FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

October 26, 2014

 

DEFARIA & BAIRD ENSHRINED IN
LITTLE EAST CONFERENCE HALL OF FAME

Providence, R.I.-Rhode Island College Athletic Hall of Famers Claudia DeFaria í96 and former Director of Athletics William Baird were inducted into the Little East Conference Hall of Fame as part of a gala ceremony held at the Providence Marriott on Sunday afternoon.

 

DeFaria is one of the most distinguished players to ever wear the Rhode Island College womenís basketball uniform.   

 

In just two seasons with the team from 1993-95, DeFaria climbed her way into the school record books by scoring 1,048 points (11th) and recording 592 rebounds (seventh). She remains the only player in program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone in just two seasons. In her senior season, DeFaria averaged 19.2 ppg and 11.2 rpg en route to being named the Little East Player of the Year, First All-Little East, to the LEC All-Tournament team and a New England Womenís Basketball Association (NEWBA) Second Team All-Star. She was also named a Distinguished Student-Athlete by the Rhode Island Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (RIAIAW).

 

 

 

After playing, DeFaria returned to the Community College of Rhode Island as part of the coaching staff. During her tenure, CCRI reached the NJCAA Final Four twice, and the Elite Eight four times while capturing five consecutive New England and Northeast District Championships. After her stint at CCRI, DeFaria joined the RIC coaching staff as the associate head coach. She helped lead the Anchorwomen to the 2012 LEC Regular Season and Tournament Championships.

 

Since her playing days ended, DeFaria has been recognized by numerous organizations for her contributions. An inductee of the CCRI Hall of Fame in 1999, she was also recognized as Alumni of the Year in 2008. Rhode Island College also inducted her into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002 and to the collegeís 75th Anniversary Womenís Basketball Team in 2005. DeFaria was selected to the Little East Conference Women's Basketball 25th Anniversary Team in 2011.

 

William Baird spent 28 years at Rhode Island College as a professor, head menís basketball coach and athletic director. Joining with the other athletic directors, Baird assisted in the formation of the Little East Conference.

 

 

 

Holding a career record of 168-97 (.634) as a coach, Baird was not only successful in winning games, but also increasing the talent of the Anchormen program. His most successful season was in 1968-69 when he led the Anchormen to a 24-2 record, reaching the finals of the NAIA District 32 playoffs and being named New England Small College Coach of the Year by United Press International.

 

Winning five NESCAC Southern Division Championships, and four conference titles, Baird also led the Anchormen to the NAIA semifinals twice. 1976 saw Baird lead the program to the NCAA Div. III regional title as well as a spot in the quarterfinals of the national tournament.

 

Baird was responsible for much groundbreaking advancement at RIC, which included the transition from the NAIA to NCAA Div. III in 1975, hiring the schoolís first full-time athletic trainer as well as hiring the first Associate Athletic Director in charge of womenís sports.

 

His 1968-69 menís basketball squad was the second team honored in the RIC athletic departmentís Team Hall of Fame in 2009. As a player Baird scored 1,534 points for the University of Rhode Island where he is honored in their Hall of Fame.

 

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