Chatham, N.J. - Five influential contributors to the success of Seton Hall Athletics were immortalized Monday night as Kristen Downing ’97, Andre McCloud ’86, Father Frank McNulty, George Nazario ’91 and Thomas Sharkey ’54 were inducted into the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame at Fairmount Country Club. Pirate standouts were inducted into the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame on Monday as All-American wrestler Lou Cerchio '96, Samuel Dalembert of men's basketball, baseball standout Greg Jemison '76 and former university chancellor Dr. John Petillo '69 were honored as the Class of 2015 at the Hall of Fame Golf Outing and Dinner at the Fairmont Country Club in Chatham, N.J.
Originally from Melrose, Mass., and a graduate of Melrose High School, Downing is Seton Hall's all-time leader in singles wins (86) and total wins (155), helping the women's tennis program establish itself as a top-tier BIG EAST program and earn the team's first-ever NCAA Championship qualification in 1996. She began with an incredible freshman season that saw her go unbeaten in dual matches (14-0) and 26-4 overall. She then helped the Pirates to a BIG EAST runner-up finish as a sophomore and dominated as a junior and senior, winning the ECAC doubles championship in 1996, the year the Pirates also went to the NCAA East Regional. Overall, she had a 27-12 record in BIG EAST singles matches, all coming at the No. 1 position.
“It’s a huge honor to be here tonight to receive such recognition and become part of the Hall of Fame,” Downing said. “Playing tennis at Seton Hall was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life.”
A Washington, D.C., native and graduate of H.D. Woodson High School, McCloud is one of Seton Hall's most prolific scorers of all-time and one of the first Pirates stars of the BIG EAST era. The first recruit signed by legendary head coach P.J. Carlesimo, McCloud scored 1,976 career points, which was fourth-most all-time when he graduated and still ranks sixth in the Seton Hall record book today. He was Seton Hall's first Metropolitan Basketball Writers Rookie of the Year in 1983 and was a four-time All-Met selection. He also was BIG EAST All-Freshman in 1983 and All-BIG EAST third team in 1984 and in 1985, when he was the conference's scoring champion at 20.5 points per game. He also was the first Pirate to lead the team in scoring all four years and led the team in rebounding in his first three seasons.
“Today my basketball life came full circle…I’ve always been proud of being a Pirate,” McCloud said. “The atmosphere at Walsh Gym during my time was amazing, it was great for me.”
A native of Bayonne, N.J., McNulty served as the team chaplain for the men's basketball team from 1996-2006 and was a part of three NCAA Tournament teams in 2000, 2004 and 2006, including the program's run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2000. A member of the clergy for over 60 years, Father McNulty taught moral and pastoral theology for 18 years at the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall. He achieved great honor in 1987 when the National Council of Catholic Bishops chose him to address Pope John Paul II on behalf of the nation's priests during His Holiness' visit to the United States.
“Thank you for allowing me to have this great moment,” McNulty said. “It’s a great thrill for me and a great honor and I appreciate it.”
Originally from Union, N.J., and a graduate of Union High School, Nazario was one of the most successful men's soccer players of all-time at Seton Hall. He was a member of the 1986 team that was the first Seton Hall program to win a BIG EAST Championship, and in total was a member of four NCAA Tournament teams (1986, 1987, 1988, 1990) and three BIG EAST Championship winning squads (1986, 1987, 1990). A stalwart in the backfield, Nazario was one of the best defenders in program history. He is the only Pirate to ever be named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, earning the honor in 1990. He also was 1987 BIG EAST South Division Co-Player of the Year, three-time first-team All-Mid Atlantic Region and three-time first-team All-New Jersey. Now coaching, Nazario has served as the head men's soccer coach at The College of New Jersey for 20 seasons, compiling a 209-148-43 record, reaching the NCAA Div. III Tournament four times and winning the 1996 Div. III national championship.
“This is a great honor and great privilege to go into the athletics Hall of Fame…the experience I had at Seton Hall was absolutely terrific and I am honored to be part of a group that was part of history,” Nazario said. “I will always say that Seton Hall provides [a family environment].”
Originally from Elizabeth, N.J., and a graduate of Seton Hall Prep, Sharkey played baseball at Seton Hall and went on to pitch in the Detroit Tigers organization for three years and serve in the United States Military for two years. The former chairman of Bank of America Corporate Insurance Agency and chairman of Meeker Sharkey Associates, Sharkey has been heavily involved with Seton Hall University, having served on the Board of Regents, including as vice chair, and as the chair of Ever Forward: The Seton Hall Sesquicentennial Campaign. He and his wife, Ruth, are longtime Pirate Blue supporters, and also made numerous contributions to the Stillman School of Business. One of his many gifts supported the creation of the Seton Hall Sports Poll Conducted by the Sharkey Institute.
“I did some nice things for Seton Hall which I was very happy to do in the biggest campaign we ever had,” Sharkey said. “Seton Hall helped me in my livelihood and in my career, some of the faculty and priests were great influences on me.”