URI’s Athletic Department inducted six new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a March 7 ceremony at Quidnessett Country Club. The newest class inductees included five former student-athletes—Mark Brockwell (football), Tom Cataldo (football), Kellie Cookus (softball), Michael LaBarbera (baseball) and Stephanie Ulicny Domin (cross country/track & field)—as well as longtime golf coach Tom Drennan.
The Hall of Fame was established to recognize and honor the best student-athletes, teams, and friends of Rhode Island Athletics. The class of 2015 is made up of players who have brought recognition, honor, and distinction to the University and their respective athletic programs. Two additional former Rhody greats, Andy Williams (men’s soccer) and Antonio Reynolds-Dean (men’s basketball), were also voted into the URI Athletics Hall of Fame but could not attend this year’s ceremony and will be inducted at a later date.
“It is an honor to induct these fine representatives of University of Rhode Island Athletics into our Hall of Fame,” said Thorr Bjorn, director of athletics. “It was a special weekend for all of our inductees, and I congratulate and celebrate all their achievements.”
Brockwell was a three-year standout and key member of the 1984 Rhode Island football team that won the Lambert Cup as the top team in the East and advanced to the NCAA I-AA Playoffs.
Cataldo was a three-year starter on the offensive line at Rhode Island, from 1968-70. A stalwart on the left side of the line, Cataldo served as an offensive captain in 1969 and a game captain in 1970. He earned All-Yankee Conference and All-East honors as a senior.
Cookus finished her URI career as one of the most decorated softball players in program history. A two-time Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Cookus was honored as the top player in the conference in 1997 and 1998. A three-time First Team All-A-10 selection, Cookus helped guide the Rams to their only program appearance in the A-10 Championship game in 1996.
Drennan served as the highly successful head golf coach at URI for 22 years. During his tenure, the Rams qualified for NCAA Regional Championship play for 16 straight years, from 1992–2007. Drennan, who was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of American (GCAA) Hall of Fame in 2008, was a three-time Atlantic 10 and nine-time New England Coach of the Year.
The first-ever Rhode Island baseball player to earn All-America honors, LaBarbera wrapped up his time in Kingston as URI’s career record holder in hits (259), doubles (41), stolen bases (92), assists (495) and runs scored (152). He also set new single-season marks in both hits (80) and stolen bases (35). A three-time All-New England performer and two-time Atlantic 10 first teamer, LaBarbera finished his senior season with an amazing .404 average, 41 runs, 44 RBI, and 35 stolen bases.
Ulicny was the first Rhode Island cross-country runner to qualify for a NCAA Division I National Championship, doing so in 1993. A three-time captain of the Rams’ track-and-field and cross-country teams, she earned All-East honors in cross-country in 1993, as well as All-New England and All-Atlantic Ten honors in both sports for all four years of her career. •