Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 1:15pm

Judge

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Former Mercy College Athletic Director Neil Judge was inducted into the East Coast Conference Hall of Fame at the ECC's annual awards banquet on June 4 at the University of Bridgeport.

Judge becomes the first inductee from Mercy College and joins Mike Aviles, Tammy Greene, Maja (Potpara) Krljic and Pete Zinno in the Class of 2018 inductees.

The inductees were selected in a vote by a 12-person Hall of Fame committee comprised of ECC administrators, coaches, sports information directors, faculty athletic representatives and the ECC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President.

Judge will enter the ECC Hall of Fame after earning the conference's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. Judge joined the Mercy College community in 1969 as a part-time physical education instructor. Two years later, he was named Mercy's first Athletics Director and served the college in that role for 34 years until his retirement at the conclusion of the 2005 spring season.

His career included three stints as head coach of the softball team and he served as director of Mercy's summer sports camps, while also teaching various physical education courses. Judge was instrumental in securing membership in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1973, the NCAA in 1975 and a charter membership in the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference in 1989.

During his tenure at Mercy, Neil could be seen coaching Mercy teams – during his career he coached each team the College sponsored at some point – arranging for facilities, taking care of the fields, handling compliance, doing stats or the clock at games, taping ankles, along with directing the Mercy summer sports camps and teaching physical education.

Mercy's teams enjoyed great success during his time in Dobbs Ferry with highlights that included three straight 20-win seasons by the women's basketball team in the early 1980s, five straight winning seasons from the baseball team in the early 1980s, a 1986 state championship by the softball team, the men's soccer team's run to the NCAA regional finals in 1989 and a NCAA Elite Eight appearance by the women's volleyball team in 2001.

Most important to Judge, however, was the success of Mercy's student-athletes in the classroom as evidenced by the hundreds of photographs of graduating seniors which filled his office. Famous for reminding Mercy's student-athletes that they were "students first, athletes second," Judge actively worked with both students and faculty to create an environment of academic accountability and achievement off the field. In 2001, Mercy was cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education as having one of the highest graduation rates in the nation in Division II.