Published On: Mon, Jul 1st, 2019

Coach Howard Schnellenberger Among the FAU Legends Selected for Florida Atlantic University Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2019

Eight Florida Atlantic University legends representing four teams have been selected for induction into the FAU Athletics Hall of Fame Class 2019 Class. Three coaches and five former student-athletes comprise those selected to be inducted into FAU’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies are slated for Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 and the class will be honored at FAU’s football game against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Oct. 12.FAU’s Athletic Hall of Fame was founded to honor, pay tribute and perpetuate the memory of those individuals who, either through participation, support or interest, have made outstanding contributions in intercollegiate athletics and who have helped bring recognition, honor, distinction and excellence to the University. This Hall of Fame also recognizes those who have continued to demonstrate, in their daily lives, the values learned in intercollegiate athletics or athletically gained national recognition. 

FAU vice president and director of athletics Brian White noted, “The success of these individuals laid the foundation for all that we do as a department today. Their hard work, dedication and determination to make FAU Athletics great are commendable and we are proud to honor and celebrate them this fall.”

Howard Schnellenberger, Joan Joyce and John McCormack headline the coaches to be inducted.

Both Schnellenberger and Joyce were the inaugural head coaches for football and softball, respectively. Schnellenberger built the football program from scratch, walking the sideline for the first time in 2001 and retiring from his FAU head football coaching position at the conclusion of the 2011 season, the first season played on the Boca Raton campus, while roaming the sidelines of the field bearing his name.
Joyce, the only head coach the FAU softball program has ever known, also began coaching the Owls at an off-campus facility prior to overseeing the construction of an on-campus facility all while ushering the program through three conference affiliation changes and  capturing at least one championship crown in each of the three leagues. FAU’s nod to Joyce will mark the 20th Hall of Fame induction for the multi-sport athlete.

McCormack has served at the helm of the baseball program for 11 seasons, but has been a part of FAU baseball since 1990, first as a key component in the Owls’ move to from NCAA Division II to Division I and then as its skipper. McCormack has been in the FAU dugout for every NCAA DI (and one DII) postseason appearance and conference championship title which includes two conference tournament titles, six regular-season league championships and 13 NCAA Regional appearances, with one NCAA Super Regional opportunity.

Softball pitcher Chris Sutcliffe and baseball outfielder Jeff Fiorentino represent FAU’s spring sports. The similarities continue with both currently serving as collegiate coaches.

Currently, Sutcliffe serves as Northern Illinois University’s head softball coach. Fiorentino followed his professional baseball career with a brief student coaching stint at FAU and now serves as an assistant coach at Chipola College, where he has helped to guide the Indians to back-to-back national championships (2017 and 2018).

Brittany Bowe is the lone representative for the FAU winter sports and while FAU fans remember her work on the hardcourt, it is her work on the ice that thrust Bowe and FAU onto the world stage.

Bowe’s love of basketball is what brought the central Florida native to Boca Raton and her ability to represent the USA in the offseason as a competitive inline skater fed her passion for a sport few FAU fans were familiar with. Upon graduation, Bowe once more gave up the high tops for inline skates and ultimately ice skates, a switch that began her professional career as a speed skater.

Bowe amassed eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals from the world inline speedskating championships from her junior years, and another two world championship medals since, including earning bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter games in Team Pursuit.

The final two selections played football under the direction of fellow Hall of Fame member, Coach Howard Schnellenberger.

Rusty Smith was under center for the Owls’ first conference championship and for the program’s first two bowl game appearances and victories. Alfred Morris was a freshman running back in 2007, watching his teammate Smith orchestrate the bowl run and was a redshirt freshman as Smith and the Owls repeated with a bowl victory becoming the only team in the state of Florida to win back-to-back bowls in 2007 and 2008. Morris went on to become the Owls’ all-time rushing leader, an honor he held until the program’s reemergence in 2017 and 2018. Smith was the first Owl drafted into the NFL and Morris, who has been on an NFL roster since 2012, is the first to become an everyday starter.

The 2019 inductees will make up FAU’s sixth Athletic Hall of Fame class. The FAU Hall of Fame’s inaugural class induction was in 2006 and continued through 2011. The 2019 class follows a seven-year hiatus. For a complete list of Hall of Fame members visit HERE.

Honoree Bios

  • Howard Schnellenberger (2001-11) – Schnellenberger came to FAU in 1998 with the assigned mission of exploring the possibility of FAU adding football. He secured the funding, gained the state’s approval and signed his first recruiting class in February of 2000. Under Schnellenberger’s direction, FAU took to the field for the first time in 2001. In 2003, the fledging program advanced to, and hosted, the I-AA semifinal game. FAU captured the Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2007, earning an invitation and win in the New Orleans Bowl, and became the fastest start-up program to receive a bowl bid and record a victory. One year later, the Owls became the only team in the state of Florida to record back-to-back bowl victories. Schnellenberger marshalled the sideline 132 times wearing a suit of FAU colors, proving victorious 58 times. His continued efforts to transform the Boca Raton campus into a more traditional university, through the efforts of football, culminated with an on-campus stadium in 2011. He would roam the sidelines that final season on a field that bared his name.
  • Joan Joyce (1994-Present) The only head coach in FAU softball history, Joyce has helmed one of FAU’s most consistent programs and has guided the Owls to more than 950 wins, 12 conference championships and 11 NCAA Regional appearances. She has been named conference Coach of the Year eight times, coached five conference Players of the Year, four All-Americans, three conference Pitchers of the Year, two conference Freshman of the Year and an Academic All-American. In 2016, FAU went 51-9 while setting numerous school records and made its 11th NCAA Regional appearance, while earning Conference USA Coach of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year recognition. Her FAU induction will be the 20th Hall of Fame of her career. Milestone wins include No. 800 (March 20, 2015 vs. Florida A&M) and No. 900 (March 19, 2017 vs. WKU).
  • John McCormack  (1990-Present) McCormack began his FAU coaching career in 1991 as an assistant, was promoted to associate head coach in 1998, and took over as head coach prior to the 2009 season. In his second year, he led the Owls to a Sun Belt Conference regular-season title, repeated the feat in 2012, and won the league’s postseason championship in 2013. He helped usher the team into Conference USA and again took a regular-season crown in 2016, as well as in 2019. Since becoming the Owls’ head baseball coach, 30 players have been selected in the MLB draft and over 50 have signed professional contracts. McCormack has  picked up these milestone victories along the way: No. 100 (Feb. 17, 2012, at Alabama), No. 200 (Feb. 15, 2014, vs. Notre Dame), No. 300 (April 2, 2017, vs. Rice) and No. 400 (May 25, 2019, in the C-USA Championship vs. UTSA).
  • Chris Sutcliffe (1997-01)– Sutcliffe was a standout pitcher for the Florida Atlantic softball team, anchoring the pitching staff during her four seasons.  She ranks among the program leaders in nearly every pitching category. Sutcliffe appeared in 104 games, tallied 67 victories and 601.1 innings pitched, and held an earned run average of 1.47, while opponents batted .211 against the crafty hurler. She retired 351 via the strikeout and tossed two no-hitters during her career.
  • Jeff Fiorentino (2002-04)– Fiorentino debuted as a Freshman All-American selection and earned a similar honor, Honorable Mention All-American, after his junior year campaign in 2004. He also was an All-Region selection in 2003 and was twice named All-Conference. His junior year, he broke the program’s all-time record with 84 runs scored, hit 17 home runs and tallied 71 RBI. He finished his career with 44 home runs, 168 RBI, 204 runs scored and 229 hits. Fiorentino was a third round draft pick after his junior year by the Baltimore Orioles, and would go on to play parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues with the Orioles and the Chicago White Sox, becoming the third Owl to ever make a big league debut, on May 12, 2005.
  • Brittney Bowe (2006-10)– Bowe was a four-year member of the Florida Atlantic women’s basketball program, and left with her name sprinkled throughout the FAU record book. She scored 1,062 career points as an Owl, which ranked as the eighth most in school history at the time and she was the ninth FAU women’s basketball player to join the Owls’ 1,000-point club. Her 377 career assists ranked fourth in program history at the time. Following her successful FAU career, Bowe continued in athletics but traded the basketball court for an ice rink. Bowe had trained in the offseason as an inline skater while at FAU, but after graduation, her interest turned to the ice. Bowe found success early qualifying for the 2012 World Cup and took silver in the 1000m. In that same season, Bowe won silver at the U.S. Single Distance Long Track Championship in the 1000m and 1500m. She continued to compete internationally, but her ice skating career hit a new milestone in 2014 when Bowe qualified for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. The women’s team took sixth place overall and Bowe competed in three events. Most recently, Bowe competed at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics where the American team won bronze. As an individual, Bowe just missed the podium with a fourth-place finish in the 1000m. She also had a pair of fifth-place finishes in the 500m and 1500m.
  • Rusty Smith (2006-10)– Smith became Florida Atlantic football’s first player selected in the National Football League Draft in 2010 following a standout career that featured two bowl victories and a Sun Belt Conference title. The quarterback finished his career with the  school record in nearly every passing category. He helped lead the 2007 team to a Sun Belt Conference title with a road win at Troy. He then led  FAU to a victory over Memphis in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.  One year later, in 2008, he guided the team to a win over Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl. In both bowls he earned honors, as  Most Valuable Player  in the New Orleans Bowl and Offensive MVP for the Motor City Bowl. Smith threw 76 touchdowns and threw for 10,112 yards in his career (2006-09). He played for the Tennessee Titans and following his professional football retirement, became a high school football coach.
  • Alfred Morris (2007-11)– Morris came to FAU as a fullback and believed he would have a place in the pro-style offense. He not only had a place in the system, but he would move to the primary back and became the system. Morris set records for single-game carries at 30, and then 38, in 2010 and 2011, respectively. He tallied four rushing touchdowns in a game twice and was credited with scoring 24 points in a 2011 game. He was just the second back in program history to surpass 1,000 yards and accomplished that twice in his career (1,392 in 2009 and 1,186 in 2011, while also recording  928 yards in 2010). He was the first back to break the single-season double-digit touchdown mark, doing so in 2009, a season he averaged over 100 yards a game, as the first FAU back to accomplish that. Morris became the second back to surpass 3,000 career rushing yards and did so in 733 attempts while adding 27 career scores. He concluded his college career by being selected by the Washington Redskins in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Past Athletic Hall of Fame Members
Class Name Sport Year of Competition
2006 (Inaugural) Laurence Bensimon Swimming 1987
2006 (Inaugural) Keith Foley Baseball 1983-84
2006 (Inaugural) Yolanda Griffith Basketball 1992
2006 (Inaugural) Whitney Kraft Tennis 1981-83
2006 (Inaugural) Noemi Lung Swimming 1990-92,

Assoc. Coach 1997-00

2006 (Inaugural) Nikki Myers Softball 1999-02
2006 (Inaugural) Steve Traylor Baseball Head Coach 1981-87
2007 Oliver Agh Swimming 1995-99
2007 Craig Buchanan Basketball 1993-97
2007 Cecile Lundgreen Golf 1993-97
2007 Kim Pruitt Volleyball 1995-98
2007 Mike Ryan Baseball 1982-84
2007 2003 Football Team Football 2003
2008 Valene Harris Basketball 1988-90
2008 Steve LeBrun Golf 1997-00
2008 Todd Moser Baseball 1998-99
2008 Martina Schmidt Tennis 1989-92
2009 Jared Allen Football 2000-04
2009 Rhonda Jones Soccer 2000-03
2009 Chris Laskowski Football 2000-04
2009 Sheri Pla Basketball 1994-99
2010 Kelly Paiva Volleyball 2003-05
2010 Lara Preacco Swimming 1994-98
2010 Nick Presto Baseball 1993-96
2011 Kevin Cooney Baseball 1988-08
2011 Shontavia Williams Basketball 2002-06

 

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. As a newly elected County Commissioner, Weinroth has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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