Stony Brook Athletics inducted five new members into the Rita & Kurt Eppenstein Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night.
The class is the 16th in the university’s history and the second since its hiatus back in 2006. The ceremony was held in the Island Federal Credit Union Arena Atrium, where family, friends and former teammates came together to welcome the newest inductees.
This year’s class includes Stony Brook Baseball alumnus and now San Diego Padres outfielder Travis Jankowski, Olympic runner Lucy Oliver (Van Dalen), legendary Stony Brook Swimming and Diving head coach Dave Alexander, Stony Brook Men’s Basketball alumnus Earl Keith and Stony Brook Softball alumna Alyssa Breres.
“It’s so important for us to celebrate our past,” Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron said. “Where we want to go with the future of Stony Brook Athletics is only possible because of the accomplishments of those that came before us. To induct this special group of five is another step in that journey.”
Breres, named the America East Pitcher of the Year in 2008, was the first inductee of the night. She also led Stony Brook to its first America East Softball Championship and its first appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament that year. She currently holds the program’s all-time records in strikeouts and wins.
“It is a great honor to be here tonight and to be apart of this class,” Breres said. “When I walked on campus in 2006, I didn’t know what a Seawolf was. But now I am a proud ambassador of Seawolf Nation.”
Jankowski was the 2012 America East Player of the Year and a pivotal member of the 2012 Stony Brook baseball team that participated in the NCAA Division I College World Series. His 79 stolen bases are a program record, and he held the record for career triples until it was broken last May by centerfielder Toby Handley.
“With all the places that baseball has taken me, I can still truthfully say that Stony Brook has been the best,” Jankowski said in his speech. “Stony Brook provided not only me but 27 other men with memories that we’ll be able to tell our grandkids.”
The third inductee was Keith, a Stony Brook Basketball legend, who held the program record of 778 field goals made prior to Jameel Warney surpassing it during the 2015-16 season. Keith was also a part of the 1977-78 team that went to the Division III Final Four. He could not help but reminisce about his days on campus 40 years later.
“It feels great to be back here,” Keith said. “When they told me I had been inducted, all these memories kept coming back and how life on campus was. One thing I loved about this school was there was never a problem with color and everyone was just how they were.”
Oliver performed in the 1500 meter in the London Olympics in 2012 and the 5000 meter race in Rio in 2016, representing New Zealand. At Stony Brook, she helped lift the cross country/track and field team to four championships. The 2012 America East Woman of the Year earned All-America Honors and won the mile race at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, with a facility record time of 4:39.76, becoming the first national champion in Stony Brook history for any sport.
“Being inducted in the Stony Brook Hall of Fame was something I’ve always dreamed of, and it’s truly a dream come true for me,” Oliver said. “It’s an absolute honor.”
In her speech, Oliver discussed what Stony Brook meant to her and how the school has helped her career.
“Stony Brook gave me the opportunity to pursue my academic goals and my passion for running simultaneously,” Oliver said. “Stony Brook allowed me to travel this beautiful country, which I now consider my second home. It also built the foundation for my professional running career, which led me to compete in the London and Rio Olympics.”
Capping off the night was the induction of Stony Brook Swimming and Diving Coach Dave Alexander, who passed away in 2012. Alexander began coaching the men’s swimming team at Stony Brook as an assistant in 1979. He also played a pivotal role in forming the women’s swimming and diving program. Alexander became the head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams in 1995 before passing away in 2012. His legacy includes 300 dual-meet victories and three-time Metropolitan Coach of the Year honors. His wife, Moira Alexander, represented him at the induction ceremony.
“Dave would’ve been humble about this,” Moira Alexander said. “He believed it was not just about the coach, but it was all about the swimmers and assistant coaches that helped the whole program succeed.”
This class of five successful Stony Brook athletes now lifts the total number of inductees in the Stony Brook Athletics Hall of Fame to 57 since its creation in 1991.