Western New England Announces Establishment of Downes Athletic Hall of Fame Society

Longtime Western New England coach Bill Downes (left), the inaugural Downes Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, presented University President Dr. Anthony Caprio (middle), a 2005 inductee, with the first Downes Athletic Hall of Fame Society pin at the 2017 induction on September 22 with Athletic Director Joe Sassi (right) looking on. (Photo by Bill Sharon/Spartan SportShots)
Longtime Western New England coach Bill Downes (left), the inaugural Downes Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, presented University President Dr. Anthony Caprio (middle), a 2005 inductee, with the first Downes Athletic Hall of Fame Society pin at the 2017 induction on September 22 with Athletic Director Joe Sassi (right) looking on. (Photo by Bill Sharon/Spartan SportShots)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (October 12, 2017) – Following the induction of the 2017 Downes Athletic Hall of Fame Class on September 22, Western New England University has announced the establishment of the Downes Athletic Hall of Fame Society.

The Society serves to further strengthen the connection of Downes Athletic Hall of Fame inductees to each other and to the campus community. It ensures the on-going recognition of the achievements of Hall of Famers, celebrates their legacy, and further builds upon the traditions and values of Western New England University Athletics.

Since 1999, 98 standout members of Golden Bear athletics have been inducted into the University's Downes Athletic Hall of Fame for their contributions to Western New England. This fall, the 2007 men's lacrosse team, Lisa and Bruce Bachmann '83/'90 (contributors), Jackie Shedlock '05 (softball), and Justin Walz '10 (baseball/football) joined that elite group.

Upon induction into the Downes Athletic Hall of Fame, each individual is also officially recognized as a member of the Downes Athletic Hall of Fame Society. All current Hall of Fame members are now retroactively inducted into the new Society. Society members will be acknowledged at various University functions, in publications, and other media.  They will be offered unique opportunities to meet, network, and connect with current student- athletes, coaches, administration, and staff so that they may share with others the legacy of their athletic achievements and on-going contributions to the Athletic Program and University.

Most importantly, the Society will create an ever-growing team of individuals who serve as shining examples of the values of excellence in academics, athletics, service, and leadership that are synonymous with Western New England University.

To acknowledge the official establishment of the Downes Athletic Hall of Fame Society, Coach Arthur "Red" Downes ceremonially inducted the Hall of Fame Society's first member, President Dr. Anthony Caprio into the new Society as part of this year's Hall of Fame induction.

The 2017 Hall of Fame class was officially honored at an induction ceremony and dinner during homecoming weekend on Friday, September 22nd at Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow, Mass.