Speeches from inductees at the Brandeis Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday night did not disappoint, ranging from pure emotion and gratitude to rousing nostalgia. Alumni, staff, and student-athletes gathered in the Faculty Club to celebrate the individual inductees and the 1999 Brandeis baseball team induction. 

Assistant Vice President of Health, Wellness, and Career and Director of Athletics Lauren Haynie opened the evening by holding a moment of silence for those affected by the violence from the current war in Israel and continued by introducing Friends of Brandeis Athletics Co-Chair Brandon Pick ’08 as the emcee. Pick introduced the current student-athletes who presented and spoke about the accolades and accomplishments of the inductees.

Bronwyn Rothman-Hall ’25, an athlete on the Brandeis fencing team introduced Dave Bouchard ’59, a member of the 1957 Hall of Fame Brandeis football team, and a dual football and baseball athlete. 

Rothman-Hall noted Bouchard’s success as a quarterback and a three-year starting centerfielder, and Bouchard spoke about “those games that you never forget” as an athlete, highlighting a pivotal game against the University of Bridgeport that the Judges won 33-10 in the second to last game of the season. A native of Concord, Massachusetts, Bouchard also touched on challenges that the team faced such as the flu epidemic at the end of the season and personal challenges such as being a single parent of four.

Current basketball senior Ryan Powers ’24 then introduced Steve Katzman ’69, a former member of the Brandeis basketball team. Katzman, a native of Brooklyn, New York, expressed his sincere gratitude for his nomination and induction. He was just 62 points shy of joining the 1000-point club at Brandeis, but lived and breathed basketball for his entire life. Katzman put up an impressive 6.7 assists and 3.5 steals per game his freshman year, setting and still holding those records. He was named a team captain in his junior and senior years, and he heaped high praise on former Celtics player and coach KC Jones, the first black basketball coach at Brandeis. Katzman also spoke about the antisemitism that his team faced in the 1950s as the team had a primarily Jewish roster and was booed at games a couple of times. His sons Aaron Katzman ’05 and Danny Katzman ’08 continued his legacy at Brandeis and both were varsity athletes.

Gabe Haithcock ’25, a member of the Brandeis men’s soccer team, introduced the next inductee, Dean Hanks ’79, a former member of the 1976 championship soccer team. Hanks spoke very highly of Mike Coven, the legendary men’s soccer coach at Brandeis who coached the 1976 Hall of Fame team to the NCAA Championships. Hanks had an incredibly impressive 48-8-4 record with 32 shutouts over four years with the Judges, and like several other inductees, noted how in a game against North Adams State antisemitic chants that later were apologized for, spurred his interest in social justice; Hanks is now a successful fundraiser for a variety of different charities and organizations. He spoke of other fond memories as a Manager of The Stein Manager, and overall “fell in love with Brandeis” as a student-athlete, like many other inductees.

Olivia Zarzycki ’24, a member of the Brandeis track and field team, then introduced Christine (Brace) Chai ’87, a former member of the women’s track and field team. Chai, a two-time All-American in the heptathlon, was named the Max I. Silber Female Athlete of the Year as a senior. Her impressive accolades and resilience also included winning the GBC heptathlon title as a junior and the ECAC crown as a senior. The heptathlon, a multi-day event with running and throwing, is one of the most grueling and difficult events of the sport. Chai also concluded her induction speech by speaking about Title IX and how the landmark legislation allowed her to compete. 

Kaitlin (Streilein) McClelland ’08, a former member of the softball team, joined the Hall of Fame following introductions by Ragini Kannan ’26, a member of the Brandeis softball team. McClelland was not only a pitcher and first baseman but also an incredible hitter. Her statistics landed her among the career top 10 in 24 different hitting, pitching, and field categories at the time of her induction, and she also helped lead the Judges to two ECAC Championship berths, where she won MVP honors in 2008. McClelland was the first NFCA All-American in program history and also earned second team honors as a senior. Her induction speech brought everyone to tears as she thanked her family, friends, coaches, and especially the unwavering support of her father.

The 1999 Brandeis baseball team, which won the Division III World Series and finished with an impressive 33-10 record, collectively hit a school record of 56 home runs. Mike DiCenso ’24, and one of the team captains, Bryan Haley, the current head baseball coach at Endicott College, gave a rousing speech to introduce the star studded team to the Hall of Fame. Reminiscing about the success of the team and its strong bond, Haley’s speech mentioned fond memories of traveling together, living together, and being competitive with everything together. He had high praise for head coach Pete Varney, noting one of his famous lines: “Don’t tell me, show me” as a hallmark of how he led the team to victory.

Carley Cooke ’15, a former member of the women’s tennis team at Brandeis had arguably some of the most impressive statistics of the evening. Introduced by Sabrina Loui ’25, Cooke played first singles and doubles and was a five-time All-American: four times for singles and once in doubles. Her recognitions also included winning Brandeis’ first women’s tennis individual NCAA tournament victory as a junior and a whopping 105 career victories. Cooke also touched on the war in Israel and her support for the victims, as well as her gratitude for her head coach.

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony celebrated incredible inductees, with one inductee or team from each decade receiving a well-deserved plaque in Brandeis athletic history. Cooke had a fitting end to the day, noting how “pressure is a privilege,” and I think that is a mantra that all student-athletes should internalize. Maybe it will lead to some more Hall of Fame inductees some day.