Alumni inducted into Athletics Hall of Fame
From staff reports
Pictured above: Zeynep Altinay '07, Joe Garbarino '58, Kevin McKeown '06, Helene Thomas '85 and Steve Erber.
Binghamton University athletics recognized four elite individuals plus one record-setting team when the 2014 Athletics Hall of Fame class was inducted in December.
Voted into the Hall were women's tennis player Zeynep Altinay '07, men's basketball player Joe Garbarino '58, men's lacrosse player Kevin McKeown '06 and women's basketball player Helene Thomas '85. In addition, the 1983-84 wrestling team will be the first team inducted in a newly created category.
Altinay was a four-year conference all-star for the Bearcats during their early Division I years. She was named America East Player of the Year in both 2005 and 2007, and graduated holding records for most singles wins in a season (30) and career (86). Altinay was the school's Athlete of the Year in 2004-05.
Garbarino was a basketball star during the program's formative years as Harpur College. His career scoring average of 22.0 points per game still ranks second all-time in the school's 66-year basketball history. Garbarino, a two-time team MVP and three-time scoring leader, was named the school's Athlete of the Year in 1956-57.
McKeown became the first Binghamton University lacrosse All-American after a 2004 season that saw the goalie rank third in the nation in goals against average. That year, he was the America East Player of the Year after leading the Bearcats to the conference regular season title. After setting nearly every season and career goalie record at Binghamton, McKeown served as an assistant coach for four years and then assumed the head coaching duties for the 2011 season.
Like Garbarino, Thomas was a pioneer in the early days of the women's basketball program. She became the school's first 1,000-point scorer and led her team in scoring three straight years. A three-time MVP and two-time all-conference selection, Thomas averaged 18.7 points as a senior. She was the school's Athlete of the Year in 1984-85 and also received the John Bilos Alumni Award in 1985.
The 1983-84 wrestling team, led by Hall of Fame coach Steve Erber, completed a historic season by placing third at the NCAA Championship, hosted by Binghamton at West Gym. That remains the highest national finish of any team in school history. At the NCAA meet, the team produced one national champion (Hall of Famer Tom Pillari) and six All-Americans. Before that, the team won nine dual matches and crowned four SUNYAC champions in a runner-up conference performance.
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