Norwich University inducted eight new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame in a dinner ceremony at Plumley Armory on Saturday night, September 18.
This year's inductees into the Hall include hockey player Rick McCarthy '88 (of Scituate, Mass.), wrestler Walt Connery '88 (of Framingham, Mass.), three-sport athletes Kim Cyr '88 (of Manchester, NH) and Liz Cronin '83 (of Middlebury, VT), rifleman Gary Confessore '63 (of Rockville, Md.), and football-baseball player Brendan Cleary '63 (of Ipswich, Mass.). Late men's basketball coach Ed Hockenbury was this year's honorary inductee into the Hall of Fame, while Don Phillips '68 (of Williston, VT) received the Distinguished Alumni Letter.
All of the inductees expressed their gratitude and humility to be inducted as the 21st class to join the NUAHOF.
"When I learned of the honor, I was totally overwhelmed," said Phillips during his remarks to an audience of more than 200. "Norwich meant a lot to me. I grew up at Norwich in a lot of ways, and athletics let me stay focused on what I was doing."
"It's hard to explain to someone that didn't go to Norwich, the camaraderie and passion that come from sports at a military college," said Cyr. "It's the essence of team like no other. I have taken a lot of what I learned at Norwich and from athletics to my job as a school counselor and coach."
"When you make a mistake in athletics, you usually pay for it right away," said Confessore. "Maybe that is the thing that I have taken forward from my experience in athletics at Norwich."
Many of the inductees shared personal experiences from their tenure at Norwich, both lighthearted and heartfelt.
"My father is more proud of the fact that I graduated from Norwich than that he graduated from Harvard," said Cleary. "My father put me on a train up here as a freshman, because we didn't have a car, and because he knew that it would be a long walk home if I wanted to leave. It turns out I loved every minute of it - after I walked 125 tours my freshman year."
"This honor isn't a testament to my abilities as an athlete," said Cleary. "Its testimony to Norwich University's ability to extract from people the very best that they have to give."
The new inductees bring the total number of inductees in the NUAHOF to 161.
firstname.lastname@example.org, October 2003
2003 NU Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees
Brendan Cleary '63
Brendan Cleary played four years of baseball and three years of football at Norwich University. He walked onto the football team as a sophomore when encouraged by coach Bob Priestly, and as a senior was an honorable mention All-New England football player as two-way offensive and defensive end.
In baseball Cleary played as an outfielder during his four-year career with the Cadets.
Cleary won the school's senior athletic cup in 1963, was a dean's list student, and wrote for the Guidon as an undergraduate.
Cleary graduated from Norwich in 1963 with a bachelor of arts in government, and went on to serve two years in the US Army in Korea and at Fort Ord, California.
After leaving the Army, Cleary spent a 33-year career in the FBI, working with an international terrorism unit from 1982 until retirement. He spent time in St. Petersburg, Fla., Los Angeles, and finally Boston while working for the FBI. He has received numerous citations and commendations from every FBI director, including J. Edgar Hoover. Cleary received the FBI's "Director's Award" for sustained distinguished service in 1997, a nationwide award presented to just one agent a year.
Cleary had lectured at numerous national and international symposiums on terrorism investigative efforts.
Originally a native of Connecticut, Cleary and his wife, Cynthia, now reside in Ipswich, Mass. They have one daughter, Erin.
Gary Confessore '63
Gary Confessore was a highly decorated athlete while competing in rifle at Norwich. He competed in rifle for four years while at Norwich, serving as the team captain as a senior in 1963. He twice earned the Ellis Trophy as the team's leading scorer, won the 1st Army Championship in 1960 and '61, and the New England Army Championship in 1961. His team was undefeated in the New England Rifle league during his senior year.
While at Norwich, Confessore competed as a part of teams that placed first, second and third in three years in the William Randolph Hearst postal match, perhaps the most prestigious national competition of its time. He may be the only competitor to hold a complete set of medals from that competition.
In four years at Norwich, Confessore earned more than 25 individual and team medals for shooting excellence.
A native of Northfield, Vt., and a graduate of Northfield High School, Confessore won back-to-back Vermont State Junior Rifle Championships in 1958 and '59, the first person to claim consecutive titles in that event.
Confessore graduated from Norwich with a bachelor of science in science education in 1963, and went on to serve three years of active duty as a captain in the US Army.
Confessore earned a master of science degree in foundations of education from Troy State University in 1968, and earned a Doctoral degree from Columbia University in 1973.
The author of five books, Confessore has served on the board of fellows at Norwich, and is currently a professor at George Washington University as well as the Director of the Hampton Roads Doctoral Cohorts.
Confessore currently resides in Rockville, Maryland, with his wife, Sharon. They have three children: sons Owen and Seth and a daughter, Eve.
Don Phillips '68 - Distinguished Alumni Award
Don Phillips played three years of baseball and three years of soccer for the Cadets. He was a first-team all state selection as a full back as a senior in the fall of 1967, the same year that he was selected as the team's most valuable player.
The Burlington Free Press wrote that Phillips was "one of the best defenders in modern soccer history of the state," and "when great soccer players of Norwich are mentioned in the future [Phillips'] name will surely pop up."
Phillips' 1967 team has been collectively inducted into the Norwich athletic hall of fame (in 1997).
In baseball, Phillips was a walk on as a sophomore and became a three-year starter as an outfielder and helped the Cadets win the Vermont College Championship in 1967, when the team posted a 9-3 record.
In the classroom, Phillips was cited as Norwich University's outstanding senior engineering student and was a distinguished military graduate, earning his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Norwich in 1968 and a master of science in sanitary engineering from the University of Vermont in 1977.
Phillips served from 1960-72 on active duty in the US Army, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. Highly decorated, Phillips received the Bronze Star, a Meritorious Service Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, and a variety of other medals, awards and ribbons in 30 years of duty in the US Army, the Army Reserve, and the National Guard. Phillips achieved the rank of colonel in 1996.
Phillips is currently employed by Forcier Aldrich and Associates as a senior project manager and director of business development.
Phillips is a highly renowned and honored engineer in the state of Vermont. He twice served as president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Vermont Section; was three times named the ASCE Vermont section engineer of the year; and was the State of Vermont's Engineer of the Year in 2001.
A native of Waterbury, VT, Confessore now resides in Williston with his wife, Cecile. They have a son, Stephen, and a daughter, Shanin.
Liz Cronin '83
Liz Cronin was a three-sport standout at Norwich University, competing in basketball, field hockey and softball. She served as a team captain in all three sports.
In field hockey, Cronin was named the team's outstanding defensive player in 1981, and was named to the All Tournament team as a midfielder at the Northeast College tournament. Cronin had never played field hockey prior to coming to Norwich and credits Joan Mussmacher for her patience and coaching in developing her field hockey skills.
As a basketball player, Cronin was a point guard who ranked among the school's career assist leaders at the time of her graduation, leading the team in assists in 1982 and 1983.
A shortstop, Cronin was a four-year captain in softball, leading the team in batting average and stolen bases as a junior and senior.
A graduate of Chelsea (Mass.) High School, Cronin was named to that school's hall of fame in 1998.
Cronin graduated from Norwich with a bachelor of science degree in 1983 and earned a master of science in administration in 1986. After graduation, she worked as both the skiing and women's lacrosse coach at Saint Michael's College.
Cronin currently resides in Middlebury, Vermont, with her son, Austin. She works as a physical education and health teacher in the West Rutland School system.
Walt Connery '88
Walt Connery was a highly decorated wrestler at Norwich University, graduating in 1988 as a distinguished military graduate with a bachelor of science degree in physical education.
Connery was a three-time letterman as a wrestler for the Cadets. He placed in the top six in New England three times, placing second as a senior. Those finishes earned him three all New England citations.
Connery served two years as a co-captain for the wrestling team, wrestling primarily at 118 pounds. He posted a 20-7 record as a sophomore and a 53-19 mark for his three year career.
Accomplished in the classroom as well as on the mat, Connery was Norwich's first Academic All-American in wrestling, and earned academic All-America honors twice while graduating Magna Cum Laude.
Connery pursued a military career upon graduation from Norwich University, reaching the rank of captain. He served in a variety of capacities, including as a medical platoon leader, a medical operations officer in the 10th mountain division, and a medical supply officer for the 1st special forces group. He earned a meritorious service medal, an Army commendation medal, as well as a parachutist badge and Thailand Airborne wings.
A graduate of Framingham (Mass.) South High School, Connery currently resides in Framingham with his wife, Lisa, son, Ryan, and daughter, Mikella.
Kim Cyr '88
Kim Cyr was a three-sport standout at Norwich University, competing in basketball, soccer and softball. She served as a team captain in all three sports.
A point guard, Cyr was named team MVP in women's basketball as a senior, where she set records for three point field goals made and 3-point field goal percentage, and records for single season assists and assists per game.
Cyr earned several all-tournament team citations, and was honored as a league player and rookie of the week during her basketball career.
Cyr also earned a golden glove award in softball, where she played primarily as a shortstop.
Cyr played as a wing on the women's soccer team, and also played one season of club rugby.
Cyr was named to Who's Who among American Colleges and Universities as an undergraduate at Norwich.
A 1988 graduate of Norwich with a bachelor of science in recreation, Cyr went on to earn a master's degree in counseling from Plymouth State in 1994.
A native of Manchester, NH, where she graduated from Trinity High School, Cyr still resides in Manchester and works as a counselor at Concord (Mass.) Middle School. She has a respite care son, Allen Downs.
Rick McCarthy '88
Rick McCarthy was an All-American hockey player who graduated as the second-leading scorer in the history of the Norwich University hockey program.
McCarthy walked onto the hockey team as a sophomore after working as
a work-study student in the rink as a freshman.
McCarthy helped the Cadets earn an NCAA Tournament bid in 1987.
In four years, McCarthy's teams posted a cumulative record of 67 wins, 43 losses and two ties for a winning percentage of .607.
McCarthy was named the team's most improved player as a freshman in 1985,
and was selected as team MVP in 1988.
A graduate of Scituate, Mass., High School, McCarthy graduated from Norwich with a bachelor of science degree in communications.
McCarthy is currently employed by Local 3 Bricklayers Union, and resides in Scituate with his wife Holly, and sons, Devin and Jake.
Ed Hockenbury - Honorary Inductee
The winningest basketball coach in Norwich University history, Ed Hockenbury coached the Cadets men's basketball team from 1976-77 until his untimely death following the 1991-92 campaign.
Hockenbury came to Norwich after playing under former Boston Celtics great Bob Cousy at Boston College and serving as an assistant at Division I Villanova.
In 16 years at Norwich, Hockenbury amassed 181 wins, bringing the program from a sub.-500 level to New England prominence.
In 1980-81, Hockenbury led the Cadets to a 12-10 record, beginning a streak of eight consecutive seasons where the program finished with a .500 or better record. In this span, the Cadets were 128-63 for a .670 winning percentage. Norwich won 21 games in 1983-84 and again in 1986-87 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament both times, the first two NCAA appearances in the program's history. The 1986-87 team was collectively inducted into the Norwich Athletic Hall of Fame last fall.
Hockenbury was named the New England Division III coach of the year in 1984, and coached several All-New England and All-American players while at Norwich.