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Class of 1997 Inductees
Robert Amabile - Men's Track & Field
Amabile was considered to be one of America's top javelin throwers in his time at Rutgers. In 1987, he finished fourth at the NCAA Championships, earning All-America status. That effort capped a year in which he was ranked as the top javelin thrower in college. Also in 1987, he won the javelin event at the prestigious IC4A Championships and the Penn Relays Carnival. He was a four-time Metropolitan Champion as well as a three-time All-East performer. Amabile also won the 1984 Pan American Junior Championships. Amabile, who collected a host of meet championships throughout his career, held the school record in the javelin for nearly a decade. Amabile's best throws were 246'11" (old javelin) and 238'7" (new javelin).
Robert Nugent - Men's Swimming
Nugent, a 1952 graduate, was one of the most versatile and successful swimmers in Rutgers history. He was a three-time All-American, and AAU National Champion and two-time All-East performer. In the 1948-49 season, Nugent won the AAU National Freestyle 100 yard Championship in the outdoor event, and placed fifth in the 100-yard freestyle in the NCAA Championships, which earned him All-America honors. He set the ECAC record in the 50-yard and was an All-East performer in the 50-and 100-yard at the ECAC Championships. In the 1950-51 season, Nugent placed second in the 50-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships, earning All-America status; he also won the ECAC Championships in the 50-yd. and 100-yd. with record-setting performances to earn All-East honors. In the 1951-52 season, Nugent earned All-America honors in two events by placing third in the 100-yd. free and fourth in the 50-yd. free. Nugent, the team captain in 1952, also won the 50-yd. and 100 yd. freestyle, and the 100-yd. back at the ECAC Championship.
Telicher Austin - Women's Basketball
Telicher Austin enjoyed a brilliant career at Rutgers as she established herself as one of the Scarlet Knights' all-time greats. She captured 1,789 points in her career and is one of RU's all-time leaders in assists with 371. Austin, who played with the Hall of Fame duo of Wicks and Sticks (Sue Wicks & Regina Howard), was a four-year starter on teams that won two Atlantic-10 Tournament championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament all four seasons. During her freshman and sophomore campaigns, Rutgers advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Austin began her career by becoming the first Scarlet Knight women's basketball student-athlete to earn conference freshman player of the year honors by being named the Atlantic-10 Freshman of the Year along with a nod to the Atlantic-10 All-Freshman team in 1986. Austin, a native of Patterson, N.J., went on to be named Second Team All-Atlantic-10 as a junior in 1988 and capped off her career with First Team All-Atlantic-10 and Honorable Mention Kodak District II All-American honors as a senior in 1989.
Harding Peterson - Baseball
Peterson, the backstop for the 1950 Rutgers College World Series team, was a Second Team All-America selection by the American Baseball Coaches Association and a First Team District II choice that year as well. Known for his defensive ability, Peterson made just two errors in 27 games in 1950 while hitting .276 (27-98), with 21 runs, 23 RBI (2nd on team), 4 doubles and 2 triples. His best season as a collegian was in 1948, when he hit for a .312 average (10-32) in 1948 with 7 RBI and three doubles. In his three varsity seasons, Peterson led his teams to a combined 57-16-2 record, highlighted by a third-place finish in the 1950 College World Series. Following his career at Rutgers, Peterson signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1950 but had his career interrupted by Korean War service. Following the war, Peterson played four years with the Pirates until a broken arm suffered in a home plate collision hastened his retirement. A well-respected baseball man, Peterson spent over 30 years with the Pirates, including stints as a player (4 years), manager (9 years), farm director and scouting director. He was named VP for Player Personnel in 1976 and named Executive VP in 1979, and is possibly best known for the trade of C Manny Sanguillen to the Oakland A's for manager Chuck Tanner in 1976. His dealings helped bring the Pirates their World Series Championship in 1979. Peterson also spent two years with the Yankees, including one as a co-General Manager in 1990; he also spent two years with San Diego as a scout.
John Battle - Men's Basketball
John Battle enjoyed a brilliant Rutgers career from 1981-1985 before going on to a long and productive career in the NBA. Battle, a 6-2 guard from Washington D.C. came to Rutgers as a lightly-recruited player who was the sixth man on his high school team as a senior. He played sparingly in his freshman year and then saw his role begin to expand late in his sophomore season, as he provided a spark which helped the 1982-83 Scarlet Knights gain a berth in the NCAA Tournament. That Rutgers team, which featured 1995 RU Hall of Fame inductee Roy Hinson, defeated Southwestern Louisiana in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Beginning in his junior year, 1983-84, Battle exploded, averaging 21 points per game in both his junior and senior seasons. A tremendous leaper and dangerous three-point threat, Battle scored 608 points in his senior year, 1984-85, and finished his career with 1,385 points. That point total places him 15th all-time at Rutgers (it was 10th when he graduated ). Battle was a fourth-round draft pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 1985. He played with the Hawks from 1985-1991 and played for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1991-96. In the NBA, Battle scored more than 5,000 points and dished off more than 1,200 assists.
Larry Pitt - Special Contributor
Pitt was elected to the Hall of Fame for his impact on Rutgers Athletics, specifically as a historian for the Olympic Sports. A two-time letterwinner in lacrosse (1938, '39), and a 150-lb. varsity football participant, Pitt has been involved with Rutgers Athletics for the past five-plus decades. His impact on the Rutgers athletic programs is far-reaching, and came in a wide variety of areas ranging from broadcasting men's and women's basketball games to serving as the public address announcer for softball games. Pitt has also written a history on Rutgers football. Aside from working with the Rutgers programs, Pitt was the guiding force behind the formation of the Interscholastic Lacrosse Association out of Pennington Prep. He also served as the AAU Chairman of the New Jersey Junior Olympics. For over 37 years, Pitt officiated swimming events from the local to the national levels, coached swimming at Kean College, and was a longtime lacrosse assignor and official.
Glen Gardner - Baseball
Gardner, one of the most prolific hitters in Rutgers baseball history, was elected after a stellar three-year career (1986-88), which saw him earn two All-America awards as well as collect a host of offensive records. Gardner, one of New Jersey's top all-time athletes, came to Rutgers from Immaculata High School, where he was a first-team All-State choice in both football and baseball. Following his freshman season, Gardner was named Freshman All-America by Baseball America. He was drafted after his sophomore season by the San Diego Padres in the 13th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur draft. He chose to stay at Rutgers for his junior season and that year set nine single-season offensive records and earned All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball. He was a three-time Atlantic 10 choice and a three-time New Jersey College Baseball Association honoree. Following his junior season, Gardner was drafted by the Atlanta Braves and he began a professional career in that organization. Gardner ended his career as the Rutgers all-time leader in six offensive categories and ranked in the top 10 in four others.
Eugenie Defrays Randazzo - Women's Swimming
Randazzo, who was also known as Tiny Condrillo during her days at Rutgers, turned in perhaps the finest performance by a Rutgers athlete in the NCAA Championships by earning All-America honors in the 50 and 100 yard backstroke, 200 and 400 yard medley relay teams, and 400 yard freestyle relay team in 1975. Also that year, Randazzo won the 200 yard medley relay and the 400 yard medley relay at the Eastern Championships. In winning the 200, she set the school record, one of five school records she owned. At the national AIAW Championships she took first place in the 100 yard backstroke and was a part of the third place 200 yard medley relay team and the fourth place 400 yard medley relay team. Randazzo followed that year with back-to-back All-America honors as part of the 200 yard medley relay team in 1976 and 1977. Her 200 yard and 400 yard medley relay teams both finished second in the Eastern Championships in 1976, while she finished second in the 50 yard backstroke at the same meet. A 1976 team captain, Randazzo was twice honored with the University's Athletic Excellence Award.
Edward Haugevik - Men's Lacrosse
Haugevik was one of a very few two-time First Team All-America honorees in Rutgers history. He earned the back-to-back honors in 1972 and 1973. He was a 1973 team captain and William Miller Trophy recipient, awarded to the team's most outstanding player. He led Rutgers to a 30-17 record in his four years. Following the 1973 season, Haugevik was selected as one of the top college athletes in America and was also honored by the university for his outstanding achievement. Haugevik also participated in the North/South All-Star game and was the North Team captain and the Defensive MVP for the squad as well. In 1974, he was a member of the USA Team World Champions that competed in Melbourne, Australia. In 1990, he was elected to the Long Island Metro Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Jim Reilly - Coach, Swimming
The first coach to be elected to the Olympic Sports Hall of Fame, Reilly was the first Rutgers swimming coach and held the position for 41 years. In his career, he led Rutgers to 223 wins compared to just 83 losses for a .729 winning percentage, one of the best in Rutgers history. Aside from the impressive record, Reilly coached many national champions and Olympians and is included in the class with one of his finest pupils, Walter Spence. Also in the Hall of Fame is another Reilly pupil, George Kojac, who was inducted in 1995. In his honor, the Rutgers Swimming program's loyalty trophy is named after him.
Anton "Tony" Hoeflinger - Football
An All-East ECAC 1st team member in 1963, he was the team captain that year and the recipient of the David Bender trophy as the team's top lineman. He started in all but three games in his three-year career (27) and was a Williamson All-America. Hoeflinger advanced from a fifth-string freshman fullback to become a starting right guard on the 1961 undefeated team. Also a linebacker on defense, this history major's speed was his best attribute on the playing field.
Desiree Scott - Women's Track & Field/Cross Country
Scott is one of the finest women to don the Scarlet in Rutgers athletic history. In her four-year career, she qualified for the NCAA Championships 11 different times. A four-year letterwinner in indoor and outdoor track and cross country, Scott was Rutgers' first Penn Relays Champion with a win in the 3000 meter event at the 1987 Carnival. In her career at Rutgers, she set 12 school records. She was a five-time Metropolitan Champion and a two-time ECAC Champion in the 1500m and the 5000m. In 1984, Scott was the District II Cross Country Champion. Following her career at Rutgers, Scott participated in the 1987 U.S. Olympic Festival and was a 1988 Olympic Trials qualifier in the 3000m and 5000m.
Marge Howes - Special Contributor
Marge Howes was a pioneer in women's basketball, organizing the first team at Douglass College in 1958. Howes was a physical education teacher with a vision to provide women with intercollegiate athletic opportunities. Her players came from the physical education classes and in the first year finished with a record of 3-0. She coached six seasons and compiled a varsity record of 47-13 (.783). Howes' commitment to women's athletics reached far beyond Rutgers. She was the state chair of the Division of Girls and Women's Sports in New Jersey and Connecticut where she was instrumental in implementing the "rover" concept in New Jersey. Women's basketball today is a reflection of Howes' solo efforts in the sport nearly 40 years ago.
Walter Spence - Men's Swimming
Spence, elected posthumously, could have had the most fascinating career of any Rutgers athlete in school history. Spence came to America from British Guiana as a 25-year-old with no professional training in technique and before all was said and done, he set new standards in swimming all over the world. In his first year of competitive swimming (1925), he broke five world records, set the U.S. record in the 300 IM, and boasted the highest point total in the U.S. at the National Championships. A tremendous natural swimmer, Spence won the U.S. National AAU Championship in the 200 yard breaststroke that same year, defeating the 1924 Olympic gold medalist in the process. In both 1928 and 1932, Spence earned a spot on the Canadian Olympic team in the 200 breaststroke and 100 freestyle, and won the swimmer's pentathlon in the U.S. nationals, beating Johnny Weismuller in the process. He entered Rutgers as a 30-year-old freshman in 1930 and set the collegiate record in the 100 yard free and won the NCAA High Point Trophy in 1934 for his performance in the National Championships. Also in 1934, Spence broke the world record in the 300 medley (no butterfly at that time). After his career at Rutgers, Spence continued to set standards in swimming, beating Weissmuller in the 100 freestyle exhibition at the age of 38 in under the 51-second world record time. In 1939, Spence broke the world record in the 100 yard freestyle during a New York Athletic Club exhibition.
Glen Kehler - Football
An AP All-East Honorable Mention selection in 1978 as a fullback, Kehler gained 2,567 rushing yards in his is career (the most by a RU fullback). Kehler was a three-year starter, and helped lead Rutgers to a 28-6 mark over that span. He was the team’s leading rusher in 1976, 1977 and 1978. He ranks fifth in career carries with 537, and averaged 4.8 yards per career in his career. This sturdy back had five 100-yard games in his career. Kehler was a star player at a vaunted Westfield High School program where his father, Gary, was the legendary coach.
Elnardo Webster - Football
A First Team All-BIG EAST, AP All-East and ECAC All-Star as an outside linebacker in 1991, Webster was also the Homer Hazel Award winner in 1991, the Bender Trophy winner (defense) in 1989 and 1990. He also earned honorable mention All-East honors from AP in 1991. Webster was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the ninth round in 1992, and made the team before his career was ended with a knee injury. A co-captain in 1991, Webster led the team in tackles in 1990 and 1991. A four-year letterwinner, his hometown is Jersey City, where he played at St. Peter's Prep.
Kevin Kurdyla - Football
An Associated Press All-East selection in 1978, 1979, and 1980, Kurdyla is one of only two offensive linemen in the modern era to win three All-East accolades. In addition, he was an honorable mention Associated Press All-American in 1980, winner of the David Bender trophy in 1979 and 1980, and a four-year letterwinner. The Scarlet Knights were 32-13 in his time as a player. Following his career, he was a free agent for the NY Giants. He is a product of Newark East Side High School, where he earned all-county, all-city, and all-state honors.
John "Mike" N. Wittpenn Jr. - Football
A halfback and end who was characterized as an "outstandingly effective" player, Wittpenn continues to hold the interception return record of 99 yards against Stevens Institute in 1915. He earned four letters from 1913-1916, served as an assistant coach in 1917, a volunteer assistant coach from 1918-20 and coached the freshmen team from 1925-27 under Jack Wallace, and was a member of Harry Rockafeller's varsity staff in the late '20's and early '30's. A Rutgers Loyal Son recipient, he came to Rutgers from Newark Central HS.
Austin "Bus" Lepine - Men's Basketball
Austin “Bus” Lepine played in a highly successful era of Rutgers basketball. A 1937 graduate, Lepine was a catalyst and floor leader on the great 1936-37 team, which, to that point in history, was the most successful and decorated Rutgers team ever. An All-State selection at New Brunswick High School, Lepine averaged a team-best 11.8 points per game for the 13-2 Rutgers team of 1936-37. Lepine was also the leading scorer on the team as a junior, and second-leading as a sophomore. Lepine played for coach Frank Hill, a member of the inaugural Rutgers Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 1993. Rutgers raced out to an 8-0 start in 1936-37 before dropping a pair of late season games, one of which was a 39-38 decision to national power NYU.
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