Flashback Friday looks at the top moments from the 2016-17 athletic year at the College of Staten Island. It’s time to introduce our countdown this week, and we do so with one of the grandest nights of the year, when the athletic program unveiled its six new members to the Hall of Fame. The six inductees joined recipients from 2012 & 2014, raising the overall total to 20 all-time.
#10 – CSI Athletics Hall of Fame places six new members in Class of 2016
Date: October 27, 2017
Who: College of Staten Island Athletics Hall of Fame
Where: The Vanderbilt at South Beach – Staten Island, NY
What Happened: CSI inaugurated its Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012 and have followed every two years since. The Department added six new members on October of 2016, joining the 14 existing members to form an even 20 overall. At the beautiful Vanderbilt at South Beach, a collection of five former athletes and a standout coach received their due in a ceremony attended by over 180 participants. Hosted by HOF Committee Chairperson and CSI Associate Athletic Director David Pizzuto, the ceremony featured welcoming words by Athletic Director Charles Gomes and CSI President William J. Fritz, and then was followed by presentations to celebrated student-athletes Jason Anarumo (Baseball), Christina D’Arpa (Softball), Ken Lam & David Paul (Men’s Basketball) and Tara Gagliardo (Women’s Basketball), and legendary head coach James Donlan (Men’s Soccer). The CSI Athletics Hall of Fame is featured within the Sports & Recreation Center, on the bridge overlooking the Main and Auxiliary Gymnasia.
Q&A…with Tara Gagliardo
Tara, what was it like for you to get the call that you were in the Hall of Fame?
At first I was shocked but very excited. I knew my mother-in-law had nominated me but I really didn’t think it would happen. There have been so many amazing players that have come through CSI.
You came to CSI during a unique time. The team was going through a lot of growth and changing. Did you think that you were being looked at as the centerpiece to that movement at the time?
To be honest, no. I came off of a rough year at St. Peters where I didn’t get as much playing time as I thought I should have. I was just happy to be able to still play basketball on Staten Island. Especially to be able to still play with (former teammates) Kristen Lisi and Mary Giblin.
You’ve had so many great games and memories during your career. Is there one that stands out most?
Of course. It was the championship game my senior year against Hunter at CSI. It felt so great to go out as champions on our home court.
As the point guard, you are responsible for so much, quarterbacking the play, moving the ball, making the shots and then of course comes your defense. What part of your game do you think was the most important?
I’d like to say my three-point shot (laugh), but actually I think it was my passing. No matter where I was passing from my teammates were always ready. They are the reason for the career assist record I set.
Your mentioned that your mother-in-law nominated you for the Hall of Fame. How instrumental has your family been during your career and what can you say about the importance of family in Division III Athletics?
My mother and stepfather are the reason for this. If it was not for their support throughout my whole journey I would have never gotten to CSI. They never missed a game and were my biggest supporters. I believe having my family at all my games helped tremendously with my confidence. No matter what they were my biggest fans.
Let’s talk about the Hall of Night itself. Were you nervous having to make speech, and what sentiments did you want to convey that night?
Of course I was nervous!, And it didn’t help that I had to speak last and after the great, David Paul. But I really just wanted to thank everyone from CSI that helped me get to this night. If it wasn’t for the coaches who believed in me and the great group of teammates that I got to play with, I would never have made it to the Hall of Fame.
Many of your former teammates came out to support you that night. What did that mean to you, and how many friendships do you have from your playing days?
It was so amazing to see almost all of my old teammates. And I am so grateful and honored that they came out on the night of the Hall of Fame dinner to see me receive my award. Many of us still talk often. I actually still play in the woman’s league with Tracy, Stephanie, and Kristen.
What were your overall impressions of that night? What stood out to you, what will be your lasting memories or takeaways from that evening?
It was a beautiful night! The staff at CSI did an outstanding job honoring everyone there that night. It was so nice to see a group of people being honored who definitely deserved it. It was also great to hear everyone’s stories of when they played at CSI. I will always remember my children’s faces when they got to see me accept the plaque and to hear such great stories about how I got there. I can only hope that one day I will be there honoring them.
You are part of such an exclusive club now. Your name and your bio will be on that wall forever at CSI. When you look back at your career and what you have done and knowing that you’re a Hall of Famer, what does that mean to you?
When you are young and playing you never think of what the future holds for you, and as a child and even high school and college I never once thought about a Hall of Fame. I just loved to play basketball. When people ask me now if I am in the Hall of Fame I have to stop and think, then I proudly respond. yes I am! I just hope that my children and other children know that this honor doesn’t come easy. You have to work at it and really want it. Thank you to all that voted for me and seeing something in me that not everyone always saw. It is a great honor!