The 2003-04 Daemen College men’s basketball team and former men’s basketball player Steve Chandler were formally inducted into the Daemen College Athletics Hall of Fame as the Class of 2014 at an on-campus ceremony held Feb. 8.
“On behalf of the Athletics Hall of Fame Committee, we were delighted to induct such worthy representatives of Daemen athletics,” said William Morris, director of athletics. “This honor was well-deserved and we were excited to celebrate their accomplishments.” In addition to the induction ceremony, the Class of 2014 honorees were recognized at halftime of the men’s basketball game vs. Queens College.
The 2003-04 men’s basketball team is perhaps the best team in the history of Daemen athletics, finishing that season with an overall record of 24-10 after advancing to the “Elite 8″ round of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II National Championship Tournament. An 11-3 mark in American Mideast Conference (AMC) play gave the program its first of three AMC Championships, topping the AMC’s North Division that year.
“We weren’t the biggest team around, but we were quick and very athletic at every position,” remembers head coach Don Silveri, a Daemen Athletics Hall of Fame inductee himself who remains as leader of the program, now in his 25th year. “The guys on that team held a deep belief that they were the best team on the floor every night out. I really think we may have been the best team in the country that year.”
The 2003-04 team included Chandler, who after transferring to Daemen from Niagara County Community College, appeared in 67 games while making 63 starts from 2002-04. He’s the only player to appear amongst Daemen’s single season leaders in both assists and rebounds. For Chandler, taking his rightful place in the Athletics Hall of Fame was an especially memorable as he joined former teammates Blackwell and Montanaro who have already been inducted as individuals.
“Steve was just a fantastic overall player,” Silveri said. “He was a throwback kind of player, like a Magic Johnson or an Oscar Robertson – he did everything well. He could score, rebound and pass. He just did it all for us and he had a big hand in the success of those teams.”
Along with Chandler, the 2003-04 teamwas comprised of Ron Dussett, Darnell Jackson, Gabriel Marshall, Kevin Ryan, Donnie McMillan, Therreon Blackwell,Marques Richardson, Kharmen Wingard, Kevin McPhail, Aaron Turn,Brian Montanaro, Nate Jones, and James Stokes. Silveri was assisted by 1997 Daemen graduate Shaunessy Ryan and team manager Matt Pokigo, who is now Daemen’s head men’s golf coach.
The Daemen College Athletics Hall of Fame has inducted 35 former student-athletes, coaches and contributors. The Class of 2014 represents the first to be inducted under revamped criteria which were put in place in January of 2013. Nominations are accepted from the public throughout the course of the year and all nominations go before the Athletics Hall of Fame Committee for discussion. To see the full criteria for Hall of Fame nominations, or to view a listing of past inductees, visit wildcats.daemen.edu.
Record Number of Student-Athletes Named to Dean’s List
A total of 13 of Daemen College’s 14 athletic teams were named to the Fall 2013 Dean’s List, making it one of the largest number ever of student-athletes at the college to earn this distinction.
Of the 166 student-athletes at Daemen, 71 or 42-percent made Dean’s List this past fall. Along with the 71 students who made Dean’s List, 13 out of the 14 teams at Daemen had team GPA’S above a 3.0.
An undergraduate student who attains a grade point average of 3.30 in any one semester is eligible for the Dean’s List, provided he/she has been enrolled for twelve credit hours of course work, nine of which must be in course work which utilizes the letter grade scale. Dean’s List students receive a Dean’s List Certificate which recognizes their superior scholarship and are named in a national register of Dean’s Lists.
All women’s teams for fall 2013 combined for an overall GPA of 3.28 while all men’s teams collaborated for a 3.10 GPA. All the teams joined together scored a GPA of 3.20. Of 166 student-athletes enrolled in the fall of 2013, 106 of them had GPA’s above 3.0, or 64-percent. In addition, of the 106 student-athletes who had above 3.0, five of the students had perfect 4.0 GPA’s.
“As we continue our move to NCAA Division II, our student-athletes have truly risen to the challenge of maintaining a proper balance between their academic work and athletic commitments; thus portraying the ‘life in the balance’ model” said Assistant Athletic Director for Sport Administration/Senior Women’s Administrator Jessica Gorski, who is responsible for student-athlete academic services.
Gorski went on to add, “Being a studentathlete is challenging, and we are proud of our student-athletes for their successes in the classroom and on the court, field, course,and track; and we look forward to celebrating their future academic accomplishments.”
The 71 student-athletes who made the Dean’s List were honored in a brief ceremony at halftime of the men’s basketball game vs. Dowling College on Feb. 21.