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March, 2016

AD Newsletter - March 2016

March Madness is Upon Us

It's a great time to be a Pirate as our men's and women's basketball teams have entered the month of March in an outstanding position to hear their names called for selection to the NCAA Tournament.

Our men's basketball team has won eight of its last 10 games and has locked up third place in the BIG EAST, which is rated the fourth-best conference in Division I this season. As many of you saw at sold-out Prudential Center last Sunday, our student-athletes can compete with anyone in the country as they took down No. 5 Xavier. They are now 21-8 overall, 11-6 in the conference and have an RPI rating of 33.

The team will close out the regular season on Saturday and then prepare for its BIG EAST Tournament quarterfinal, which will take place Thursday at Madison Square Garden at 9:30 p.m. If you're not already going, be sure to get your tickets or tune in to FS1 on television or AM970 on the radio to catch the action.

If you are going to The Garden, be sure to sign up for one or both of Pirate Blue's events next week. Our annual tournament fundraiser will take place Wednesday, March 9 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Grand Havana Room, where I'll be joined by Coach Willard. For more information, click here and to RSVP for this exclusive event now, contact Jay Judge at 973-275-2202 or jay.judge@shu.edu.

We will also have our annual pregame reception on Thursday, March 10 at Hudson Station Bar & Grill, just a short walk away from The Garden. This is a fun event that includes an open bar and hors d'oeuvres as Pirate fans mingle and get ready to cheer on the team. Click here to receive more information and register. Reservations are highly recommended.

Our women's basketball team ended the regular season with five wins in a row to get to 22-7 overall and 12-6 in the BIG EAST. The team has won nine of its last 12 games and will also be the No. 3 seed in the upcoming BIG EAST Championship, which starts on Saturday in Chicago. The Pirates will face No. 6 Marquette in the quarterfinals Sunday at 3:30 p.m. If you're not already coming to the game, you can tune in to FS2 or WSOU 89.5 FM to catch the action. Should the team advance, it would play its semifinal match Monday at 4 p.m., live on FS1. The championship game takes place Tuesday at 8 p.m., also on FS1.

Congratulations to the three Pirates who received All-BIG EAST recognition, including Tabatha Richardson-Smith, a unanimous first-team selection, and Aleesha Powell and Shakena Richardson, both named honorable mention. Their hard work has resulted in outstanding achievement both individually and as a team as these three seniors have helped position our program to return to the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season. Well done!

2016 Hall of Fame Class

We are pleased to announce our Hall of Fame Class of 2016, a group of five outstanding individuals who have made terrific contributions to Seton Hall Athletics. We are honored to welcome Kristen Downing (Women's Tennis), Andre McCloud (Men's Basketball), Father Frank J. McNulty (Men's Basketball), George Nazario (Men's Soccer) and Tom Sharkey (Honorary) to our Hall of Fame. Visit SHUPirates.com to read more about their accomplishments.

We will celebrate these five individuals and formerly induct them into the Hall of Fame on Monday, May 23 at our annual Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame Golf Outing and Dinner at the Fairmont Country Club in Chatham, N.J. Details and RSVP information on the day will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

Congratulations to Swimming & Diving

Last week our men's & women's swimming & diving teams competed at the BIG EAST Championship on Long Island, and the two teams combined for seven gold medals at the event as well as a host of top-three finishes and broken school records that resulted in 35 All-BIG EAST distinctions spread over 13 student-athletes.

Congratulations to Noah Yanchulis, named the BIG EAST Men's Most Outstanding Swimmer, after he won the 200 and 500 freestyle events on his way to scoring the most points of any swimmer at the meet.

Congratulations to Gabby Signorelli on capping her fantastic Pirates career with two more gold medals, wins in the 1-meter and 3-meter dives. She was crowned the BIG EAST Women's Most Outstanding Diver for the third consecutive season. She now has six BIG EAST gold medals in her career, an amazing feat!

Also congratulations to head coach Ron Farina, who was named the BIG EAST Men's Swimming Coach of the Year, and diving coach Kayla Spinelli, who was named BIG EAST Women's Diving Coach of the Year.

To read more about the host of honors our swimmers and divers achieved, click here.

Fifth Annual Patrick M. and Mary Ann Plaff Murray Leadership Forum

On Feb. 8, our Helping Athletes Learn to be Leaders (H.A.L.L.) Program hosted one of its signature events: the fifth annual Patrick M. and Mary Ann Plaff Murray Leadership Forum for Student-Athletes. The event was designed to give student-athletes access to four distinguished professionals for a career-oriented discussion and networking opportunity.

This year's event took on added significance as one of our panelists was Pat Murray, for whom the leadership forum was re-named. Pat generously donated to the Pirate Blue Athletic Fund in support of this event, and we were very excited that he accepted our invitation to participate in the panel. He is the current Chairman of the Seton Hall Board of Regents and previously retired as the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Dresser, Inc., in 2007. Joining Pat were Michellene Davis, Executive Vice President at Barnabas Health; John Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer at American Express; and Joseph Torcivia, Co-President of Torcon, Inc., and a former member of Seton Hall's Board of Regents.

This year's event was a terrific success as our four panelists were engaged with the student-athletes in a great discussion. The students came prepared with good questions about how to best prepare for life after college and athletics and took advantage of the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the most successful people in the country.

Please take a moment to read the recap and watch the video from the event, and I'd like to thank Pat, Michellene, John and Joseph for lending us their time and expertise. I'd also like to give special thanks to Glenn Horine for moderating the evening and Roberto Sasso for organizing the event.

Congratulations to Four Outstanding Freshmen

Being a student-athlete is never easy. Being a freshman student-athlete is very difficult. That's what makes it even more impressive that four of our student-athletes achieved a 4.0 GPA during their first semester here at Seton Hall.

On Feb. 19, Taylor Cutcliff of women's soccer, men's soccer newcomer Peyton Elder, softball's Emily Supercynski and Amy Vandegriff of volleyball were recognized at the President's Reception to Celebrate Academic Excellence for achieving the perfect 4.0.

This is a tremendous honor and an achievement that is difficult for any freshman regardless of whether he or she is a student-athlete, so please join me in congratulating Taylor, Peyton, Emily and Amy!

Click here to read the recap on our Freshmen 4.0ers.

Pirate Pride Challenge Underway

Our annual Pirate Pride Challenge is well underway and into the second round. If you're not familiar, the Pirate Pride Challenge is a bracket-style fundraising contest between all current and former student-athletes to help their teams.

To all our former student-athletes: we hope that you can make a gift to help your programs. Your support in the Pirate Pride Challenge is vital to our success and helping enhance the student-athlete experience here at Seton Hall.

For more information and to make a gift, visit PiratePrideChallenge.com.

Progress Continues at Recreation Center

Our renovation of the Recreation Center lobby, which will be transformed into a great new space that will house our Hall of Fame, is in full bore right now. We continue to make great progress each week as we push to have the project completed at the end of the summer.