RMU Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Unveiled
Friday, October 20, 2017
The 27th annual class of inductees into the Robert Morris University Athletic Hall of Fame is the largest class in history and is comprised of 10 former student-athletes, each of whom left an indelible mark on their respective programs.
The 10 new members to join the RMU Athletic Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017 include Melitta Brown (track & field; 2006-10), Jason DeFranco (men's soccer; 1998-2001), Brianna Delaney (women's ice hockey; 2008-12), Alex DiMichele (football; 2008-10), Amanda Graham (volleyball; 2007-10), Nathan Longpre (men's ice hockey; 2007-11), Kiel Matisz (men's lacrosse; 2009-12), Chaz McCrommon (men's basketball; 2000-05), Chinata Nesbit (women's basketball; 2006-08) and Betsy Puskar (women's basketball; 1982-86).
Among the 10 honorees, Delaney and Matisz are being inducted in their first year of eligibility. In addition, Matisz is the first student-athlete from the men's lacrosse program, which started as a Division I sport at Robert Morris in 2005, to be inducted.
Each of the former student-athletes will formally be inducted at the fifth annual RMU Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner, which will take place Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport. Public recognition of the RMU Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017 takes place at halftime of the RMU men's basketball game against Fairleigh Dickinson Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, at PPG Paints Arena.
RELATED: RMU Athletic Hall of Fame
The RMU Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 1991 to honor those who have made an outstanding contribution to Robert Morris University athletics. Nominations are solicited and individuals selected by the RMU Athletic Hall of Fame committee. Players, coaches and administrators are eligible five years after they have concluded their career at Robert Morris.
The Class of 2017 brings membership in the RMU Athletic Hall of Fame to 127 individuals and two teams. A closer look at each of the new 10 members of the Robert Morris Athletic Hall of Fame:
Track & Field
In the long jump, Brown owns each of the top six marks as well as eight of the top 10 distances in school history in indoor track & field as well as each of the top three marks in the event and five of the top seven distances for outdoor track & field. Brown, a native of York, Ontario, was a two-time Northeast Conference (NEC) long jump champion, claiming the indoor and outdoor titles in 2008. Brown accumulated 23 points for the Colonials at the 2009 NEC Indoor Track & Field Championships, the second highest total in program history. She competed in the long jump, triple jump and high jump as well as the 60-meter hurdles. Brown's career point total of 48 is tied for third in school history for indoor track & field.
The only player in program history to be a three-year captain at Robert Morris, DeFranco finished his career with 29 goals and 68 points, with both totals ranking in the top 10 all-time in program history. In addition to ranking seventh in the RMU career record book for goals and eighth in points, DeFranco ranks eighth in points per game (0.97). An All-Northeast Conference Second Team selection in both 1999 and 2000, DeFranco helped lead the Colonials to a share of the 2001 NEC regular-season championship, just a year after finishing sixth. He is also a three-time regional All-American, one of just two student-athletes in school history to accomplish the feat.
Women's Ice Hockey
In four seasons in a Robert Morris uniform, Delaney compiled 121 points thanks to 53 goals and 68 assists. She became the first student-athlete in program history to eclipse 100 career points and ranks fourth all-time in scoring. During her senior campaign in 2011-12, Delaney contributed 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points as the Colonials posted a record of 19-9-4 (.656). In the championship game of the 2012 College Hockey America (CHA) Tournament at the RMU Island Sports Center, Delaney scored the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over Mercyhurst. The goal helped snapped a streak of nine consecutive CHA Tournament titles by the Lakers and also earned Delaney, a native of Stittsville, Ontario, a spot on the 2012 All-CHA Tournament Team.
In three seasons at Robert Morris after transferring from Temple, DiMichele compiled 330 career tackles, which ranks second all-time in program history. In his first season with the program in 2008, DiMichele set a single-season school record for tackles with 116, a total that was eclipsed in 2013. In his senior campaign in 2010, DiMichele, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., was the anchor on defense for an RMU squad that finished with an overall record of 8-3 (.727), including a mark of 7-1 (.875) in the Northeast Conference. The Colonials won the 2010 NEC title and became the first league program to garner an automatic bid to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoffs. DiMichele finished with 105 tackles in RMU's championship season and was selected as the 2010 NEC Defensive Player of the Year.
A three-time All-Northeast Conference First Team selection (2007, 2009, 2010), Graham ranks third all-time at Robert Morris in the career records for attack percentage (.331) and total blocks (438). At the conclusion of her career she also owned the career record for block assists with 358. Graham, a native of Melbourne, Fla., also eclipsed 1,000 career kills, as she ranks seventh with 1,107. She also owns a pair of RMU single-game records, including attack percentage (.792) and service aces (7). She finished with 20 kills in 24 attempts with just one error to post a .792 attack percentage in a 3-0 sweep of Sacred Heart (11/4/07) at the Charles L. Sewall Center. As a senior in 2010, Graham became the first female student-athlete in school history, regardless of sport, to be named an Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) when she was named to the second team. She is also one of just three student-athletes in program history to earn All-NEC First Team accolades at least three times, joining current RMU Athletic Hall of Fame Members Katie Noble and Megan Bell.
Men's Ice Hockey
In four seasons at Robert Morris, Longpre appeared in 136 games, compiling career totals of 47 goals and 90 assists for 137 points. He concluded his career as the program's all-time leading scorer and currently ranks third, while his 90 career assists stands as the school record. A 2008 All-College Hockey America (CHA) Rookie Team selection, Longpre was also named to the 2009 All-CHA First Team. As a senior, Longpre, a native of Peterborough, Ontario, earned a spot on the 2011 All-Atlantic Hockey First team after finishing with 42 points (14 goals, 28 assists). Longpre is one of two student-athletes in program to score four goals in a game, accomplishing the feat for the first time in program history in an 8-5 win over Quinnipiac (10/31/09) at the RMU Island Sports Center.
The first men's lacrosse student-athlete to be inducted into the RMU Athletic Hall of Fame, Matisz was a four-year letterwinner for the Colonials at midfielder. He appeared in 61 career games, compiling totals of 94 goals and 72 assists for 166 points. Matisz, a native of Stoney Creek, Ontario, ranks third at Robert Morris for career points and points per game (2.72). The best season for Matisz came as a senior in 2012, when he established a single-season record for points with 64 courtesy of 40 goals and 24 helpers. For his efforts, Matisz was selected as the 2012 Northeast Conference Player of the Year and the 2012 NEC Offensive Player of the Year. In addition, he was a finalist for the Tewaarton Award and was named to the 2012 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-America Third Team. Matisz was also a star off the field. He was named the 2012 NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for men's lacrosse, earned a spot on the Capital One District II Academic All-America At-Large Team and was a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award finalist.
A two-time All-Northeast Conference First Team (2004, 2005) selection during his four-year career at RMU, McCrommon ranks fifth all-time in program history with 1,623 career points and 11th with 583 career rebounds. One of just 13 student-athletes in school history to eclipse career totals of both 1,000 points and 500 rebounds, McCrommon is tied with former teammate Aaron Thomas (2000-04) as the single-season leader in minutes played per game. In each of the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, McCrommon played an average of 38.6 minutes per contest. Elsewhere in the Robert Morris career records, McCrommon ranks fourth in field goals (627), sixth in double-figure scoring games (83) and seventh in scoring average (14.1 points per game).
A transfer from Chipola Junior College, Nesbit compiled career totals of 1,083 points and 620 rebounds in two seasons at Robert Morris, helping lead the Colonials to back-to-back Northeast Conference Tournament championships and subsequent berths in the NCAA Tournament (2007, 2008). Nesbit, a native of Washington, D.C., was selected as the NEC Tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP) in both 2007 and 2008 and was also a two-time All-NEC First Team honoree. As a junior, Nesbit averaged 19.2 points per game in 2006-07 and concluded her career with a points per game average of 17.2 per contest, which ranks fourth all-time in program history.
The Class of 2017 veteran's choice for the RMU Athletic Hall of Fame, Puskar was one of the first great players on both ends of the court in program history. She concluded her career with 1,053 points and still ranks in the top 10 all-time at Robert Morris in steals (206), field goals (457) and rebounds (632). Puskar, a native of Library, Pa., ranks second in steals, tied for eighth in field goals and ninth in caroms. Her best season came as a senior in 1985-86, when Puskar averaged a double-double with 17.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest. That season she also registered 91 steals in 28 games, an average of 3.3 per game that is tied for second in the RMU single-season record book.