NORTH EAST — Cecil College held its inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday, March 30, with seven of the institution’s icons recognized. The Class of 2019 included pioneers who all had a hand in the creation, development, and growth of the Cecil athletic programs.
The members of the inaugural class are Charles “Dick” Brockell (posthumously), William Lewit, Mary Maloney, Mary Etta Reedy, Dr. Thomas Topping, Shirley Weaver, and Thomas Wilhide.
“I am honored and humbled to say our hall of fame is a testament to the tremendous loyalty, passion and excitement that alumni and friends have for Cecil College and our student-athletes,” said Cecil College President Dr. Mary Way Bolt, during the ceremony held in the Physical Education Complex on the North East Campus.
Brockell joined the Cecil community in 1979 as the baseball coach. During his 20 years at the head of the program, he grew from a squad of nine players into one of the region’s winningest programs as the Seahawks won 404 games under his watch.
“He spent his life dedicated to baseball and this college. He was very instrumental in helping a lot of folks come to Cecil College,” said Cecil College Athletic Director Ed Durham, who played for Brockell during the 1981-83 seasons.
Brockell is a member of the NJCAA Region XX Hall of Fame, having coached many players who have gone on to four-year colleges, of whom major league baseball clubs signed several.
Lewit is Cecil College’s winningest men’s basketball coach after starting in 1995 and leading the Seahawks for 14 seasons. While his team went 1-25 in his first year, over the next 13 years, they won 354 games. This accomplishment included winning 30 or more games for the final five seasons at Cecil College.
During his tenure, Lewit coached 22 All Maryland Junior College Conference players, 26 All NJCAA Region XX and nine NJCAA All-Americans. Lewit, whose team won Cecil College’s only national championship for men’s basketball in 2006, was named NJCAA Region XX Coach of the Year six times and Northeast District Coach of the Year nine times.
“Our success is not something that one person can take the credit for. We had the support of the community, and they gave us everything we needed to be successful,” said Lewit, who was the full-time director of enrollment and credited with graduating 91 percent of his players. “Without the support of so many people at the college from the administration, to the faculty, to the counselors, we would not have enjoyed this success.”
Lewit has three rules for his players: Be on time, and if you cannot be on time, be early. Do what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do it to the best of your ability. Lastly, no one is guaranteed one second of playing time. They had to earn it by being a good citizen and getting it done in the classroom.
Maloney is a lifelong Cecil County resident and was the first female county commissioner in the State of Maryland. A Cecil College Trustee from 1980 – 2004, she only missed two meetings — for the death of her husband and surgery due to cancer.
“As a trustee, she was a staunch supporter of athletics and ensured the department had sufficient resources,” said Durham.
Maloney was awarded emerita status for her service that included forming the Cecil College Foundation with Mary Johnson, which she headed for nine years. She received the Distinguished Service Award for her steadfast commitment to Cecil College and the greater community.
Reedy had a long distinguished career not only in athletics but education. She has held numerous roles throughout the county from teacher to executive director, assistant principal to assistant superintendent. She carried that same tenaciousness to the athletic courts.
At North East High School, she coached three state champion volleyball teams, one state champion softball team and also coached the boys and girls basketball teams. She brought that competitive nature to Cecil College back in 1972 and molded the women’s volleyball team into a winning squad that won the NJCAA Region XX championship several times and advanced to the national tournament. She also coached the women’s basketball program in its early days to establish its winning foundation.
“I am so glad to be back here. It is just like coming home. It is such an honor to be a part of the history of this school,” Reedy said. “I loved every minute of it and loved working with the student-athletes.”
Dr. Topping came to Cecil College in 1979 as a career counselor and coached the men’s soccer program for four years. During his 25 years at the college, he helped raise money for the athletic programs by running a Box Soccer League that ran from 1983 through 2004.
He was an advocate for the student-athlete experience and the impact that community colleges have on a student and the community. Topping also held positions in academic administration such as division chairperson, assistant dean and dean at Cecil College before accepting a vice president role at Finger Lakes Community College, where he supported athletes regularly. Topping retired from FLCC in 2014.
“I truly believe in the concept of student engagement and the role athletics plays in that. The theory is, the more students are involved on campus in activities other than classes, the more likely they are to stay and graduate,” said Topping, who presented some of the data as proof. “I have always had a student-first philosophy. We are here for the students. If you send them here, we will help them. We will motivate them. We will help them find things they didn’t think they could do.”
“Tom Topping always found a solution for a problem,” said Lewit. “He never threw his hands up and said I cannot help you. He has always been student friendly and student orient. He was setting the tone for the rest of the faculty members.”
Weaver wrapped up a 30-year career at Cecil College as the administrative assistant in athletics. She was dedicated to the student-athletes and handled all the administrative duties in the athletic department including arranging travel for all contests, and at times, event washing dirty uniforms.
“There were things Shirley did I couldn’t tell you. She made sure all the details were taken care of for games, practices, recruiting, tracked academic eligibility, and monitored academic progress. She was so more than our administrative assistant to the athletic department. She was our MVP,” said Durham.
Wilhide spent his entire time at Cecil Community College tirelessly advocating for student-athletes. He handled all student-athlete advising and setting class schedules. He was instrumental, along with Brockell, in starting the academic monitoring system for student-athletes to ensure academic eligibility to participate.
Wilhide refused to let a student give up in class and made sure that students received the necessary help to be successful. In 27 years as an employee of Cecil Community College, he never missed a single day of work. Joining the college in 1972, Wilhide retired in 1999.