2019 FAU Athletics Hall of Fame Class
The 2019 inductees will make up FAU’s sixth Athletic Hall of Fame class. The FAU Hall of Fame’s inaugural class induction was in 2006 and continued through 2011. The 2019 class follows a seven-year hiatus.
· Howard Schnellenberger (2001-11) – Schnellenberger came to FAU in 1998 with the assigned mission of exploring the possibility of FAU adding football. He secured the funding, gained the state’s approval and signed his first recruiting class in February of 2000. Under Schnellenberger’s direction, FAU took to the field for the first time in 2001. In 2003, the fledging program advanced to, and hosted, the I-AA semifinal game. FAU captured the Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2007, earning an invitation and win in the New Orleans Bowl, and became the fastest start-up program to receive a bowl bid and record a victory. One year later, the Owls became the only team in the state of Florida to record back-to-back bowl victories. Schnellenberger marshalled the sideline 132 times wearing a suit of FAU colors, proving victorious 58 times. His continued efforts to transform the Boca Raton campus into a more traditional university, through the efforts of football, culminated with an on-campus stadium in 2011. He would roam the sidelines that final season on a field that bared his name.
· Joan Joyce (1994-Present) The only head coach in FAU softball history, Joyce has helmed one of FAU’s most consistent programs and has guided the Owls to more than 950 wins, 12 conference championships and 11 NCAA Regional appearances. She has been named conference Coach of the Year eight times, coached five conference Players of the Year, four All-Americans, three conference Pitchers of the Year, two conference Freshman of the Year and an Academic All-American. In 2016, FAU went 51-9 while setting numerous school records and made its 11th NCAA Regional appearance, while earning Conference USA Coach of the Year, Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year recognition. Her FAU induction will be the 20th Hall of Fame of her career. Milestone wins include No. 800 (March 20, 2015 vs. Florida A&M) and No. 900 (March 19, 2017 vs. WKU).
· John McCormack (1990-Present) McCormack began his FAU coaching career in 1991 as an assistant, was promoted to associate head coach in 1998, and took over as head coach prior to the 2009 season. In his second year, he led the Owls to a Sun Belt Conference regular-season title, repeated the feat in 2012, and won the league’s postseason championship in 2013. He helped usher the team into Conference USA and again took a regular-season crown in 2016, as well as in 2019. Since becoming the Owls’ head baseball coach, 30 players have been selected in the MLB draft and over 50 have signed professional contracts. McCormack has picked up these milestone victories along the way: No. 100 (Feb. 17, 2012, at Alabama), No. 200 (Feb. 15, 2014, vs. Notre Dame), No. 300 (April 2, 2017, vs. Rice) and No. 400 (May 25, 2019, in the C-USA Championship vs. UTSA).
· Chris Sutcliffe (1997-01)– Sutcliffe was a standout pitcher for the Florida Atlantic softball team, anchoring the pitching staff during her four seasons. She ranks among the program leaders in nearly every pitching category. Sutcliffe appeared in 104 games, tallied 67 victories and 601.1 innings pitched, and held an earned run average of 1.47, while opponents batted .211 against the crafty hurler. She retired 351 via the strikeout and tossed two no-hitters during her career.
· Jeff Fiorentino (2002-04)– Fiorentino debuted as a Freshman All-American selection and earned a similar honor, Honorable Mention All-American, after his junior year campaign in 2004. He also was an All-Region selection in 2003 and was twice named All-Conference. His junior year, he broke the program’s all-time record with 84 runs scored, hit 17 home runs and tallied 71 RBI. He finished his career with 44 home runs, 168 RBI, 204 runs scored and 229 hits. Fiorentino was a third round draft pick after his junior year by the Baltimore Orioles, and would go on to play parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues with the Orioles and the Chicago White Sox, becoming the third Owl to ever make a big league debut, on May 12, 2005.
· Brittney Bowe (2006-10)– Bowe was a four-year member of the Florida Atlantic women’s basketball program, and left with her name sprinkled throughout the FAU record book. She scored 1,062 career points as an Owl, which ranked as the eighth most in school history at the time and she was the ninth FAU women’s basketball player to join the Owls’ 1,000-point club. Her 377 career assists ranked fourth in program history at the time. Following her successful FAU career, Bowe continued in athletics but traded the basketball court for an ice rink. Bowe had trained in the offseason as an inline skater while at FAU, but after graduation, her interest turned to the ice. Bowe found success early qualifying for the 2012 World Cup and took silver in the 1000m. In that same season, Bowe won silver at the U.S. Single Distance Long Track Championship in the 1000m and 1500m. She continued to compete internationally, but her ice skating career hit a new milestone in 2014 when Bowe qualified for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. The women’s team took sixth place overall and Bowe competed in three events. Most recently, Bowe competed at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics where the American team won bronze. As an individual, Bowe just missed the podium with a fourth-place finish in the 1000m. She also had a pair of fifth-place finishes in the 500m and 1500m.
· Rusty Smith (2006-10)– Smith became Florida Atlantic football’s first player selected in the National Football League Draft in 2010 following a standout career that featured two bowl victories and a Sun Belt Conference title. The quarterback finished his career with the school record in nearly every passing category. He helped lead the 2007 team to a Sun Belt Conference title with a road win at Troy. He then led FAU to a victory over Memphis in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. One year later, in 2008, he guided the team to a win over Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl. In both bowls he earned honors, as Most Valuable Player in the New Orleans Bowl and Offensive MVP for the Motor City Bowl. Smith threw 76 touchdowns and threw for 10,112 yards in his career (2006-09). He played for the Tennessee Titans and following his professional football retirement, became a high school football coach.
· Alfred Morris (2007-11)– Morris came to FAU as a fullback and believed he would have a place in the pro-style offense. He not only had a place in the system, but he would move to the primary back and became the system. Morris set records for single-game carries at 30, and then 38, in 2010 and 2011, respectively. He tallied four rushing touchdowns in a game twice and was credited with scoring 24 points in a 2011 game. He was just the second back in program history to surpass 1,000 yards and accomplished that twice in his career (1,392 in 2009 and 1,186 in 2011, while also recording 928 yards in 2010). He was the first back to break the single-season double-digit touchdown mark, doing so in 2009, a season he averaged over 100 yards a game, as the first FAU back to accomplish that. Morris became the second back to surpass 3,000 career rushing yards and did so in 733 attempts while adding 27 career scores. He concluded his college career by being selected by the Washington Redskins in the 2012 NFL Draft.
No idea if this is still the case, but when I visited FAU as a prospective student spring of ‘14 (right after Charlie was hired) they had images of Rusty and Alfred Morris in the orientation room. I thought that was really cool given how young FAU’s football program was (and still is).