Tag Archives: sports

Stuart Kaufman

Stuart Kaufman Honored for Outstanding Service as Sports Information Director

Stuart Kaufman
Stuart Kaufman receiving his award for outstanding service as a sports information director

Stuart Kaufman never saw it coming. He was sitting courtside at the Spaulding Gym with his wife, Carol, at the break between the women’s and men’s basketball games against Plymouth State on February 28th when KSC Director of Athletics John Ratliff dropped the big surprise by calling him from the bleachers to center court. Kaufman, Keene State’s award-winning Sports Information Director for over 20 years—and very definitely the voice of Owls sports—was moving on to a position as a writer/editor in the College’s Marketing & Communications Office, and Ratliff wanted to give him a big “thank you” for his many years of unwavering dedication.

In fact, Kaufman didn’t even plan on being at the gym that night. “Ironically, I thought I’d take some time off from the games,” he explained. “I’ve been going to them for over 20 years, so I thought I’d step back and stay home and not have to worry about the games and the usual deadlines and all those things. But my wife Carol made it clear she wanted us to go that night, so I did.”

It’s a good thing that Carol Kaufman is so persuasive—and so good at keeping a secret—because Ratliff handed her husband a handsome wooden plaque commemorating him for his “outstanding service as Sports Information Director.” The crowd roared it’s applause, but none were on their feet sooner than the KSC men’s basketball team, because you’d be hard pressed to find an Owl athlete who isn’t aware of how much Kaufman has done to promote Keene’s athletic program and individual athletes. “I think the student athletes’ reaction when we gave him that award said a lot,” Ratliff said. “They were the first ones to jump to their feet to recognize what he had done for them.” And, though Kaufman didn’t realize it at the time, the row he and his wife were sitting in had been named in his honor.

“It was just a nice feeling to be appreciated for all the work I’d done over the years as the College’s sports information director,” Kaufman said. “People don’t realize what it takes to do that job. It’s not a 9–5 gig; you go into it knowing that you basically have to give up your life. The games aren’t built around your schedule, they’re built around the College’s schedule, which means you have to be there nights and weekends. So getting that award really meant a lot to me, because sometimes you think it’s a thankless job as you’re doing all this work and coming in to the office on the weekends and no one else is here.”

Probably no one at Keene State cranked out more stories than Stuart Kaufman. He calls himself an “equal-opportunity sports information guy” who covered the games, but also searched out the personal stories in each athlete, whether they were all-stars or reserves. “He really valued the contact with the student athletes, getting to know each one,” Ratliff said. “Even if he wasn’t doing a story, he still enjoyed getting to know them. There was a real personal contact, whether they were a star athlete, or whether they played two minutes a game—he held them all in high respect.”

It was that personal touch that set Kaufman’s stories apart. For example, he recently received a national award from the College Sport Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) for his profile on track-and-field athlete Brett Mastrangelo, who returned to Keene after trying his hand in Hollywood. His cover story on basketball-player Orlando Echevarria in the Winter 2012 issue of Keene State Today is an excellent example of the deep respect and personal interest Kaufman brings to a story. “I tell people, he’s as good a writer as I’ve ever seen,” Ratliff explained. “I just love reading his stories, because they really tell a story. He really does a nice job—that’s going to be missed.”

“I pride myself in doing stories about the athletes, not just about them winning, but about the athletes who overcome adversity,” Kaufman said. “The athletes at Keene State, playing in Division III, aren’t on scholarship—they’re playing for the love of their sport. If my stories can convey that to the audience, then I thought I was doing my job.”

Kaufman was also willing to go the extra mile and dig for the nuggets that bring a story to life. “After a game, if I’m doing a game story, I talk to the coaches,” he said. “But I’ll also talk to the players. I want to hear what they have to say, and it helps them learn how to interact with the media, so it’s a learning opportunity for them. The personal part is very important to me. I think I have a good nose for the story. This year, the men’s basketball team isn’t doing that well, so I have to find other ways to promote the program and the athletes. I try to find those human-interest stories about the athletes and use those to get the good news out about KSC sports. I’ll talk to a player’s high school coach and other players; I talk to a lot of people to get a story. You never know who’s going to provide that tidbit that’s going to make that story shine.”

That personal touch and little bit extra that Kaufman put in his stories made a big difference. Getting all those sports stories out there did affect enrollment, as they put Keene State on prospective students’ radar. “The home-town feature stories that he would do and send to the weekly papers in a kid’s home town were great,” Ratliff said. “The publicity that he garnered dwarfs any other efforts in the last 30 years. He was out beating the bushes, and he had a working relationship with the editors and sports editors at a lot of these papers. He could call someone at the Globe and say, ‘I’ve got a great story for you.’ His ability to champion a story to various media outlets—print and broadcast—and have them take it and run with it is one of his biggest attributes.”

Yes, Stuart Kaufman has certainly made his mark on Keene State athletics, and he’ll continue to get the good word out through his new role in the Marketing & Communications office. “It’s a chance for me to expand my writing,” he said. “All the years that I was doing sports information, I knew that there were so many great non-sports stories out there of students who are accomplishing remarkable things, so now I have the opportunity to delve into those stories and get them out there.”

John Ratliff

John Ratliff Named to Fisher Cats Foundation Board

John Ratliff
Keene State College Athletic Director John Ratliff

Keene State College Athletic Director John Ratliff has been added to the board of directors of the Fisher Cats Foundation, the charitable arm of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. He joins a Foundation that has surpassed $3 million in giving and recently saw its marquee event soar past $1 million raised for charity.

“We are excited to have John join us on the Fisher Cats Foundation Board of Directors,” said Fisher Cats owner and Foundation Board Chairman Art Solomon. “He shares a belief in the core principles that make up our Foundation, and he brings a vast knowledge of the people and places in Keene and the entire Monadnock region. His ideas and enthusiasm will help us continue to make an impact on the people and towns in his community.”

“The Fisher Cats Foundation has done so much outstanding work across our state, and I am excited to join in the mission,” Ratliff said. “The Foundation places a huge emphasis on education, something that has driven me throughout my administrative career. I look forward to working with my fellow board members to continue the great programs in place while adding new ideas to expand our impact in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.”

Ratliff joins a Foundation that wrapped up a banner year in 2013. In June, the Foundation held its first charitable golf tournament, and it recently celebrated the sold-out 2013 Granite State Baseball Dinner on Nov. 23. That event raised more than $163,000 for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the Ted Williams Museum, and the Fisher Cats Foundation, and surpassed $1 million in giving since 2007. The proceeds will support the Foundation’s overall work, but specifically its scholarship program, which awards $30,000 to 12 graduating high school seniors each spring.

Abe Osheyack ’06

Welcome Back, Abe Osheyack ’06

Abe Osheyack ’06
Abe Osheyack ’06

Abe Osheyack ’06, former sports information director at Smith College (Northampton, Mass.), is returning to Keene State to serve as our SID. He takes over the position from Stuart Kaufman, who spent the past 21 years in the role and was KSC’s first full-time SID. Kaufman is moving into a role as a writer/editor in the College’s Marketing and Communications Department.

“I’m unbelievably thrilled to be coming back to Keene State College. Not many people get the chance to return to their alma mater, and for me, it’s a humbling and exciting prospect,” said Osheyack, who stepped into his new position on Monday, January 27.

While at Smith, Osheyack revamped the office of sports information, bringing in such innovations as an enhanced website and social-media presence, live statistics, video interviews and highlights, and online broadcasts of home athletic events.


Sturat Kaufman

Kaufman Wins Three (More) Awards for Sports Writing

Sturat Kaufman
Stuart Kaufman, KSC’saward-winning Sports Information Officer

There aren’t many writers at KSC who turn out more copy than Stuart Kaufman, our award-winning Sports Information Officer. And his hard work pays off, because the awards just keep coming. Recently, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) selected Kaufman from a pool of 525 entries for three more awards for outstanding writing.

Kaufman’s national winning entry (one of only seven) in the category of Athlete Profile was for his piece, “Mastrangelo Follows Trail Back to Keene State.” In addition, he received two District 1 awards: one in the General Feature category for “Inspirational Message Keeps Keene State Men’s Lacrosse Team Focused,” and one in the Event Coverage category for “Keene State Men Stun No 1 Middlebury 77-76.”

CoSIDA also recognized Kaufman in 2009 with a second-place award. His writing not only appears in Keene State publications and media, but is routinely picked up by a variety of local, regional, and national news organizations.

LEC Commissioner's Cup

Owls Capture 13th Consecutive LEC Commissioner’s Cup

LEC Commissioner's CupWhen the LEC released its final standings for the 2012–13 season, Keene State College had once again earned the coveted Commissioner’s Cup—for the 13th year in a row! The Owls finished in the top third of the Little East regular season standings in 13 of their 17 (.765) conference-sponsored sports with an average of 6.294 points to earn the trophy in each of the 13 years it has been presented.

Read all about it.

2nd Time Around: KSC Wins LEC Presidents Cup

KSC Interim President Jay Kahn and Director of Athletics John Ratliff with the coveted 2011–2012 Presidents Cup.

Keene State College has won the Little East Conference Presidents Cup for the second year in a row. The Owls recorded a cumulative grade point average of 3.06 to become the first institution to earn the Conference’s academic award in consecutive years. The Presidents Cup trophy measures the highest cumulative grade-point average of all institutions in the LEC. Each athletic department calculates its student-athletes’ cumulative grade-point average in the conference’s 19 championship sponsored sports. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Plymouth State University, and Western Connecticut State University completed the top-half of the 2011–12 Little East Presidents Cup standings in a three-way tie for second place with a 2.96 cumulative grade-point average.

Twelve of Keene State’s 16 conference-sponsored sports teams produced a cumulative grade point average that was greater than a 3.0. In addition to Keene State’s academic success, the Owls have raised the past 12 Little East Commissioners Cups, which is awarded to the top athletic performing institution in the conference.


KSC Athletics: for 12 Years, Tops in the LEC

Based on the 2011-12 Little East Commissioner’s Cup standings released by the conference office on June 2nd, Keene State College is the top athletic program in the Little East Conference for the 12th consecutive year. The Owls finished either first or second in the final regular season standings in 11 of their 17 conference sponsored sports (.647) to average 7.8974 points on a scale of eight. The Owls have held this lofty perch since the Commissioner’s Cup was founded 12 years ago. Now, that’s something to hoot about!


Former KSC Basketball Star and Assistant Coach takes Top Spot at Duquesne

Jim Ferry ’90, on the court at LIU

Alum and former KSC assistant basketball coach Jim Ferry was named head coach at Duquesne University last month. After graduating in 1990, Ferry stuck around to serve as assistant coach from 1990–91. He then moved on as an assistant coach at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., for seven seasons before stepping into the head coaching position at Plymouth State. From there, he spent 10 years as head coach at Long Island University Brooklyn prior to moving into the top spot at Duquesne. Read more about him on the Pittsburg Post-Gazette’s site.

Prof. Antonucci Resurrects Basketball History

About 10 years ago, while he was developing a course at University of Illinois Chicago, Michael Antonucci, associate professor of English and American studies, stumbled upon an old and dusty copy of Frank J. Basloe’s I Grew Up With Basketball: Twenty Years of Barnstorming with Cage Greats of Yesterday, then long out of print. Basloe (1887–1966) was born in Hungary and immigrated as a child with his family to the United States in the late 19th century.

“It’s a great American coming-of-age tale in which a Jewish immigrant becomes (in his words) ‘a toned American’ through the new game called basketball,” explained Dr. Antonucci. “From this perspective, the text gives scholars and students a great snapshot of the US in the early 20th century. Trains, cities, towns, games, work, and the hustle are present throughout the text.” Realizing that the book had real value for his work in American studies at KSC, Dr. Antonucci tried using a pdf copy of I Grew Up With Basketball as a text it in his class. Obviously, that was far from an ideal solution, so he proposed that the University of Nebraska Press reprint the book, for which he wrote a new introduction.
Continue reading Prof. Antonucci Resurrects Basketball History

Five Inducted into Athletic Hall of Fame

The newest KSC Hall of Famers: (L-R) Meghan McLoughlin, Wilson Perez, Raymond “Lippy” De Rocher, and Michelle Mason (Debbie Higgins was unable to attend)

Though winter wasn’t particularly cooperative for the Campus’ recent Winterfest weekend, spirits were high in the Alumni Center’s Centennial Hall for the Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame ceremonies on Feb. 4th. The new Class of 2012 includes Raymond “Lippy” De Rocher ’64 (baseball), Debbie Higgins ’76 (basketball), Wilson Perez ’03 (cross country/track), Michelle Mason ’05 (soccer and lacrosse) and Meghan McLoughlin ’05 (softball).

Read all about it.

Women’s Soccer Team Wins NSCAA Academic Award

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) recognized the Owl women’s soccer team for their academic achievement. The Owls’ lofty 3.56 combined GPA for fall 2010 and spring 2011 puts them in elite company. Among the 572 teams recognized, including all three NCAA Divisions and NAIA, Keene State is ranked 22nd. The Owls are seventh among the 179 Division III teams honored, and had the second-best GPA in New England behind MIT.  And they’re good athletes, too. They finished the season with a 15-7-3 record, captured the Little East Conference regular season championship and earned a berth in the ECAC New England tournament.


Rick Benner ’88: Keeping the Stats on College Baseball

Rick Benner ’85 at home in Texas

When you follow an interest, you never know just where it’s going to take you. Back in 2000, Rick Benner ’88, a geography major when he was at KSC, started researching major league baseball players who had played college ball. It wasn’t long before he was the Chairman of the Collegiate Baseball Committee at the Society for American Baseball Research, a position he held until 2009. When the College Baseball Foundation was organized in 2004, he asked to be included. Since then, he has expanded his research to writing summary sheets for every college baseball program, past and present. Continue reading Rick Benner ’88: Keeping the Stats on College Baseball