The following players, coaches, and team make up McQuaid Jesuit's 2017 Athletic Hall of Fame class. They will be formally recognized as part of the school's Hall of Fame Dinner Saturday, September 16 at the school. Click on each inductee to learn more.
Coach Mike Fennell
Eldridge Moore, '85
Mike Spiegel, '65
Coach Al Vyverberg
An All-American catcher at Le Moyne College, Mike Fennell was selected in the eleventh round of the 1982 draft by the New York Yankees. He worked his way through the Yankees farm system early on, but suffered a severe blow when forced to undergo surgery on his throwing shoulder before the 1985 season which would be his last as a player.
But his professional career wasn’t over. Impressed by Fennell’s study habits and knowledge of the game, Barry Foote, a former major league baseball player who was managing in the Yankees’ organization, asked him to be the bullpen coach for the Yankees’ International League affiliate in Columbus, Ohio. The following year, the Yankees themselves came calling and Fennell spent three summers in New York.
In 1990, Mike and his wife, Erin, returned to Rochester, where he took a job as a sporting goods sales rep. His calls occasionally took him to McQuaid, and when the school’s baseball coaching job opened, athletic director Tim Jordan recruited Fennell who became the program’s head coach in 1992.
In 11 seasons with the Knights, Fennell compiled a record of 203-41 record, captured two Section V titles (2001, 2002), was twice named Coach of the Year (1997, 1999), and saw his 2001 team nationally ranked by USA Today.
More than a coach, Fennell provided friendship, inspiration and guidance to the hundreds of young men who played for him. This rang true more than ever in November of 2000 when he was diagnosed with non-smokers lung cancer. Throughout an 18-month battle, Fennell continued to be a guiding force for the baseball program. As a sign of solidarity, his 2001 team shaved their heads at the beginning of the season in support of their coach. Fennell lost his battle in May 2002.
It is not often a high school student turns down a spot on varsity to stay on junior varsity but that is exactly what Eldridge “Eldee” Moore, ‘85 did before the 1982-83 McQuaid basketball season. When then McQuaid basketball coach Dan Panaggio offered him a chance to play varsity, Moore elected to spend his sophomore year on junior varsity to ensure himself playing time. While Panaggio thought Moore could have started on varsity that year, he later said the right decision probably was made.
During the 1983-84 season, the 6-foot-4 junior burst onto the varsity scene averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds while at the same time helping fill the void left by the graduation of All-American Tom Sheehey, ’83 and Matt Nesser, ’83. Moore was named team MVP as McQuaid finished the year 15-5. In addition, he was named first team All-Greater Rochester and first team City Catholic All-Star Team. He also was a member of the 1984 Empire State Games team.
Prior to his senior season, Moore was nominated for the McDonald’s High School All-American team, making him one of the top-100 players in the country. Again, he averaged more than 20 points per game including a career-high 44 against Marshall. He was named tournament MVP of the Bishop Ludden Holiday Classic which the Knights captured in December 1984. Moore repeated as team MVP as well as a first team All-Greater Rochester and first team City Catholic All-Star selection.
Moore went on to play at Niagara University and one season professionally in Holland where he led the team in scoring, averaging 23 points per game before an injury forced him into early retirement.
Considered by many to be the most gifted athlete in the class of 1965, Mike Spiegel had the ability to make an entire team better not only by his play but by his quiet leadership and confidence. The ultimate team player, Mike graduated with nine varsity letters; two in track, three in football, two in basketball, and two in baseball.
As a freshman member of the varsity track team, Mike set the school record in the long jump that stood for 30 years and also won the high jump at the Diocesan Track Championships.
As a sophomore, Mike earned a spot on the varsity football team, the only one in his class to do so. A three-year starter on both offense and defense, he ran like a gazelle out of the backfield and rarely missed a tackle in the secondary. As a junior, Mike was tied for second on the team in total yardage and third in scoring. As a senior, he averaged more than seven yards a carry.
From the gridiron to the hardwood, Mike earned two varsity letters in basketball, starting both seasons and helping the Knights capture the 1964 and ’65 Diocesan Championship. During the spring of his junior year, Mike opted for baseball instead of track, making plays all over the diamond.
He went on to play football at Cornell where he also was a member of the Marine ROTC program.
In 1971, as a junior hockey player at Pittsford, Al Vyverberg scored the game-winning goal against McQuaid Jesuit, knocking the Knights out of the playoffs. The following year, Vyverberg notched two goals against the Knights enroute to Pittsford’s first school championship. Vyverberg, known better as “Al V,” went on to play college hockey at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he scored 139 career points.
Fast forward to 1984. Vyverberg was recommended by McQuaid Jesuit hockey program founder and current head coach Bob Pedersen to be his successor. It was a ringing endorsement from a local hockey legend, who won 203 Section V games, 160 with McQuaid Jesuit, and helped the Knights capture three Section V titles. The school heeded Pedersen's advice, naming Vyverberg its varsity hockey coach.
Thirty-three years later, Vyverberg’s coaching stint at McQuaid Jesuit has come to an end. In February of this year, “Al V” coached his final game for McQuaid Jesuit after announcing earlier in the year his intent to retire after the 2016-17 season. In 30 years over two stints, (Vyverberg stepped away for three years between 1998-2001 for personal reasons), Vyverberg filled his predecessor’s shoes nicely. He retires as Section V’s career leader in victories with 411. His teams appeared in 11 Section V finals, winning six titles. His 2005 and 2015 teams captured the school’s two hockey state championships.
It wasn’t just Vyverberg’s on-ice success that kept him coming back year after year. In an interview with the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Vyverberg revealed that he didn’t return to coaching at McQuaid to win championships – he knew that doesn’t happen very often. He came back, he says, because of the players he got to coach and be around.
A senior-laden team, the 1996-97 Basketball Knights were considered by many around town the team to beat in Section V. Early on, they played like it, jumping out to a 5-0 record. However, injuries took their toll as the team struggled throughout the rest of the regular season losing six of their last 11 games to finish 10-6.
The Knights entered Sectional play as the eight seed. They also entered the tournament healthy. Sparked by the return of point guard Kevin Haefner and dominate play of Austin Davis, coupled with the height, skill and leadership of seniors Chris Fox, Cade Lemcke and Dave Roehrig, McQuaid knocked off top-seed Spencerport in the quarterfinals and capped off the Sectional crown by defeating rival East in the finals.
They continued their march through the state tournament knocking off some of the best New York had to offer. In the end, these Knights came home with the school’s second state basketball title.
Team: Nicholas Bovenzi, '98, Austin Davis, '97, Chris Fox, '97, Kevin Haefner, '97, Shaun Huff, '97, Cade Lemcke, '97, Mark McGowan, '97, Matthew Nally, '98, Kevin O'Dell, '97, John Pegan, '97, Michael Rigoni, '98, Dave Roehrig, '97, Chris Shea, '98, Jonathan Witmer, '97, James Wright.
Head Coach: Joe Marchese, '68
Assistant Coaches: Jason McKinney, ‘91, Tom Stanton
Managers: Craig Fiduccia, '97, Sachin Mehta, '97, Ben Nally, '02, Adam Porcelli, '00