By Ronald Hanaki
ESU inducted 10 new members and one team into its Athletic Hall of Fame last Friday night. This was the 40th Warrior class to receive the honor.
The newly inducted members were the following: Mike D’Alessio ‘73, Shavanna Ross ‘02, Jorge Chapoy ‘03, Shannon McCracken ‘03, April Mellott ‘03, Jeremy Sluyter ‘05, Anthony Carfagno ‘06, Ashley Kocis ‘07, Evan Prall ‘07, Jimmy Terwilliger ‘07 and the 1975 mixed archery team led by head coach Maryanne Schumm. Prall is now an assistant coach for a high school football team and could not attend.
Sports Information Director Greg Knowlden welcomed the attendees and then introduced ESU President Dr. Marcia Welsh.
Welsh began by celebrating the accomplishment that ESU faculty developed the second computer program for archery scoring. What used to take 10 hours was reduced to 10 minutes as a result of ESU’s computer program.
Welsh then spoke in earnest.
“Our student-athletes have an overall significantly higher GPA and higher graduation rate,” said Welsh. “If you meet our student-athletes, they are some of the most incredible people you will ever meet.”
“Each of this year’s inductees has attained the highest success in their chosen sport,” continued Welsh. “These are people who have represented and continue to represent our institution ESU with both honor and distinction.”
“Our programs provide the opportunity for talented students to maximize their abilities while encouraging them to strive toward excellence in both athletics and academics,” stated Welsh.
“The accomplishments of individuals and team being inducted today serve as incredible examples of what can be accomplished when an athlete receives the proper support and encouragement, something we try to do every single day at ESU,” said Welsh.
“These distinguished players are evidence that athletic competition teaches discipline and the physical and mental skills necessary for full and valuable participation in our study,” stated Welsh.
“We now say ESU is where Warriors belong, so welcome back. I am really thrilled to have you here,” stated Welsh.
“In January, we rolled out our new athletic logo,” said Welsh. “We had to change [our logo] because that [our old logo] was not conducive to digital.”
“The new logo actually is digitally compatible and works better for us in every mode that we use to promote ESU,” stated Welsh.
“So we then introduced a new mascot: the Warrior,” said Welsh. “It is not a Trojan; it is an Argonaut.”
“We live and work on the Delaware River,” continued Welsh. “And so when they came in to do a mascot, they talked to students a lot. They talked to our community. They talked to our alumni, and they came up with the Warrior.”
“And that Warrior is designed after an Argonaut, a Water Warrior,” stated Welsh. “So it really does represent our region.”
“And I have to say that it was received with great enthusiasm, especially by our students who have never had a mascot,” said Welsh. “So it’s been really fun.”
Welsh was followed by Interim Director of Athletics Kevin Forde.
“We are grateful for the presence of the honorees and their families,” said Forde. “Thank you for coming home. We welcome you back with open arms.”
“Tonight, we are honoring not only the achievements of those outstanding individuals, but the unique and important ways in which they have expressed and carried forward the defining elements of their alma mater and our East Stroudsburg University family,” stated Forde.
“To the honorees, know how proud we are of you,” said Forde. “Know how deeply we treasure you and how grateful we are for having you back with us tonight.”
Most of the inductees were thankful to the athletic committee and their families for this honor in their acceptance speeches.
But the most rousing and maybe self-deprecating speech of the night was probably given by football’s Terwilliger.
“It’s truly special to be here tonight to share this moment in time… with people I consider to be true Warriors, and most of all that I could be inducted to the 2017 class with such great talent and in particular two teammates that meant the world to me in my playing career in Anthony Carfagno–and I know Evan Prall is unable to be here tonight, but it means the world to me to be able to go out into the Hall of Fame with Evan. Those two guys are extremely special to me,” said Terwilliger.
“I don’t know exactly how to feel right now. I feel so conflicted in my mind because I’m the greatest person in this room,” stated Terwilliger.
“I have so much yet left to prove,” stated Terwilliger. “I have so much left to do.”
“This is not the top yet,” said Terwilliger. “I feel like the greatest accomplishments in my life are so far ahead of me.”
“But at this moment in time, I just feel old,” stated Terwilliger. “And I feel like I could be part of an old Geico commercial.”
Terwilliger said, “My sales pitch would probably go like this.”
“I have the most dynamic offensive back in the country. You mix that with the most prolific, record-breaking wide receiver in the Pennsylvania Conference history,” said Terwilliger.
“Well, switch back to East Stroudsburg University–and playing quarterback is so easy, a cave man could do it,” stated Terwilliger.
That drew a huge laugh from the audience.
“And in a lot of ways, you wouldn’t be wrong,” stated Terwilliger. “But there are two reasons I am here tonight: impeccable timing and impenetrable relationships.”
“We love each other,” said Terwilliger.
“We have a saying around here: the blood runs thick at East Stroudsburg University,” stated Terwilliger.
“It’s my personal mantra,” said Terwilliger. “I stole it from my old man, and that’s not lip service.”
“I have a distinct memory of walking into a huddle,” stated Terwilliger. “I’m ready to call a play.”
“I look to my left, and I look to my right. And I see nothing but Warriors,” said Terwilliger.
“They are ready to lay it on the line for me, and I for them,” stated Terwilliger. “And that’s how we won games here at East Stroudsburg University.”
“I thank East Stroudsburg University for teaching me about brotherhood,” said Terwilliger.
“And last but not least, I thank East Stroudsburg University for the opportunity to find love: an anatomy and physiology class–no pun intended–my sophomore year for me to meet my wife Ashley,” stated Terwilliger.
Turning to his wife, Terwilliger said, “You have given me the greatest gift in the world in that little daughter that is passed out sleeping right now.”
“And I hope that one day, she could grow up and be as strong as her mother because you are the toughest person in the world,” said Terwilliger. “And I love you with all my heart.”
Terwilliger was followed by Schumm and the 1975 national champion mixed archery team.
“I do believe I heard Jimmy say that he is old tonight,” said Schumm “I wonder if he’s looked over at that table with the 1975 national championship team?”
After Schumm, Knowlden returned to the podium for some concluding remarks.
“This was a great night for East Stroudsburg University and the Warriors and to have a group of athletes as accomplished as this,” stated Knowlden.
“Every group is very accomplished,” said Knowlden. “But this group is extremely impressive.”
“Congratulations to all of our inductees,” said Knowlden. “Thank you so much for coming here.”
“As always, it’s a great day to be a Warrior,” stated Knowlden.
Email Ronald at: