While meaningful competition has halted on Saint Leo University athletics fields this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s still some positivity coming out of the athletics department — in its announcing of the 2020 Hall of Fame inductee class.
The class features seven individual honorees and one team.
The inductees for the Class of 2020 are:
- Kit Gardner, baseball, football, basketball, track and field
- Daphne Washington, women’s basketball
- Pat Bowen, baseball
- Hannah Beard, women’s soccer
- Marcus Ruh, men’s basketball
- Matt Obermeyer, men’s lacrosse
- Jaclyn Mailoto, volleyball
- The 2005 men’s soccer team
“This is a really great class of Hall of Famers,” Saint Leo athletics director Fran Reidy said, in a release. “We have inductees who are at the top in the records books, others who helped propel their teams to NCAA postseason play, and the 2005 men’s soccer team that earned the first SSC title in school history, and in doing so, set the tone, which has led to 23 additional SSC Champions.
“This class not only excelled during competition, but in the classroom too, as evidenced by the diversity of the recognition they received during their careers for the Green and Gold,” he said.
Reidy continued: “We are disappointed we can’t get them officially into the Hall of Fame until next Fall, but the Saint Leo community looks forward to providing the Class of 2020 with an event matching their exceptional achievements.”
The addition of the 2020 Class brings the number of inductees up to 145 and three teams.
The Hall of Fame was organized by the Saint Leo Alumni Association and Athletic Department in 1986-1987, to honor former students, coaches and administrators who excelled in Saint Leo athletics in the prep school, junior college or senior college.
Its purpose is “to perpetuate the memory of those persons who have brought distinction, honor and excellence to Saint Leo athletics, and familiarize the entire campus community and alumni with the university’s rich athletic history.”
Here’s a closer look at this year’s inductees:
Kit Gardner, Class of 1960
Kit Gardner from 1957 through 1960 excelled as a four-sport athlete at what was then Saint Leo Prep, from competing in football, basketball, baseball, and track and field.
He served as both the kicker and quarterback for the football team while starting as a guard on the hardwood. He patrolled shortstop for the baseball team while competing in the hurdles on the track. He was a two-time “The Yankee Clipper” award winner at Saint Leo, the highest athletic award given out during the Saint Leo Prep era.
Gardner went on to serve in the United States Air Force and served as a golf professional at the Columbia Country Club in Columbia, South Carolina.
Pat Bowen, Class of 1993
Pat Bowen is a prime example of the maxim, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”
He joined Saint Leo program as a walk-on in 1995, but etched his name into the record books by the time he graduated in 1999, also penning that into a short-lived pro ball career.
Bowen ranks second in career strikeouts with 266, behind only Dave Garcia (303, 1993-1996). The 6-foot-3 pitcher also posted a 20-8 career mark including five saves; those 20 wins ranked him third all-time at the end of the 1999 season.
Meantime, Bowen ranked seventh among all NCAA Division II pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings (11.9) his junior season.
Also, he was part of a pair of NCAA postseason appearances (1996, 1999), an All-South Region honoree in 1999, and a two-time All-SSC selection.
Following a storied Saint Leo career, Bowen was drafted in the 34th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Anaheim Angels, where he spent a few years playing in rookie-level ball and the independent circuit.
Bowen later began coaching youth sports beginning as an assistant varsity baseball coach and head junior varsity coach at Greensboro Day School (Greensboro, North Carolina).
He went on to become the head softball coach at Bishop McGuinness Catholic School (Kernersville, North Carolina) before landing in his current role as the school’s head baseball coach, as well as the offensive coordinator for the football program.
Daphne Washington, Class of 1993
Daphne Washington had a celebrated four-year career on the court between 1989 through 1993, and remains one of the women’s basketball program’s most productive scorers and rebounders.
She ranks second in program history in career scoring (1,495 points) and fifth in rebounding (704 rebounds). Meanwhile, her career field goal percentage (54%) and single-season field goal percentage (58.8% in 1991-1992) are tops in program history, while total free throws made (297) ranks second in the books.
As for other accolades, Washington was Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Freshman of the Year in 1989-1990, and went on to be a two-time Honorable Mention All-SSC selection and a Second Team All-SSC performer as a junior.
Hannah Beard, Class of 2009
Hannah Beard is unquestionably one of the most decorated women’s soccer players in Saint Leo history.
The four-time All-Sunshine State Conference (SSC) selection has her name plastered throughout the program’s record book — tops in career assists (31) and games played (76), second all-time in points (123) and fourth all-time in goals (46).
Beard, too, holds other notable marks — including the single-season record for assists with 12 in 2008 and tied for most goals scored in a single game, with four against Clearwater Christian College in 2008. (Casie Poyssick also achieved the feat twice, during the 2003 season.)
The list of awards for the striker runs deep.
Beard was a two-time NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) Scholar All-American and three-time NSCAA All-Region honoree, and was named an NSCAA All-American as a junior. She also was honored as the SSC Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and was named to a pair of SSC All-Tournament teams.
Also notable: As a junior, Beard helped lead Saint Leo to its first conference tournament championship in program history.
Following her time with the Lions, the Liverpool, England native played professionally in both the United States and Australia.
Marcus Ruh, Class of 2013
Marcus Ruh only spent two years donning a Green and Gold uniform, but his impact was felt the first time he laced up his sneakers and hit the hardwood.
A junior transfer from Wisconson-Eau Claire, the 6-foot-4 guard went on to score 859 points from 2011 through 2013 — a combined 14.8 points per game —pacing the Lions to two NCAA berths and the school’s first-ever Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Championship.
His senior year, Ruh was named 2012-2013 SSC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year after averaging 16.5 points and 5.3 rebounds, while leading the squad to a then school-record 22 victories. He shot 45.8% from the field, 45.9% from three-point range, and 79.6% at the free throw line that season.
Ruh not only excelled on the court, but also in the classroom — posting a 4.0 grade-point average in business administration and graduating summa cum laude.
For that, he was named NCAA Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year and CoSIDA Capital One Men’s Basketball Academic All-American of the Year, the highest academic honor bestowed in the sport.
Ruh went on to pursue a professional hoops career in Australia, spending one season with the Ringwood Hawks. He also spent time as a coach with the Green Bay Storm on the AAU circuit before moving into his current role as a sales representative for Cintas.
• Jaclyn Mailoto, Class of 2014
Playing under former Saint Leo head volleyball coach Sam Cibrone from 2010 to 2013, Mailoto was tasked with running the team’s offense as a setter from the time she was a fresh-faced freshman to a wily senior.
Her top-level play was underscored throughout the years, as she was named to the Sunshine State Conference All-Freshman Team in 2010, then recognized as a senior with First Team All-Conference and AVCA All-South Region First Team honors.
Mailoto led the conference in both assists (1,366) and assists per set (11.78) her senior year, the single-season assists per set mark is a program record, too.
Meantime, her 3,222 career assists currently rank second in the Saint Leo career record book, while her career average of 8.57 assists per set comes in at fourth.
Mailoto has since gone onto coach club volleyball for 850 Elite Volleyball Academy, in Valparaiso.
Matt Obermeyer, Class of 2014
A dynamic playmaker during his four seasons on the Saint Leo men’s lacrosse team, Obermeyer is still the program’s all-time leading goal scorer (135) and fourth in career points (158).
The 5-foot-10 attacker made an instant impact as a freshman in 2010, charting 33 goals and five assists, which earned him Deep South Freshman of the Year.
Accolades continued the ensuing three years, earning First Team All-Conference honors from 2012 through 2014; Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District in 2012 and 2013; USILA Scholar All-American honors in 2014; and Deep South Player of the Year in 2013.
Since graduating with a marketing degree, Obermeyer is currently director of operations at SpotX, a global video advertising platform.
- 2005 Saint Leo men’s soccer team
Led by head coach Joel Harrison, the 2005 Saint Leo men’s soccer team became the first program in school history to capture a Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Championship after a notable 7-1 run in conference play and a 15-1 regular season mark.
Unforeseen circumstances prevented what could’ve been an even more memorable season, however.
Because of Hurricane Wilma, the team was unable to compete for an SSC Tournament Championship, but earned the right to host the 2005 NCAA South Regional. Saint Leo had a 14-day layoff before competing in the regional final against Lynn, falling 3-1.
The team was led by All-American and Saint Leo Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017 member Asmir Pervan along with four others who earned All-SSC honors, including Brent Stanze, Matias Pereze, Saint Leo Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018 member Eusebio Herrera-Montoya, and Giancarlo Conte. Pervan was named SSC Player and Offensive Player of the Year, while Montoya brought home Freshman of the Year honors. Harrison was named the SSC Coach of the Year for his efforts, as well.
Published October 14, 2020