The Westfield State Athletics Hall of Fame grew larger last fall with the induction of five new members: Mike Walker ’75, Kevin Dalton ’77, Tim Corr ’02, Pat Ryan ’04, and Tessa Donoghue ’05. Longtime Hall of Fame Committee Member Loren “Squire” Bressor was also honored with the Jim Hagan Award for his service to Athletics. Bressor coached University tennis in the 1980s, has been a 19-year member of the committee, and is a consistent supporter of the Owl Club.
The following are brief snapshots of each of the inductees:
Walker served as the goalkeeper on the Owls soccer team that advanced to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Four in 1974. During his remarks, Walker produced a tattered soccer ball from 1974. “Practice was like mealtime with a large family; if you got there late, this is what you got,” Walker said. “One of Coach [John] Kurty’s life lessons was to be accountable.”
Dalton was a standout cross-country runner and a two-time national qualifier in the men’s steeplechase in track and field, and he still holds the school record in that event. He acknowledged a large group of teammates who attended to support his induction. “We had some great times with Coach [Jerry] Gravel,” said Dalton. “My only regret is that I didn’t listen to him more closely!”
Corr was an All-American defensive end on the Owls’ football team that posted an unbeaten regular season in 2001 and advanced to the NCAA Playoffs for the first (and only, to date) time in program history.
Donoghue was one of the most decorated Westfield State athletes, earning six All-American awards and finishing second in the nation in both the long jump and triple jump in just a year and a half as a transfer track and field athlete at Westfield.
Ryan, who still holds the record for career batting average, noted that his college academic career was initially a rocky one—going to school to “major in baseball” before taking a few years off. “After six years of hammering nails, roofing, and frostbite, I went back to school,” said Ryan. “That was one of the best decisions I ever made.” He transferred to Westfield State as an older student and hit better than 0.400 in each of his two years with the program. He continued to follow through with his education and received a master’s degree from the University in occupational and vocational education in December 2015. “I did go professional—as a son, a husband, a father, and a teacher. Today’s honor only adds to the baseball dream I once was chasing.”
Information on nominating future Hall of Fame candidates can be found at westfieldstateowls.com.