MCCC Celebrates History of Athletic Excellence at Hall of Fame Ceremony

Fifteen Individuals and Three Teams Inducted into Inaugural Class


West Windsor, N.J. - The long and distinguished history of athletic excellence at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) was formally celebrated at a kickoff ceremony June 12 at Trenton Country Club. Fifteen individuals and three teams were honored as the inaugural inductees into the MCCC Athletics Hall of Fame. More than 250 people came out to wish them well.

Event co-chairs were MCCC Foundation board members Daniel Klim and Charles Plohn Jr. Reflecting on the college’s almost 60 years of sports excellence, Klim said, “We are incredibly humbled by the vision and leadership of those who committed themselves to the Athletic Department’s founding and growth. By honoring those who have contributed to the college’s athletic legacy and Mercer County as a whole, we are providing an important link to the past, as well as a bridge to the future.” The event raised over $75,000 for student athlete scholarships. 

Dr. Jianping Wang, MCCC president, thanked Foundation board members, especially the Athletics Committee, for their ongoing support of Mercer’s students. “The dream of establishing the college’s Athletics Hall of Fame required countless hours,” she said. “This is indeed the fruit of a labor of love.”

Foundation Board Chair Aamir A. Rehman added, “In honoring the inductees and celebrating Mercer’s proud athletic tradition, we honor values -- dedication, teamwork, sacrifice and commitment – that are at the core of Mercer’s institutional culture. This Hall of Fame celebrates the past, inspires the present, and guides the future.”

Throughout the festive evening, as MCCC athletes, coaches and administrators rekindled connections in heartfelt ways, their pre-recorded remarks were played for the crowd. Individual inductees were presented with personalized Vikings jerseys, while members of teams were presented with certificates to commemorate their achievement. The celebration included live music performed by former MCCC student-athlete Mani Kissling (Class of 2017). Guests also had the chance to bid on silent auction items.

A special part of the event was the surprise unveiling of an original watercolor painting by renowned sports artist James Fiorentino depicting the three national championship teams and 15 individual inductees. An anonymous donor commissioned, paid for, and contributed the artwork to the MCCC Foundation. Fiorentino provided a limited edition of numbered and signed giclee prints of the paintingm that were available for sale, with all proceeds going to the MCCC Hall of Fame.

Male athletes inducted were: Heath Fillmyer (baseball); Mickey Forker (soccer); Dave Gallagher (baseball); Randy Garber (soccer); Mel Weldon (basketball); and Connie White (basketball).

Female athletes inducted were: Elyse Diamond (soccer); Terry Dorner-Carinci (basketball); and JoAnne Zola-Harrison (softball).

Coaches inducted were Howie Landa (Special Recognition for Basketball); Stan Dlugosz (men’s soccer and men’s tennis); Charlie Inverso (men’s soccer); and Butch Miller (baseball). Landa, Dlugosz and Miller were honored posthumously.

Two former administrators were also honored. Al Leister served as athletics director from 1970-1988, and Lisa Camillone was the Vikings’ trainer and assistant athletic director for more than 30 years.

Three teams were inducted – the 1963 men’s soccer team, which won the national title; the 1972-73 men’s basketball team, which won the national title; and the 1998-1999 women’s tennis squad, which was the first Vikings women’s team to win a national championship.


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Inaugural class of Hall of Fame inductees


Elyse Diamond, one of 15 individual honorees, is current head coach for women's soccer.


From left, former Athletics Director Al Leister, MCCC President Jianping Wang, and honoree Randy Garber.


Hall Of Fame Co-Chairs
Hall of Fame Co-Chairs Dan Klim, left, and Charles Plohn Jr.


Vikings Hall of Famers as depicted by renowned sports artist James Fiorentino