By Sasha Nyary
Four members of the Mount Holyoke College community will be inducted into the College’s Athletics Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Oct. 21 that will honor their four decades of athletic academic and professional excellence.
The 2017 inductees are Bob Bontempo, Jessica Justice ’03, Michelle Johannes ’93 and Jean Osachuk ’80.
“These individuals are examples of Mount Holyoke’s legacy of developing the remarkable talent of its student-athletes not only for excellence in their sports, but also for extraordinary contributions to our world,” said Lori Hendricks ’92, director of athletics and chair of physical education at Mount Holyoke. “They have surely set a bar of achievement for which each of our current student-athletes and coaches should aim.”
The College’s Athletics Hall of Fame was founded in 2013 and the awards are made every other year. This is the third induction ceremony.
Mount Holyoke’s history of women getting physical activity stems back to its earliest days, as evidenced by a recent exhibit of physical education clothes and materials now displayed in the library’s atrium. The legacy of the importance of athletics, coupled with the passing of the federal law known as Title IX in 1972, are some of the reasons the College has such a significant history of scholar-athletes.
Among the four honorees, Bontempo founded and coached the golf team and was the golf pro at the Orchards Golf Club during his 38 years at the College. His successful teams included the 1987-88 squad, which finished second in the nation at the NCGA Division III Championships. Bontempo was inducted into the Western Mass Golf Hall of Fame in 2014.
Volleyball player Johannes was Mount Holyoke’s first student-athlete to earn academic All-America honors three times, just one of two to be so honored. She helped lead the Lyons to a 69-44 record during her career. Johannes earned a doctorate in computational physics in 1997 and currently works at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., where she leads the Center for Computational Materials Science.
One of Mount Holyoke’s greatest basketball student-athletes, Justice leads nearly every scoring and rebounding category, all accomplished while dealing with Erbs Palsy, a condition that limited the use of her right arm. With 1,533 points, she is still the College’s all-time leading scorer.
An athlete who excelled in a number of sports, Osachuk was the top-ranked singles player during her four years at Mount Holyoke, with a record of 54-10. She won the Seven Sisters Tournament her senior year and also played on the basketball and softball teams. Osachuk also helped establish the College’s Athletic and Recreation Association. She was inducted into the New England Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009 and is the CEO of the Jane Blalock Company, which manages LPGA Golf Clinics for Women.
As an NCAA Division III school and a member of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), Mount Holyoke emphasizes academic excellence with all its student-athletes. The College follows and promotes the philosophy of making athletics an integral part of the educational experience and offers 14 varsity sports programs and a number of competitive club sports teams.
Tickets for the induction ceremony, which includes a reception and dinner, are available for purchase through the Department of Athletics.
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