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BU adds four plaques to Athletic Hall of Fame

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VESTAL, N.Y. – Three individuals and one team were honored with enshrinement into the Binghamton University Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday night at the Events Center. Nearly 150 people gathered for the inductions of Jim Norris, Jacki Kane, Zach Groh and the 1980 men's soccer team.

A 2008 graduate, Groh remains BU's all-time strikeout leader and the heart of a pitching staff that helped produce two straight America East regular season championships. A three-time first team all-conference selection, he was named the America East Pitcher of the Year in 2006 and was the University's Athlete of the Year that same year. Groh led the entire nation in ERA for most of 2006 and finished ranked 11th with a 1.85 average. He was a finalist for the 2006 Roger Clemens Award. He holds the single-season strikeout mark (86) and ranks second in career wins (22) and ERA (3.36).

"This is taking me back to when I first got here as a freshman in 2003, and coming into a situation where I didn't know how exactly things would work out for me," Groh said. "This is bringing together that whole journey. It's really great to be able to be honored like this and have your accomplishments be recognized in this way. It's really humbling and a great situation for me to be in."

Another 2008 graduate, Kane was one of the most formidable volleyball players in school history. A four-time all-conference middle blocker, she led the program to its inaugural NCAA tournament berth in 2005. She was No. 1 in the America East in blocks in each of her final three collegiate seasons, earning first team all-conference honors each year. Kane was the Most Outstanding Performer at the 2005 America East Championship after steering BU to the team title.

"This is an immense honor," Kane stated. "Binghamton University has made me the woman I am. I wouldn't be the same person if it wasn't for this place and some of the best memories from my entire life happened here. So to be honored by the University is a dream and I know it's cheesy to say, but it's a dream come true and I am so happy."

A lifelong Binghamton native who came to the University in 1991, Norris served in multiple prominent capacities until retiring in 2011. He was head men's basketball coach for four years, leading Binghamton into its historic NCAA divisional upgrade. After transitioning to administration in 2000, Norris served nine years as associate director of athletics with direct oversight of 19 BU teams. During that time, the sports teams enjoyed notable success and Norris also played a key role in several major facility projects, including the Events Center and Bearcats Sports Complex. He was promoted to Director of Athletics in 2009 and served in that leadership role for the final two-and-a-half years of his tenure.

"This is a tremendous honor in which I am humbled and grateful beyond words," Norris began. "I clearly understand that in my time here I was surrounded by outstanding staff, and outstanding student-athletes that always unselfishly made me look way better that I should've looked. And with that being said, I accept this with them and on their behalf."

Coached by Hall of Fame member Tim Schum, the 1980 men's soccer team is the second team selected for entry, joining the 1983-84 wrestling team, which was enshrined last year. The 1980 squad went 12-4-2, captured the SUNYAC Championship and then won two NCAA tournament games to reach the quarterfinals. It remains the furthest advancement of any team in school history. Both NCAA wins came in sudden death of the second overtime. The team feature five all-conference selections.

"I can't believe it's been 35 years, that's the biggest thing for me," team member Bob Surash said. "I am still a little bit stunned and a little bit amazed at what we accomplished back in 1980, and I am surprised no team has made it that far since then. It was something I was very proud of back then, but as the time goes on… like today is the icing on the cake… how proud I am to know I was part of that team."

The Binghamton Athletic Hall of Fame, which was established in 1996, honors the individuals who set themselves and the University apart through talent, character, and achievements during the course of their intercollegiate careers. Since then, 98 individuals and two teams have been inducted into the Binghamton Athletic Hall of Fame, bringing the total count to 100.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)