The College of Staten Island is unveiling its Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018, with plans to celebrate the memories and accolades of eight deserving members with its inauguration ceremony this coming fall. The year’s chosen field will be honored on Thursday, November 1, 2018, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island. The mix of candidates will join the 20 members chosen in the College’s first three classes, honored every two years beginning in 2012, which honors deserving individuals from both the College of Staten Island and Staten Island Community College.
The distinguished honorees of the CSI Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018 are:
– Bill Cali – Baseball Head Coach (1995-2008)
– Michelle DeBella – Softball Player (1998-2001)
– Arthur King – Men’s Basketball Player (1969-71)
– Demi-Jean Martorano – Women’s Soccer Player (2010-13)
– Nedgy Nazon – Men’s Soccer Player (1998-00, 2012)
– April Owen – Women’s Basketball, Volleyball, Softball Player (1990-93)
– Frank Sansonetti – Baseball Player (1997-00)
– Michael Stewart – Men’s Basketball Player (2001-05)
“We have a fantastic class to inaugurate in 2018 and we couldn’t be happier with the job of the selection committee and their choices for installment,” said David Pizzuto, Associate Athletic Director and Hall of Fame Committee Chairperson. “It was a tremendous undertaking to narrow down the field of outstanding athletes, coaches, and administrators, for inclusion into this year’s class, and so we are duly excited to honor these individuals on this tremendous achievement.”
This year’s class features a trio of basketball standouts that highlight over four decades of basketball prominence at both Staten Island Community College and the College of Staten Island, a soccer duo that share career and individual season season scoring records, and three diamond stars who dominated the softball and baseball landscape in the late 1990’s and into the new millennium.
Former CUNYAC Champion and Most Valuable Player Michael Stewart dominated the CSI hardwood for four years, primarily as a shooting guard who at the time of his graduation broke a 19-year school record for total points, held by his former coach, Tony Petosa, with 1,819, since broken. The Brooklyn native finished his career with 446 assists and 238 three-pointers, at the time the second-highest total in team-history next to current Hall of Famer John Cali. Stewart’s 2002-03 MVP season saw him score a CUNYAC-high 19.3 points per game, shooting over 43% from three-point range and over 83% from the free-throw line, the third highest total in single-season history.
Stewart’s numbers as a four-year standout seem lost next to Staten Island Community College standout Arthur King, who for two seasons decimated the boxscores to the tune of 1,130 career points and 631 career rebounds, good for 23.6 points and 13.1 rebounds per game over his abridged CSI career. The former Junior College All-American left as SICC’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing Ken Lam, who earned CSI Hall of Fame honors in 2016. King then went on to play for Stony Brook University, finishing a two-year career with 999 career points at his alma mater, where he still holds the school record for points in a game with 50 against Pratt University in February of 1973.
Basketball was just one of the areas of excellence for April Owen, who in 1990 started a three-year career at CSI on the hardwood that began with a championship in 1990-91 and continued with MVP honors a year later. Owen would finalize her basketball career with 1,206 career points over three seasons, good for a 21.9 per game average, currently 10th all-time at the college. Her 601 career rebounds stand eighth all-time, with her 380 in 1991-92 alone ranking third. Owen still holds CSI’s all-time single-game point scoring record with 44. As if it weren’t enough, Owen was a CUNYAC All-Star in both Softball and Women’s Volleyball, compiling impressive numbers as a year-round student-athlete, one of the first at the College all-time.
Records came easy for CSI’s pair of soccer standouts, none more than women’s soccer standout Demi-Jean Martorano, who dominated the conference and the region, collecting a CUNYAC Championship, it’s Rookie of the Year honor and two Most Valuable Player awards during her decorated career. Martorano owns the school’s career scoring record with 85 goals and 197 total points, adding a career-best 362 shots and 25 game-winners to boot. Martorano set single-season records for the same categories and is the only Dolphin player to score five goals in a single game, adding one four-goal game and seven more hat tricks as well. Martorano doubled as a CSI women’s tennis player as well for the first three years of her career finishing with a career 8-4 mark in singles competition.
Nedgy Nazon finished his career for CSI in 2012, returning to the pitch after an unbelievable 13-year absence. He debuted for the Dolphins in 1997, earning CUNYAC Rookie of the Year honors. The following year Nazon posted Player of the Year honors in a 20-goal season en route to a CUNYAC Championship and returned the following year to score 15 goals for the defending champs. After leaving college to pursue his career, Nazon returned to complete his degree in 2012 and picked up right where he left off, setting a school-record with seven game-winning goals in 2012 en-route to a 17 goal season in a historic CUNYAC All-Star campaign. Like Martorano, Nazon finished his career as CSI’s all-time leader in goals, points, and game-winning goals.
From the soccer pitch to the baseball and softball diamonds, come another trio of tremendous talents. Michelle DeBella was at the forefront of CSI’s softball dominance in the late-90’s, recording two CUNYAC Championships and two CUNYAC Most Valuable Player honors in her sophomore and junior seasons. The entrenched first baseman batted a colossal .463 during her career, to date the second-highest total in CSI career history, and the slugger ranks in the CSI Top Five in seven other offensive categories, including RBI, hits, walks, doubles, home runs, and slugging percentage. Her .533 average in 2000 is the highest in CSI single-season history, as was her 47 RBI in 2000 since being broken a year ago. Defensively, her 535 career put-outs rank fourth all-time.
Perhaps no one hit the ball better than baseball ace Frank Sansonetti, who to date still holds CSI career records for batting average at .462, hits with an even 200, RBI with 153, and triples with 21. Sansonetti helped lead the Dolphins to three CUNYAC Championships in four years, winning CUNYAC Player of the Year honors in 1998 and 1999, and he was a part of CSI’s last ECAC Championship team in 2000. The lightning-fast outfielder also doubled on the hill as a southpaw hurler, amassing a career 8-2 record on the hill with a 3.25 ERA in over 80 innings pitched. At the conclusion of his playing career, Sansonetti was drafted by Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers.
Sansonetti’s Head Coach during his career was another Staten Island Major League Baseball alum in Bill Cali. Father to current Hall of Famer, John, inaugurated in 2012, Cali is a current Staten Island Hall of Famer, spending a bulk of his career in the dugout in a Dolphins uniform. After a stint as an assistant under current CSI Hall of Famer Fran Hirschy, Cali assumed head coaching duties in 1995, starting an unprecedented string of 12-straight CUNYAC Championship game appearances. The three-time CUNYAC Coach of the Year collected a total of eight CUNYAC titles and eight Regular Season Championships, amassing 268 career wins, a baseball record. Cali’s 2000 ECAC-Championship team was the last CUNYAC team to record the feat, and the team collected four-straight CUNYAC titles from 2003-06, the last team to turn the feat up until it was done again this season by CSI.
The inauguration event will take place at the Nicotra Ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn located at 1100 South Avenue on Staten Island, on Thursday, November 1, 2018, from 6-10pm, and will feature a full three-course dinner with open bar. Tickets can be purchased at $100 each per adult and $60 for children, by calling (718) 982-3169. Donations, sponsorship opportunities, and journal postings are also available. For more information call (718) 982-3169 or log onto www.csidolphins.com/hof.