NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The University of New Haven Department of Athletics enshrined its 30th Hall of Fame class on Friday, April 12 at Anthony’s Ocean View in New Haven. Nearly 300 alumni and friends gathered to celebrate the outstanding careers of seven former student-athletes. The 2013 inductees, who round out the all-time Hall of Fame roster at 151 individuals and one team, are Jim Ferguson (baseball), Pat Fitzpatrick (football), Mike Forte (football), Debbie Moore (women’s basketball), Major Ruth (men’s track and field), Alec Zarnowski (baseball) and Edward Zimmitti (men’s soccer).
Former UNH student-athletes inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Jim Ferguson was a key component to one of the most successful four-year runs in the history of New Haven baseball. The Chargers went 102-24 during his tenure, including four NCAA postseason appearances and three trips to the College World Series. He drove in 97 runs for Head Coach Frank “Porky” Vieira from 1983-86.
Ferguson entered the starting lineup as a second baseman in the midst of his freshman campaign. He accumulated 12 hits with eight RBI in 20 games, with the biggest hit coming in the form of a two-run single that put the Chargers on top of Quinnipiac in the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship Game.
The former star at Notre Dame High School in West Haven became a fixture at second base in 1984, hitting .261 with 13 extra-base hits, 24 RBI and five stolen bases. Ferguson’s sophomore season ended with the first of three consecutive trips to the NCAA College World Series.
Ferguson’s best statistical season came in his junior campaign. Now manning the hot corner for Coach Vieira, Ferguson hit a team-best .413 with 14 doubles and 31 RBI in 33 games. Once again, the Chargers went 3-0 to win the NCAA Northeast Regional and advance to the College World Series in Montgomery, Ala.
In his final season for the Blue and Gold, Ferguson split time in the starting lineup between second and third base. He hit .269 with 27 RBI and a pair of stolen bases. After another run through the NCAA Northeast Regional, Ferguson’s career ended at his third College World Series.
Following his New Haven career, Ferguson signed a professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1987, he was a member of the history-setting Salt Lake City Trappers. That summer, the team set the professional baseball record with 29 straight victories. Ferguson logged 1,175 professional at-bats in his career, rising as far as High-A with the St. Petersburg Cardinals of the Florida State League.
One of the finest kickers to don a New Haven uniform, Pat Fitzpatrick ranks sixth all-time at UNH with 169 career points. He connected on 127 extra points and 14 field goals during his illustrious career from 1987-90.
As a freshman, Fitzpatrick made a quick impression on the coaching staff and took over primary kicking responsibilities midway through the season. After connecting on four of four field goals and 19-of-21 extra points, he emerged as the number one kicker as a sophomore. He was the team’s second leading scorer, connecting on 31-of-36 extra points and three of nine field goals for a total of 40 points. His season highlight came at Central Florida when he hit the eventual game-winning field goal in the Chargers 31-23 upset the nation’s second-ranked team.
In his third season, he connected on 33-of-38 extra point attempts and four of nine field goal tries. Fitzpatrick scored a then-school record eight extra points plus two field goals for a career-best 14 points in a 62-25 victory over Virginia Union. Both field goals in the win traveled a career-long 35 yards for Fitzpatrick. He was the team’s second leading scorer once again with 45 total points.
Fitzpatrick sealed his Hall of Fame career in 1990 with a career-high 53 total points, ranking him third on the team. He converted 44-of-53 extra points and three of nine field goals. His most impressive season included three games in which he connected on seven extra points and two games where he scored 10 total points. On homecoming 1990, the Garnerville, N.Y. native helped lead the Chargers to an impressive 64-45 victory over crosstown rival Southern Connecticut State at Dodds Stadium. He scored seven extra points and a 31-yard field goal, tying his season-best mark of 10 points in the game.
At the time of his graduation, Fitzpatrick held New Haven’s all-time record for points and was the first kicker to cross the 150-point plateau. Not only did Fitzpatrick enjoy individual success during his four-year career, but the Chargers posted a remarkable 30-10 overall record from 1987-90.
A standout football player, Mike Forte played both sides of the ball during his career which spanned from 1990-94. He amassed 144 total tackles and over 200 yards of total offense.
Forte came to New Haven as a tailback and earned a starting role during his sophomore campaign. He gained 95 yards on 14 carries during his first two years under head coach Mark Whipple. In his freshman season, he played his best game against Southern Connecticut State, rushing for 44 yards and a touchdown on five carries. During his first two seasons, he also caught 13 passes for 128 yards, including nine catches for 89 yards as a sophomore.
Forte made the transition from the offensive backfield to linebacker during the spring of 1992 and performed admirably. The transition was halted when he suffered a broken leg during preseason training camp in the fall. The season was lost to a medical redshirt, but Forte would come back ready to his mark on UNH football history.
In 1993, his addition to the Chargers defense benefited as the linebacker racked up 53 total tackles, fourth best on the team, with one sack and two fumble recoveries. His best game of the season came against Carson-Newman when he registered 12 tackles. He followed it up with nine stops, one tackle for loss and one sack against Virginia Union.
After graduating in the spring of 1994, Forte returned for his final year of eligibility as a graduate student in the fall. In his second year starting at linebacker, he enjoyed a very successful season. Forte’s numbers included 90 tackles, one fumble recovery and an interception in his final year. The Mansfield, Mass. native put together one of the most outstanding individual performances in a game at Abilene Christian on September 24, 1994. He made a single-game record 27 tackles against the Wildcats, a mark that still stands 20 years later.
Just as impressive as his individual statistics are the accomplishments of the team during Forte’s tenure. He was a member of two teams that qualified for the NCAA playoffs and posted a career record of 40-15.
Women’s Basketball, 1989-93
Debbie Moore led New Haven women’s basketball in each of her four seasons at the University. She finished first or second on the team in both points and rebounds in every winter from 1989-93. Moore finished her career as UNH’s third-most prolific scorer and rebounder, and continues to rate as the fourth-highest scorer (1,667 career points) and sixth-best rebounder (817 career rebounds). She is also second in career steals and ninth in career assists for the Chargers.
As a freshman, Moore led the Chargers on the glass with 8.3 rebounds per game while contributing 12.1 points per contest to the scoring effort. She had 78 steals as a rookie and, at the time, her 17 made three-pointers were among the most in single-season history.
It took just two years of Moore to join the Charger greats, as she entered the all-time top-10 in rebounds, steals and assists during her sophomore campaign. Moore ranked second on the team with 10.9 points per game while once again topping the UNH stat sheet with 7.3 rebounds per outing.
Moore became the third Charger to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau as a part of a First Team All-NECC junior season in 1991-92. She ranked third in the conference in scoring and added 6.9 rebounds per game.
Capping her outstanding career, Moore averaged 19.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game en route to a second straight First Team All-NECC nod in 1992-93. The Bridgeport, Conn. native scored double figures in all 27 games her senior year while recording 12, 20- and three 30-point performances. She also grabbed 138 steals her final season, a mark which still stands as the New Haven program record as well as the 17th-most in a single season in NCAA Division II history.
Moore’s Hall of Fame career included some outstanding numbers, but most impressive may be the sustained success over her four years. She finished her career scoring 10 or more points in more than 75 games and 10 or more rebounds in more than 30 games.
Men’s Track and Field, 1985-89
One of the best hurdlers in program history, Major Ruth set three program records and was a two-time ECAC Champion during his four-year track career at New Haven from 1985-89.
As a freshman, Ruth burst onto the New England track and field scene as a standout hurdler. His marks improved throughout his first year and qualified him for the New England Championship. He posted a season-best time of 15.1 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles and 55.8 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles during his rookie season.
As the track & field media guide stated prior to his sophomore season, Ruth had the chance to establish himself as a standout athlete in the hurdle events and relays during his career, and he did just that. He continued to compete in the in the 55-meter hurdles, 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles and as a member of many relay teams for the next three years. Ruth’s numbers improved every meet and all the hard work culminated in his senior season.
The Staten Island, N.Y. native won the 55-meter hurdles at three meets in 1989 and placed second in three others. He won the ECAC Division II Championship in the event and finished second at the New England Championship. The postseason accolades poured in for Ruth in his final season. He earned All-New England, All-ECAC Championship, All-Connecticut Intercollegiate and All-Eastern Intercollegiate honors in multiple events.
In total, Ruth set New Haven records in the 55-meter hurdles, 110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles during his four years with the Chargers. His time of 53.81 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles still stands today, while the other two held for nearly 10 years.
After completing his athletic eligibility, Ruth continued his track and field career as a coach. He returned to New Haven and coached numerous All-Americans from 1994-98, including the athlete that broke two of his previous records. Since leaving UNH, Ruth has continued to develop young track athletes as a longtime coach with the New Haven Age Group Track Club.
Alec Zarnowski is one of the most prolific hitters to ever step on the diamond at Frank Vieira Field. The Chargers’ team captain in the 2000 season, Zarnowski was a lifetime .366 hitter – the second-best average all-time by a UNH student-athlete with at least 500 career at-bats. He ranks seventh in program history with 204 career hits while landing at fourth in doubles (45), eighth in RBI (138) and 11th in home runs (20).
A member of the starting lineup from day one, Zarnowski appeared in the Chargers’ infield in all 28 games of his freshman season in 1997. He hit .361 as a rookie with eight doubles, 17 runs batted in and seven stolen bases as New Haven finished 19-9.
In 1998, Zarnowski was a key contributor in the Chargers’ run to the College World Series. The sophomore third baseman manned the hot corner in all 41 games, hitting .377 with 15 doubles, six home runs and 44 RBI. After three wins at the NCAA Northeast Regional, Zarnowski and the Chargers headed to Montgomery, Ala. to take the national stage, finishing with a record of 29-11-1.
Another winning season in 1999 saw Zarnowski hit .351 and earn All-New England Collegiate Conference Second Team honors. Now a well-established figure at the hot corner for Coach Frank “Porky” Vieira, he had 12 doubles, seven home runs and 41 RBI in 38 games as the Chargers finished with a record of 25-13.
Zarnowski captained the New Haven Nine in 2000, capping his career with a .372 batting average as a senior. Now on the other corner of the diamond at first base, Zarnowski roped 10 doubles and slugged four home runs en route to 33 RBI while playing all 31 games of a 22-9 campaign.
During Zarnowski’s four seasons, the Chargers made one College World Series appearance, recorded 95 wins and posted a winning percentage of .692.
Men’s Soccer, 1965-66
A scoring sensation for the Chargers from 1965-66, Edward Zimmitti helped lead the only undefeated men’s soccer team in program history. In two short years as a player, he re-wrote the New Haven record books and was twice named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
As a rookie, the Middletown, Conn. native hit the collegiate soccer scene with an impressive 23 goals and 11 assists. The feat becomes more incredible taking into consideration the team’s mere 10 game schedule. Zimmitti tallied five of the six goals scored in a 6-1 victory over Windham College during his rookie season. His 57 points rank him among the top 10 in New Haven history and led the Chargers to a perfect 10-0-0 record.
Zimmitti’s second season was no different as the Chargers continued their winning ways. With four victories to open the season, New Haven set a program record with 22-straight triumphs. Zimmitti scored another 24 goals in just nine games, ranking him among the program’s top single-season performances once again. The team concluded the season with a 7-2-0 record and Zimmitti garnered New Haven Athletics’ Most Valuable Player award.
Before taking a spot on the coaching staff, he finished his collegiate playing career with 105 points, using modern scoring rules (47g, 11a), ranking him fourth in program history. He also ranks third all-time with 47 goals.
Zimmitti’s talents didn’t end on the soccer field. He was also a standout kicker for New Haven’s club football team and a member of the men’s tennis team.
After graduating with a degree in English, Zimmitti became the first Middletown native to sign a professional soccer contract. His professional career included a three year stint with the Connecticut Wildcats of the American Soccer League from 1973-75.
Zimmitti was previously inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame (2004) and the Middletown Sports Hall of Fame (1999).