Blog | Sports: The Hot Corner
LIU Post Wrestling Back on Mat
Pioneers bring back disbanded program for first time since 1988
Things started off with a bang for the LIU Post wrestling program this season after the Pioneers beat Stony Brook, 47-3, in their first dual meet of the season.
Then they won just three of the next 18 dual meets and finished 4-15 overall in their first season on the mat since 1988 when the program was disbanded.
The Pioneers finished eighth out of 15 schools at the NCAA Division II Super Regional Tournament during the last weekend of February.
Graduate senior Chris DiIorio won the 197-pound final. He’ll continue on to the NCAA Division II championships in St. Louis on March 13.
Between Nov. 20, the opening victory against Stony Brook, and mid-January, the Pioneers were winless. Their next wins were against American International Jan. 17, followed by another on Feb. 7 against Anderson University and during their regular season home finale against East Stroudsburg on Feb. 12.
Considering the team has one two seniors and one junior and the rest are largely freshmen, this squad will most likely be heading in the right direction and charge up the Super Regional leaderboard as early as next season.
Look for names like Joe Calderone, a freshman from Huntington Station, who finished fourth at the Super Regionals, or James Louison, a freshman from Hauppauge, who placed fifth. Ronnie King, a freshman from Islip, also placed sixth.
Led by Long Island wrestling coaching legend Joe Patrovich, LIU Post is only at the beginning of something special.
In a couple of years, they’ll probably be wondering why it took so long to get a program back in the gym.
LI Native Chris Wingert Set to Make NY Return
Acquired by expansion NYCFC of MLS
Major League Soccer veteran Chris Wingert, who hails from Babylon, N.Y., learned in December that he would be returning to his native New York as an expansion draft selection by the newly formed NYCFC.
Wingert, 32, expected he might play for New York at some point in his career, but not so soon. Admittedly, he was quite content as a leader for perennial contender Real Salt Latke.
“[NYCFC] piqued my interest, but at the same time it was far away off and I was super happy the whole time with a great organization in Real Salt Lake,” Wingert told MLSSoccer.com. “I just thought we’d cross that bridge when we came to it.”
Wingert played his high school soccer at St. John the Baptist before starring at local St. John’s University where he won the Hermann Trophy, the college soccer equivalent of the Heisman.
A second round selection by the Columbus Crew of the MLS in 2004, Wingert has grown into a league veteran. He spent two seasons in Columbus, followed by two in Colorado with the Rapids and was with Real Salt Lake since 2007 before being acquired by NYCFC.
He made 204 appearances with Real and won an MLS Cup in 2009, followed by a loss in the title game to Sporting KFC in 2013.
The son of Norm Wingert, who played in the NASL and later was a school administrator in West Islip, N.Y., Wingert will get a chance to most likely finish his career at home, in the confines of Yankee Stadium, just a few train rides away from his college haunts and a Long Island Rail Road and subway stop away from his hometown.
Seahawks Coach Got Start at Hofstra
Highly touted defensive coordinator coached on Long Island in ‘90s
There are still some shining examples in the NFL and college coaching ranks of how great Hofstra’s football program was. You can point to some obvious ones like Saints receiver Marques Colston or Redskins lineman Stephen Bowen. You probably know the name Raheem Morris from his head coaching stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or you could be familiar with Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood or Raiders assistant Joe Woods. The list goes on. There are some big names in football that coached or played in Hempstead.
But did you know Dan Quinn? He has one of the biggest names in football right now and he controlled his first defense while coaching the Dutchmen.
Seattle’s defensive coordinator, who has built one of the best defensive units ever, that won the Super Bowl last year and may win one again this year, coached at Hofstra from 1996-2000.
In early January, Quinn was rumored to get the Jets head coaching job, bringing him back to the tri-state area, but the gig went to Todd Bowles. Now he’s in the running for the Atlanta job, which is still vacant. If Quinn doesn’t get a job this year, it won’t be long before he’s running his own team.
At Hofstra, Quinn served as defensive line coach and defensive coordinator under the legendary Joe Gardi, who is also known for coaching the Jets’ Sack Exchange defense in the early 1980s.
“It was an absolutely amazing time for me,” Quinn told Newsday last year of his time at Hofstra. “It was one of the most awesome places to come up as a young coach.”
Quinn has had the typical journeyman coaching resume with stints at William & Mary and Virginia Military Institute before Hofstra, and with the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, University of Florida and Seattle after.
Long Island Native Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame
Joins Carl Yastrzemski as only other Island native in Hall
It looks like Craig Biggio’s finest achievement wasn’t winning the Hansen Award as Suffolk County’s top running back at Kings Park High. One of Long Island’s favorite sons is now a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
On his third year of eligibility, Biggio received enough votes to be just the second island native, after Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski, to earn induction. Biggio, who spent his entire career playing for Houston, was a star in baseball and football at Kings Park. You can read any number of stories about Biggio and his career online, but here’s a boiled down version of what you need to know and what you might find interesting:
Biggio on his induction: “This has been a very overwhelming and humbling experience for me,” Biggio said. “When I received the phone call today at noon, it was very emotional for me. Today is a great day for my family, the organization and especially for our great fans. I was just an East Coast kid that came to Texas. I now love this city and this organization. This has been my town now for close to 30 years and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to come here. I feel very fortunate to have been paid to do something that I love to do. Not many people can say that.”
Inside the numbers (all stats from Houston Astros)
—Biggio is one of just 28 players in ML history to reach 3,000 hits, and is also one of just 14 players in Major League history to reach both 1,000 extra-base hits and 3,000 total hits.
—In his career, Biggio tallied 3,060 hits, which ranks 21st all-time in Major League history, and 11th all-time among right-handed hitters.
—His 668 doubles are the most in Major League history by a right-handed hitter and rank fifth all-time among all hitters.
—Biggio holds the NL record for career leadoff home runs with 53 and the modern Major League record for being hit by a pitch (285).
—Biggio is the only player in MLB history to reach all four of the following milestones: 600 doubles, 250 homers, 3,000 hits and 400 stolen bases, and is one of just three players all-time to reach 3,000 hits, 200 homers and 400 steals, joining Hall of Famers Paul Molitor and Rickey Henderson.
Piling up the accolades
—Five Silver Slugger awards, one as a catcher, four as a second baseman, latter ranks T-3rd for the position.
—One of five players to win Silver Slugger award at multiple positions, joining Albert Pujols, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla and Miguel Cabrera.
—Seven All-Star appearances (voted the starter at second base in four straight seasons from 1995-98).
—Became first player ever to be named an All-Star at both catcher (1991) and second base.
—Four-time Gold Glove winner (ranks T-7th all-time among second basemen).
—Had his No. 7 jersey retired by the Astros on Aug. 17, 2008.
—2004 inductee into both the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
—2014 inductee into the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame.
—Member of Kings Park High School Athletics Hall of Fame, and the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame.
Biggio will be inducted alongside Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz in Cooperstown on July 26.
SWR’s Cutinella featured on ESPN’s College Game Day
Honored by US Army after death in high school football game
Tom Cutinella wanted to serve his country. He was a vocal leader as a junior at Shoreham-Wading River High School and would have carried forth his leadership skills in the United States Army if he could.
He passed away during a high school football game on October 1, but his legacy is now living on. He also received a scholarship offer to play college football at Army from Black Knights head coach Jeff Monken after his death. It was touching and a true testament to Cutinella’s being.
This story was featured on ESPN’s College Game Day the morning of the annual Army-Navy football rivalry game.
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