Newman University recently held it’s bi-annual Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, adding five new athletic alumni to the growing family of inductees.
The Newman University Sports Hall of Fame was created in 2007 to “celebrate and honor alumni student-athletes, coaches, administrators, advocates and patrons who have made significant contributions to the development of Newman athletics,” said Newman University President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D.
The celebration began with a traditional social gathering Friday, Feb. 8 in the Tarcisia Roths, ASC, Alumni Center. The inductees along with family, friends and colleagues join together for a casual gathering of mingling and reminiscing.
The formal ceremony banquet was held Saturday, Feb. 9 in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center, during which inductees were given the opportunity to thank to those who made a difference in their lives.
In addition, the Thomasine Stoecklein, ASC, Spirit Award is also announced at the evening banquet. The award is intended to promote spirit and pride among fans, and an atmosphere of support and encouragement for student athletes as they represent Newman University in athletic contests and represent Newman in different communities.
The award is presented to an individual or group who has demonstrated outstanding spirit and sportsmanship at NU Athletic Events.
The 2019 Thomasine Stoecklein, ASC, Spirit Award recipient was Vic Trilli, director of athletics and vice president for student affairs at Newman.
Trilli’s hard work, energy and passion were recognized along with his leadership during athletic facilities advancements throughout the 10 years he has been at Newman.
The 2019 Newman University Sports Hall of Fame class includes Kent Boomsma ’98, baseball; Laryssa Ferreira ’11, tennis; Billy Murphy, current Newman bowling coach; the 2006 men’s cross country team; and boosters Dana and Larry Fugate, Fugate Enterprises.
Kent Boomsma ’98 — Baseball
Boomsma’s records are still listed in the top categories for his years as a four-year starter at shortstop for the Jets, receiving First Team All-Conference and All-Region 1995-97, and an All-American honorable mention for those same years.
He is best known for his career batting records, which he leads in hits, home runs,
Boomsma said he wouldn’t trade his Newman experience for anything in the world. “Newman was a definitely a place that, being 11 hours away from my family, it was a home away from home. I met my wife here.”
He said he was a first-generation student, the first in his family to earn a college degree, adding that “Newman was the best decision I ever made.”
He and his wife now have two boys who also found a love for baseball and Boomsma has been able to share in that experience with both of them.
“I’ve coached both my sons. I coached my oldest till he was about 15 … and I’m coaching my almost 12-year-old now.”
When reminiscing about his Newman baseball coach, Paul Sanagorski, Boomsma said he learned a lot from him that he carries with him into his own coaching.
“Coach Paul was, he was a great mentor. He is one person that I appreciate very much.”
Laryssa Ferreira Booth ’11 — Tennis
Ferreira Booth is the most decorated women’s tennis player to date, making a huge impact on the women’s tennis program. Twice, in 2009-10 and 2010-11, she was awarded the Heartland Conference Player of the Year.
She also was a First Team choice on the All-District 7 list, was the conference Player of the Week 10 times and was Newman’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2009-10 and 2010-11. She also served as the women’s coach in 2011-12.
Ferreira Booth said being inducted into the Newman Sports Hall of Fame makes her realize she accomplished something big.
“It feels really good to be back on campus and I’m really happy to be here again. It’s just such an honor. I’ll be honest, I was surprised because I know we had great athletes here at Newman, and so when I found out … I was just like, ‘Wow.’ It was hard to believe at first.”
She said her Newman experience was very memorable. “I think because it’s a smaller school, I think you just kind of know everybody and feel connected and just overall it made it a good experience because I felt like people cared about you and they want you to do well.”
Billy Murphy — Current Newman bowling coach
Since Murphy began the bowling programs in 2002, the men and women’s teams have combined to produce 25 top-20 and 13 top-10 finishes in the coaches’ poll, three individual national champions and 19 appearances in the Intercollegiate Team Championship.
Murphy has twice been named the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year, earning the women’s honor in 2017-18 and the men’s in 2008-09.
Murphy said being inducted into the Newman Sports Hall of Fame is a big honor. “It’s humbling — going in with the incredible student-athletes and coaches and supporters of our athletic department that are already in … it’s just a true honor to be in with them”
He said his first group of players did so well it made recruiting a little easier.
“You know, it’s interesting because … our initial group of players that we had come in with us … initially, in that first year or so, we had a pretty small group and then it just kept getting bigger and bigger. That group did an amazing job of putting us on the map.”
He said that coaching a bowling program is where he feels at home. “I’ve been fortunate enough that I get to teach what I do and what I’m passionate about.”
The 2006 Men’s Cross Country Team
This team of runners earned the conference championship and three All-Conference First Team honors, including Blake Henry, who placed 2nd in the conference tournament, Nick Bell, 6th and Nick Abbott, 9th.
The team also had two honorable mention awards for Nate Bell, 11th, and Andrew Shahan, 14th. Abbot was a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics freshman All-American in 2005 and First Team All-Conference all four of his years as a Jet.
This team had the first two individuals in Newman history to qualify for Nationals. Other team members include Michael Baggett, Joel Gichinga and David Young. The team was coached by Josh Schepis and assisted by Ron Russell.
Coach Josh Shepis said when the cross country program began in 2001, they didn’t start winning races right away. He said the 2006 team brought with them a new level of competition.
“The significance of this team is the evolution of where we came from,” said Shepis. “And this was kind of the pioneer group of guys that decided, ‘Yeah, we’re going to make Newman a cross country school.’ And we got a couple of key recruits and then the other guys just bought in and worked hard to help us accomplish that because we really didn’t know what to expect going into NCAA division two.
“This team actually competed on a daily basis with each other. They didn’t want any one person to be way ahead of them. They would close that gap and run with them. So I think that’s kind of the uniqueness of this team.”
Boosters Dana and Larry Fugate, Fugate Enterprises
Dana and Larry Fugate have provided support and financial gifts to Newman University Athletics throughout many years, including the building of Fugate Gymnasium. The Fugates have been very generous to the entire Newman campus for more than 25 years in major funding for various campaigns. Larry and Dana are great representatives of Newman Athletics and the Newman community.