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June 2014

Seton Hall Athletics Class of 2014

I would like to take a moment to commend the 51 Seton Hall student-athletes who walked across the stage as members of the class of 2014 last month. The introduction of the Charles W. Doehler Academic Center for Excellence has been one of the more exciting advancements we have made in recent years and I am truly proud to report that our student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom. In all, over half of our senior student-athletes boasted at least a 3.2 cumulative grade-point average, eight earned Magna Cum Laude, two graduated Summa Cum Laude and 11 received Cum Laude honors.

With the support of Director of Academic Support Services Matt Geibel and his dedicated staff, this group helped elevate an already sterling standard of academic accomplishment among our student-athletes. Aside from the continued stream of recognition from external outlets, their commitment is reflected in the fact that the cumulative GPA for all our student-athletes currently stands at 3.29, the highest it has ever been. Additionally, five of our programs were honored with the NCAA's Public Recognition Award for posting a multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the top-10 percent of their sport. Special congratulations are due for the baseball, women's golf, softball, women's tennis and women's volleyball teams for achieving this prestigious distinction.

Commencement is always a bittersweet day in that we have to say farewell to so many that have contributed greatly to our department during their time at The Hall. Our primary function remains to equip the young men and women who choose to represent Seton Hall with the tools necessary to compete well beyond their playing careers and I have confidence that this group, like so many before them, will continue to honor the university's name with their professional endeavors.

It is also important to remember that these individuals will remain a part of our family and I hope to get the opportunity to see you all at a Pirate Blue event in the near future. Once a Pirate, Always a Pirate.

2014 Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame Enshrinement Dinner

The most exciting night of the summer is just two short weeks away as the 2014 Athletics Hall of Fame Enshrinement Dinner on June 18 will celebrate one of the most significant achievements in Seton Hall history: the men's basketball team's run to the 1989 NCAA national championship game.

The evening's guest list includes Bill Raftery, who we are thrilled will serve as the master of ceremonies, in addition to former head coach PJ Carlesimo, as well as coaches, players, and managers from the 1988-89 team. This is the first time in the history of the SHU Athletics Hall of Fame a team will be inducted, and I am sure all of the Seton Hall faithful will agree the honor is well deserved. Held in historic Walsh Gymnasium, the night will begin with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the formal induction ceremony at 7 p.m. Just a few spots remain for what I assure you will be a memorable night, so I strongly encourage anyone who would like to attend, please reserve your spot today.

The Hall of Fame ceremony is always special; it provides us with a chance to honor the rich history and tradition of Seton Hall, and reconnect with many of the all-time great individuals who helped make being a Pirate so special. The 1988-89 men's basketball team was responsible for bringing Seton Hall athletics to the national stage, and it will be exciting to celebrate their silver anniversary on June 18. Check in at SHUPirates.com in the days leading up to the event for a full retrospective on that magical run. The first post, about breaking through to win the Great Alaska Shootout, debuted earlier today.

Expansion of Richie Regan Athletics Center

It is a pleasure to report in the next month we will begin another major construction project within the Richie Regan Athletics Center to complement the Center for Sports Medicine and the Charles W. Doehler Academic Center for Excellence, which opened in 2013. Upon completion of this next enhancement project, all 14 of our varsity athletic teams will have their own branded locker room, we will open an amphitheater-style team film room, while also relocating our varsity weight room, which will feature new state-of-the-art equipment and double the size of its existing location. These improvements contribute to our mission to further enrich the student-athlete experience and create an environment for success both on and off the field of play.

Pirate Blue Caravan Summer Tour

In only 10 days, the Pirate Blue Caravan will hit the road for the first stop in its inaugural summer tour. This is a great opportunity for alumni and fans to connect with the program and reserve season tickets for the upcoming basketball campaign. The Pirate Blue Caravan will offer giveaways, an opportunity to meet the Pirate, as well as appearances from Seton Hall coaches at select stops along the way. The first destination is West Caldwell, N.J. as part of the Grand Opening of a new AAA location on Saturday, June 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stay tuned to SHUPirates.com for the complete Pirate Blue Caravan schedule that is soon to be released and also take part in our recently launched men's basketball fan experience survey.

Pirate Pride Challenge Recap

I want to congratulate our women's soccer program for winning the 2014 Pirate Pride Challenge, they will receive a $7,500 gift from Pirate Blue. Congratulations are also in order for the baseball program, which came in second in the challenge, and will receive $2,500 for raising the most money during the four-month competition. I have touched on the significance of the Pirate Pride Challenge initiative in the past, and it is worth reiterating how important the involvement of former student-athletes is to our long-term success. Thank you to each individual who made a donation to Pirate Blue during this campaign. It is encouraging to see so many former athletes give back to Seton Hall and continue to help provide a first class experience for all of our current and future Pirates.

BIG EAST Michael Tranghese Postgraduate Leadership Award

One distinguished member of this senior class, Chloe Sher of the women's tennis team, was recently chosen as the female recipient of the BIG EAST Michael Tranghese Postgraduate Leadership Award for 2013-14. A member of the National Student-Athlete Honor Society Chi Alpha Sigma who graduated Magna Cum Laude, Chloe will receive a $5,000 sum towards the graduate program she plans to begin at the University of British Columbia next fall.

The BIG EAST Michael Tranghese Postgraduate Leadership Award winners are selected annually by the BIG EAST Conference Academic Affairs Committee. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have been admitted to a degree-granting or professional program for the following year and applicants are screened on the basis of academic credentials, athletic performance and depth of commitment to service within the institution or the community.

Chloe is the first student-athlete we have had win this award - which is in its fourth year of existence - and we are all proud of her tremendous accomplishment. In addition to being one of the most successful players in program history on the court, Chloe was omnipresent at service initiatives throughout her time here, fully embracing what it means to be a Pirate since coming to South Orange all the way from Hong Kong four years ago.

This is a fitting award for someone who has been a leader among her peers and has been an excellent representative for her team and our university throughout her career.

Baseball Completes Strong Season

Our baseball team recently completed its 2014 season and again proved why it has been a model for our other programs both on and off the field. Rob Sheppard's group finished the season with a 39-15 record, the most wins since 2000. They were ranked nationally for much of the season and enjoyed impressive series victories over several opponents including a three-game sweep over Arizona in Tucson.

Several individuals on the team have taken their performance to a new level. Senior Josh Prevost became the first Pirate to be named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year since 1992, and was recently named to the Louisville Slugger All-America Second Team. The right-hander went 12-2 with a 1.67 ERA and led the conference in most statistical categories. Junior D.J. Ruhlman batted .351 with three home runs and was named BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year. The shortstop is a candidate for the National Breakout Player of the Year Award and the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award. In addition, seven student-athletes were named to BIG EAST All-Conference Teams and 10 were named to All-State Teams by the New Jersey Collegiate Baseball Association (NJCBA).

Off the field, Sheppard's Pirates continue to be leaders in the community and the classroom. Jackson Martin and Zack Weigel were recognized as the top male scholar-athletes for the freshman and sophomore classes respectively. Collectively, the team was honored with the NCAA's Public Recognition Award for posting a multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the top-10 percent of their sport. I know you'll join me in congratulating our baseball team on another fine campaign in 2014.