College inducts four former student-athletes, head coach of cross country and track and field as well as former administrator
EASTON, Mass. (October 27, 2014) – Stonehill College held its 26th annual Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Joseph W. Martin Institute Auditorium on Friday night.
Stonehill welcomed former student-athletes Helen Phillips, ’86 from the softball and women’s basketball program, Michael Barros, ’88, from the men’s basketball program, Dan Gamache, ’95 from the football program and Mike Close, ’00 from the ice hockey and baseball programs as well as current men’s and women’s cross country and track and field head coach Karen Boen and former Dean of Admissions Brian Murphy, ’68 into its Athletics Hall of Fame. With its six new Hall of Fame members, Stonehill’s total inductees since the first ceremony in 1989 have increased to 131, including 101 former student-athletes as this year’s class pushed the Hall of Fame over 100 student-athlete inductees.
Helen Phillips '86
Phillips, a native of Warwick, Rhode Island, who attended Warwick Veterans Memorial High School, was a two sport athlete at Stonehill with the softball and women’s basketball teams. Phillips was a true leader, serving as team captain for both teams as a senior.
While she was an important piece to a women’s basketball program which began to make its rise in the Northeast-10 with its first league regular season championship her junior season and part of two 20-win seasons, it was on the softball field where she made her mark in the Stonehill record books. Phillips earned the softball team’s MVP award her sophomore season after hitting .333 with seven triples and 17 runs batted in, setting four offensive team records during that season, including a triples mark which remains the program’s single-season record.
Phillips was a two-time All-Northeast-10 selection, doing so at two different positions over her career. She earned first team honors her freshman year as an outfielder after hitting .309 with 18 RBI. Phillips was a first team selection at shortstop as a junior when she helped lead Stonehill to a 25-8 record. Phillips played 121 games over her career with the women’s basketball program. She was a captain her senior season, averaging 7.4 points and 3.4 rebounds for the NE-10 Tournament team.
Michael Barros '88
Barros, a native of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, who attended Bridgton Academy before coming to Stonehill, was a three-time All-Northeast-10 Conference selection with the men’s basketball program, earning first team honors as a junior and senior. He finished his career with 1,679 points, a total which still ranks fifth in program history, helping lead a Stonehill men’s basketball program which won just seven games his freshman season to a 20-8 record by his junior year to win the NE-10 regular season championship with a 13-1 league mark and 19 wins his senior season.
Barros led the Northeast-10 in scoring his senior year when he averaged 22.9 points per game, nearly averaging a double-double with 9.6 rebounds per game to his credit as well, and shooting 59-percent from the field. In fact, he shot well over 50-percent for his career, connecting at 53.5-percent from the floor.
Gamache, a native of Walpole, Massachusetts who attended Walpole High School, was an impact player on the defensive line for the football program at Stonehill. He was an important piece of four winning seasons for the football program in the infancy of its varsity era and remains as the program’s all-time leader with 34.0 career sacks - 14.5 sacks more than the second-highest total in Stonehill history. His 14 sacks his senior season is also a school record and he also posted 8.5 sacks his junior year, a total which ranks sixth on the program’s single-season list.
Dan Gamache '95
Gamache played 37 games over his collegiate career and finished with 207 career tackles as a defensive end. He also contributed three career fumble recoveries and an interception. Gamache earned All-Eastern Collegiate Football Conference honors, also being named ECFC Lineman of the Year as a junior before serving as captain his senior year when he posted a career-high 67 tackles (25 solo).
Close, a native of Canton, Massachusetts, who attended Canton High School and New Hampton Prep, was a standout two sport athlete with the baseball and ice hockey programs at Stonehill. He was a four-time All-Northeast-10 performer over the course of his record setting baseball career at Stonehill, earning first team honors as a sophomore and senior.
Close holds nearly every offensive record in Stonehill baseball history as the right fielder was a career .379 hitter with a then New England Division II record 258 hits in a school-record 177 games played over his four seasons. He belted a school-record 63 doubles and 44 home runs for a record 210 runs batted in to go with a program-record 201 runs scored and 51 stolen bases. Close was named the NE-10 Freshman of the Year in 1997 and then followed that up with a sophomore season in which he hit .432 with a program-record 13 home runs and a then record 61 RBI. He hit .379 with 11 home runs and 53 RBI his junior season with a school-record 58 runs scored. Close capped his career by leading the baseball team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2000 with 12 home runs and 49 RBI. Stonehill won its second-straight NE-10 regular season championship and went on to win the NE-10 Tournament for the second time in program history.
Mike Close '00
During the winter months, Close was a defenseman on the Stonehill ice hockey team, playing 76 games over his career. The two-year captain finished his career with 57 points, including a career-best 23 points his junior season on 12 goals and 11 assists to lead Stonehill to its first winning season in five years with a 12-9-1 record. He capped his career with six goals and a career-high 14 assists for 20 points his senior season.
Boen, currently in her 17th year as a head coach at Stonehill, has built men’s and women’s cross country and track and field into one of the elite programs at the Northeast-10, East Region and NCAA Division II levels. The most successful head coach Stonehill has known, Boen has led the six programs to a combined 22 Northeast-10 Championships, including an unprecedented four alone in 2013-14.
In addition to 19 NE-10 titles, the men’s and women’s cross country programs have won a combined 15 NCAA Division II East Regional championships, with the women’s program qualifying for the NCAA Division II Championships 14 straight years, the last 11 of which it has also been joined by the men’s program. Boen took over women’s cross country in 1998 and led them to a runner-up finish at the NE-10 Championships in her second season at the helm in 1999, a position the team hasn’t finished lower than since, winning a Conference record matching 12 of the last 14 NE-10 women’s championships, including a present streak of five straight. She has also led the women’s cross country team to 12 East Regional championships over the last 14 years.
Karen Boen (right)
Boen took over the men’s cross country team in 2000 and had back to back runner up finishes at the NE-10 Championships after two years before winning the NE-10 title seven times over the last ten years, including each of the last three seasons, never finishing lower than second since 2002. The men have won three East Regional championships to go with seven runner-up finishes at the regional meet.
Boen has served as head coach of the women’s track & field program since 1999 and the men’s program since 2000. Her success with those programs has culminated with three NE-10 Championships over the last two seasons, including a sweep of the women’s indoor and outdoor titles in 2013-14 after winning the men’s indoor championship in 2013. Nearly every school record has been broken by Boen’s student-athletes during her tenure, and she has coached multiple All-American, All-New England, and All-Conference honorees. Corey Thomas won the program’s first National Championship when he captured the indoor high jump title in 2011.
Boen’s Coach of the Year honors are plentiful, being named NE-10 Coach of the Year for women’s cross country 11 times, men’s cross country five times and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field four times combined. She has also been named East Region Coach of the Year by the USTFCCCA a combined 17 times for cross country and track and field, ten alone for women’s cross country. Boen has coached 50 All-Americans and produced three fellow inductees to the Stonehill Athletics Hall of Fame.
Brian Murphy '68
Murphy, a 1968 graduate of Stonehill, was a consistent advocate and supporter of the athletics program over his nearly 42 years at the College before retiring as Dean of Admissions in 2009. He is regarded as an unsung hero of the athletics department and one of the pillars of Stonehill.
Murphy signed an estimated 18,000 acceptance letters for Stonehill alumni, including each of the 101 student-athlete members of the Athletics Hall of Fame. During a time of great growth of the intercollegiate athletics program at Stonehill, Murphy was instrumental in implementing communications between the athletics and admissions office that expanded the broader range of student-athletes the department desired, especially when the department expanded with the addition of women’s athletics and football.
Murphy admitted thousands of student-athletes at Stonehill, meeting with them and their families at all times, regardless of the hour of day or day of the week. He understood the recruiting process and its challenges and developed a strong relationship with the athletics administration and coaching staffs. While the admissions process may have been done once student-athletes arrived on campus, he maintained a presence over the course of their careers. He kept in touch during their four years at Stonehill, challenging them to maintain their academic status and to be good students, working with coaches to ensure they stayed on target to graduate. He and his wife Kathy attended numerous athletic events and took a personal interest in the athletic teams.
With 20 intercollegiate sports, Stonehill boasts one of the top athletic and academic programs in the country. The Skyhawks have finished in the top three in the final NE-10 Presidents' Cup standings ten straight years, including a second place finish in 2013-14, winning the Cup four times, including a streak of three-straight from 2009-10 through 2011-12. This prestigious award is given to the top performing athletic school in the Northeast-10, across all sports and seasons. Stonehill has received the NCAA Division II Presidents' Award for Academic Achievement each of the first three years of the program's existence of honoring programs with an Academic Success Rate (ASR) of 90-percent or better. The Skyhawks have earned a 97% Academic Success Ranking (ASR) by the NCAA, which considers the academic success rate of the institution based on the graduation rate of student-athletes, good for fifth among all NCAA Division II institutions, with ten Skyhawk teams receiving a perfect rating of 100%. In addition, the Skyhawks are ranked sixth in the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) Power Rankings used to assess the academic and athletic standards of all NCAA and NAIA athletic programs. Stonehill has also been the host site for the 2016 NCAA Division II Field Hockey Championships at W.B. Mason Stadium.