SUNY Oswego Inducts Seven into Athletic Hall of Fame

Posted on Saturday, November 15, 2014

Seven former standout athletes at SUNY Oswego joined the ranks of 82 other accomplished individuals who have been voted into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame, forever solidifying themselves in the college’s athletic history.

The college officially welcomed the inductees to the Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Nov. 8 in the Sheldon Ballroom on campus:

● baseball player Mark Levine ’85, of South Easton, Mass.,
● women’s basketball and softball player Nancy S. Lobb ’83, of Providence Forge, Va.,
● baseball and men’s basketball player Sean McLaughlin ’00, of Camden, N.Y.,
● baseball player Warren Jamie Rutherford ’85, of Portland, Maine,
● men’s soccer player Gerald W. Vredenburg ’68, of LaFayette, N.Y.,
● men’s soccer player Edward Zorn ’63, of Hamlin, N.Y., awarded posthumously.

Hockey player Greg Preston ’78, of Greensboro, Ga., was recognized Nov. 15, at the 50-year anniversary celebration of SUNY Oswego men’s ice hockey.

“This year’s honorees represent some of the best athletes in Oswego State’s long athletic history,” said event organizer Laura Pavlus Kelly ’09, director of Alumni and Parent Relations. “We are honored to recognize them.”

Hall of Fame RecipientsAthletic Director Sue Viscomi congratulated all the Hall of Fame inductees, and provided a historical perspective on Oswego’s athletics facilities as well as updates on renovations or new developments since the former athletes competed on campus. She paid special note to the new $2.37 million artificial turf field currently under construction and thanked the members of the Hall of Fame selection committee for their time.

“Times have really changed for the better for our athletes,” she said.

Mark Levine ’85, of South Easton, Mass., who was unable to attend the ceremony, was a four-year member of the baseball team, where he played a significant role in one of the most successful periods in program history. Levine was named to the SUNYAC’s All-Conference teams in each of his four seasons, including taking First Team honors as a freshman, junior and senior. In his freshman campaign, Levine was recognized as an All-America catcher as well as being named NCAA All-Northeast Region. He also collected the same regional honors in 1984 and 1985. Levine still holds the college’s records for four-year batting average (.442), career RBI (167), career doubles (36), single-season hits (61) and single-season RBI (56). Most impressively, Levine helped Oswego win three SUNYAC Championships from 1983 to 1985.

Nancy S. Lobb ’83, of Providence Forge, Va., earned a spot in the Hall of Fame for her accolades in both basketball and softball. As a senior, Lobb helped lead the softball squad to the postseason, collecting All-NYSAIAW Tournament Team honors in 1983. The softball program made the NYSAIAW Tournament each of Lobb’s final three years as a Laker, laying the foundation for Oswego to take the crown in 1984 and runner-up in 1985. On the basketball court, Lobb was a dominant guard, setting college records that still stand today. She ranks first on the career steals list with 310 and holds the single-season steals record with 118 as a sophomore during the 1980-81 season. Not only did her defensive skills create possessions for the Lakers, Lobb also developed scoring opportunities for her teammates, as she still ranks second on the career list with 381 assists. Her 143 assists during the 1980-81 season were the most in any single-season and stayed in the top spot for the next 24 seasons.

Sean McLaughlin ’00, of Camden, N.Y., dominated men’s basketball and baseball. As a basketball player, McLaughlin earned All-America honors from DIII News as a Fourth Team member following the 1998-99 campaign. That year, he was named the SUNYAC Player of the Year as well as being a member of the All-Conference First Team. McLaughlin earned several more conference honors over his career, including another First Team selection in 1997-98, a Second Team accolade in 1999-2000 and All-Tournament nods in 1998 and 2000. On the diamond, McLaughlin succeeded in his two years on the squad, not only by Oswego standards, but by national standards. McLaughlin won the NCAA Division III batting title as a senior, hitting .563 with 45 hits in 80 at-bats to lead the country. That batting average remains the single-season record at Oswego. He earned All-SUNYAC First Team that season and holds the college’s record for career batting average (two years, .494).

Warren Jamie Rutherford ’85, of Portland, Maine, who was unable to attend the ceremony, was an integral part of Oswego’s baseball success in winning three-straight SUNYAC Championships from 1983 to 1985. Rutherford was named All-American following his junior year for his efforts both at the plate and manning center field. He was named an NCAA All-Northeast Regional Team member each of his final three seasons as a Laker and was also a First Team All-Conference performer in those years. As a freshman, Rutherford nabbed All-Conference honors, being placed in the Honorable Mention squad.

Gerald W. Vredenburg ’68, of LaFayette, N.Y., is the last men’s soccer player to earn All-America accolades at SUNY Oswego. He garnered All-America Honorable Mention as a goalie from the NCAA for his efforts during his junior season. Over the course of his career, Vredenburg was also named First Team All-SUNYAC and Second Team All-State. Vredenburg also holds the distinction of being the goalie on the only Laker men’s soccer team to capture the SUNYAC Championship, winning the crown in 1966. The goaltender’s 29 saves against Oneonta on Oct. 24, 1967, is still the second-most in program history. After his time at Oswego, Vredenburg taught at the LaFayette (N.Y.) Central Schools from 1968 to 2001, staying heavily involved in athletics. He coached varsity football, boys’ basketball, girls’ soccer and lacrosse throughout his career and was named the United States Lacrosse Association Central New York Coach of the Year in 1984.

Edward Zorn ’63, of Hamlin, N.Y., the only 2014 inductee to receive the honor posthumously, is one of only three men’s soccer All-Americans, collecting Honorable Mention in 1962. During his senior season, Zorn was also named First Team All-State and First Team All-SUNYAC. Zorn was the second-straight Laker to earn All-America honors as the program’s first-ever All-American, Bob Thole ’62, earned his recognition in 1961. After his time at Oswego, Zorn taught industrial arts while coaching varsity soccer at Greece Olympia High School in Rochester, N.Y. He spent his free time growing, promoting and advancing youth soccer in Hamlin, N.Y.

“These individuals’ athletic achievements and contributions to Oswego State Athletics and their communities are truly remarkable, and we are honored to welcome them into our Athletic Hall of Fame,” said emcee Jeff Rea ’71, writer and editor in Oswego’s Public Affairs, who was the emcee for the Nov. 8 event. 

Greg Preston '78 had already committed to attend the 50-year anniversary celebration of men's hockey when he received notification of his induction. His 172 career points still ranks 11th in the program's history, and his 94 goals is fifth all-time. He is just one of nine players to be named First Team All-America, his coming from the American Hockey Coaches Association. 

After receiving his award Nov. 15 in the Marano auditorium, Preston became emotional as he thanked his family, especially his parents.

"But even with my dad working two or three jobs, I don't ever remember him missing an important game," Preston said, choking up. "My sister was active. I was the oldest boy. I had three younger brothers about three years apart. We all played hockey. We lived outside the village of Lake Placid, so it was a car ride up to the rink. For years, my mother would work a full-time job, prepare dinner, feed us in shifts while she picked up one and got the other, and she was probably doing that while we were playing knee hockey beneath her feet. 

"And never did I hear them complain. They just gave and gave and gave. And I never would have had this experience without them."  

The Alumni Association established the Hall of Fame in 2001 to honor those persons who have made outstanding contributions to Oswego State Athletics. Its purpose is to perpetuate the memory of those persons who have brought honor, distinction and excellence to Oswego State in athletics.

PHOTO CAPTION: Seven Oswego alumni were inducted into the SUNY Oswego Athletic Hall of Fame at a Nov. 8 ceremony in the Sheldon Ballroom on campus. In attendance, from left to right, Sean McLaughlin ’00, Tracy DiFlorio, the late Edward Zorn’s daughter accepting the award in his behalf, Nancy S. Lobb ’83, and Gerald W. Vredenburg ’68.