and 399 block assists during her career. All three marks are still CAC records along with her 265 block solos in a season (1993) plus she helped Gallaudet set three CAC team block records in 1992. Otto was named the 1993 CAC Co-Player of the Year and was picked for the all-conference first team twice (1992, '93). She was also named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region Team twice (1992, '93). Otto was one of seven Gallaudet women's volleyball players named to the CAC Silver Anniversary Team in 2014-15.
Tony Tatum, '13 (Football) was a three-year letterwinner on the Gallaudet football team (2010-12). He was named the 2012 Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Year, the first and only player to sweep both awards in the same season. That same year, he was named to the D3football.com All-American Fourth Team on defense. The Alabama native, was a three-time All-ECFC defensive selection (2010, '11, '12), with the last year being picked to the first team. Tatum was also named an All-ECFC first team return specialist (2012). During his first season on the football team he was involved in a viral interception play that received over 1 million views in two days. After graduating from Gallaudet, Tatum played two seasons in the Arena Football League. He also played four years on the GU men's basketball team and scored 1,237 career points.
Three years ago, the Gallaudet Athletics Department inducted Laurie Anderson Achin, ’03 (Women’s Volleyball), Sarah Burton Doleac, ’82 (Softball Coach), Kris Gould, ’87 (Athlete, Honorary Contributor), Dyan Kovacs, ’98 (Women’s Volleyball), Wayne Langbein, ’96 (Men’s Track and Field), Ronda Jo Miller, ’01 (Women’s Volleyball), Gregory Warren, ’82 (Men’s Cross Country).
(Update 10/16/17: This event is officially sold out for this year!)
The cost to attend the Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame event is $50 per person. For more information about this year's Hall of Fame event please contact Anna Hall in the GU Athletic Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are only 100 tickets available.
Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017
|James DeStefano, '85
(Men's Basketball Coach)
|Easter Fa'afiti, '13
|Tamijo Foronda Coleman, '08
|Robert Haney, Jr., '08
|Brandy Otto, E-'94
|Tony Tatum, '13