A time to reflect on greatest teams, games and individuals in Hofstra athletics history

As Hofstra celebrates its 75th anniversary starting this coming weekend, the Pride athletics program is urging people to vote on the top 25 teams, players and games in the university's history.  

Since being founded in 1935 Hofstra has enjoyed stellar success in a variety of men's and women’s sports, and pinpointing the top games, teams and individuals is certainly no easy task.  I have been following Hofstra sports very closely since first becoming a member of the university family as a freshman in the fall of 1998, and have included just a tiny portion of my choices in this voting and reasons behind these decisions. I limited my choices to the 12 years I have been following Hofstra sports, but obviously there are many more from prior years that also needs to be supported by fans before voting concludes on Sept. 23.
Greatest Team Category:
  • 2000 and 2001 men's basketball: Both these teams, who captured the American East title and automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, are no brainers. Hofstra had a backcourt of two future NBA players in Craig "Speedy" Claxton and Norman Richardson on the 2000 team and in both years the American East title was won at home before a live ESPN audience
  • 2004 softball: The 2004 Hofstra softball team (38-21) did not dominate the regular season record wise but more than made up for this in the post-season with a magical NCAA Tournament run that left the Pride just one win shy of reaching the College World Series.  
  • 1999 men's lacrosse: The 1999 men's lacrosse (13-3) team showed plenty of toughness on and off the field rebounding from an 0-2 start to win 13 in a row on the way to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Two weeks after pulling off a dramatic comeback win over second ranked Johns Hopkins, Hofstra battled that same Blue Jays team hard before falling 11-7 before a Shuart Stadium record crowd of 12,222 in the NCAA Quarterfinals.
  • 2007 women's soccer: Led defensively by All-American defender Sue Weber the Pride won its first NCAA Tournament game over Ohio State before falling in an overtime heartbreaker to the Penn State in the second round.
  • 1999 football: With eventual second round NFL pick Giovanni Carmazzi guiding the blue and gold's dynamic run- and-shoot offense Hofstra went 11-1 in the regular season and won its first Division IAA playoff game over Lehigh before falling in the quarterfinals the next week to Illinois State.
The link to vote in this category can be found here.

Greatest Game Category:
  • Men's lacrosse team's 15-14 overtime win over Virginia in first round of 2001 NCAA Tournament: I call this game "the Mother's Day Miracle" as Hofstra rallied from a 14-9 deficit midway through the fourth quarter to score five straight goals and stun Virginia in overtime when Tommy Kessler rolled from behind the net and scored from a tough angle. The dramatic comeback on Mothers Day 2001 in West Point has special meaning for me since I was doing color commentary for it on WRHU in the Miche Stadium press box. The win advanced Hofstra to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the second time in three years where the Pride lost a hard-fought battle to number one-ranked Syracuse 18-13 before 10,555 at Hofstra Stadium.
  • Women's lacrosse team's 7-6 overtime win over Boston University in 2001 America East title game: Hofstra appeared all but dead with Boston University nursing a 6-5 lead and running out the clock before Kathleen McPike came to the rescue intercepting a Terrier pass and racing all the way down to the other end of the field to knot the score. The hard-fought overtime win stamped the Hofstra women's lacrosse team's first NCAA Tournament appearance.
  • Softball team's 3-2 20 inning win over Delaware in the America East Tournament. In a game that seemed like it would never end Hofstra ace pitcher Alicia Smith gutted out an incredible 20-inning complete game effort. The marathon triumph enabled Hofstra to advance in the America East Tournament, which it captured over Boston University in the championship game.
  • Men's lacrosse team's 10-9 overtime win at Drexel in 2008 CAA title game: Hofstra punched a dramatic appearance to the NCAA Tournament rallying from a 9-7 deficit with under two minutes left and winning a few seconds into overtime on a Tommy Dooley goal.
The link to vote in this category can be found here.

Greatest Individuals Category: 
  • Craig "Speedy" Claxton:  Brought the men's basketball program to new heights in the late 90's capped by an America East title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2000. Also put Hofstra on the map in NBA circles with a solid professional career that including helping to lead the San Antonio Spurs to the 2003 championship.
  • Bill Edwards: In his two decades guiding the Hoftra softball team Edwards has captured 766 wins and was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame last December.  He has enabled Hofstra to compete on a national level in a sport typically dominated by western and southern teams, and has been a class act on and off the field.
  • Doug Shanahan: Was a two-sport athlete in lacrosse and football. In 2001 with his combination of offensive skills and faceoff dominance Shanahan captured the inaugural Tewaaraton Award given to the top lacrosse player in the nation while leading the Pride to the NCAA Quarterfinals. 
  • Sue Weber: After transferring from the University of Georgia this eventual All-American defender brought the Hofstra women’s soccer program to new levels with NCAA Tournament appearances in 2005 and 2007.
  • Marques Colston: After first bursting onto the Division IAA football scene in 2001 to lead the Pride to the Atlantic 10 title, Colston has gone onto be one of the NFL’s top wide receivers and helped lead the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl title last season.
  • Fran Kalafer: Coached the Hofstra volleyball program for 25 years in which she reached five NCAA Tournaments and became one of the winningest head coaches in the sport.
  • Jay Wright: In his seven years as Hofstra men’s basketball head coach brought national attention to the school with NCAA Tournament appearances in 2000 and 2001.
The link to vote in this category can be found here.

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