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Somerset, NJ -- The Northeast Conference (NEC) Hall of Fame recognizes those who have demonstrated the highest level of achievement and merit consideration as the "best of the best" from the league's 38-year history.
The ninth NEC induction class adds three more all-time greats to the prestigious group, which now includes 32 former student-athletes, coaches and administrators. The three-member class is comprised of Mount St. Mary's basketball player Chris McGuthrie, Fairleigh Dickinson bowler Danielle McEwan and former Central Connecticut Athletic Director Charles "CJ" Jones.
"It is an incredible honor to induct three NEC all-time greats into our Hall of Fame," said NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris."These individuals have all woven themselves into the NEC's rich history and we're thrilled to look back on and celebrate their many achievements. Mount St. Mary's has a storied tradition in men's hoops, and Chris McGuthrie is right there with the best to have suited up in a Mount uniform. Danielle McEwan remains the gold standard when it comes to NEC women's bowling and her legendary accomplishments have made her a larger-than-life figure at FDU. Likewise, CJ Jones played an integral role in bringing CCSU to the NEC and elevating the athletic program to new heights in his role as AD. Congratulations to Chris, Danielle and CJ!"
Chris McGuthrie, Mount St. Mary's
Silver Spring, MD/Spring Brook
Basketball • 1992-96
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One of the iconic NEC players of the 1990s, Chris McGuthrie is still fondly remembered in Mount St. Mary's circles to this day both for his unlimited shooting range and his role in establishing in establishing the Mountaineers as a force in the conference.
He began his career as a star and ended it four years later as a Mount legend.
It all started in 1992, when McGuthrie arrived in Emmitsburg and served notice to the rest of the conference by averaging 19.8 ppg and 5.1 apg en route to NEC Rookie of the Year and second team All-NEC honors.
From there he would go on to earn All-NEC honors in all four of his years, including first team accolades in his junior and senior seasons. He remains the only four-time All-Conference award winner in league history.
McGuthrie poured in 19.7 ppg as a junior in 1994-95 to rank third in the NEC in scoring and help lead the Mount to its first-ever NEC title with a 69-62 win at Rider. He would go on to score 20 points against Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The sharpshooter from Silver Spring, MD became the Mount's first NEC Player of the Year in his senior campaign. He topped the NEC in scoring with 22.3 ppg and a school record 102 three-pointers, and helped spark a 14-game win streak to close out the 1995-96 regular season. The Mountaineers won a school record 21 games - a mark that still stands - and earned a berth in the Postseason NIT. In perhaps his signature game, McGuthrie scored 37 points, including eight three-pointers, in the team's 71-69 win over No. 21 Georgia Tech on December 18, 1995
McGuthrie closed out his star-studded career with 2,297 points and 300 three-pointers, both of which rank third on the NEC's all-time list. He holds the Mount record for triples and is the second-leading scorer in program history. McGuthrie, who averaged 20.0 ppg for his career, is also eighth in school history with 426 assists and sixth with 202 steals.
Following graduation, he spent 10 years playing professionally overseas and was named MVP of the Dutch Basketball League for the 2000–01 season.
McGuthrie was inducted into the Mount Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, and in 2017 became the fifth Mountaineer to have his uniform number retired by the school.
"Congratulations to Chris McGuthrie on being named to the Northeast Conference Hall of Fame," said former Mount head coach Jim Phelan. "Chris was a prolific scorer with a flair for big time performances in the biggest moments. Upon his arrival at the Mount, Chris immediately elevated our program into the top tier of the NEC, and kept us there for his four years in a Mount uniform. Chris led us to a conference tournament championship his junior year and a regular season championship as a senior, earning NEC Player of the Year honors. And, we will always remember him scoring 37 points in our victory over nationally ranked Georgia Tech; the biggest upset in program history. Without a doubt, Chris is one of greatest players I have ever coached."
"Mount St. Mary's is very proud that Chris McGuthrie has been selected as a member of the Northeast Conference Hall of Fame," said Lynne Robinson, Mount Director of Athletics. "As one of the most outstanding men's basketball players in Mount St. Mary's and Northeast Conference history, Chris will long be remembered by everyone who was fortunate enough to see him play. With a career scoring average of 20 points per game, Chris brought intensity and excitement to the game every time he stepped onto the court. He had the heart of a lion and an incredible work ethic. Not only was he a great player, he made everyone around him better. We congratulate Chris on this tremendous honor and much deserved recognition."
"When I think of Chris McGuthrie the word electrifying comes to mind," said Tim Capstraw, the former Wagner head coach who went head-to-head with McGuthrie's teams on a number of occasions. "He was one of those guys you couldn't take your eyes off of because he played with a joy and swaggar that was so special. He had unlimited range, an exceptional handle and a ton of confidence. Mount is the guard capital of the NEC and Chris McGuthrie is right at the top."
Danielle McEwan, Fairleigh Dickinson
Stony Point, NY/Stony Point
Bowling • 2009-13
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As the most decorated student-athlete in the NEC's 38-year history, it should come as little surprise that Danielle McEwan is a first-ballot NEC Hall of Famer.
A pioneer who helped put NEC bowling on the national map, the legacy she left behind over her four years at Fairleigh Dickinson may never be matched.
McEwan rose to the top of her sport during her junior and senior campaigns when she was named the National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) Bowler of the Year. Likewise, she was a three-time NTCA All-America honoree and a three-time NEC Bowler of the Year from 2011-13. McEwan was also tabbed the NEC Rookie of the Year in 2010 and was a four-time All-NEC honoree.
While performing at an elite individual level, she was also leading the Knights to the top of the NCAA ranks. FDU qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of her four years, highlighted by the program's second national championship during her freshman season in 2010. McEwan served as the catalyst in the title run, earning NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. The Knights also reached the national semis in 2011 and the NCAA title match in 2012.
Not only did McEwan excel on the lanes, she was also a star in the classroom. She was a three-time NTCA Academic All-American and the NEC women's bowling Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a senior.
The two-time FDU Female Athlete of the Year graduated as the school's career average leader (207.07) and set the program single-season mark (215.61) as a senior.
McEwan hit the ground running as a professional, and has since won four PWBA titles. She is one of three players to have won at least one title every season since the re-launch of the PWBA Tour in 2015.
In 2015, McEwan and teammate Kelly Kulick won the gold medal in the doubles competition at the Women's World Bowling Championship (WBC). She has competed for Team USA since 2012, winning over 20 medals during that time.
"It's difficult to describe the amount of pride we have for Danielle McEwan, her uncountable accomplishments, and all of her success," said FDU women's bowling coach Mike LoPresti. "She is the most decorated student-athlete to ever suit up as a FDU Knight. Quite frankly, anything that she achieves isn't a suprise. It's because Danielle has an unparalleled passion to compete and an unmatched commitment to excellence. As a member of our program, she elevated our team to a different level. Now, everyone I recruit and all of our current players aspire to be like her and want to learn to play like her. Danielle McEwan's selection to the NEC Hall of Fame is certainly a well deserved honor. I challenge anyone to find a better role model."
Charles "CJ" Jones
CCSU Director of Athletics • 1995-09
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When you think of Charles "CJ" Jones, you think of someone of who bleeds blue.
A name synonymous with Central Connecticut, Jones spent 44 years in the Blue Devil family as a student-athlete, coach and administrator before retiring in 2009 following a distinguished career.
Most notably, Jones served as CCSU's Director of Athletics during a time of exponential growth from 1995-09.
Jones wasted little time in finding time CCSU a home in the Northeast Conference in 1997. During his tenure, the Blue Devils won a combined 42 NEC regular season and tournament championships, including three men's basketball titles in 2000, 2002 and 2007. CCSU earned a historic NCAA win in women's soccer in 2003, and the men's soccer team made a run to the Sweet 16 in 2007.
Jones served on numerous NEC committees, including the baseball, basketball and football sport committees and the NEC Membership Committee.
He oversaw the renovation of CCSU's outdoor athletic facilities, with new turf fields for baseball, softball and soccer. Kaiser Hall underwent major renovations, including new administrative and coaches' offices and locker rooms for all of its athletic teams, as well as a new lobby area. Detrick Gymnasium also underwent a major facelift under his watch, complete with a new floor, scoreboard and bleachers for the general admission side of the gym.
His commitment to gender equity was recognized by the Women's Sports Foundation in 2000, which ranked CCSU first among NEC members for participation and scholarship levels among its women's varsity teams.
In 2002, Jones was selected to sit on the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships/Competition Cabinet Issues Committee.
Jones was a standout guard for CCSU who played for legendary coach Bill Detrick. He also played baseball at Central and graduated in 1969 with a degree in English and minor in Physical Education. Jones went on to earn his Master's Degree in Educational Foundations from Central Connecticut in 1972.
He stepped immediately into coaching as a graduate assistant for the Blue Devil basketball program and served as an assistant coach until the 1987-88 season, when he was named interim head coach.
Jones also served as the University's Director of Educational Support Services (1987-95), where he directed the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), the Connecticut Collegiate Awareness and Preparation Program (CONNCAP), and the Student Services Program. He previously served in roles as the school's Coordinator of Minority Student Services (1985-1987) and Director of Educational Opportunity Programs (1970-1985).
Jones received the Harrison J. Kaiser Alumni Award for his service to the University in 1989 and the University's Distinguished Service Award in 1991-92. He was honored with the Black Alumni Outstanding Service Award in 1984, the Student-Senate Recognition Award in 1983, and the Volunteer Service Award in 1995. Jones was also the recipient of the Vin Baker Foundation
He is a member of the CCSU Alumni Board, the Friendship Center Board of Trustees, the Governor's Prevention Partnership Executive Board and the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain.
Jones was inducted into the CCSU Alumni Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.
"For as long as I have known CJ (Jones) he's been a consummate professional and gentleman, no better role model," said Don Cook, former Sacred Heart Director of Athletics. "He always represented Central Connecticut with dignity and class. Yet, with his managerial skill he had a 'no nonsense, get the job done' philosophy, and he did it without offending anybody. No easy task! To say he was low key is an understatement. He raised the bar for all of us who knew him, and had the good fortune to work with him. CJ taught by example. No one better! He molded Central Connecticut Athletics into a first class program to be admired and respected, as much because CJ was its leader as any reason. He cared about his family, his athletes, his coaches and his devotion to charitable causes. Knowing CJ as I think I do I would dare say his homespun modesty would never allow him to think entry into the Northeast Conference Hall of Fame was expected, but clearly, it is deeply deserved. No one is more deserving. I always felt privileged to call him a colleague and friend."
The NEC Hall of Fame was established as a means to recognize, honor and perpetuate the memory of those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to NEC athletics and have helped to bring recognition, honor, distinction and excellence to both the Conference and its Division I athletic programs. The 2010 inaugural class was headlined by the NEC's first Commissioner, Chris Monasch, and legendary Mount St. Mary's basketball head coach Jim Phelan. Student-athletes honored included Wagner basketball player Terrance Bailey, Robert Morris football lineman Hank Fraley, Mount St. Mary's distance runner Peter Rono, Fairleigh Dickinson sprinter/hurdler Sharlene Milwood-Lee, Monmouth soccer standout Christie Pearce-Rampone and Saint Francis U women's basketball player Jess Zinobile. The 2011 class included Marist men's basketball player Rik Smits, Saint Francis U women's basketball player Beth Swink and former Fairleigh Dickinson men's basketball coach Tom Green. The 2012 class featured Fairleigh Dickinson men's basketball player Desi Wilson, Mount St. Mary's women's basketball player Vanessa Blair and former Sacred Heart Director of Athletics Don Cook. The 2013 class was comprised of Robert Morris men's basketball player Myron Walker, Sacred Heart women's basketball player Amanda Pape and Robert Morris football coach Joe Walton. The 2014 class consisted of CCSU men's basketball player Corsley Edwards, CCSU women's soccer player Kelly Shimmin and Bob Balut, who served as Wagner Sports Information Director and also worked as a Director of Communications at the NEC office. The Mount's Susie Rowlyk, a women's basketball player, and her coach, the late Bill Sheahan, were inducted in 2015 along with LIU Brooklyn men's soccer player Giovanni Savarese. The 2016 class consisted of Wagner football player, Fairleigh Dickinson track star Sharline White and longtime NEC Coordinator of Officials Edgar Cartotto. Saint Francis U basketball player Mike Iuzzolino, LIU Brooklyn softball player Lesley Renninger and CCSU basketball coach Howie Dickenman were enshrined in 2017.
Nominations for the Hall of Fame are made by current and former member institutions, along with the Conference office. Enshrinees are then selected in a vote by administrators from each current member institution and the Conference.
Student-athletes who have competed in an NEC-sponsored sport for at least two full seasons and completed their playing career at a member institution become eligible for induction beginning five years after exhausting their collegiate eligibility. Coaches, administrators and any other persons who have made outstanding contributions or offered extraordinary service to NEC athletics are eligible after three full years of service.
A maximum of five inductees may be selected annually, including at least one male student-athlete, one female student-athlete, and one coach or administrator.
About The Northeast Conference
Now in its 38th year, the Northeast Conference is an NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 institutions of higher learning located throughout six states. Media coverage of the NEC extends to four of the largest markets in the United States - New York (#1), Pittsburgh (#23), Baltimore (#27), and Hartford/New Haven (#30). Founded in 1981 as the basketball-only ECAC Metro Conference, the NEC has grown to sponsor 22 championship sports for men and women and now enjoys automatic access to 14 different NCAA Championships. NEC member institutions include Bryant, Central Connecticut, Fairleigh Dickinson, LIU Brooklyn, Mount St. Mary's, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis Brooklyn, Saint Francis U and Wagner. Merrimack will join the NEC as a full-time member in July, 2019. For more information on the NEC, visit the league's official website (www.northeastconference.org) and digital network (www.necfrontrow.com), or follow the league on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchaat, all @NECsports.