BEVERLY, Mass. - The Endicott College Department of Athletics and Recreation is proud to announce that during October’s Homecoming and Family Weekend, former men’s volleyball All-American A.J. Witkofsky ’10 and Ashley Wright ’11, a two-sport standout in both basketball and softball, will be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame, Class of 2017. They will be the 20th class to be inducted since its inaugural membership began in 1994. Witkofsky will be the first men’s volleyball student-athlete to gain entry into the Endicott Athletics Hall of Fame.
Witkofsky and Wright will be honored at the Gull Club Hall of Fame Celebration and Donor Recognition Dinner on Friday, October 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Post Center Hospitality Suite. The formal induction will occur on Saturday morning during the President’s Welcome, Athletics Tribute and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony which begins at 9:00 a.m. inside the MacDonald Gymnasium.
The event on Friday is an invitation-only event. Those interested in attending can reach out to Ashley McKenelley, Assistant Director of Athletic Giving at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-232-2019 for more information. Meanwhile, Saturday’s program is open to the public. Along with the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Endicott will be paying tribute to the athletic successes from the 2016-17 academic year including conference championship victories by men’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s golf, and men’s and women’s volleyball as well as new 1,000-point (basketball) and 1,000-kill (volleyball) additions.
ENDICOTT ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME, CLASS OF 2017
A.J. WITKOFSKY '10, VOLLEYBALL
From 2007-10, A.J. Witkofsky became one of the most dominant forces in NCAA Division III men’s volleyball and established the Endicott program as a national power. Witkofsky’s 2,001 kills may forever stand as a team record as the 2,000-kill milestone has been achieved by only a limited number of players in NCAA history. The middle blocker’s 578 total blocks may also go unbroken. While leading Endicott to multiple postseason runs, including three North East Collegiate Volleyball Association Quarterfinal appearances, Witkofsky also compiled numerous accolades including two AVCA All-American Second Team awards, NECVA New England Player of the Year honors as a senior, and four All-Conference nods.
"I'm very excited and honored to represent the men's volleyball program in the Endicott Hall of Fame," said Witkofsky. "As a student-athlete, I watched the induction ceremony and thought how cool it would be to someday stand in front of the athletic department and be honored in the same way. Luckily for me, I had awesome teammates and coaches who put me in a position to be successful. I was very fortunate to play with those guys and be a part of some of the most accomplished teams in Endicott history."
Academically, Witkofsky excelled as a physical education teacher licensure major. He appeared four times on the Endicott Academic Varsity Club which recognizes student-athletes with at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA and was also placed on the NECVA Academic All-Conference Team as a senior.
"In the history of men’s volleyball here at Endicott, A.J. is arguably the most impactful player we’ve seen in that program," said Director of Athletics, Dr. Brian Wylie. "Opposing players and coaches alike feared A.J. and his ability to take over and impose his dominance in dictating the outcome of a match. It didn’t hurt that he was one of the most driven and merciless student-athletes in the history of the men's volleyball program."
Today, Witkofsky lives in Oakton, Va. and works as an elementary school physical education teacher. He still plays volleyball for the men's Premier Volleyball League (PVL) with Team LVC.
ASHLEY WRIGHT '11, BASKETBALL AND SOFTBALL
From 2007-11, Ashley Wright was an exceptional student-athlete for both the basketball and softball programs at Endicott. On the basketball court, Wright joined the 1,000-point club thanks in large part to her lethal shooting ability, as she holds program records for three-pointers made (204) and free-throw percentage (.828), while providing strong defense with a program-best 282 steals. By the end of her basketball career, Wright accumulated All-New England honors and two All-Conference awards.
On the softball diamond, Wright was an integral part of Endicott’s historic run of nine straight Commonwealth Coast Conference championships as she was a part of four titles and NCAA Regional Tournament appearances. Wright proved to be one of the best players in the region with National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-New England First Team honors as a senior with three All-Conference awards. She finished her softball career in the top-10 of several offensive categories including hits (146), runs (115), RBIs (102), home runs (17), doubles (41), batting average (.369), on-base (.445) and slugging percentage (.621).
"I am both elated and honored to be selected as an inductee to the Endicott Athletics Hall of Fame," said Wright. "My time spent at Endicott was some of the most cherished and rewarding years of my life. The women's basketball and softball programs allowed me to develop into a distinguished athlete as well as building the foundation for the person I am today. The athletic department and coaching staff exemplified true leadership and dedication. The staff and my fellow teammates never allowed me to settle for anything less than my best. In particular, the guidance of Coach (Mark) Veilleux provided had a profound impact on me, not only as an athlete but as a person which has lasted long after playing my final inning. Now as an alumna, I continue to wake up daily thinking, "it's a great day to be a Gull!"
Academically, Wright was arguably at her best. As a criminal justice major, Wright collected numerous accolades including two CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team awards in her senior season for both basketball and softball, CCC Basketball Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, and three nods on both the CCC Academic All-Conference and Endicott Academic Varsity Club teams.
"Ashley was such a formidable competitor and played such a pivotal role in both basketball and softball during her four years here at Endicott," said Wylie. "Moreover, her academic prowess was perhaps her greatest distinction as a student-athlete. She was supremely respected amongst her peers and teammates and worked tirelessly in not only pushing herself to be great but her teammates as well. In reflecting back on Ashley’s time here, what stands out most to me was her ability to make critical baskets or timely hits with the utmost confidence and an infectious smile."
Wright began her postgraduate career with the State of New Hampshire Juvenile Justice Division. She also coached junior varsity basketball for a number of seasons at Trinity High School (Manchester, N.H.). Recently, Wright purchased her first home and is in the process of planning her wedding in 2018. She is an avid Spartan Race participant. Last year, Wright was inducted into the Manchester Catholic School Hall of Fame.
ABOUT THE ENDICOTT ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME
The purpose of the Endicott Athletic Hall of Fame is to give lasting recognition to those individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the achievements and prestige of Endicott in the field of athletics, and who have continued to demonstrate in their lives the values imparted by intercollegiate athletics. Plaques of these chosen few are enshrined on the walls of the Post Center.
Each class is chosen by a committee of seven members consisting of the Director of Athletics, an Assistant Athletic Director, an alumni relations representative, the Faculty Athletics Representative, a sports information representative, and two current head coaches. Candidates are submitted electronically and each individual is evaluated according to the criteria for nomination.
Since 1994, 46 former student-athletes, coaches, faculty members, and administrators have been inducted into the Endicott Athletics Hall of Fame.