Widener Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2022

Widener University Athletics
Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2022

On October 14, 2022, Widener inducted its fifth Athletics Hall of Fame class: Annette Angelotti Reiter '83, Laurie Barbour Eriksen '82, Tony Caia '50, Rich Grzeszkowiak '80, Gibson Ivery '77, Lou Stevens '88, and the 1981 national championship football team. 

Annette Angelotti Reiter '83 was one of the most prolific scorers in Widener women's basketball history, graduating as the program's second leading scorer after amassing 1,568 career points. She led the team to three consecutive Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Southern Division titles 1980–83. In 1981–82, Angelotti guided the Pioneers to a school-record 19 wins and a spot in the first NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship tournament. Angelotti was selected to the MAC Southern Division First Team three times and was named the division's MVP in 1983. Angelotti graduated with a BSN and has three children, including daughter Kristina Reiter, who was also a member of Widener's women's basketball team.

Laurie Barbour Eriksen '82 was a standout in the pool. Barbour became the Pioneers' first All-American swimmer under the NCAA in 1982 after placing second in the 50 butterfly and fifth in the 100 butterfly. Barbour's 50 fly time of 27.51 seconds and her 100 fly time of 1:01.91 were school records that stood for 20 years. She was named to the MAC 100 Century team in 2013. Barbour graduated with a bachelor's in business administration and went on to have a long career as an engineer for General Motors and DuPont.  

Tony Caia '50 was one of PMC's finest football players from 1946 to 1950. After serving as a medic in World War II, he came to PMC as a running back and set a school record of five touchdowns in one game. That record helped him win the Maxwell Club Award for the top performance in the East. Caia finished the 1948 season by becoming the program's second All-American and leading PMC to an 8-1 record—its best season in program history since 1934. After graduating from PMC, Caia coached football for 55 years and taught special education. Born in 1923 in Milmont Park, Pa., Caia passed away in 2012.

Members of the Class of 2022 Athletics Hall of Fame
(left to right) Top: Dr. Stacey Robertson, James Hirschmann, Anthony Birtton, Bill Manlove, Tim Keyser; Bottom: Gibson Ivery, Matt Caia, Laurie Barbour Eriksen, Annette Angelotti Reiter, Lou Stevens

Rich Grzeszkowiak '80 was one of the top performers in Widener men's track and field history. Grzeszkowiak won the NCAA title in the decathlon in 1980 and was Widener's first three-time All-American in any sport. In his victory in the decathlon as a senior, Grzeszkowiak set the school record with 7,160 points, which still stands today. Grzeszkowiak also won four MAC championships in the triple jump and two in the long jump. Grzeszkowiak was named to the MAC 100 Century team in 2013. 

Gibson Ivery '77 showcased his incredible athletic abilities on both the football field and the track. On the football field, Ivery was the leading receiver for the Pioneers in all three seasons, making 69 catches for 1,246 yards and 16 touchdowns. In track and field, Ivery was a two-time All-American and two-time MAC champion. Ivery and the 4x100 outdoor relay team in 1977 still hold the record in that event with a time of 41.29 seconds. Ivery went on to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1977 as a wide receiver. Ivery was named to the MAC 100 Century team in 2013.

Lou Stevens '88 made his mark as one of the most dynamic players in the history of Widener men's basketball. Stevens was the first player in school history to surpass 2,000 points, graduating with 2,140 points, which still ranks No. 1 in program history. He was tabbed an All-American in 1987 and 1988, as well as the NCAA Division III Player of the Year in 1988. He was a two-time MVP of the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional in 1985 and 1987. He was voted to the 1985 NCAA Division III All-Tournament Team after leading Widener to the Final Four. He is a member of the MAC Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Small College Basketball Hall of Fame.

The 1981 football team built its legacy because its players were motivated to right some wrongs. The Pioneers had advanced through perfect regular seasons in 1979 and 1980 and won their quarterfinal games in the national tournament, only to suffer losses in the semifinals. With this in mind, the 1981 team rolled to a third straight MAC Championship and a third consecutive 10-0 start. Widener steamrolled its opposition, winning by an average of 18 points per game. Led by its defense, the Pioneers allowed just 8.1 points per contest throughout the course of the year. In the playoffs, Widener downed West Georgia, 10-3, on the road in its opening game to advance to a third straight national semifinal. Playing in front of an excited home crowd, the Pioneers rallied from 6-0 down in the third quarter to beat Montclair State, 23-12, and advance to the national title game, setting up a revenge game with the Dayton Flyers. Widener had to dig itself out of a halftime hole, trailing 10-0 at intermission. Starting with three-time All-American Tom Deery's 76-yard punt return for a touchdown, the Pioneers completed the rally, taking advantage of six Dayton turnovers in the game and holding the Flyers to just 72 yards of offense in the second half to come away with a 17-10 victory. The win gave Widener its second national title, becoming the only other Division III program at the time with two NCAA football championships. The team featured three All-Americans—Tom Deery, Tom Kincade, and Mark Stephan—legendary coach Bill Manlove, and team captains Jim Hirschmann, Tony Britton, Tim Keyser, and Robert Cole.
 

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