West Babylon, N.Y. - The East Coast Conference will induct five new members to its Hall of Fame in 2018, the league announced on Thursday afternoon. The 2018 class is comprised of three student-athletes, one administrator, and one coach.
The student-athletes to be enshrined are Concordia's Mike Aviles, Jefferson's Tammy Greene, and Dowling's Maja (Potpara) Krljic. Pete Zinno, a former track & field coach at NYIT, and Neil Judge, a longtime athletic director at Mercy, round out the honorees.
The inductees were selected in a vote by a 12-person Hall of Fame committee comprised of ECC administrators, coaches, sports information directors, faculty athletic representatives, and the ECC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President. The five selections will be honored at the ECC's annual awards banquet on Monday, June 4 at the University of Bridgeport.
Mike Aviles, Concordia (Baseball; 2000-2003)
Aviles had arguably the best career of any baseball player ever to step on an ECC diamond. The former Concordia infielder holds numerous ECC records. He tops the single season list in hits (103), runs (83), doubles (25), and homeruns (22). Aviles holds ECC career records of 318 hits, 233 runs scored, and 76 doubles, as well. He also ranks in the top-three in ECC history with marks of18 triples, 207 runs batted in, and a .430 batting average, while ranking fourth with 46 homeruns. In addition, Aviles name is littered throughout the NCAA record book. He set the Division II single-season record for runs per game with a mark of 1.84 in 2003 and ranks in the top-15 in Division II history in hits (15th), doubles (8th), and total bases (568 - 4th).
Aviles earned numerous accolades in his career including three All-Conference selections, two New York Collegiate Athletic Conference (NYCAC - former name of the ECC prior to 2006-07) Player of the Year honors, and two All-America nods. The most prestigious honor came in his final season of 2003 when he was selected as the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings Division II National Player of the Year after leading Division II with a .500 batting average, 0.49 homeruns per game, 193 total bases, and a 1.016 slugging percentage. He also added 20 doubles, six triples, 22 homeruns, and 65 runs batted in during his remarkable season.
His outstanding play helped Concordia become one of the premier baseball programs in the East Region. During his career, the Clippers won NYCAC Regular Season Championships 2000, 2001, and 2002 and the NYCAC Tournament in 2000 and 2002. Concordia also made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2000, 2001, and 2002 with Aviles on the roster.
After his career at Concordia came to a close, he became one of only four NYCAC/ECC players to be drafted in the top-10 rounds of the MLB Draft and the highest drafted position player in conference history when he was drafted in the 7th round of the 2003 draft by the Kansas City Royals. After earning the Royals' Minor League Player of the Year honor in 2007, Aviles became the sixth player in conference history to earn the call to the Major Leagues. He hit .325 with 27 doubles, four triples, 10 homeruns and 51 RBI in his debut to finish fourth in the 2008 American League Rookie of the Year voting. Aviles is still active, having spent time on the roster of the Miami Marlins in 2017. In addition to his stints in Kansas City and Miami, he has also played for the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, and Detroit Tigers over his 10 year MLB career.
Tammy Greene, Jefferson (Women's Basketball; 1991-1994)
Greene was one of the most prolific scorers in NCAA Division II Women's Basketball history. She finished her career at Jefferson (then known as Philadelphia Textile during her playing days) with 2,490 points, which is still good for 11th in Division II history.
Despite only playing three seasons in the NYCAC (Jefferson played in the Mideast Conference during her freshman season of 1990-91), Greene's name can be found throughout the conference's record book. She ranks in the conference's all-time top-10 with 1,962 points (6th), 707 field goals made (5th), 466 free throws made (9th), and 348 steals (9th). She also holds the conference single-season records with 782 points and 26.1 points per game, both accomplished during her senior season of 1993-1994.
Greene's play was recognized with numerous honors throughout her career. She was a three-time NYCAC Player of the Year and All-Conference First Team selection and twice earned the ECAC Player of the Year award. She earned multiple All-American nods, as well. In 1992 she earned a spot on the American Women in Sports Federation All-America Second Team and followed in 1993 with a selection to the Kodak All-American Honorable Mention list. After her aforementioned 1993-94 season in which she led Division II in points per game, Greene was named to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-America First Team and was also named the Champion Division II National Player of the Year.
Greene excelled during postseason play, as well. She led Jefferson to NYCAC titles in 1993 and 1994, earning Tournament MVP honors both seasons. She earned the NYCAC Tournament MVP honor in 1992 too despite Jefferson falling in the championship game to Pace. To date, she is the only student-athlete from a losing team to earn the conference tournament MVP award.
Neil Judge, Mercy (Athletic Director; 1971-2005)
Judge will enter the ECC Hall of Fame after earning the conference's Lifetime Achievement award in 2011. Judge joined the Mercy College community in 1969, as a part‐time physical education instructor. Two years later, he was named Mercy's first Athletics Director and served the college in that role for 34 years until his retirement at the conclusion of the 2005 spring season.
His career included three stints as head coach of the softball team and he served as director of Mercy's summer sports camps, while also teaching various physical education courses. Judge was instrumental in securing membership in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1973, the NCAA in 1975, and a charter membership in the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1989.
During his tenure at Mercy, Neil could be seen coaching Mercy teams - during his career he coached each team the college sponsored at some point –arranging for facilities, taking care of the fields, handling compliance, doing stats or the clock at games, taping ankles, along with directing the Mercy summer sports camps and teaching physical education.
Mercy's teams enjoyed great success during his time in Dobbs Ferry with highlights that included three straight 20‐win seasons by the women's basketball team in the early 1980s, five straight winning seasons from the baseball team in the early 1980s, a 1986 state championship by the softball team, the men's soccer team's run to the NCAA regional finals in 1989, and a NCAA Elite Eight appearance by the women's volleyball team in 2001.
Most important to Judge however, was the success of Mercy's student‐athletes in the classroom as evidenced by the hundreds of photographs of graduating seniors which filled his office. Famous for reminding Mercy's student‐athletes that they were "students first, athletes second," Judge actively worked with both students and faculty to create an environment of academic accountability and achievement off the field. In 2001, Mercy was cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education as having one of the highest graduation rates in the nation in Division II.
* - Portions of Neil Judge bio courtesy of Mercy College Athletic Department.
Maja (Potpara) Krljic, Dowling (Volleyball; 2008-2011)
Krljic is one of the most decorated student-athletes in ECC history. She is the only student-athlete in any ECC sponsored sport to win the league's Player of the Year honor in all four seasons of their eligibility. Krljic earned the honor each season from 2008 to 2011 as a versatile do-it-all player.
Krljic started her career off with a bang by stuffing the stat sheet with 348 kills, a .317 hitting percentage, 749 assists, 78 service aces, 243 digs, and 65 total blocks. Her outstanding season earned her a plethora of awards including ECC Rookie of the Year, ECC Player of the Year, and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and Daktronics All-Region accolades. In addition, she earned a spot on the AVCA All-America Team as an honorable mention selection and was named the AVCA National Freshman of the Year.
In each subsequent season, Krljic continued to stuff the stat sheet and earn ECC Player of the Year honors. She finished with no lower than 165 kills, a .276 hitting percentage, 720 assists, 54 service aces, 243 digs, or 51 total blocks in any of her four seasons and finished with career marks of 1,045 kills, a .308 hitting percentage, 3,367 assists, 1,032 digs, and 272 total blocks.
Krljic earned numerous honors throughout her career on top of the accolades she piled up during her freshman season. She was a four-time ECC All-Conference and AVCA All-Region selection and a two-time Daktronics East Region Player of the Year. Krljic earned six different All-America nods, as well. She was a two-time Daktronics selection (Second Team - 2010; Honorable Mention 2011) and was named to the AVCA All-America list all four years of her career (Third Team - 2009, 2010; Honorable Mention - 2008, 2011). Krljic was also the only student-athlete in Dowling's history to have her number retired.
In addition to earning numerous accolades, Krljic's play helped lift Dowling to unprecedented heights. The Golden Lions went 51-3 in ECC play during her tenure, winning Regular Season Championships all four seasons and ECC Tournament titles in 2008, 2010, and 2011. She also led Dowling to East Region Championships and NCAA Elite Eight appearances in 2009 and 2010. The 2010 squad was arguably the best in ECC and East Region history, as Dowling finished with a 31-2 record and became the only team in East Region history to win an Elite Eight match to advance the Division II Final Four.
Pete Zinno, NYIT (Track & Field Head Coach; 1973-2003)
Zinno, NYIT's longtime track & field coach, see his career honored with induction into the ECC Hall of Fame. After becoming head coach of the men's team in 1973, Zinno started the women's track & field program at NYIT in 1979, which was one of the first women's collegiate programs in the country.
From there, he turned NYIT into a destination for world class track & field athletes. Zinno coached runners who qualified for the Olympics in 1980, 1988, 1992, and 2000. He's also coached student-athletes who went on to medal in international competitions such as the Olympics, Goodwill Games, World Championships, Pan American Games, and Commonwealth Games.
Track & field wasn't sponsored as a conference sport for much of Zinno's tenure, but in the few years it was, he led the Bears to the top. NYIT won six NYCAC Championships in his career. Included among the six titles were men's indoor and outdoor championships in 2002 and 2003 and women's outdoor championships, also in 2002 and 2003.
Zinno earned numerous honors in his career. He was a seven-time NCAA Division II District II Coach of the Year, a three-time ECAC Women's Coach of the Year, and the Nassau Country Sports Commission Coach of the Year in 2002.
In addition to his duties at NYIT, Zinno served USA Track & Field in numerous positions. In 1992 he served as the head manager of Team USA in an international competition versus Great Britain and from 1989 through 1991, Zinno served as a three‐time coach for the US Olympic Festival. He was also an assistant coach for the World University Games in 1997 (Italy) and 2001 (Bejing) and in 2004 he served as the head manager at the Indoor World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Today, Zinno is involved with NYIT athletics once again as he helps coach the school's men's and women's cross country teams after being named Head Coach Emeritus in 2016.