Wildcats Stars Come Home
Athletics Inducts Six to Hall of Fame
On Saturday, June 23, at Lundholm Gymnasium, the University inducted the Class of 2012 to the UNH Athletics Hall of Fame. Speaking to guests who included former inductees, teammates, and coaches, Athletic Director Marty Scarano described the honorees as "exemplary not only for what they accomplished on the field of play, but also for how they have conducted their lives." Meet them below.
The inductees included a surgeon, professional hockey player, high school teacher and coach, college professor, and two broadcasters – a stellar lineup at anybody’s Hall of Fame ceremony. But this lineup belonged to UNH Athletics.
Meet the Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
Greg Blaisdell '03 was a four-time NCAA All-American in alpine skiing and earned All-East honors all four of his undergraduate years. Blaisdell's coach, Cory Schwartz '82, described him as "one of those special student-athletes whom every coach hopes to have an opportunity to have on the team."
Upon graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry, Blaisdell earned his medical degree from Penn State College of Medicine. He now specializes in orthopedic surgery in Seattle.
Darren Haydar '02 left Durham as one of the greatest hockey players in UNH history. A native of Milton, Ontario and business major, the All-America First-Team forward was named to the Hobey Baker Hat Trick as one of the nation's top three players. Says Coach Dick Umile '72, "He had a remarkable ability to make spectacular plays look routine…Darren helped lift UNH hockey to national prominence."
Haydar earned rookie of the year honors in 1999 and was a member of Frozen Four teams in 1999 and 2002. His pro hockey career has included stints in the NHL and AHL.
Jim Jeannotte won this year's Joan Leitzel Award – given to a person who has made key contributions to the lives of UNH student-athletes – for his service as the long-time radio voice of the UNH football and basketball teams. The 23-time New Hampshire Sportscaster of the Year has been calling UNH contests for more than 35 years. Affectionately known as the "Voice of the Wildcats," Jeannotte was inducted into the NHIAA Hall of Fame in 2002.
Outside of sports, Jeannotte gained statewide fame as the long-time host of the popular high school trivia program, Granite State Challenge, on NHPTV.
Stephan Lewis '02 graduated from UNH as the best combination rusher/receiver in Wildcat football history. He is the lone UNH player to rank among the top ten in both rushing yards (3,679) and receptions (164). As a junior, Lewis garnered All-America Second-Team honors and was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award for the national player of the year.
Football coach Sean McDonnell '78 calls the Coatesville, PA, native "one of a kind and among the best all-around running backs in UNH football history. His competitive nature, day in and day out, is what made him great."
Nicole Mullins '94 worked her way from walk-on status as a first-year student to one of the most decorated gymnasts in UNH history. Mullins led the Wildcat gymnastics team to the 1994 ECAC Championship, the University's one and only NCAA Regional Championship, and a top-twelve national ranking. During her memorable senior year, Mullins was named the ECAC Gymnast of the Year. Mullins was the program's first-ever, four-time Scholastic All-American. After graduating magna cum laude with a degree in exercise science, Mullins earned a Ph.D. in exercise physiology from Kent State University.
As a first-year student at UNH, Ellen Weinberg-Hughes '91, '94G quickly drew the attention of hockey coach Russ McCurdy, who recalls: "I saw a player jump over the boards and hit the ice striding. I didn't recognize her, but I knew instantly she was a hockey player." Weinberg-Hughes was a three-sport standout at UNH, where she lettered in ice hockey, soccer, and lacrosse.
While working toward a master's degree in physical education at UNH, she earned a silver medal at the 1992 World Championship with the U.S. National Hockey Team.