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October 14, 2011

Academy’s Hall of Fame to induct seven new members

Academy's Hall of Fame to induct seven new members

KINGS POINT, N.Y. – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy will induct seven new members into its Atheltic Hall of Fame on Friday night.

The Class of 2011 included Jeffrey Brennan ('95, soccer), Kevin Feighery ('95, football, basketball and baseball), Louis Broccoli ('55, track and cross country), Donald Cocazzo ('70, football), Michael Connors ('81, crew), Dominic DeFilippi (honorary) and George Edward "Skip" Prosser ('72, special).

The Athletic Hall of Fame was formed to honor and recognize graduates of the Academy who distinguished themselves and brought credit to the Academy through outstanding achievement in intercollegiate competition. These accomplishments, plus the significant efforts and guidance of coaches, faculty, alumni and others, will be immortalized in the Athletic Hall of Fame in order to establish a proud tradition which will inspire the Regiment of Midshipmen to achieve the mission of the USMMA.

 A quick look at the honorees:

Jeffrey Brennan  '95 - Soccer

Jeffrey Brennan '95 ranks second all-time for the Mariners soccer team in goals scored (52), assists (30), points (134) and goals in a season (17). A two-year captain, he was named All-Region twice and conference player of the year and All-Conference on more than one occasion. One of the top players for coach Mike Smolens in the early 1990's, Brennan started every game of his career and led his team to four post-season berths. He was named tournament Most Valuable Player at the ECAC Championships in 1991, when he led the Mariners to the tournament title, and was named the Skyline Conference player of the year in 1993 and 1994.  Brennan's athleticism garnered him several ECAC awards including rookie of the year (1991), and multiple ECAC first-team All-Star selections.

Kevin Feighery '95 - Football, Basketball & Baseball

Kevin Feighery '95 was a four-year letter winner on the football team and led the team in more ways than one. A 1994 tri-captain, Feighery was voted team MVP in 1993, offensive team MVP in 1994 and was the 1992 ECAC Southwest championship game MVP. He was also the ECAC Metro NY/NJ Football rookie of the year in 1991 and still holds five receiving records (career catches, career touchdowns, career yards, most yards in a season and most TD's in a Season). In 1996, Feighery punted professionally in Europe for the Frankfurt Galaxy. He later tried out with the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. In addition, Feighery was a three-year letter winner in basketball for Mariners. He was team MVP all three years and was selected to the Skyline Conference first team in 1993. The ECAC Division III rookie of the year in 1992, Feighery ranks 16th on the Mariners all-time scoring list with 1,179 points. He also lettered in baseball his senior year. For his outstanding accomplishments, he was the recipient of the Stedman Trophy in 1995.

Louis Broccoli   '55 - Track & Cross Country

Louis Broccoli '55 was team captain of cross country and track teams in 1954-55. He was undefeated in the 100-yard dash and set Academy records in the 100-yard dash (9.9 seconds), the 60-yard dash (6.4 seconds) and the 220-yard dash (21.8 seconds). He was also the leadoff leg for the 4x440 relay team that scored the Academy's first-ever points in the IC4A Championship competition.

Donald Cocozza '70 - Football

Donald Cocozza '70 was a four-year starter and signal caller as middle linebacker on the football team. Team co-captain in 1969, Cocozza was a member of the 1969 Lambert Bowl team that was the No. 1 ranked defensive team in the country by the NCAA. The squad went 7-2 and surrendered only 9.8 points per game. Highly respected by his peers, Cocozza was selected as the "All Opponent Defensive Linebacker" by Norwich University's coaching staff. Selected to the weekly ECAC All-East Team four times, Cocozza also served double duties as the Mariners' place kicker all four years. Upon graduation, he held several Academy records: most extra points kicked (career) 38; field goals kicked (career) 13; longest field goal (39); most field goals (3) and most extra points kicked in one game (5).

Michael Connors '81 - Crew

Michael Connors '81 was an extraordinary oarsman and captain of the crew team. While representing the Academy, Connors received team MVP and Most Valuable Oarsman honors from 1978-81. At the Dad Vail National Championships, he and his teammates placed third in the Freshman 8 in 1978 and second in the Varsity 4 in 1981. Earning a spot to compete in the 1981 IRA Division I National Championships, the team had a fourth-place finish in the Varsity 4. Connors' rowing also included competitions with the NYAC at the U.S. National Championships, where he medaled seven times (four gold, three bronze) from 1980-1981. After graduation, he competed for the NYAC and brought home three additional gold medals. Connors went on to compete and finish fourth at the Pan Am Games trials. He later returned to Kings Point and coached the Crew Team from 1983-1985. He continues to row competitively, and to date, has earned more than 20 gold medals at the U.S. Masters National Championships and Masters World Championships combined.

Dominic DeFilippi - Honorary

Dominic DeFilippi worked in the Academy's Athletics Department for nearly 20 years. An avid Mariners supporter, DeFilippi was the Sports Information Director for more than 15 years and the Athletic Association Business Manager for three. As the Business Manager, he generated funds in excess of $100,000, all of which helped to support the growing department. For 18 years, he was the "Voice of the Mariners" for all home football and basketball games. In the sixties, DeFilippi coached the pistol team. He also founded and served as Officer-in-Charge of the Star Spangled Banner Brigade, which consisted of Midshipmen who carried the American Flag in a horizontal position for ceremonial events. The newly found military oriented unit was introduced to the professional sports world by the Midshipmen and to the collegiate level via the Cotton, Sugar and Gator Bowls in 1970. In the late 1970's, when the Academy moved to compete at the NCAA Division II level, it was DeFilippi who designed the new varsity letter, a red-white-blue block "M."

George Edward "Skip" Prosser '72 – Special

George Edward "Skip" PROSSER '72 was a letterman with the Kings Point basketball team. Though, not the Academy's leading scorer, it was his qualities of honesty, integrity and determination that served Prosser throughout his basketball career. After receiving his USMMA degree, Prosser went on to get a Masters in Education and to become one of the most respected basketball coaches in the NCAA. Skip is the only coach in NCAA championships history to lead three different schools to the tournament in his first season at each institution (Loyola, Md., Xavier University and Wake Forest). Prosser compiled a career record of 291-146 in his 14 years as a head coach at the Division I level. He had a 126-68 record in his six seasons with the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest and led the team to five post-season appearances, which included four trips to the NCAA Championships. As head coach, he also led the program to its first-ever No. 1 ranking and a school-record 27 wins in 2004-05. Additionally, Skip was named ACC Coach of the Year in 2003. The Skip Prosser '72 Achievement Award was created to honor Skip, who believed in "Service Before Self" and exemplified the USMMA motto, "Acta Non Verba." Prosser passed away on July 26, 2007 of a sudden heart attack.