Kean Athletics Announces 2017 Benisch Athletic Hall of Fame Class

Kean’s Athletic Hall of Fame Adds New Students

UNION, N.J. – Kean University announced its 2017 Benisch Athletic Hall of Fame inductees: Melissa Beyruti of Hoboken; Pascal Clergio of Curitiba, Brazil; Johanna (Hedler) Grecco of Wood-Ridge; Ebony Jackson of Columbia, S.C.; Melissa (Nunez) Velez of Pequannock; Perry Schatzow of Ocean Township; and Jay Sgaramella of Middlesex. These seven alumni will join the ranks of the 124 standout student-athletes, coaches and administrators who have already been recognized for the distinction they brought to themselves and to the University through their participation in Kean Athletics. The 2017 Benish Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 20, in the North Avenue Academic Building on Kean’s Union campus.

“We are thrilled to announce our 20th Kean University Athletics Hall of Fame class,” said Jack McKiernan, director of Kean Athletics. “All seven of these extraordinary individuals had outstanding careers at Kean University and we are honored to welcome them to the Hall of Fame.”

Beyruti ’11 is no stranger to recognition for her athletic performance. She is Kean’s all-time leading scorer in women's basketball, as well as a three-time MVP in the program, which landed three NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Elite 8 berths. Beyruti also won two D’Angola Awards and was mentioned seven times in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Record Book. She was a part of three NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) titles, was a three-time WBCA (Women's Basketball Coaches Association) All-American and two-time All-American. Beyruti retired as the NCAA’s all-time leader in both three-pointers and games played.

Clergio ’97 was a key player in the 1992 Kean men’s soccer national title-winning team. He helped lead the Cougars to their first national championship in any sport as the Cougars hosted the 1992 finals on East Campus. He was a three-time All-region selection by the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) and All-NJAC in each of his four years.

Hedler ’09, MA ‘13 was a standout both on the field and in the classroom. The shortstop for the softball program was named Kean’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year twice, all while she earned two degrees from the University. Hedler helped lead the Cougars to their first NCAA berth in 13 years in 2008. She garnered all-conference recognition all four years, and retired as Kean’s all-time leader in runs scored.

Jackson ’09 owns the record for assists in women’s basketball with 639. This places her the 20th most of anyone in Division III history. She was an honorable mention All-American by both the WBCA and, and led the women’s basketball program to two NJAC titles and two Elite 8 appearances. Jackson ended her career as fifth on the program’s all-time leading scoring chart with 1,250 points.

Nunez ’06 was a two-sport standout for the Cougars from 2001 to 2005 in women’s lacrosse and field hockey. She is one of only two Cougars ever to earn All-ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) honors and she was a skilled midfielder who was twice named team MVP in field hockey. Nunez was a dominating offensive player on the lacrosse field, where she typically took possession in the defensive zone and carried it down the field. She was also named women’s lacrosse team MVP in 2005.

Schatzow ’08 was one of the first in Cougar history to be awarded the prestigious Rawlings Gold Glove for his defense during the 2007 National Championship. He earned the game-winning hit in extra innings against Emory in the 2007 National Championship game, giving the baseball program its first NCAA title. Schatzow was a two-time all-region selection.

Sgaramella ’03 was foremost player of the football team during his four-year starting career. He led the Cougars for three consecutive years on the field starting as a quarterback before unselfishly switching positions for his senior campaign. In 2002, he was named the recipient of Kean's prestigious Andy Ford Memorial Award. Sgaramella spent a season as an assistant football coach in 2003, and now serves as the assistant director of recreation, intramurals, facilities and event management. A four-year letterwinner, Sgaramella was a two-year captain before he retired with the then school-record for completed passes and was second in both passing yards and yards from scrimmage.

“I am extremely grateful to be inducted into the Benisch Athletic Hall of Fame on behalf of the Kean Athletics football program,” said Sgaramella. “This recognition is a tremendous honor for my teammates, my family and myself, and is just one more reason that I am proud to call Kean University my second home.”

For more information, or to purchase tickets to the 2017 Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, April 20, please contact McKiernan at (908) 737-0604 or The event will take place at Kean University, 1000 Morris Avenue in Union. 


(Left to right) Former Kean University standout student-athletes Melissa Beyruti of Hoboken; Pascal Clergio of Curitiba, Brazil; Johanna (Hedler) Grecco of Wood-Ridge; Ebony Jackson of Columbia, S.C.; Melissa (Nunez) Velez of Pequannock; Perry Schatzow of Ocean; and Jay Sgaramella of Middlesex, will be inducted into the Kean University Benish Hall of Fame onThursday, April 20. Courtesy Kean University. 


Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University’s five undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctoral degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit



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Millie Gonzalez
University Relations 
Kean University | 908-737-0586

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