Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame 2024 Inductees Named

Seven individuals and one team will be inducted in June at a Gillette Stadium ceremony 

Seven outstanding individuals and one memorable team will be inducted as the fifth class of the Tufts University Athletics Hall of Fame this year.

Seven decades and nine sports are represented in the group of honorees as Tufts continues to recognize accomplished individuals and teams from its more than 150 years of athletics history.

This fifth class will be inducted at the Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Friday, June 7 at Gillette Stadium. Ticket information will be available later this month.

The 2024 Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees:

Betsy Gelenitis Alison, J81

head shot of Betsy Gelenitis Alison

Betsy Gelenitis Alison

Sailing / Track & Field

Tufts’ first female All-American in sailing in 1981, Alison was a standout collegiate skipper in both single- and double-handing who went on to great success as a competitor and coach after graduation. 

A three-year captain at Tufts, she led the team to an unexpected second-place at the College Dinghy Nationals in 1981. While a student she won a pair of U.S. Women’s Single-handed Championships in 1979 and 1981. As a senior she also earned a third-place finish at the World Championships and won her first Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award. 

After Tufts, she won nine world titles in various classes and coached the U.S. Paralympic team for more than 20 years. Alison was the only female inductee in the inaugural class of the U.S. National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2011. While recovering from cancer in her hip recently, she won a Para Sailing World Championship and is a candidate for her sixth Rolex Award.

“Betsy was the strongest and most determined and driven athlete I have ever had the privilege of coaching,” said Ken Legler, who retired after 43 years as Tufts Sailing coach last year. “In winter of her senior year, she took up throwing the shot put to develop more core strength in between fall and spring sailing seasons. Betsy also had the unique benefit of competing for two coaches—the inspirational and legendary Sailing Master Joe Duplin for her first three years and myself for her senior year to fill in a good deal of technical knowledge.”

Julia Browne, A11

Julia Browne standing outdoors

Julia Browne

Women’s Tennis
(Browne was originally selected for the Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2020, but could not attend the induction ceremony. She will be formally inducted this year.)

As a junior at Tufts in 2010, Browne won the NCAA Division III singles championship in dominating fashion. She did not lose a set while winning six matches over three days at the championship event. She compiled a remarkable 31-3 overall record in her national championship season. 

A seven-time All-American in her career for singles and doubles play, Browne was also a part of two ITA Small College Doubles championships as a Jumbo with teammate Meghan McCooey. Browne and McCooey were NCAA semifinalists in 2010 as well. A 2010 Honda Award nominee for Division III Women’s Athlete of the Year, Browne received three NESCAC Player of the Year awards and was selected as the ITA’s Senior Player of the Year in 2011. 

Her leadership and sportsmanship were recognized on a national level as the recipient of the prestigious ITA Arthur Ashe Award in 2010. She played professionally on the WTA circuit following graduation.

“Julia entered her freshman fall as a very solid player, but it was clear that she hadn’t yet come close to reaching her peak as a tennis player,” said Tufts head coach Kate Bayard. “What I didn’t know at the time was how determined and hard-working she would be during the next four years, and how much of a mark she would make on our program in so many ways. Julia proved herself as the top Division III player in the country while maintaining the highest values of sportsmanship, team leadership, and community service.”

Bill Gehling, A74, AG79, A05P, A22P

Head shot of Bill Gehling

Bill Gehling

Men’s Soccer Student-Athlete / Women’s Soccer Coach / Administrator

Gehling is one of the few individuals in Tufts history who made major contributions athletically as a student-athlete, coach, and administrator. He was the men’s soccer program’s all-time leading scorer for 26 years after totaling 39 goals and 23 assists for 101 points, while the 1970-73 teams posted a 35-15-1 record under Coach Herb Erickson. 

He then helped found the women’s soccer program at Tufts as its first-ever head coach and directed the team to 165 victories and three regional titles over 20 years (1979-98). Promoted to director of athletics in 1999, he was at the helm as the Jumbos established a new era of success, winning eight NCAA team championships and opening the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center as the sparkling new home of Jumbo Athletics in 2012. 

In the fall of 2015, Gehling received Tufts’ Hosea Ballou Medal, a rare honor given only to members of the Tufts community “who have rendered exceptional service for the institution.” 

“Bill served the department for over 30 years in three different capacities and achieved incredible success in all three aspects,” said Martha Whiting, Tufts’ head women’s soccer coach and Gehling’s protege. “I always respected Bill’s knowledge of the game of soccer and his compassionate leadership style. But more importantly, I will forever cherish our times in the office and on the field chatting about soccer and life. He is a Jumbo through and through.”

Basil Ince, A59

Black-and-white photo of Basil Ince from a yearbook

Basil Ince

Men’s Track & Field / Cross Country Coming to Tufts from Port of Spain, Trinidad, in the 1950s, Basil Ince continued the tradition of Tufts track & field greats. In 1957 he was sixth in the quarter-mile at the NCAA Championships, and in 1958 he won the 100, 200 and 440 dashes at the Eastern Intercollegiate Championships. 

However, it was his senior season in 1959 that was unmatched. Ince was undefeated in dual meets in the 600 indoors and 100, 220 and 440 outdoors. He broke the IC4A’s 27-year-old record in the 440 with a winning time of 46.9 seconds. Tufts’ Houston Award recipient as Best Male Athlete, after graduation Ince went on to win silver in the 400 meters and gold with 4x400 relay at the Pan American Games. An Olympic hopeful, illness unfortunately forced him out of the 1960 Games in Rome. He pursued a career in politics in his home nation serving as foreign minister and ambassador to England.

“Those years between 1955 and 1959 when I was a student-athlete at Tufts University were some of the best years of my entire life,” Ince said. “While some important things happened on the track, including my winning gold and silver medals at the 1959 Pan Am Games, mainly I treasure the incredible relationships that I forged with my track and field coach, Ding Dussault, and with teammates like John Pistone and others. I am truly honored to be recognized by the institution that gave me so much.”

Shawntell Manning, J96

Yearbook photo of Shawntell Manning

Shawntell Manning

Women’s Track & Field

Continuing a legacy of Tufts women’s track and field national champions, Shawntell Manning won the 1996 NCAA Indoor title in the 400 meters with a time of 57.22 seconds. As a first-year competitor for the Jumbos in 1993, she had run the anchor leg for the Tufts 4x400-meter relay that was fourth at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets. 

An eight-time All-American indoors and outdoors overall, she was dominant in New England winning five regional titles. In both 1994 and 1995, she captured the 400 meters crown at both the New England Indoor and Outdoor Championship events. For 1995 she also added a 200 meters victory at the New England Outdoor Championship. 

Her outdoor 200 meters PR (25.03) stands second behind only 2018 Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Vera Stenhouse in the Jumbo record book. In 1996 Manning was the recipient of the Hester B. Sargent Award as Tufts’ most outstanding female athlete.

“Shawntell is so deserving of this award and was indeed one of the most coachable athletes I had the privilege of coaching,” said Branwen Smith-King, former head coach of women’s track and field and senior woman administrator at Tufts. “Shawntell always believed in our mission as a team, often putting the team first by doubling—or tripling—in running events. She was a wonderful role model for her teammates. Her grit, determination, and drive were what allowed her to accomplish so much as an elite athlete.”

Jeff Taglienti, A97

yearbook photo of Jeff Taglienti

Jeff Taglienti


Taglienti’s talent as a pitcher for the Jumbos led to his selection in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Boston Red Sox in 1997. In four years as the ace of head coach John Casey’s pitching staff at Tufts, he finished his career with a 27-9 record for a .750 winning percentage and a 2.00 earned run average. He was a workhorse, with his 274 career innings pitched still standing as Tufts Baseball’s all-time best. 

He is also the Jumbos’ leader in career strikeouts with 258 and for single-season strikeouts with 86 in 1997. As a senior he was named to the ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division III All-America Third Team after posting a microscopic 1.41 ERA. Taglienti was a two-year captain of the team in 1996 and 1997 when the Jumbos won back-to-back ECAC New England titles. He pitched six seasons in the minor leagues for the Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, and Cincinnati Reds organizations.

“Jeff was special from day one,” Casey said. “He was a ferocious competitor with a great desire to be the best. A true gentleman off the field and the best teammate on it. A few lucky coaches get the privilege to work with men like Jeff Taglienti. He’s one of the best to ever wear a Tufts uniform, but most importantly a great son, husband, and dad.”

David Thompson, E62, EG68

yearbook photo of David Thompson

David Thompson

Football / Track & Field

Thompson was the first Tufts athlete to be honored by the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame when he was selected as one its eight Scholar-Athlete Award recipients in 1961. He was a captain in two varsity sports—football and track—and was ranked number one in his engineering class. He was inducted into Tufts’ Tower Cross Society—the highest honor an undergraduate could receive. 

During three years (1959-61) as a tackle for the football team, he earned All-New England and All-East recognition and received professional inquiries from American Football League teams. On the track, his versatile athleticism included winning a New England championship in the hurdles as well competing in the broad jump and dash. Thompson was a recipient of both Tufts’ Clarence “Pop” Houston Award as Most Outstanding Male Athlete, and the Bennett Memorial Scholarship given to the individual who best exemplifies the qualities of true sportsmanship.

“His selection for the National Football Foundation Award was hailed on campus and in alumni circles as one of the greatest tributes ever to go to a Tufts athlete, and testifies to Tufts’ determination to combine high standards of academic achievement with outstanding athletic ability,” the campus publication Jumbo Jottings wrote.

2015 Softball Team

A lineup with the players and coaches of the 2015 Tufts softball team.

The 2015 NCAA champion Jumbo softball team with their trophy.

Arguably the best team in the history of Division III softball, the 2015 Tufts squad posted a perfect 51-0 record and won the Jumbo program’s third consecutive NCAA championship. With a 7-4 victory over the University of Texas at Tyler in Salem, Virginia, on May 25, 2015, head coach Cheryl Milligan’s Jumbos became the first Division III softball team to win three national titles in a row. The Jumbos also won their fourth straight NESCAC title that season with a 1-0 victory against Williams College. 

The incredible 51-0 season record included nine one-run victories and 29 shutout wins. For the championship victory, Tufts erased a 2-0 deficit with six runs in the top of the sixth and another in the seventh to record the win. The 51 victories were part of a 53-game winning streak overall that still stands as the longest in Division III history.

“The 2015 team was talented beyond most, absolutely determined to be the best team in the field each and every day, fiercely competitive and completely bonded to one another,” Milligan said. “This group embraced adversity and pulled for each other more than any team I have been a part of. They were accepting of anyone and everyone on the team who was there to win games. It was truly a highlight reel daily, at practice and games, the way this team wanted to compete at everything.”

Brown & Blue Award

head shot of John Bello with a painting in the background

John Bello

John Bello A68, A13P

Included in the bylaws for the Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame is a provision that permits the Selection Committee to present this award designed to recognize alumni, donors, benefactors and supporters who have made significant contributions to the success of Tufts Athletics.

A 1968 Tufts graduate, John Bello’s love for the Brown & Blue evolved into a lifetime of supporting Tufts’ growth athletically during the past four decades. In the 1980s, while professionally flourishing as president of NFL Properties, the marketing and commercial arm of the NFL, Bello joined Tufts’ first Athletics Advisory Board, which was committed to elevating athletics at Tufts. 

Throughout a professional career that branched out to many other successful ventures, he remained part of a dedicated group of alumni who have pooled their time, resources, and energy to help build Tufts Athletics’ strong reputation that it enjoys today. 

Among many acts of generosity, Bello provided the lead gift for Bello Field, home to Tufts’ national-championship caliber soccer and lacrosse teams. He also donated a major gift towards the completion of the Tufts Squash Center. Through his continued involvement, Bello honors the same grit, determination, class, and attitude in today’s Jumbos that he saw in his time at Tufts.

“A lifetime of boundless passion and enthusiasm for Tufts University and Jumbo Athletics began when John Bello arrived at Tufts and joined the football team in the fall of 1964,” said Director of Athletics John Morris. “Since that moment, our friend John has given decades of volunteer service to his beloved alma mater as a trustee, member of the Athletics Board of Advisors, loyal alum, and tireless advocate. His incredible dedication, leadership, and generosity to Tufts, together with his unwavering and inspiring support of our Jumbo student-athletes and coaches, make him the ideal recipient for this year’s Brown & Blue Award. We are very grateful to John for all he does for the Jumbos, and I’m so pleased he is receiving this well-deserved recognition.”

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