MEDFORD - In front of a full house at Cousens Gymnasium, 11 outstanding student-athletes, coaches and administrators along with two memorable teams were honored as the inaugural inductees to the Tufts University Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
Nine different decades and 10 different sports were represented in this first class of honorees as Tufts began the exciting challenge of recognizing the great individuals and teams from its nearly 150 years of Athletics history.
Tony Massarotti A89, co-host of the popular Felger and Mazz sports radio show on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, and a two-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year, was the master of ceremonies. Tufts President Tony Monaco welcomed guests prior to dinner and what soon followed was one of the grandest celebrations of Jumbo Pride that the campus has ever seen.
Here are 2018 Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees:
• Maureen Bobbin (Monahan) J91 - Swimming
Bobbin was a 12-time New England champion who earned All-American honors in each of her four seasons highlighted by a third-place finish in the NCAA 200 freestyle in 1989. At the 1988 New England’s, she won and set meet records in the 200, 500 and 1,650 freestyles, and was also on two relays that won and set meet records (400 and 800 free relays). She was the high point winner at the New England meet in 1988 and 1991 and placed second the other two years. At one point Bobbin held seven school records. She led the undefeated 1988-89 team to a 10-0 dual meet mark and the New England championship.
“Quiet determination is a good way to describe Maureen,” said Nancy Bigelow, Bobbin's coach. “Without a doubt, she is the fiercest competitor I have ever coached. It didn’t matter the event or distance, she just loved to race.”
• Rocco Carzo - Administrator, Coach
Hired as head football in 1966, Carzo was promoted to Athletic Director in 1973 and mentored countless Jumbo students and staff before retiring in 1999. With an eager approach and an easy smile, Carzo guided Tufts Athletics from the establishment of small college athletics within the NCAA during the 1970s through the growth of women’s sports in the 1980s and into the prosperity of NCAA post-season play in the 1990s. A member of the National College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame, Carzo also held numerous leadership positions with the NCAA and college football during his Tufts tenure. He still keeps an office at Tufts and recently celebrated his 50th year at the university.
“He’s a hero to many of us,” said Bob Bass, A70. “The way he led by example, how he conducted himself under difficult circumstances, his compassion, his ability to accept change and his great modesty are all heroic qualities.”
• Eddie Dugger E41 - Track & Field
Dugger, often referred to as a “one-man track team,” won numerous national collegiate championships and set an American record at Tufts. The West Medford native is considered to be one of the greatest hurdlers in US collegiate history. In June 1940, he won the NCAA championship in 120-yard high hurdles with a time of 13.9 seconds, setting an American and NCAA record. Dugger won 24 New England Intercollegiate, Eastern Intercollegiate, Amateur Athletic Union, Penn Relays, and National Collegiate titles in the broad jump, 100- and 200-yard dashes, and the hurdles. He captained the 1941 Tufts team which went undefeated and captured the Eastern Intercollegiate, Penn Relays, and American Shuttle Relay championships.
“We will never forget Eddie Dugger, who is one of the finest athletes Tufts has ever had,” the 1941 Tufts Yearbook read. “He is unaffected by the fame he has attained, and his leadership and ability will never be forgotten.”
• Clarence “Ding” Dussault - Coach
In 1931, Dussault arrived at Tufts to begin a legendary career as track coach that lasted 38 seasons until 1970. His teams won 453 dual and triangular meets while losing just 69. He coached 17 undefeated seasons, 12 Eastern Intercollegiate Team Champions, five New England titles, 18 IC4A individual champions as well as two world record holders and two Olympians. While at Tufts, he was an official at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo and was a member of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Committee. A close friend of Red Sox legend Ted Williams, Dussault’s legacy was recognized when Tufts named its indoor (since changed) and outdoor track and field complexes in his honor.
“After God created Clarence Dussault, he broke the mold,” said Ed O’Connell, A50, who was mentored by Dussault. “Throughout his coaching career, Ding endured a schedule that would have killed a weaker or less dedicated man. He was indefatigable.”
• Fred “Fish” Ellis E29 - Baseball, Basketball, Football, Track & Field, Coach
An icon of Tufts Athletics during the Roaring ‘20s, Ellis was the first Tufts student-athlete to earn varsity letters in four sports. He was All-New England in three of them. The greatest of his glories came on the gridiron. He was an All-American quarterback for the 1927 football team which posted the first undefeated season in Tufts history. “Fish” scored 181 points in his football career - a record that stood for 88 years (1928-2016) – including a most-in-the-East 81 points in ’27. He returned to Tufts in 1946 as head coach of football, basketball and golf, and in 1954 was promoted to professor of physical education. Tufts’ football stadium – the Ellis Oval - is named in his honor.
“He was truly one of Saturday’s Heroes to an age that was romantic and wise enough to believe in heroes,” sportswriter Tim Horgan, A49, once wrote. “He gave Tufts what every college should have – a legend that its sons and daughters can talk about down through the years.”
• Rudy Fobert A50 - Baseball, Football, Track & Field
Even “Fish” Ellis himself, who coached Fobert in football, declared him to be Tufts’ finest male athlete ever. Versatile and talented, Fobert excelled in four sports and was the recipient of 12 varsity letters in three years. He was a leading member of the 1950 baseball team that was selected to play in the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. He played two sports in a day during the spring when he was an outfielder for the baseball teams and then would run up to the Oval to jump and sprint for the track team. Upon his death in 1978, Tufts Athletics established an annual award recognizing the best athletic and academic performance in his honor.
“Rudy was a solid physical specimen,” said John Baronian, A50, Fobert’s classmate. “He was only 5’8”, 175 pounds, but no one had a better physique. He was the best coordinated athlete I ever saw.”
• William “Johnny” Grinnell A35 - Baseball, Basketball, Football, Track
A protégé of “Fish” Ellis, Grinnell also played four sports at Tufts and gained most of his accolades in football. He is renowned as the only Tufts player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana. A standout at end on both sides of the ball in the early 1930s, he was a member of the first Small College All-America team in 1934 after leading Tufts to an 8-0 season. That team allowed only one touchdown all season and outscored its opponents 91-9. Grinnell was All-New England in basketball for three seasons, as well as playing many different positions for the baseball team.
“They say football coaches build character,” said Lew Manly, Grinnell’s coach at Tufts. “I would like to say in the case of Johnny Grinnell that it was he who built character into the coach.”
• Clarence “Pop” Houston A14 - Administrator
A guard for the football team as an undergraduate, Houston was on the field the day that future President Dwight Eisenhower famously broke his leg while playing for Army against the Jumbos. He would go on to become Tufts’ first Athletic Director. During his tenure as AD (1921-54), Houston was a leading voice in maintaining the amateur ideal of collegiate athletics. He helped author the NCAA’s “Sanity Code,” which was designed to curb abuses in college sports. He went on to serve as President of the NCAA from 1955 to 1957. Houston is the namesake of Tufts’ Male Athlete of the Year Award as well as Houston Hall on campus.
“His progression from a student to an administrator gave him a perspective that coincided with the students’ well-being,” said Fred Nickless, A44, a Tufts historian. “Developing a managed, controlled and balanced approach to the athletics department was something that he was always focused on.”
• Lisa Raffin E85 - Basketball, Lacrosse, Soccer
With the explosion of women’s sports on the Tufts campus in the 1980s, Raffin was one of the first multi-talented women to star for the Jumbos. She remains the soccer program’s leader in all three scoring categories with 51 goals, 22 assists and 124 points. To this day, she has 39 more points than anyone else in the team’s history. She held basketball’s all-time steals record (257) and career assists mark (355) until recently and also scored 953 career points. A two-year captain of basketball and a soccer captain in 1983, she also scored 20 goals in the one season she played lacrosse (1982).
“Lisa was an incredibly versatile and talented athlete,” said Bill Gehling A74, AG79, her soccer coach. “She would have excelled at any sport she tried. We were fortunate to have her on our team. As a soccer player, Lisa was strong, quick, had great game intelligence and possessed a real instinct for the goal.”
• Vera Stenhouse J91 - Track & Field
A sprint-jump legend in Division III, Stenhouse is the most prolific individual champion in Tufts Athletics history. She won eight NCAA championships while competing indoors and outdoors - four in the triple jump, three in the 400 meters and one in the 200 meters. A member of the Division III Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame, she was an All-American 23 times during her Tufts career. As a senior in 1991, Stenhouse won four national titles and single-handedly led Tufts to fourth-place team finishes at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor championship meets. She was a Honda Award nominee as the best female athlete in Division III that year.
“Vera was not just gifted, she was very intuitive as far as knowing what she had to do,” said Branwen Smith-King, her coach at Tufts. “She did a lot of searching, always driving for more knowledge on how she could improve.”
• Tim Whelan A77 - Football
Quick, durable and consistent, Whelan was the best small college running back in New England for three seasons from 1974-76. Arguably, he was one of the area’s best backs regardless of division at the time. He was Tufts’ first Small College All-American in 42 years as a senior in 1976, when he also became the first small college division player to win the George “Bulger” Lowe Award as New England’s best player in all divisions. He finished that season with 1,023 yards in eight games and scored 62 of the team’s 105 points. With 1,016 yards as a junior in 1975, he recorded the first 1,000-yard season in Tufts history.
“Tim is a major college talent with a major college attitude,” Tufts coach Paul Pawlak said at the time. “He is as quick as any running back I have ever seen and he runs inside as hard as Ed Marinaro did at Cornell when I was coaching there.”
• 1950 Baseball Team
The Jumbos, coached by Jit Ricker, earned the right to play amongst several larger, nationally-recognized schools at the NCAA College Baseball World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. By compiling a 16-4 record, which included key victories against Trinity, Connecticut, and two versus Boston College, Tufts was chosen by a committee to represent New England at the eight-team tournament. Among the other schools in Omaha were Alabama, Texas, Washington State, and Wisconsin. The 1950 season was the first year that the tournament was held in Omaha. The College World Series has been held there every year since, and has enjoyed a tremendous growth in popularity. Tufts was there at the start of it and represented the school well.
“The Tufts crew caught the fancy of a great many Friday fans,” the Omaha newspaper mentioned in its report of the opening game against Washington State. “These lads played a smart game.”
• 2010 Men’s Lacrosse Team
This group won the first-ever NCAA team title in Tufts history with a 9-6 victory over Salisbury University at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Head coach Mike Daly’s Jumbos, who had never previously advanced past the NCAA second round, defeated a Salisbury squad that had won eight NCAA titles. In the NCAA semi-finals that year, Tufts overcame a 6-3 halftime deficit to win 10-9 at defending national champion Cortland State. Tufts also won its first-ever NESCAC title after battling back from a four-goal deficit to defeat seven-time conference champion Middlebury College 13-12. The Jumbos finished 20-1 that season and began a run of nine NCAA titles won by Tufts teams over the next six years.
"It was an outstanding effort on Tufts’ part today,” Salisbury coach Jim Berkman said after the game. “A lot of things that we didn't do well weren't a result of us not doing them well, it was because of their efforts and the things that they did.”
As part of the Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, Tufts will also present the inaugural Brown and Blue Award which recognizes alumni, donors, benefactors and supporters who have made significant contributions to the success of Tufts Athletics. This year’s recipient is Ben Sands, E54, a former hockey player and coach who as an alumnus worked tirelessly to keep the program in good standing.
Sands was a defenseman in the 1950s before the hockey program was dropped in 1960. He was instrumental in bringing the sport back to campus first as a club team and then when it was reinstated at the varsity level in 1986. He was head coach for six seasons, compiling a 73-63-4 record and earning ECAC Coach of the Year in 1988. When budget cuts again threatened the team’s status in the early 1990s, he established the Friends of Tufts Hockey to support the program. That led to a healthy future for the team which has included joining the NESCAC hockey league in 2001. Sands was also President of the Tufts Jumbos Club from 2000-02.
“Not one to seek out or accept credit for his work, Ben quietly spearheaded fund-raising efforts to underwrite our hockey program during tough times,” current coach Pat Norton said. “His generosity of spirit is a model for others to emulate.”