By Thomas Chen/SHU Assistant Athletics Director for Digital Media & Communications
SOUTH ORANGE – Five influential individuals who made a significant impact on Pirate Athletics have received the call to be inducted into the Seton Hall University Athletics Hall of Fame, including Kristen Downing ’97 of women’s tennis, Andre McCloud ’86 of men’s basketball, Father Frank J. McNulty, former men’s basketball team chaplain, George Nazario ’91 of men’s soccer and Thomas Sharkey ’54, Seton Hall Board of Regents Emeritus.
The five will be inducted and celebrated as part of the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame Golf Outing and Dinner to take place on Monday, May 23 at the Fairmont Country Club in Chatham, N.J.
Details and online registration on the event are forthcoming and will be available in the coming weeks at PirateBlue.com.
Kristen Downing ’97, originally from Melrose, Mass., and a graduate of Melrose High School, is Seton Hall’s all-time leader in singles wins (86) and total wins (155), helping the women’s tennis program establish itself as a top-tier BIG EAST program and earn the team’s first-ever NCAA Championship qualification in 1996. She began with an incredible freshman season that saw her go unbeaten in dual matches (14-0) and 26-4 overall. She then helped the Pirates to a BIG EAST runner-up finish as a sophomore and dominated as a junior and senior, winning the ECAC doubles championship in 1996, the year the Pirates also went to the NCAA East Regional. Overall, she had a 27-12 record in BIG EAST singles matches, all coming at the No. 1 position.
Andre McCloud ’86, a Washington, D.C., native and graduate of H.D. Woodson High School, is one of Seton Hall’s most prolific scorers of all-time and one of the first Pirates stars of the BIG EAST era. The first recruit signed by legendary head coach P.J. Carlesimo, McCloud scored 1,976 career points, which was fourth-most all-time when he graduated and still ranks sixth in the Seton Hall record book today. He was Seton Hall’s first Metropolitan Basketball Writers Rookie of the Year in 1983 and was a four-time All-Met selection. He also was BIG EAST All-Freshman in 1983 and All-BIG EAST third team in 1984 and in 1985, when he was the conference’s scoring champion at 20.5 points per game. He also was the first Pirate to lead the team in scoring all four years and led the team in rebounding in his first three seasons.
Father Frank J. McNulty, a native of Bayonne, N.J., served as the team chaplain for the men’s basketball team from 1996-2006 and was a part of three NCAA Tournament teams in 2000, 2004 and 2006, including the program’s run to the Sweet Sixteen in 2000. A member of the clergy for over 60 years, Father McNulty taught moral and pastoral theology for 18 years at the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall. He achieved great honor in 1987 when the National Council of Catholic Bishops chose him to address Pope John Paul II on behalf of the nation’s priests during His Holiness’ visit to the United States.
George Nazario ’91, originally from Union, N.J., and a graduate of Union High School, was one of the most successful men’s soccer players of all-time at Seton Hall. He was a member of the 1986 team that was the first Seton Hall program to win a BIG EAST Championship, and in total was a member of four NCAA Tournament teams (1986, 1987, 1988, 1990) and three BIG EAST Championship winning squads (1986, 1987, 1990). A stalwart in the backfield, Nazario was one of the best defenders in program history. He is the only Pirate to ever be named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, earning the honor in 1990. He also was 1987 BIG EAST South Division Co-Player of the Year, three-time first-team All-Mid Atlantic Region and three-time first-team All-New Jersey. Now coaching, Nazario has served as the head men’s soccer coach at The College of New Jersey for 20 seasons, compiling a 209-148-43 record, reaching the NCAA Div. III Tournament four times and winning the 1996 Div. III national championship.
Thomas Sharkey ’54, originally from Elizabeth, N.J., and a graduate of Seton Hall Prep, played baseball at Seton Hall and went on to pitch in the Detroit Tigers organization for three years and serve in the United States Military for two years. The former chairman of Bank of America Corporate Insurance Agency and chairman of Meeker Sharkey Associates, Sharkey has been heavily involved with Seton Hall University, having served on the Board of Regents, including as vice chair, and as the chair of Ever Forward: The Seton Hall Sesquicentennial Campaign. He and his wife, Ruth, are longtime Pirate Blue supporters, and also made numerous contributions to the Stillman School of Business. One of his many gifts supported the creation of the Seton Hall Sports Poll Conducted by the Sharkey Institute.