Back to news
Hall of Fame Induction 2023
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Mail

CALDWELL, N.J. — The countdown is on, with three weeks to go before the Caldwell University Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023 will be inducted at The Highlawn in West Orange, N.J. The reception begins at 6 p.m., with the dinner/induction to follow at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the dinner are available here or by calling Caldwell University Athletics at (973) 618-3260. The cost is $150 per person with dedicated tables of 10 people available for $1,500. All proceeds will go to the Cougar Pride General Fund, which supports the degree completion program and enhancements for the University’s intercollegiate athletic programs.

The Caldwell University Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023 inductees are:

  • Robert Casal, Baseball, Class of 2010
  • Brook DeLucca, Women’s Soccer, Class of 2007
  • Susan McDonough, Volleyball, Class of 2013
  • Manny Perez, Men’s Basketball, class of 2009
  • Jackie Velardi, Softball, class of 2008

And “Cougar Pride Recognition Award” recipients: Vic and Mary Basile, contributors

The inductees, nominated at large by administrators, coaches, alumni and friends of the program, were elected by a panel that includes University and Athletic department staff, coaches and distinguished alumni.

“We have not been able to hold a Hall of Fame induction since 2019, but this class is worth the wait,” said Mark A. Corino, Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics. “The student-athletes represent a cross-section of sports and all were high achievers in the classrooms and the playing fields. We couldn’t be more proud of what they have accomplished, and we hope that many of their family, friends and classmates will be on hand on September 22 to join us in celebrating this high honor.

“Additionally, the Basiles welcomed our program with open arms when I arrived at Caldwell,” added Corino. “They are representative of how the Caldwell community has embraced the school and supported our student-athletes and coaches.”

Casal pitched from 2007-2010 for coaches Chris Reardon and Jay Messina. He is the school’s all-time leader in wins (23), strikeouts (266) and innings (258 1/3) and second in ERA (3.24). As a freshman in 2007, he posted a 10-1 record and 3.75 ERA with 75 strikeouts, and followed up in 2008 by earning CACC Pitcher of the Year honors (9-4, 1.89, school-record 106 strikeouts). He helped the Cougars advance to NCAA regional in 2007 and 2008, including a CACC title in 2008.

DeLucca competed from 2004-2007 under four head coaches, including her last year for coach Nate Guagliardi. She was the CACC Player of the Year in 2005, scoring 10 goals and adding seven assists and earned two All-CACC honors. DeLucca was a CACC All-Tournament selection in 2004 and scored 62 career points.

McDonough starred from 2009-2012 for coaches Megan (Hrbek) Bratkovich and John Titus. She was a two-time all-CACC First Team and AVCA all-East Region selection, registering 373 kills and 516 digs in her senior year and helped Caldwell win CACC Tournament titles in 2010 and 2011, earning tournament MVP honors both seasons. A four-year starter, McDonough was the CACC Co-Rookie of the Year in 2009 and CACC and ECAC Player of the Year in 2011. She graduated as the Cougars’ all-time leader in kills with 1,226, and second with 1,472 digs.

Perez was Caldwell’s first all-region men’s basketball player in the NCAA Division II era. Perez, who played from 2004-2009 after missing most of the 2005-06 season with an injury, ranks second all-time at Caldwell with 1,859 career points and was a four-time all-CACC selection. As a senior he averaged 18.8 ppg and 7.8 rpg, earning an invitation to compete in the prestigious NABC/NCAA Division II All-Star Game. He was voted the 2005 CACC Newcomer of the year, eclipsing the 1000 point mark in his second season.

Velardi, who played from 2004-07 for coach Dean Johnson, played a significant role in Caldwell’s run to the 2004 College World Series, batting .336 with three home runs and 20 RBIs. Velardi turned in her best season as a senior in 2007, when she hit .340 with 27 runs and 25 RBIs while earning a spot on the CACC all-Tournament team. During her four seasons at Caldwell, the Cougars won four CACC regular-season titles, three CACC Tournament crowns and an NCAA Northeast Region championship, while compiling an overall record of 156-51. An all-league first team selection in 2005, Velardi batted .299 and amassed 162 hits and 95 RBIs in 203 career games. She also served as Johnson’s assistant coach for more than a decade, helping a new generation of Cougars reach NCAA Regionals.

The Basiles are longtime Caldwell, N.J. residents who began going to Cougars games around the time Corino became head basketball coach and athletic director in the late 1980s. They formed a special bond with administrators, coaches and, in particular, student-athletes, supporting the teams in a variety of ways. In addition to attending nearly every home game for years, they traveled to many away games and even led to them starting the first Caldwell Athletics booster club, which they named Cougar Pride, which the entity still goes by today.

The Caldwell University Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 2010 to honor student-athletes, coaches and contributors who have played significant roles in the success of the intercollegiate athletic programs at Caldwell University. With this year’s class, there are now 51 members in the Hall of Fame. The Caldwell Athletics Hall of Fame room is located on the first floor of the George R. Newman Center. The September 22 ceremony is the main fundraising event for Cougar Pride, the official booster club of Caldwell University Athletics.