Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Retiring Types

Lousy couple weeks for the guys on the right hand side of the Defiantly Dutch header. First Lance Schulters got his walking papers from the Saints. Then Marques Colston, who last year broke Wayne Chrebet’s record for most catches by a player in his first two NFL seasons, learned he almost certainly won’t break the record for the most catches by a player in his first three seasons due to a broken thumb that will sideline him for four-to-six weeks.

News of Colston’s injury broke a day after Hofstra announced Colston is one of 20 former star athletes whose numbers the school will retire. (How’s that for a segue?) Noted in the press release was Hofstra’s plans to honor the player during his or her “…respective sports season, unless schedules dictate otherwise.”

Colston’s forced convalescence would seemingly present an opportunity to squeeze in a halftime ceremony, but with the Flying Dutchmen embarking on a month-long road trip following the Sept. 20 game against Rhode Island, don’t expect to see Colston at Shuart Stadium until the Saints’ bye week in 2009.

The sight of retired numbers at the stadia and arenas on campus will lend an additional layer of legitimacy to the school’s athletic programs, so kudos to an administration that hasn’t always seemed interested in honoring and embracing the past. Colston and hoops icon Speedy Claxton are the most notable of the honorees, who follow in the footsteps of football’s Wayne Chrebet (3) and Walter Kohanowich (33) and softball’s Crystal Boyd, whose number 13 was retired last year.

The favorite ones here are, of course, the Defiantly Dutch-era stars: The mountainous Dave Fiore, who nearly matched Chrebet by making the NFL as an undrafted free agent and playing for eight seasons; softball star Stacy Jackson, whose dominance and durability—she ranks first all-time in innings pitched (885, including 256 in 1995), wins (96) and no-hitters (six)—helped jumpstart the Flying Dutchwomen’s dominant era and lacrosse goalie Stephanie Clarke, who was the first Hofstra player to make the national team.

The selection committee did a nice job of spreading the wealth, so to speak, with nine of the 20 athletes having graduated prior to 1990. Among the truly old school honorees is Steve Nisenson, who set the career scoring record in the era of freshman ineligibility and held on for 43 years until Antoine Agudio—another no. 13—broke it in February. But fear not, Agudio fans: The Yankees proved you can retire the same number for more than one player.

1 comment:

Bryan Viggiani said...

Those were incredible teams from the early '90s with Crystal Boyd and Stacy Jackson. I remember covering them for the Chronicle during that time, and Bill Edwards was always gracious and gave you a ton of time to talk afterwards. Of course, that was at the old field, with about a dozen of us (or less) on the bleachers. Sounds like the crowds and the bleachers have since grown.
Glad to see Boyd and Jackson, from the pioneering era covered by Defiantly Dutch, getting their due props.