RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Felician University will pay homage to nearly all periods of its athletics history when it inducts five new members into the Felician Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, October 11, 2019.
The Seventh Annual Felician Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony will kick off the University's Homecoming and Family Weekend. Several activities are scheduled on the Rutherford campus on Saturday, October 12, to celebrate all alumni classes and current students. The women's volleyball team hosts Chestnut Hill College at 1 p.m. in Job Gymnasium, and the women's and men's soccer teams entertain Goldey-Beacom College at 5:30 and 8 p.m. at the Lyndhurst Recreation Complex.
The Hall opens this year to its first female squad, the 2001 Women's Soccer Team, and to Felician's most decorated head coach, 13-year men's and women's cross-country mentor John Brennan. They will be inducted alongside a trio of multiple-time all-league performers – baseball player Dennis Hulse '05, men's basketball's Antoine T. Obery '13 and women's cross-country runner Sarah Namiko Root '11. The 2019 class swells the membership in the Felician Athletics Hall of Fame to 23 individuals (18 athletes, three contributors, two coaches) and three teams.
"I'm very excited to honor our latest class of Athletics Hall of Fame inductees," said Felician University president Dr. Anne M. Prisco. "More than any prior year, the 2019 honorees span an impressive history of Golden Falcon athletics. This class touches many eras and allows the Felician community to celebrate a wide range of accomplishments."
The banquet will be held at the Holiday Inn in Hasbrouck Heights at 6 p.m. on October 11. Tickets are $90 each and can be purchased by contacting Mark Mentone, sports information director, at MentoneM@felician.edu or 201-559-3257. Program book advertisements and other sponsorship opportunities are also available.
The 2001 Women's Soccer Team, coached by current Felician director of athletics Ben "J.R." DiNallo, posted an overall won-lost-tied record of 14-3-2, with the 14 victories still standing as the program record. The Golden Falcons won the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference regular-season championship with an 8-0-2 league mark and reached the finals of the conference tournament. They remain the only Felician women's soccer team to advance to national competition, having been selected for the NAIA Championship tournament.
Following the season, DiNallo was named the CACC and NAIA Region X Coach of the Year. Junior forward Anna Bartsch was selected as the CACC Player of the Year and as an NAIA Third-Team All-American. Val Esposito, a junior forward that season who joined Bartsch as an all-CACC honoree, was inducted into the Felician Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.
Brennan, of Clark, coached both Felician cross-country teams from 2002-14. He led the Golden Falcon men to seven CACC titles and was named the league's Men's Coach of the Year six times. Combined between both genders, he claimed four all-region and 68 all-CACC athletes, including six CACC Runners of the Year. Brennan owns B.A. (1994) and M.A. (2000) degrees from Montclair State University, where he is currently the head coach of cross-country and track & field. He is the principal of Hardyston Elementary School in Franklin Township.
Fifteen years after the completion of his playing career, Hulse is still the Felician baseball program's career leader in batting average (.393) and stolen bases (93). He was an all-CACC selection following all three of his Golden Falcon seasons (2002-04) after transferring from William Paterson University, twice at second base and once at third base. As a sophomore, he hit .426 with 46 runs scored in leading the Golden Falcons to the 2002 CACC regular-season championship and was named an NAIA Honorable-Mention All-American. Hulse, of Kearny, has won NJSIAA Non-Public B titles with St. Mary High of Rutherford as both a player (1998) and head coach (2019).
Obery, a Roselle native now living in Dover, is the all-time leading rebounder for the Felician men's basketball team (848). He also ranks third in scoring (1,412) and assists (303) and fourth in steals (118) and field-goal percentage (.509). During a breakout sophomore campaign, he averaged 15.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists in helping lead the Golden Falcons to the 2009-10 CACC championship. Three years later, he was voted Second Team All-Region following a redshirt senior campaign which saw him post 18.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest, including a 39-point, 21-rebound performance at Goldey-Beacom. Obery was elected all-CACC and all-Met twice each.
Root is the only four-time all-CACC performer in the history of Felician women's cross-country, winning that honor each fall from 2007-10. Nine years after her final collegiate race, she still owns four school course records and sits No. 4 on the program's all-course 6,000-meter list. Root, a 2007 graduate of Old Bridge High, was also a three-time member of the CACC All-Academic Team and Felician's 2010-11 Female Senior Student-Athlete of the Year. She graduated with a 3.93 cumulative grade-point average as an elementary education major.
Felician University engages more than 2,400 undergraduate, graduate, and adult students through programs in Arts & Sciences, Business, Nursing, and Education. Universal Franciscan values of respect, social justice, and compassion form an inclusive foundation for transforming the lives of tomorrow's leaders. Felician University was ranked 3rd-best return on investment for private colleges in New Jersey in 2018 by the PayScale.com College ROI Report and is ranked the No. 1 safest college campus in the state by niche.com. Felician University also sponsors 14 varsity intercollegiate sports that compete at the NCAA Division II level. To learn more about Felician University please visit www.felician.edu.