Four-time All-America among only four student-athletes honored
NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Eastern Connecticut State University alumnus Allison Coleman (Jewett City) has been selected as one of only two women's basketball players tabbed as inaugural inductees into the Little East Conference Hall of Fame.
The 11-member inaugural class is comprised of five athletic administrators, four former student-athletes, and two coaches. The inductees will be honored during a ceremony at the Providence Marriot Hotel on Saturday, October 27.
"We are extremely excited to have Allison represent Eastern Connecticut in the inaugural class of the Little East Conference Hall of Fame," praised Director of Athletics Dr. Jeff Konin. "Allison was an outstanding basketball player at Eastern, and is an even better individual. She reflects all of the positive attributes we strive to instill in our student athletes."
The four former student-athletes -- two women's and two men's basketball players -- include Coleman (2000-2004) and Ashley Marble (2003-2007) of the University of Southern Maine, and Alex Butler (1993-1997) of Rhode Island College Adam DeChristopher (1995-1999) of Plymouth State University.
The selection of four basketball players as inaugural members is due to the fact that the conference was initially created as a basketball-playing alliance in 1986-87. The 26-year-old conference now sponsors men's and women's championships in 19 intercollegiate sports.
The five athletic administers include: Al Bean of University of Southern Maine, John P. Clark of Plymouth State University, Richard Costello of the University of Southern Maine, Dr. William Moore, and Charlie Titus of the University of Massachusetts Boston. Bean, Costello and Moore each served as Commissioner of the Little East Conference, while Clark and Titus played an integral role in the formation of the conference.
Brian Baptise of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Gary Fifield of the University of Southern Maine will be inducted as the two coaches that helped position the Little East as a regional and national power in the sport of basketball.
Brian Baptiste, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
In his 29 years on the bench, Brian Baptiste has established the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's basketball program as a perennial power in Division III. Baptiste has compiled a career record of 546-251, which ranks among the top-15 on the Division III men's basketball all-time wins list. He has led the Corsairs to 19 postseason appearances, including 13 berths into the NCAA Division III tournament. In 1993, UMass Dartmouth reached the NCAA Division III national semifinals finals in Buffalo, N.Y. The Corsairs were edged by Ohio Northern, and completed the program's most successful campaign ranked fourth. Baptise guided UMass Dartmouth to the top of the Little East regular season standings 13 times, while capturing 11 conference championship titles. He was selected by his peers as the prestigious National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division III Northeast Region Coach of the Year four times, while earning the Little East Coach of the Year honor seven times.
Al Bean Jr, University of Southern Maine
The third commissioner in the history of the Little East Conference, Al Bean guided the conference through its largest sports sponsorship expansion between 1995 and 2000. Under his watchful eye, the Little East increased its sports sponsorship to 17 athletic programs with the addition of baseball (1997), field hockey (1998), men's and women's indoor track and field (1999), women's swimming and diving (2000), men's and women's outdoor track and field (1998), and volleyball (1995). Prior to his appointment as commissioner, Bean served as the conference's first publicist under the leadership of Richard Costello. He has also helped shape the direction of the Little East Conference through his four-decade long relationship with the University of Southern Maine as a student-athlete, assistant coach, sports information director, assistant athletic director, and athletic director.
Alex Butler, Rhode Island College
One of the most dominant men's basketball players in New England during the 1990's, Alex Butler represented Rhode Island College on the All-America teams in 1996 and 1997. He became the first Little East men's basketball player to earn three conference-sponsored major awards during his career, receiving the Player of the Year Award (1996, 1997) and Rookie of the Year Award in 1994. The three-time first-team All-Little East selection is just one of three Anchormen to produce 2,000-career points, ranking second in program history with 2,398. Highly decorated, Butler earned the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Robbins Scholar-Athlete honors in 1996 and 1997, while also accepting the John E. Hetherman Award, signifying him as Rhode Island College's top male senior athlete, in 1998. In 2011, he was the top-vote getter among the Little East Men's Basketball 25th Anniversary Team members.
John P. Clark, Plymouth State University
One of the founding fathers of the Little East Conference, John P. Clark was a driving force behind the birth of the conference in the mid 1980s. Clark hosted the second organized meeting at Plymouth State on March 18, 1985 to determine if enough interest existed to form a men's and women's basketball conference. The meeting sparked the third and final organizational meeting at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) fall meeting in September 30, 1985, where six institutions--Eastern Connecticut State University, University of Massachusetts Boston, Plymouth State College, Rhode Island College, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (formerly Southeastern Massachusetts), and the University of Southern Maine--accepted an invitation to join the league. During his 17-year tenure as the Director of Athletics at Plymouth State, Clark has continued to shape the conference through the creation of the schedules for the 19-sponsored sports. He has also developed opportunities for student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics through the establishment of numerous sponsored-sports on the Panther campus. Clark is currently the President of the Little East Athletic Directors Council.
Allison Coleman, Eastern Connecticut State University
The most decorated women's basketball player in NCAA Division III history when she graduated, Allison Coleman became the first four-time Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division III All-America. The 2004 State Farm/WBCA National Player of the Year led Eastern Connecticut State University to a 101-17 record (.856 winning percentage) and four postseason appearances. Coleman was the catalyst for the Warrior squad that reached the 2003 NCAA Division III National Championship Game. The only four-time Little East Player of the Year in the conference history guided Eastern Connecticut to a share of two regular-season conference championships. Coleman is the only student-athlete in program history to record 1,000 career points (1,991) and rebounds (1,134). She is also the program leader in assists (579), and steals (369). Named to the LEC women's basketball 25th Anniversary Team last year, Coleman, was previously inducted into the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in April of 2010 as the fifth Eastern individual to gain that honor in the first 23 years of that hall of fame's existence.
Richard "Doc" Costello, University of Southern Maine
Richard "Doc" Costello was appointed the first commissioner of the Little East Conference in 1986, serving as the executive director for the newly formed Division III men's and women's basketball conference. Under his four-year tenure, the Little East Conference expanded its sponsorship to seven sports with the addition of men's and women's cross country (1988), men's soccer (1989), men's tennis (1989), and women's soccer (1990). Costello was also instrumental in helping the Little East Conference earn an automatic berth into the men's and women's national tournament field in 1989, providing the conference champion the opportunity to compete for a Division III championship. Doc enjoyed a five-decade long relationship with the University of Southern Maine as an assistant coach, head coach, and athletic director. Under his guidance, the Huskies became an active member of the NCAA and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) in 1985. A tremendous motivator, Costello retired from basketball with the distinction of being the only coach in NCAA history to win at least 200 games on both the men's and women's side of the court. Among his numerous awards, he has been enshrined in the NAIA Hall of Fame, the Southern Maine Hall of Fame, and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.
Adam DeChristopher, Plymouth State University
A member of the Little East's Men's Basketball 25th Anniversary Team, DeChristopher was a standout point guard for Plymouth State between 1995 to 1999. He is just one of three Panther men's basketball players to eclipse the 2,000-point barrier (2,090), while also setting the program's standard for career three-point field goals made (278). DeChristopher piloted Plymouth State to a combined record of 77-35 during his four years as a Panther, including a then-school record 22-8 mark in 1999. The floor general led Plymouth State to four postseason appearances, including a berth in the 1996 NCAA Division III tournament. DeChristopher capped off his brilliant career as the Northeast Region Player of the Year and a first-team member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-America team.
Gary Fifield, University of Southern Maine
The architect of one of the most storied program's in Division III women's basketball, Gary Fifield is just one of a handful of coaches that have reached the 600-win plateau. He has guided the University of Southern Maine to 24 NCAA Division III tournament appearances, including five trips to the national semifinals, and three appearances in the championship game. Fifield received the highest honor of his profession when he was named the 2005 Russell Athletic/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division III Coach of the Year after leading the Huskies to a school record 31-3 mark. Fifield has established Southern Maine as a dominant force in the Little East Conference, compiling a conference record of 273-31 (.898 winning percentage), 20 shared of outright regular season titles, and 19 Little East conference tournament championships. He earned his 600th victory against the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on February 18, 2012. Fifield has been selected as the WBCA District I Coach of the Year five times, while earning the Little East Coach of the Year Award an unprecedented 13 times.
Ashley Marble, University of Southern Maine
A two-time Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-American, Ashley Marble was the cornerstone of the Southern Maine teams between 2004 and 2007. In her four years in a Huskies uniform, Marble led Southern Maine to an impressive 119-10 record, including a 67-1 mark within the conference circuit. The three-time Little East Player of the Year helped the Huskies capture four consecutive conference regular season and tournament championships to earn the automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament. Southern Maine reached the national semifinals twice during her career, finishing third in 2005 and as the national runner-up in 2006. She is the program's all-time leader in rebounding (1,157), while ranking second in points (1,981). Marble also owns the single-season record for points (693) and scoring average (23.1 points per game). She personified the definition of a student-athlete in 2007, when Marble received the prestigious ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American of the Year Award.
Dr. William M. Moore, Little East Conference
The first independent commissioner of the Little East Conference, Bill Moore oversaw the operation of the conference office between 2000 and 2008. He served as the chief administrative officer for the Little East, directing the league's 19 championship sports. Prior to his appointment at the Little East, Moore was the Commissioner of the Division II New England Collegiate Conference after a 10-year stint as the director of physical education, athletics and recreation at the University of Albany. Moore began his 57-year career in athletic administration at Central Connecticut State University, where he served as the director of athletics, health, and physical education for 21 years. Moore was also involved in numerous athletic committees, including the NCAA Postseason Football Committee and the NCAA Legislative Committee. He also held the position of president of the Eastern College Basketball Association from 1979-1981 and the president of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) in 1985-86. In 1993, Moore was awarded the Josten's Distinguished Service Award.
Charlie Titus, University of Massachusetts Boston
One of the founding fathers of the Little East Conference, Charlie Titus commissioned the first organizational meeting to begin the process of establishing the Little East Conference at UMass Boston in September of 1984. He is the only person to lead the University of Massachusetts Boston athletics department. In 2004, he was promoted to Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation, Special Projects, and Intramurals. In addition to his executive responsibilities, Titus is the only men's basketball coach the Beacons' program has ever known. He has led UMass Boston to two NCAA Division III tournament appearances, three Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Northeast tournaments, and the 2006 Little East Tournament Championship. Titus was chosen as the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III Northeast Coach of the Year in 2006, while receiving the conference's top award in 1997 and 2006.
The Little East serves as New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III and sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes. Our eight state colleges and universities dedicate themselves to an ongoing fulfillment of the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship, and citizenship.