It is with great sorrow that the Office of CSI Athletics & Recreation announces the passing of Elizabeth Zwingraf. A prominent fixture within the College of Staten Island athletics department, Coach Zwingraf epitomized the term “coach extraordinaire,” spanning over 40 years of service at both Staten Island Community College and the College of Staten Island. Her exploits on the softball diamond are her most notable, where she spent a total of 21 seasons as both a head and assistant coach up until her retirement in 2012. She passed away in her home on Tuesday. She was 72.
Zwingraf’s pioneering efforts with the softball program began in 1978, CSI’s first season as a four-year intercollegiate varsity program. Zwingraf spent two years with the squad, and later took over the program again for a two-year stint beginning in 1983. The building blocks instilled by Zwingraf’s were a direct result in CSI’s first championship season in 1985. In 1986, Zwingraf joined the ranks as an assistant coach, enjoying five CUNYAC Championships working as the team’s pitching guru. After an 11-year hiatus, Zwingraf returned to the diamond to work under Head Coach Dr. Stella Porto, helping lead the team to another three titles until her retirement in 2012. All tolled, she coached five CUNYAC MVP pitchers.
Zwingraf actually began her coaching career as the school’s cheerleading coach in 1970, a position she held for two seasons before taking over SICC’s women’s basketball squad until the SICC-CSI merger in 1976. The next year, she led CSI’s first-ever women’s tennis squad, for a single year. In 1987, when CSI was left with a vacancy in women’s volleyball, Zwingraf answered the call, serving a two-year appointment with the developing program. Her ability to instill leadership and set the building blocks in motion for future successes are her most notable achievements, as several programs may have collapsed without her tutelage.
Alongside her exploits at SICC-CSI, Zwingraf was inducted into the New Jersey Amateur Softball Association’s Hall of Fame in 2002. She is also a published author of several works on softball and volleyball coaching strategies and techniques.
Zwingraf was honored with inclusion into the College of Staten Island Athletics Hall of Fame Inaugural Class of 2012. She was the very first member inducted, and was presented by USA Olympic Gold Medalist Michele Smith, whom she helped coach and mentor.
Services for Zwingraf will be given by the family at M. David DeMarco Funeral Home, Inc., at 205 Rhode Hall Road in Monroe, NJ. The wake viewings will take place on Thursday and Friday from 2-4pm and 7-9pm. The burial will be on Saturday with mass beginning at 11:00am at the Nativity of Our Lord, 185 Applegarth Road, Monroe, NJ.