Staten Island, NY | The College of Staten Island honored eight individuals this evening as part of the Class of 2018 Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held at The Nicotra Ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn on Staten Island.  Recipients Bill Cali, Michelle DeBella, Arthur King, Demi-Jean Martorano, Nedgy Nazon, April Owen, Frank Sansonetti and Michael Stewart were the honorees, representing a total of over 40 years of service as coaches and student-athletes.  The rousing event featured a cluster of guest speakers over a full dinner, with video intros leading to words from each of the honorees.  

With many of the guests having not seen one-another in many years, the beginning of the Hall of Fame dinner was a chance for many to reminisce and share in the stories of excellence that came to define the honorees and their storied time while playing and coaching at the College.  The evening commenced with words from Associate Athletic Director David Pizzuto, who has served as Hall of Fame Committee Chairperson and host of the event since 2010, followed by Director of Athletics Charles Gomes and CSI President Dr. William J. Fritz.  After Pizzuto introduced the event and offered congratulatory remarks, Gomes spoke about the importance of connecting with alumni, congratulating the pioneers of the program who help usher in the Class of 2018.  Fritz offered his encouraging words and congratulations to the honorees, and informed the crowd of nearly 200 of the current direction of the College, and the importance of continuing a legacy that have been storied both at Staten Island Community College and CSI.  Shortly thereafter, the hardware was issued to the eight guests of honor.

First to the stage was Nazon, CSI’s all-time leading goal and point scorer in men’s soccer, who returned to play at CSI in 2012 after a 13-year hiatus from the sport.  Nazon was the CUNYAC’s Rookie of the Year in 1997, and helped lead CSI to their last CUNYAC Championship in 1998, an MVP season.  When he returned in 2012, he led the conference and finished in the NCAA Top 20 in goal scoring with 17 goals in 16 games.

Next to be inaugurated was women’s softball star Michelle DeBella, who starred on the team from 1998-01. DeBella batted over .460 in her four-year career, winning a pair of CUNYAC Player of the Year honors.  She finished her career in Top 10 of nine different offensive categories and her single season .533 batting average in 2000 in a record yet to be broken. 

Next up was Staten Island Community College men’s basketball star Arthur King.  In just two seasons with the Dolphins from 1969-71, King, electrified the scoreboard for 1,130 career points, and went on to score 999 more while at Stony Brook.  He led the Dolphins to the Region XV Championship in 1971, and his 642 points that season are the SICC record, never to be broken.  

Baseball slugger Frank Sansonetti, who reigned on the diamond from 1997-00, was next to the podium.  The two-time CUNYAC Player of the Year is CSI’s only athlete ever to be professionally drafted, going in the 25th round of the 2000 Major League Baseball draft to the Texas Rangers.  Sansonetti is the school’s all-time leader in batting average (.462), hits (200), RBI (153), and triples (21), to name a few, batting a school-record .509 in 1998 during the age of wooden bats in the NCAA.  He was also 9-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 92 innings pitched.

After a break in the program, the attention was turned again to soccer, this time on the women’s pitch where all-time leading scorer Demi-Jean Martorano, who starred for the team from 2010-13, was honored.  A two-time CUNYAC Player of the Year, Martorano’s 85 goals, 197 points, 362 career shots, and 25 game-winners are the school records, while her 27 career assists rank second in school history.  She registered nine hat tricks in her career and her five goals in a single game are tied for the most in a single game in CSI history.

Next up to the podium was men’s basketball dynamo Michael Stewart, who recorded 1,819 career points, a then-record when he finished his career in 2005.  Stewart would add a CUNYAC title along with a Player of the Year honor, finalizing as the school’s third all-time leader in three-pointers with 238, to go with 446 assists and a 75.7% clip from the free-throw line, both ranked in the Top 10 all-time in CSI history.

April Owen, who enjoyed an abridged career from 1991-94, could have garnered Hall of Fame honors for any one of three sports, but the power served up her best play on the basketball hardwood, amassing 1,206 career points through three years with the Dolphins, a then-record and ranked 10th all-time.  Her 601 rebounds also put her in the Top 10, and her 44 points scored in a single game are still a CSI record.  Owen was also a standout and CUNYAC All-Star in Volleyball and Softball.

Capping the evening was former baseball skipper Bill Cali, who was with the program from 1994-08, the last 14 years as Head Coach.  Cali amassed a career record of 268-227, winning eight CUNYAC Postseason and eight CUNYAC Regular Season Championships.  The three-time Coach of the Year was the first CUNYAC baseball coach to record four-straight titles, when the Dolphins swept titles from 2003-06. His 2000 ECAC Championship team, which featured Sansonetti, was the last CUNYAC team to win an ECAC title.

“In our fast-paced world of collegiate athletics, we tend to get caught up in the immediacy of the moments while keeping another eye trained towards the future,” said Pizzuto.  “To dedicate a single night to pause and look back to the past and the folks who ushered in the kind of excellence we are all about at CSI is a rewarding experience.  I am very excited we were able to serve this night for our honorees, and for their chance to share it with their friends and family.”

The Hall of Fame proved to be a magical evening for many of the guests, and for the honorees, the focus seemed to be less about the induction and more about the College’s historical significance in their lives.

Alongside the inductees receiving hardware, the same plaques, complete with telling bios will hang in the CSI Sports & Recreation Center as part of Hall of Fame walk, located on the upper concourse of the basketball arena.  

“It’s a privilege to honor each our inductees tonight. They represent the best of our institution’s athletic history and are the true pioneers of our program. Their achievements will now forever be a part of the CSI Dolphins legacy as their plaques are displayed prominently for future generations of student-athletes.”

Future Hall of Classes will be announced every other year, with the next class slated for 2020.  See below for the commemorative videos that were produced for each of the honorees this evening.

Nedgy Nazon Introductory Video

Michelle DeBella Introductory Video

Arthur King Introductory Video

Frank Sansonetti Introductory Video

Demi-Jean Martorano Introductory Video

Michael Stewart Introductory Video

April Owen Introductory Video

Bill Cali Introductory Video