New Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees Named
Ten outstanding student-athletes, coaches, and administrators, along with two memorable teams, have been selected as the second class of inductees to the Tufts University Athletics Hall of Fame. Seven decades and eleven sports are represented as Tufts continues to recognize stellar individuals and teams from its nearly 150 years of athletics history.
The 2019 class will be introduced at the Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame induction dinner at Cousens Gym on Saturday, April 13.
2019 Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees:
Harry Arlanson, E31 — Football Student-Athlete, Coach, Administrator
One of the legendary names in Tufts Athletics history, Arlanson was a captain of 1930 football team, and returned to Tufts as head coach in 1954. He led Tufts when it was New England’s best small college team, with nine straight winning seasons. Overall, his teams compiled a record of 57-35-2 for a .617 winning percentage over twelve years. His 1956 team defeated Harvard 19-13, the last of Tufts’ five wins over the Crimson. Arlanson was named New England Coach of the Year in 1959 and NCAA Small College Coach of the Year in 1960. He served as Athletic Director from 1954 to 1973, and is a member of the National Association of College Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame.
“Harry Arlanson’s leadership, kindness and patience have been inspirational, and every young man who played for him is a better man for that experience,” Greater Boston gridiron legend Swede Nelson said upon Arlanson’s retirement as head coach at Tufts in 1965. “Harry has left a trail of decency in everything he has ever done.”
Jeanne C. Ashworth, '60 — Field Hockey, Softball, Speed Skating
During her years at Tufts, where Ashworth played field hockey, she emerged as one of the world’s top female speed skaters, and would become the first American woman to win an Olympic speed skating medal. She had been winning national indoor and outdoor speed staking titles for at least two years before she made history in 1960, during her senior year. That year in Squaw Valley, California, marked the first time women were allowed to compete in the sport at the Olympic Games. Ashworth won the bronze in the 500-meter race. She competed in three Olympics overall, and broke seven world records. Ashworth, who also competed on a national level in the sport of softball, was inducted to the National Speed Skating Hall of Fame in 1975.
“Jeanne was an Olympic pioneer, not only in speed skating, but for women competing in the Olympic Games,” a spokesperson from the Lake Placid Olympic Museum said. “She was always dedicated to the Olympics and our community to inspire youth and visitors from around the world.”
Robert H. Backus A51 — Track & Field
Backus did not start weight throwing until he came to Tufts, but quickly developed into a school record-breaker in the shot put and hammer throw on legendary coach Ding Dussault’s track and field teams. Backus soon gained international fame in the sport. Just a year after graduating from Tufts, he competed in the hammer throw at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki and finished in thirteenth place. He went on to win seven consecutive American titles in the 56-pound weight throw (1953-59), seven in eight years in the 35-pound weight throw (1954-61) and one (1954) in the hammer throw. He earned a gold medal in the hammer throw at the 1955 Pan American Games. Backus set world records of 45 feet 2 inches for the 56-pound weight in 1957 and 66-2 3/4 for the 35-pound weight in 1959.
The headline of the New York Times obituary for Backus in 1999 proclaimed him as the “World’s Best Weight Thrower.”
Tamara L. Brown, A11, AG14 — Field Hockey
One of the top scorers in NCAA Division III field hockey history, Brown is the Tufts program’s all-time leading scorer with 182 points on 78 goals and 26 assists. She scored 79 more points than the next Jumbo on the career scoring list. Brown was the leading scorer on Jumbo teams that advanced to the NCAA Final in 2008 and played in the NCAA Final Four in 2009. She has the top three single-season scoring totals at Tufts, including a record 61 points in 2008. Her 28 goals that season is also the school record, and eight times in her career she scored three goals or more in a game. Tufts’ Hester L. Sargent Award recipient as best female athlete in 2008, Brown was a three-time All-American and two-time NESCAC Player of the Year.
“While Tamara’s talent was undeniable, what made her special is that she was also one of the hardest workers and most competitive student-athletes I have ever coached,” said Tina Mattera, Brown’s coach at Tufts. “Her drive to compete and get better, and her passion for the game were so impressive.”
Gregory C. Davis, A86 — Basketball
With a variety of offensive skills, Davis is one of the greatest scorers in Jumbo basketball history. He totaled 1,785 points in his Tufts career, and held the program’s all-time scoring record for more than twenty years. He averaged an extraordinary 19.2 points in his ninety-three career games. All of his Tufts-record 716 field goals were two-pointers—the three-point shot wasn’t introduced until the year after he graduated. Davis recorded three seasons averaging more than 20 points per game, topped by a 23.8 points per game mark in 1984-5. A two-time NESCAC Player of the Year, Davis scored 597 points in 1984-85—the second-most for a season at Tufts—including a 43-point game versus Curry. He is also among Tufts’ all-time leaders in blocked shots and rebounds.
“There were many nights when no one in the gym could stop Greg,” said Rod Baker, Davis’ coach at Tufts. “He had an unstoppable array of post moves and deft outside shooting.”
Kate Donovan, J84 — Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Basketball, Squash, Diving
Displaying extraordinary athletic versatility and leadership ability, Donovan earned thirteen varsity letters in five sports during her Tufts career. She was a field hockey All-American whose five assists in a 1982 game versus MIT remains tied for the NCAA record. She is the Jumbo program’s record-holder for assists in a career (28), season (15) and game (5). She captained the 1983 MAIAW champions in field hockey. As a captain of the 1984 women’s lacrosse team, Donovan set the tone for the program’s incredible run of success that followed over the next five years, according to her teammates. She also earned letters in basketball, squash, and diving during her career, and even competed in track one day when a relay was short one person.
“Kate brings out the absolute best in anyone who wants it brought out,” said Cecelia (Wilcox) Magaree, a member of the 1985 women’s lacrosse team, which is also being inducted this year, and who played lacrosse with Donovan from 1982 to 1984. “She challenged us every day—sometimes with her words, but always with her actions. At the root of the challenge was fun. Competitive fun. We were all willing to run through a brick wall for Kate, because we knew she was going to be there in front of us, taking the hardest hit, and laughing.”
Dorothea “Dorie” M. (Loughlin) Ellis, A31 — Baseball, Basketball, Field Hockey
Ellis participated in women’s athletics during its formative stages at Jackson College. In the early 1930s, she was captain of the first women’s baseball team at Jackson. She also played basketball and field hockey, among other sports. On the same day that she graduated, Dorie married Frederick M. “Fish” Ellis, E29, who was a member of Tufts’ inaugural class of Hall of Fame inductees last year. In recognition of the family’s historical connection to Tufts, Dorie became known as the Matriarch of Tufts Athletics. Four generations of the Ellis family have attended Tufts, including Fred and Dorie’s daughters Faith, J54, and Susan, J68. As an alumna, Dorie was a very active member of the Jumbo Club and was the first female recipient of a Jumbo Club Award in 1977.
“Dorie really epitomized the concept of the Tufts woman,” Athletics Director Emeritus Rocky Carzo said in 2009, “as a student, as an athlete, and above all, as a great person.”
James E. Lilley, A82 — Swimming
Tufts’ first NCAA swimming champion, Lilley won the 100 butterfly in 1982 with an NCAA record time of 50.67 seconds. He led the Jumbos to fourth-place at the NCAA meet that year. Lilley had been the NCAA runner-up in the 100 butterfly in 1981 and was a fifteen-time All-American in multiple events. A three-time New England champion in the 100 butterfly, 200 individual medley, and 200 freestyle, Lilley’s versatility was unmatched in the region. He earned the Bob Muir Award for scoring the most points in a four-year career at the New England competition, which at the time featured fifty-six teams from Divisions I, II, III. Tufts’ “Pop” Houston Award recipient as best male athlete in 1982, Lilley gained further acclaim as a world champion and record-holder in Masters Swimming.
“Jim Lilley always displayed a superior inner drive to excel,” said Don Megerle, his coach. “His success was the direct result of making an investment in the following three words that allowed his motivations to come from the heart—determination, patience, and love.”
Daniel H. Morse, A99 — Baseball, Football
One of the top multi-sport student-athletes in Jumbo history, Morse starred at quarterback for the football team and as the center fielder in baseball. His 5,379 career yards of total offense (4,039 passing, 1,340 rushing) stood as football’s all-time record until this past season. He scored 24 touchdowns, tied for second on Tufts’ all-time list. In 1998 he led the team to 7-1 record—the Jumbos’ first winning season since 1991—and was NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year. A .383 career hitter in baseball, he is the program’s record-holder for hits in a season (61) and stolen bases in a career (60), and is second all-time in runs scored (146). Morse was named an ABCA/Rawlings NCAA All-American in 1998 and was a tri-captain of the team in 1999.
“A coach doesn’t get to coach many Dan Morse’s in his or her career,” Tufts baseball coach John Casey said. “Dan was that special guy who was not only a phenomenal athlete who made everything look so easy, but a great team guy and a true leader.”
Mary E. (Cutter) Sanborn, J36 — Field Hockey, Tennis
Sanborn was one of the top junior tennis players in the country during her collegiate years, winning three national championships. After reaching the semifinals while playing for Sargent College—now part of Boston University—Sanborn transferred to Jackson College and became a champion. As the top singles seed in the 1933 College Girls’ Invitation Tournament, she defeated Emily Lincoln of Smith College 6-2, 11-9 on the grass courts at Longwood Cricket Club. She then joined Lincoln to win the doubles title in straight sets over a Vassar combination that year. As a senior at Jackson in 1935, Sanborn added another doubles title playing with Marion Wood of Smith College in a three-set struggle against opponents from Vassar 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
“I can tell you that most of the winners of these intercollegiate tennis national championships were ranked about 10-20 in the U.S.,” said Barbara Pendleton, a tennis historian, who nominated Sanborn for Tufts’ Hall of Fame. “That would be high enough to get you into the main draws at the US Nationals—now US Open—and other Grand Slam events.”
1976 Dinghy Sailing Team
In Tufts Sailing’s impressive history of winning national championships, the 1976 dinghy team was the first to capture a team title. That year Tufts overtook Webb Institute in the last two races and won the fifteen‐team North American dinghy championship series at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. With a total of 163 points, Tufts edged Webb by three and Yale by five to earn the Henry B. Morss Trophy. The Jumbos were led by head coach Joe Duplin, who had turned Tufts into a national power after taking the job in 1967. Six Jumbos received All-American honors that year, including Sam Altreuter, the College Sailor of the Year, and Jamie McCreary, Neal Fowler, Laurie Gabriel, Cindy Palladino, and Ted Scott. Tufts also won the Fowle Trophy that season, emblematic of the best overall performance at the national championship regattas.
“We are the Notre Dame of college sailing,” Tufts Sailing Master Joe Duplin said in 1977. “Year in and year out Tufts has been very successful, with the 1975-76 season solidifying our position as the number-one college sailing team in the nation, in the North American continent.”
1985 Women’s Lacrosse Team
Women’s lacrosse was Tufts’ flagship program in the mid-1980s, and the 1985 team was the catalyst. Head coach Nita Lamborghini’s Jumbos finished 13-0 and outscored their opponents 188-86, averaging nearly 15 goals per game. The team won the first of the program’s five straight ECAC titles, a streak during which the Jumbos posted a 61-2 record from 1985-89. The true greatness of the team can’t be measured, since Tufts was not eligible for NCAA competition at the time due to its membership in the NESCAC. Though their talent was such that they won the ECAC final by 11 goals over Plymouth State, the team was more defined by its confidence and togetherness.
“We were all proud to be Jumbos, and we weren’t even shy about it,” said Nancy Stern Winters, a junior on the team. “It meant a great deal to us, not just to win and to play well, but to play hard and to represent Tufts in the best way we possibly could. It was just one of those very synchronistic moments where all of us wanted the same thing.”
As part of the Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame induction dinner, Tufts will also present the second annual Brown and Blue Award, which recognizes alumni, donors, benefactors, and supporters who have made significant contributions to the success of Tufts Athletics. This year’s recipient is John Baronian, A50, H97, whose boundless support of his alma mater and its athletic teams earned him the moniker “Mr. Tufts.”
Baronian was the leader of a “band of brothers” who were at Tufts on the G.I. Bill in the late 1940s after serving in World War II. They were united in their love of football and Tufts for the rest of their lives. As an alumnus, Baronian was a top salesman for the American Mutual Life Insurance Company, who shared his success with Tufts. He was the driving force behind the founding of the Jumbo Club, which was established in 1969. The group supported Tufts Athletics financially and sponsored awards and social events. The biggest gift from the club was a field house named in Baronian’s honor built at the entrance to Ellis Oval in 1986. He also served ten years on the Tufts Board of Trustees.
“If there were a more loyal, passionate, and committed Tufts alumnus than John Baronian, I have yet to meet him,” former President Lawrence S. Bacow said upon Baronian’s death in 2008. “There might be 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S., but in John’s mind, there was only one.”
Ticket information for the induction dinner on April 13 will be released in the coming weeks. For table sponsorship opportunities, please contact Mark Adzigian A88, associate director of development for athletics at email@example.com or 617-627-0376. For other details, please contact Alexis Mastronardi, senior associate director of athletics, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-627-3515.
Director of Athletics Communications Paul Sweeney can be reached at email@example.com.