October 2, 2010


RIC Celebrates 80 Years of Athletics by Recognizing Greatest Achievements

Providence, R.I.óRhode Island College inducted four new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame and celebrated 80 Years of Athletics by recognizing the five greatest achievements in program history at a gala event held at The Murray Center as part of Homecoming 2010.





Kenneth A. Bliss í01 (menís basketball) starred as a point guard who could also produce offensively for the Anchormen from 1994-98.




He closed out his career having played in 96 games and scored 1,311 points, which was 10th all-time in school history at that time. Bliss also compiled 336 career assists, which is currently the seventh-highest tally in school history. He averaged 13.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game over his four-year career.


The East Providence, Rhode Island native capped off his collegiate career with an outstanding senior campaign in 1997-98. He was named First Team All-Little East Conference, the Little Eastís Player of the Week twice during the year and was also selected to the Honor Roll two times. Bliss was named to the ECACís Weekly Honor Roll two times as well.




            Despite having surgery on his left knee in mid-December, the six-foot, 160 pound guard missed only one game all season. He played in 24 games, starting 21 of them.  Bliss led the Little East in scoring, averaging 19.9 points per game and was also the LECís top assist man, dishing out a league-best 4.4 assists per game.  He was third in the conference in field goal percentage, shooting 50.3 percent from the field and was eighth in the LEC in steals, averaging 2.3 per game.


Bliss scored in double figures in 20 of 24 games that season.  He scored a career-high 36 points, on 16-for-21 shooting, in the teamís, 90-88, overtime win over Western Connecticut State University on Feb. 10. Bliss also tied a career-high with seven rebounds in the game. He dished out a career-high eight assists against Embry-Riddle University on January 3. Bliss posted a career-high six steals in the final game of his career against Western Connecticut on February 24.


As a junior in 1996-97, he played in 26 games, Bliss was an Honorable Mention to the All-Little East Conference team and averaged 14.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game.


As a sophomore in 1995-96, Bliss played in 27 games, averaging 9.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals per contest.


As a freshman in 1994-95, he played in 19 games, averaging 9.9 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game.


He earned a bachelorís degree in communications from Rhode Island College in 2001.


Bliss is currently a special education teacher in Pawtucket and is entering his seventh season as an assistant coach with the Johnson & Wales University menís basketball program.


He resides in East Providence and is the father of two sons: Ayden (7), Sean (1).


Thomas J. Grzych í79 (baseball) is one of the collegeís all-time greatest outfielders who starred on the diamond for the RIC baseball team from 1975-78.


Over the course of his stellar career, Grzych was an integral part of four consecutive NESCAC championship teams while compiling some impressive career numbers. He played in 115 career games, batting .306 with 402 at-bats, 72 runs scored, 123 hits, 18 doubles, 11 triples, nine home runs, 63 RBI and 36 walks.




At the time of his graduation, Grzych was second on the all-time RIC career hit list.


As senior in 1978, Grzych played in 33 games, batting .361 with 22 runs scored, 39 hits, three doubles, a triple, two home runs, 20 RBI and 17 walks.


As a junior in 1977, he played in 23 games, batting .210 with 12 runs scored, 17 hits, three doubles, two triples, one homer, three walks and nine RBI.




As a sophomore in 1976, Grzych played in 33 games, batting .263 with 18 runs scored, 30 hits, nine doubles, three triples, four home runs, 12 walks and 21 RBI. For his efforts, he was named an Honorable Mention to the NESCACís All-Star Team.


As a freshman in 1975, he played in 26 games, batting .374 with 20 runs scored, 37 hits, three doubles, five triples, two home runs, four walks and 13 RBI.


The conclusion of his collegiate career didnít spell the end for the Pascoag nativeís love for baseball. He continued playing in the Ocean State Baseball League (1979-87), the Rhode Island Amateur League as a player/coach (1988-90) and has seen action in the Rhode Island Menís Senior Baseball League (RIMSBL) since 1991.


In 1994 and again from 1996-2002, Grzych and his teammates competed in the MSBL World Series, played in Phoenix, Ariz., winning the title in back-to-back campaigns (1996 and 1997). Grzych was the 40 Divisionís MVP in 1996. He was part of a silver medal winning squad in 1998 at the Nike World Masterís Games held in Portland, Ore.


Grzych earned a bachelorís degree in industrial arts from Rhode Island College in 1979. Since 1979, he has operated a family-owned health care facility in Cranston.


He resides in Cranston with Michelle Lawson.


Toby L. Lindsay  í97 (menís tennis) was a dominant menís tennis player from 1993-95. He was 29-5 in singles and 18-10 in doubles for 38 points in his career.


Despite playing in far fewer matches than some of todayís student-athletes, Lindsay is tied for eighth in points, is 10th in singles wins and is third in singles winning percentage (.853).




In 2005, he was one of six former student-athletes named to the Rhode Island College All-75th Anniversary Menís Tennis Team.


After transferring into RIC from the Community College of Rhode Island, Lindsay, along with his brother Todd í95, helped the Anchormen win three consecutive Little East Conference Championships from 1993-95.


Lindsay succeeded at every level of the lineup for the Anchormen, beginning his career with an individual Little East title at No. 4 singles in 1993. He went 9-1 overall and was 5-2 in doubles action.




A year later in 1994, the Warren native only lost once at No. 4 singles, going 10-1 overall and posting a 7-1 doubles mark. At the Little East Championships, Lindsay celebrated an individual title at No. 4 singles and a doubles victory at No. 3 as RIC won back-to-back team titles.


As a senior in 1995, Lindsay went 10-3 at No. 1 singles and 6-7 in doubles action as he won the top spot and was named the Little East Player of the Year as RIC won for the third consecutive season.


While at RIC, Lindsay was active in the physical education club, the sports medicine club and was a student athletic trainer.


He has continued to stay involved with tennis and in 1997 was ranked No. 9 in New England in menís open singles. That same year, Lindsay was the Rhode Island Grass Court Champion and was a clay court finalist.


He earned a bachelorís degree from Rhode Island College in 1997. Lindsay is an adaptive physical education teacher for the district of Woonsocket and is a tennis pro at ForeCourt tennis club.


Lindsay resides in Cumberland with his wife Kathy and their children Taylor (8), Kelsey (5) and Connor (1 mo.).


George Webster í77 (wrestling) was one of the first great wrestlers in Rhode Island College history. He competed two and a half seasons for the Anchormen, and amazingly, did not lose a match until his senior year in 1975-76.


Webster was 31-1-1 during his career on the mat and held the RIC record for career pins (16) at the time of his graduation.




In 2005, he was one of 14 former student-athletes named to the Rhode Island College All-75th Anniversary Wrestling Team.


In 1975-76, Webster went 12-1 with four pins and nine takedowns, tying for the team lead in wins and ranking second in pins.


Perhaps his most impressive season came in 1974-75 as a sophomore. Webster went undefeated at 126 lbs. with a 12-0 record. He led RIC with 67 points, nine pins and 11 takedowns while receiving the team award for the most pins in the least amount of time.




Webster came to Rhode Island College in 1973-74 after attending Roger Williams University. In his first year on the mat, Webster joined the team mid-season and posted a 7-0-1 overall record. He recorded 32 points and registered seven takedowns, while allowing being taken down once.


Also at RIC, he was the founding member and first treasurer of the Physical Education Health Major Club.


Webster was an All-State wrestler while at Bristol High School and established a Rhode Island record with 19 pins during his senior campaign.


He earned a bachelorís degree in education from Rhode Island College in 1997 and embarked on a 29-year career as a teacher in the Portsmouth public school system.


Webster is also proud of his 28-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves in which he retired with a rank of LCDR.


He is an avid sailor, scuba diver and fisherman. Webster resides in Bristol and is the father of two children: George and Ashley.




The Wrestling Programís Five Consecutive New England Championships from 1988-92

The Rhode Island College wrestling team captured the New England College Conference Wrestling Association Championship in five consecutive seasons from 1988-92, an unprecedented feat at the time. The 1992 squad also established the RIC record for the most wins in a season with 18.






Some of the greatest wrestlers in New England history competed for the Anchormen in the Walsh Gymnasium during that time frame. Currently, six wrestlers from those teams, along with Head Coach Rusty Carlsten and Assistant Coach Tim Clouse, have been enshrined in RICís Athletic Hall of Fame. Five have been inducted into the N.E. Wrestling Hall of Fame.






During those years, Scott Martin Ď89 won the New England title at 118 lbs. in 1988 and 1989, Greg McLaughlin Ď91 won at 126 lbs. in 1991 and James Barbera Ď91 won at 150 lbs. in 1990 and 142 lbs. in 1991. Brian Allen Ď96 won at 126 lbs. from 1988-90 and at 134 lbs. in 1991. Scott Carlsten Ď94 won at 158 lbs. from 1989-92.




Martin, Carlsten, Allen and Barbera all went on to earn All-American honors at the NCAA Championships during their careers.




Billy Cotter í96 and Mike Bonora í08 Individual NCAA Wrestling Championships

There have only been three wrestlers in the history of the New England Wrestling Association who have ever gone on to the NCAA National Championships and won an individual title. What is even more impressive is that two of them are from Rhode Island College.


Billy Cotter í96 was already an accomplished wrestler heading into his senior season in 1993-94. He was a two-time New England Champion who had been to the NCAAs before, but everything fell into place that senior season. The North Reading, Mass. native finished with a 31-1 record, claimed his third consecutive N.E. title and went unbeaten at the Nationals to win the 134 lbs. crown.




RIC had several wrestlers go back to the NCAA Tournament in the years that followed Cotterís win, but it took 12 years for the next National Championship. Enter Mike Bonora í08. Like Cotter, he had won the New England Championships as a junior, but elevated to the next level as a senior. He went 44-2 and did not lose a match to a Div. III opponent-the first grappler in RIC history to accomplish that feat.  The Nutley, N.J. native went on to win his third N.E. Championship, helping the Anchormen win their sixth overall title, and went undefeated at the NCAAs en route to the Championship.






RIC Softballís Little East/NCAA Streak 2006-09

It is said that the two things you can count on in life are death and taxes, but from 2006-09, you could add the Rhode Island College softball team winning both the Little East Conference Regular Season and Tournament titles and heading on to the NCAA Tournament as part of that list.






After foreshadowing their success by winning the ECAC New England Tournament Championship in 2005, the Anchorwomen embarked on an astounding run, which saw them win 154 games and make two trips to the NCAA National Championships.




Head Coach Maria Morin led the program to its first taste of the LEC title and NCAA berth in 2006, going 35-8-1 overall and 11-2-1 in conference play.




In 2007, pitcher and one of tonightís honorees Nicole Riley, took collegiate softball by storm, earning credit for some 29 of the teamís then-record 41 wins. The 2007 team blitzed through its second NCAA regional appearance, going a perfect 4-0 to win the first regional tournament in program history.


All-American first baseman Christie Lotti put her signature on a tremendous career in 2008, leading the Anchorwomen to a 36-9 record and a second consecutive NCAA New England Regional title. Lotti, who was named Little East Player of the Year in each of her final three seasons, rewrote the offensive record books, setting nine program records, most notably batting average (.423), runs (182), total bases (398), and slugging percentage (.671).




The following year, the torch was passed to 2009 Little East Pitcher of the Year Amanda Berard, whose 16 wins and NCAA-record 12 saves carried the team back to the NCAA Regionals. Berardís microscopic 0.53 season ERA helped establish a new program record with 42 victories as RIC concluded the incredible four-year run with two conference titles and a trip back to the NCAA Regionals.


RIC Menís Basketball Current NCAA Tournament Streak

Over the last four years, the facilities staff in The Murray Center has had to replace more basketball nets than ever before.  Head Coach Bob Walsh and his players keep cutting them down, winning the Little East Conference Regular Season Championship three times and claiming the conference tournament in three seasons as well. RIC has been to the NCAA Tournament in each of those years as well, reaching both the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight.






In 2007, the Anchormen commenced a memorable ascent to the elite class of Div. III Menís Basketball. All-New England guard Kinsey Durgin capped off a decorated 1,290-point career by guiding his team to the Elite Eight in a program-best 27-4 season in which they won their first Little East Championship. Walsh earned his first Coach of the Year honor that season, a feat he would repeat in 2009.




A year later in 2008, Little East First Teamer Tirrell Hill averaged 13.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game to lead the Anchormen to another conference title and a victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.


The 2009 season belonged to Bobby Bailey, whose 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game earned him Co-Player of the Year in the Little East Conference in addition to Defensive Player of the Year Honors. The 2009 Anchormen went 23-6, earning the Little East regular season championship and the right to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.




This past season, the Anchormen were guided in the regular season by Little East First Team selection Jake Grimes, who averaged 14.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. In the postseason, guard Antone Gray restored the Anchormen to national prominence, earning Most Outstanding Player honors in Rhode Island Collegeís Little East Tournament Championship and leading the team through the first two rounds of the nationals and back to the Sweet 16.




Over the last four years, the Anchormen won 95 games, the most of any four-year stretch in program history.


Nicole Rileyís  43-Game Win Streak in Softball

Few collegiate athletes ever reach a peak level of consistent domination for a prolonged period of time. But for some 395 days, Rhode Island Collegeís own Nicole Riley literally held the collegiate softball world in the palm of her hand.


From March 23, 2006 to April 22, 2007, Riley was unstoppable. The right-hander racked up 43 consecutive victories, an NCAA record that stands to this day in Div. III and globally remains second only to the legendary Jennie Finch who won 60 straight from April 29, 2000 - April 6, 2002.




As a senior in 2007, Riley was named a Second Team All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). The North Providence, R.I. native was also named the Cox Sports Television Rhode Island Female Athlete of the Year, First Team All-New England, the Little East Conferenceís Co-Pitcher of the Year and garnered First Team All-Little East honors.


Rileyís streak set the Anchorwomen on the road to an NCAA New England Regional title in 2007, which sent them to the National Championships for the first time in school history. Much of Rileyís work during that remarkable streak contributed to her 2007 single season records in starts (36), wins (29), innings pitched (219.1), strikeouts (233) and shutouts (12).