BEVERLY, Mass. – During the entire 2018-19 academic year, the Endicott Athletics & Recreation Department will celebrate 25 years of men's and women's athletics at the NCAA Division III level. This landmark achievement will be commemorated throughout the year via special events, alumni spotlights, giveaways, and much more. For our fourth installment of our alumni feature, www.ecgulls.com reconnected with former basketball, field hockey, and softball student-athlete Heidi Stevens Fazzina '00 and former baseball student-athlete David Fazzina '98. Here's what Heidi and David said about their time at The Nest.
HEIDI STEVENS FAZZINA '00
ECGULLS: Describe your overall experience as a student-athlete. What does it mean to you now/what did it mean to you while you were a student-athlete?
HEIDI: My overall experience as a student-athlete at Endicott certainly shaped my life. While at Endicott I was lucky enough to continue playing sports through college. Playing at the collegiate level taught me about sacrifice, dedication, and discipline. There were many days of juggling papers and exams, along with practices and games. Somehow I was able to manage with the help of my professors and coaches. By year two, the juggling was just the norm for me. I truly believe the rigorous schedule and responsibilities I carried then are contributing factors to success I have found in life today. I am able to look back and appreciate the insanity of it all, and without a doubt would do it all again.
ECGULLS: Being a three-sport student-athlete is certainly rare these days. Talk a little more in-depth about that experience when you were a student-athlete. Also, how did those experiences shape you and help you beyond graduation?
HEIDI: Being a three-sport athlete is certainly a rarity today. There are far more opportunities in sports today, lengthening the season or supplementing with individualized lessons. As for me, I say play everything. I've never really believed in specializing in one sport. During my time at Endicott, I had the privilege to do just this. I wanted to play and make a difference for each program. It definitely took a tole at times as I extended my nights to complete academics or sacrificing a social life to attend practices and games. However, it was through sports where I met some of the greatest people in my life. I was blessed to be surrounded by competitive athletes and coaches through each season.
Through these experiences, my life has been impacted greatly. I'm a middle school teacher and youth sports coach. Time management skills, responsibility, and dedication are qualities that I am able to promote and pass on to my students, players, and most important my own children. As a parent of two kids who are currently three-sport athletes, we live a busy and at times chaotic life. However, as parents, we feel sports can be a teaching tool. Our kids are learning how to manage their time between school and sports, demonstrate good sportsmanship, and show resiliency. I thank my journey through sports for teaching me.
ECGULLS: Last part on being a three-sport athlete, did you favor one of the sports over the other?
HEIDI: I do get asked what is my favorite sport often. Basketball would have to be the one I favor the most. I love the pace at which you must make decisions, the adrenaline rush of each possession, and the team camaraderie.
ECGULLS: Your graduating class, in all three sports, played a major role in the success of our department where we currently stand now. What does that mean to you?
HEIDI: As an Endicott alum, I can say without a doubt that I am proud when I look back. During my four years, Endicott began building a competitive reputation in sports. Softball had captured two back-to-back conference championships, teams were playing at a high caliber and then we joined the CCC. It was through this building process and making a name for EC, that the school began attracting more athletes. For me, seeing the success in athletics today reinforces the work my teammates and I put in.
ECGULLS: You were a part of the first-ever GNAC Championship team in softball program history. What does that mean to you?
HEIDI: I take great pride in being part of the first-ever GNAC Championship team in softball program history. Proving champions again the year after was icing on the cake. As a softball player, you were part of a community, a family of athletes who played for each other and our coach. Coach Veilleux had a knack for motivating players and getting the very best out of them.
ECGULLS: What was your favorite memory of being a student-athlete at Endicott?
HEIDI: My favorite memory of being a student-athlete is difficult to nail down. I enjoyed our yearly spring break training trips down south for softball, the sleepover at Birchmont courtesy of Dr. Wylie for our basketball team, and rides on the "Sweet Pickles" bus. However, my top memory would have to be scoring my 1,000th point in my junior year of basketball. It is definitely an accolade I appreciate and am honored to be a part of. I look back and am very appreciative of my teammates and coaches who pushed and encouraged me throughout my career.
ECGULLS: What do you miss most about your Endicott experience?
HEIDI: When I look back what I miss most about my EC experience it is the tight-knit community. My first three years our facilities were small, nothing spectacular. The field hockey field, gymnasium, and softball field were all within a stone's throw of each other. I miss the backdrop of Tupper Manor as we played field hockey on the thick green grass, as well as the anticipation of cars becoming targets of foul balls as they passed the softball field off Hale Street. And of course, I can't forget our small quaint gymnasium, which echoed with every dribble and cheering fan. It was in those first years that we made memories and a name for our programs.
ECGULLS: What are you doing now professionally? How did your overall experience at Endicott get you to where you are today?
HEIDI: I am a middle school teacher, mother of two, and youth sports coach. My experience at Endicott solidified my desire to teach after completing an internship during my first year. Teaching middle school has its daily ups and downs. It is during the adolescent years that they are figuring out who they are as people. Through my overall experience at EC, I learned to be flexible, yet provide structure and boundaries for my students and my own children.
ECGULLS: Give us your thoughts on Endicott's continued success both athletically and as a college as a whole.
HEIDI: As I follow Endicott through social media, I am truly proud to be an alum. Dr. Wylie had a vision for the school and it has far surpassed what I thought it could be. The campus itself has made tremendous gains in regards to the facilities. This growth contributes to attracting and attaining top-notch student-athletes. In the meantime, as alums, we can continue to live vicariously through the current student-athletes as we see and hear their success stories.
ECGULLS: How did you and your husband, David, meet?
HEIDI: Endicott not only provided with me with the best education and athletic experience, but it also introduced me to the love of my life as cliche as it may sound. Dave and I met through a mutual friend and instantly had a connection, which of course was sports. It wasn't long before I convinced this guy from Connecticut to follow me back to the southern Maine coast. Life couldn't be better after 17 years of marriage, two beautiful kids, and naturally a year-round ridiculous sports schedule.
DAVID FAZZINA '98
MORE ON HEIDI STEVENS FAZZINA AND DAVID FAZZINA
Heidi Stevens Fazzina, an Endicott Hall of Famer, was a three-sport athlete known for her leadership and competitive spirit. A two-time captain in basketball, she set the single-season scoring record with 450 points in 1998-99 and finished second on the all-time scoring list with 1,429 points at the end of her career. As an excellent playmaker, Fazzina also set the career assist record with 472. She was selected to the All-GNAC First Team twice. She was a four-year starter at third base in softball and captain as a senior. A two-time All GNAC selection, she amassed a .342 career batting average. In field hockey, she was selected captain as a sophomore and maintained the title for three years. She led the team in points her senior year with 26 and established the record for goals in a game with six against Regis in 1999.
Meanwhile, David Fazzina played a pivotal role in the beginning years of the Endicott baseball program. Fazzina was a key member of the program that made three GNAC Championship appearances and captured the first-ever conference title in 1997. During that year, the Gulls went 17-12 overall and 6-0 in conference play on their way towards winning the GNAC title.