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Cornell to Induct 11 Athletes to University Hall of Fame in November

Resource type: News

The Cornell Daily Sun | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

By Lauren Ritter

Goaltender Matt Underhill ’02 is one of the seven All-Americans that will be inducted into the Cornell University Athletic Hall of Fame in November.

On Aug. 24, Cornell Athletics announced that 11 new members have been selected for induction into the Cornell University Athletic Hall of Fame. The 36th annual ceremonies will be held on Friday, Nov. 2, when the 11 inductees, including seven All-Americans, will join the prestigious ranks of Cornellians before them.

The All-Americans who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame are Max King ’02 (cross country and track and field), Tom Nuttle ’51 (lacrosse), Olga Puidgemont-Sola ’02 (squash), Jaimee Reynolds ’02 (lacrosse and volleyball), Melissa Riggs ’02 (polo), Matt Underhill ’02 (ice hockey) and Frank Wydo ’50 (football).

Also selected to be enshrined in November are Chuck Feeney ’56, special category; Bill Lazor ’94, football; Julie Platt ’97, softball; and Roger Weiss ’61, special category. The inductees will not only be honored at the special ceremony on Friday night, but also at the halftime of the Cornell-Dartmouth football game the following afternoon.

Feeney is a Presidential Councillor, member of the School of Hotel Administration’s Dean’s Advisory Board and lifetime member of Cornell University Council. Known as one of the world’s greatest philanthropists, he founded The Atlantic Philanthropies and has made gifts of $6 billion over the past 30 years to support multiple groups of people and various causes around the globe. Through Atlantic, Feeney made generous donations to the Cornell Department of Athletics & Physical Education which have strengthened various athletics programs. One of his biggest contributions to Cornell included a $10 million grant in 1999, which allowed the Athletics Department to pursue its Cornell Victories campaign. His generous donation allowed Cornell to focus on infrastructure improvements and endowment. 

Feeney’s impact for Cornell Victories has helped the Red, as Cornell has won a total of 22 Ivy League championships in the 10-years period beginning during the 1992-93 school year. The following 10 years proved to be even more successful for the Red, as Cornell brought home 69 Ivy titles since the 2002-03 school year. The Red experienced a 214 percent increase between the two periods. Feeney has also contributed generous donations with Atlantic, which have supported Bartels Hall and athletic facilities on North Campus. The mission was to ensure that all students at the University have access to the best facilities and programs possible. Feeney and Atlantic were also behind a $350 million gift donated to support Cornell’s New York City tech campus.

King was an All-American and won titles at both Heps and IC4As in the steeplechase. He exhibited great athletic prowess on both the track and cross country trail. King broke Cornell’s steeplechase record by more than 10 seconds as a senior, finishing in 8:40.12 in his final campaign. He won the steeplechase as both a junior and senior, and captained both the track and field and cross country teams during his final season with the Red. King was a two-time first-team All-Ivy honoree in cross country and finished second oveall at Heps during his senior year. He also graduated with the fourth-best time in Cornell program history at New York’s famed Van Cortlandt Park.

King’s career continued spiraling upward after graduation, finishing sixth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2012 Olympic Trials. He won the 2011 World Mountain Running Championships in Albania, earning recognition as the first American to do so in 14 years. King also claimed the Xterra Trail Run World Championships from 2008-10. He finished sixth at the Baltimore Marathon in a time of 2:15, which earned him a second bid to the U.S. Marathon Trials.

Lazor made a name for himself on the gridiron, establishing Cornell passing records for yards, attempts, completions, 200-yard games, total offense yards and plays during his three years starting behind center for the Red. He earned a nod as an honorable mention in the All-Ivy League pick in 1992. Lazor was chosen to play in the Epson/Ivy Bowl in Tokyo, Japan. Exhibiting great leadership on the field, Lazor was a team co-captain during his final year with the Red and earned the team’s Charles Colucci Award twice as the non-senior who contributed most to the team, as well as the Coaches Award, team co-MVP and Paul Hunt Citizenship awards. Lazor continued with football after graduating from Cornell, going into coaching before joining the ranks of the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks. Lazor currently presides as the offensive coordinator at Virginia since 2010.

Nuttle served as team captain during his senior year with the Red, and was a three-time honorable mention All-American as a lacrosse attackman. He became the second Cornellian to earn that many All-America honors in lacrosse, joining Joe Rooney ’24. Nuttle was invited to play in the 1951 North-South Senior All-Star Game and took home the team’s Lawrence Van Buren Woodworth Memorial Award in 1951, which was given to the player who most exemplified fair play and the competitive spirit of lacrosse. The award was named after former teammate and captain Larry Woodworth.

Platt made a mark for herself as a member of the 1997 ECAC championship team. A two-time second-team All-Ivy pick, she was the first Cornell player to ever bat over .400 for a season —hitting .423 in 1996. Her overall career .375 batting average and .419 on-base percentage remained at the top of Cornell records until 2005. Platt was a three-year letter winner and co-winner of the team’s Rookie of the Year award in 1994. She played as a member of the Ivy League’s Silver Anniversary Team and was named MVP twice for the Red. Platt returned to her alma mater in 2002 and has served as assistant and then associate coach for her former team, coaching the squad to three Ivy crowns and NCAA tournament appearances.

Puidgemont-Sola played for the women’s squash team during her time at Cornell. She was a four-time first-team All-American and four-time All-Ivy pick, as well as the 1999 Ivy League and national Rookie of the Year. She finished her collegiate career with a 62-17 overall record and ranked as highly as No. 2 nationally during her final year with the Red. Puidgemont-Sola also lettered four times and earned Academic All-Ivy recognition twice. After graduating, she continued on to rank as high as No. 39 in the world during 2005. Puidgemont-Sola also served as a member of the Spanish national team.

Reynolds played both lacrosse and volleyball for the Red, earning recognition as the first four-time All-American in women’s lacrosse — the third in any sport at Cornell. She was one of the three finalists for National Player of the Year during her final season at Cornell. Reynolds was named the 2002 Ivy League Player of the Year, graduating with 11 school records, including goals scored, career and season points, ground balls, caused turnovers and draw controls. She was a four-time first-team all-region pick and eventually earned a place on the All-America third team in her first three seasons with the Red before finally capturing first-team honors as a senior. Reynolds was the NCAA New York Woman of the Year and one of 10 finals for the NCAA Woman of the Year in 2002. She was also a Honda Award finalist that same year. Reynolds played an important role in helping the 2002 squad earn a  spot in the NCAA Final Four — becoming the first women’s sport at Cornell to reach a national semifinal. Reynolds was named The Charles H. Moore Outstanding Senior Varsity Athlete, the Cornell Daily Sun and Ithaca Journal Female Athlete of the Year and recipient of the Richie Moran Red Key Leadership Award. She also lettered four times with the volleyball team, earning a place in school history with her 1,023 assists at setter in 2001 placing her in the Top-10 in the program.

Riggs was the 2001 and 2002 USPA National Player of the Year, as well as a four-time All-American. She helped the polo team to a four-year overall record of 81-3-5, as well as three national titles along the way. Riggs was MVP of the Eastern Regional during her final year with the Red. She contributed her talents to four straight regional crowns for Cornell, while she served as captain for the last three seasons.

Underhill made a name for himself in Lynah Rink, where he played as a goalie for the Red. He was a first-team All-American as a senior and won the ECAC’s Ken Dryden Award as the league’s top goalie in 2002. Underhill led all conference netminders and sat at fourth in the country with his 1.80 GAA and a .922 save percentage as a senior, making him a first-team All-Ivy League and All-ECAC selection. He also ranked No. 7 nationally during his final year on East Hill. Underhill also ranked nationally in the same categories as a junior, helping Cornell to an Ivy crown and ECAC title. He graduated ranking among the Top-10 career list for saves (2,052), goals against average (2.30), save percentage (.913), shutouts (6), wins (42) and minutes played (5,070). Underhill was a sixth-round NHL draft pick of the Calgary Flames in 1999. 

Weiss became the first person to endow a head coach’s position in the history of football in 1982. From 1988 to 2000, he served on the Cornell University Board of Trustees and was later named a Presidential Councillor, which is the highest honor the University can bestow upon an alumnus. Weiss has been a generous benefactor to the Red, continuing to be one of the most effective alumni advocates for the Athletics Department. Over the years he has also acted as a mentor, helping many former Cornell athletes transition beyond their Cornell playing careers and into the future. Weiss’s philanthropy involvement with Cornell has also made a giant impact on the lives of multiple coaches, athletes and alumni, as well as many people in the greater Cornell community.

Wydo, like Lazor, earned his place in the Cornell history books for his contributions made on the football field. He was a third-team Associated Press All-American tackle in 1949, and was named to the Cornell Football Association’s All-Time Team in 2003. Wydo was a third-round selection in the 1947 NFL draft, where the Pittsburgh Steelers chose him as the 29th overall pick. A 1949 first-team All-East selection, Wydo was also a second-team All-Pro pick in 1953. He played for the Steelers from 1947-51, before trading Pittsburgh for the city of brotherly love. He played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1952 until 1957.

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Chuck Feeney, Cornell University