Class of 2015 to be enshrined on Oct. 17
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University will honor its athletic heritage this fall when five new members are enshrined into the PSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
This year’s induction ceremony, set for Saturday, October 17, will mark the 31st group to be enshrined into the PSU Athletic Hall of Fame. The quintet honors some of the elite Panther student-athletes over the last four decades, representing the sports of baseball, basketball, field hockey, football, softball, volleyball, and wrestling.
The 2015 inductees are:
* Kevin Bradley (‘83), a two-year starter on the Panther football and basketball teams, quarterbacking the football team to 19 consecutive victories and the 1982 Lambert Trophy as the top Division III team in the east; current football and girls basketball coach at Whittier Tech High School in Haverhill, Mass.
* Verne Bryant (‘55)(posthumous), a former four-year letterman in basketball and baseball at Plymouth Teachers College, leading the basketball team in scoring as a sophomore and finishing his career as the school’s all-time scoring leader.
* Becky Ciulla (‘06), three-year standout on the PSU volleyball team, twice earning All-Little East Conference First Team honors as well as the 2005 LEC Offensive Player of the Year award; helped team to three post-season berths, including 2004 LEC Championship and NCAA Tournament berth.
* Gary Holden (‘86), former Plymouth State wrestler and head wrestling coach who is now in his 25th year as Sports Information Director at Ferrum College in Virginia, where he was also a successful tennis coach for 10 years.
* Annie Metz Palumbo (‘05), four-year field hockey defender who was a three-time All-Little East Conference All-Star and the 2004 LEC Defensive Player of the Year and All-Region First Team selection; helped team to two Little East championships and NCAA berths and four post-season appearances.
The Hall of Fame activities on Oct. 17th will be held at The Savage Welcome Center in the PSU Ice Arena. The evening’s festivities include a reception at 5:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:00 p.m. and the induction ceremony at 7:00 p.m. This year’s group increases the total number in the Hall since it began in 1985 to 178 individuals and six teams.
The entire list of inductees and profiles on each member, as well as a nomination form open to the public, is available on the PSU Athletics Website at athletics.plymouth.edu. For tickets or more information, call 603-535-2770.
KEVIN BRADLEY (’83): A two-year starter at Plymouth State in both football and basketball, Kevin Bradley was the quarterback on two of the top football teams in school history, combining for 19 straight victories under coach Jay Cottone. He led the 1981 team to a 9-1 mark and the first New England Football Conference championship in school history, and guided the 1982 squad to a perfect 10-0 record, a second NEFC title, and the prestigious Lambert Trophy, signifying the top Division III team in the Eastern United States.
A native of Methuen, Mass., Bradley led the NEFC in passing and was selected All-NEFC both years. He ranked seventh in the NCAA Division III in passing efficiency as a senior. Bradley exchanged his football cleats for basketball sneakers in the winter, where he was a two-year starter for the Panthers under Coach Gene Fahey.
Bradley has been involved in coaching since his days at Plymouth State. Now in his 18th year as athletic director and football and girls basketball coach at Whittier Tech High School in Haverhill, Mass. Bradley has posted coaching records at Whittier of 108-52 in football and 296-131 in girls’ basketball. Among his many honors are the 2009 Lawrence Eagle-Tribune Sportsman of the Year and the 2014 Division 5 Football Coach of the Year by The Boston Globe.
VERNE BRYANT (’55): A former four-year letterman in basketball and baseball at Plymouth Teachers College under legendary coach John Foley, Verne Bryant was a standout scorer for the Panther hoop team. He had a breakout season as a sophomore when he led the team in scoring with more than 20 points per game. He also averaged 15.7 points per game his junior year, and helped the team to four straight winning seasons and a combined record of 41-28.
A native of Belmont, N.H., Bryant finished his career with 982 points in an era with no shot clock and no three-point baskets. His total was more than any previous player in what was then the eight-year history of the Panther men’s basketball program. Now 60 years later, Bryant ranks 27th on PSU’s career scoring list.
Bryant also played on Panther baseball team under Coach Foley, where he helped the team to several Pemi-League tournament berths. He was a member of teams that won back-to-back New England Teachers College titles in 1952 and ’53, with a combined team record of 16-3. Bryant posted a 3-0 record as a pitcher in 1953 before starting every game as a catcher as a junior in ’54.
BECKY CIULLA (’06): A former stellar three-year volleyball middle hitter for Plymouth State, Becky Ciulla was a two-time All-Little East Conference First Team selection and the 2005 LEC Offensive Player of the Year. She performed on Panther teams that earned three straight post-season berths, including the 2004 NCAA Tournament, the only NCAA berth in school history.
A native of Chelmsford, Mass., Ciulla transferred to PSU for her sophomore season and helped the team to a 29-8 record. She became one the top players in the Little East her junior and senior seasons, leading the conference in kills as a senior when she was named Offensive Player of the Year and played in the New England Senior All-Star match. Ciulla ranked fourth on the PSU career list for kills while also setting single-season and career program records for blocks.
Ciulla helped the Panthers to an 80-37 overall record under Coach Moira Long, with two Little East regular season co-championships and the 2004 Little East Tournament Championship. She also led the team to ECAC Tournament berths in 2003 and 2005, advancing to the semifinals both years.
GARY HOLDEN (’86): A former four-year wrestler at Plymouth State, Gary Holden served two years as assistant and four years as head wrestling coach for the Panthers from 1985-91. He produced 21 All-Conference student-athletes, one conference champion, two national qualifiers, and one NCAA Division III All-American. Holden was named New England Rookie Coach of the Year in 1988 and New England Coach of the Year in 1990.
A native of Lowell, Mass. who grew up in Nashua, N.H., Holden went to work at Ferrum College in Virginia in 1991, where he is currently in his 24th year as Sports Information Director and his 12th year as Assistant Athletic Director. He also served a year as Acting Commissioner of the Atlantic Central Football Conference and three years as the league’s Sports Information Director. Holden was the President of the Virginia Sports Information Directors for four years from 1998-2002, and currently serves as the Virginia SID webmaster.
Holden also served Ferrum College for 10 years as head men’s tennis coach and two years as women’s tennis coach from 1999-2008, earning a pair of USA South Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors. He served on the NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Committee from 2004-08, the last year as National Chair. Holden is the author of the book titled, “Black & Gold, A History of Athletics at Ferrum College."
ANNIE METZ PALUMBO (’05): A former four-year starter on defense for the Plymouth State field hockey team, Annie Metz Palumbo earned All-Little East Conference honors three times and was named Little East Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. She helped the Panthers to LEC regular season and tournament championships in 2001 and 2002, qualifying for consecutive NCAA Division III Championship Tournaments, and contributed to the team’s ECAC post-season berths in 2003 and 2004, winning the ECAC title in 2004.
A native of North Chelmsford, Mass., Metz Palumbo earned Second Team All-Conference honors as a sophomore when she helped the Panthers limit their opponents to just 10 goals in 18 games with 10 shutouts. She repeated her All-Conference performance as a junior, and captured First Team honors as a senior in 2004, when she was the Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Region. Metz Palumbo helped the Panthers to a combined four-year record of 62-18 under head coach Bonnie Lord. She was named PSU’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2004-05.
Metz Palumbo also played two seasons as a third baseman on the Panther softball team, and was the team’s second-leading hitter in both 2002 and 2003. She was a key player on teams that posted a 54-22-2 combined record under coach Harry Blood, including a program-best 30-9 mark in 2003 that included the ECAC New England Tournament championship.
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