An All-American catcher at Le Moyne College, Mike Fennell was selected in the 11th round of the 1982 Major League Baseball draft by the New York Yankees. He was working his way through the Yankees farm system until he was forced to undergo surgery on his throwing shoulder before the 1985 season, which would be his last as a player.
His professional career, however, wasn't over. Impressed by Mike's study habits and knowledge of the game, Barry Foote, a former major league 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 a memorable three
summers in the Bronx as a bullpen catcher.
When Mike and his wife, Erin, returned to Rochester after their son, Ryan, was born in 1990, 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 Mike, who became the program's head coach in the spring of 1992.
In 11 seasons with the Knights, Mike compiled a 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, Mike provided friendship, inspiration, and guidance to the hundreds of young men who played for him. This rang true more than ever in November 2000, when he was diagnosed with non-smokers lung cancer.
Throughout the next 18 months, Mike continued to be a guiding force for the baseball program, inspiring all those with whom he spoke. In 2001, as a sign of solidarity with their coach, his entire team shaved their heads at the beginning of the season.
Mike died in May 2002, but his legacy and inspiration live on through a patch today's Knights wear on their sleeves — #55, the number he wore as McQuaid's coach.
Eldridge "Eldee" Moore III, '85
It's not often that a high school student turns down a spot on a varsity team, but that's exactly what Eldridge "Eldee" Moore, '85 did before the 1982-83 basketball season. Although coach Dan Panaggio offered him a spot on the varsity roster, Eldee elected to spend his sophomore year on junior varsity to ensure more playing time. Panaggio later agreed that Eldee made the right decision.
During the 1983-84 season, the 6-foot-4 junior burst onto the varsity scene, averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds while helping to fill the void left by the graduation of All-American Tom Sheehey, '83 and Matt Nesser, '83. Eldee was named team MVP as McQuaid finished the year 15-5. In addition, he was named first team All-Greater Rochester as well as a City Catholic League all-star. He also was selected to play on the 1984 Empire State Games team.
Prior to his senior season, Eldee was nominated for the McDonald's High School All-American team, making him one of the Top 100 players in the country. During his final season at McQuaid, 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 won in December 1984. Moore repeated as team MVP as well as a first team All-Greater Rochester and a City Catholic All-Star.
Eldee played at Niagara University and one season professionally in Holland, where he led his team in scoring — averaging 23 points per game — before an injury forced him to retire.
Mike Spiegel, '65
Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track
Mike Spiegel was considered by many to be the most gifted athlete in McQuaid's Class of 1965. He had the ability to make an entire team better not only by his play, but by his quiet leadership and confidence. Mike graduated with nine varsity letters: two in track, three in football, two in basketball, and two in baseball.
Mike competed in track in the spring of his freshman and sophomore years. As a freshman, he set a school record in the long jump that stood for 30 years. That same year, he 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, a teammate said, "He ran like a gazelle and hit like a truck." As a junior, Mike was tied for second on the team in total yardage and third in scoring. His senior year, Mike 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 1965 Diocesan Championships. When the snow melted, Mike headed outside, where, as a junior and senior, he earned varsity letters in baseball.
He went on to play football at Cornell University, where he also was a member of the Marines ROTC.
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, Al notched two goals against the Knights enroute to Pittsford's first school championship. He went on to play college hockey at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he scored 139 career points.
Following his 1976 graduation, then-RIT coach Daryl Sullivan asked Al to coach the school's junior varsity team, which he did for a few seasons before being promoted to assistant coach for the varsity squad.
Fast forward to 1984. Al, who was no longer coaching, was recommended by McQuaid Jesuit hockey program founder and then current head coach Bob Pedersen to be his successor. It was a ringing endorsement from a local hockey legend.
Thirty-three years later, Al's coaching stint at McQuaid Jesuit came to an end. In 30 years over two stints, (he stepped away for three years between 1998-2001 for personal reasons), Al filled his predecessor's shoes nicely, retiring 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 Al's on-ice success that kept him coming back year after year. In an interview with the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, he 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. Those same players undoubtedly would say the same about their coach.
1996-97 Basketball Team
Players: Nick Bovenzi, '98, Austin Davis, '97, Chris Fox, '97, Kevin Haefner, '97, Shaun Huff, '97, Cade Lemcke, '97, Mark McGowan, '97, Matt Nally, '98, Kevin O'Dell, '97, John Pegan, '97, Mike Rigoni, '98, Dave Roehrig, '97, Chris Shea, '98, Jon Witmer, '97, James Wright
Head Coach: Joe Marchese, '68
Assistant Coaches: Jason McKinney, '91, Tom Stanton
Managers: Ben Nally, '02, Adam Porcelli, '00
A senior-laden team, the 1996-97 Basketball Knights were considered by many to be 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, and the team struggled throughout the rest of its regular season, at one point losing four of five to fall to 10-6 and prompting coach Joe Marchese to tell assistant coach Jason McKinney, "We might not win another game."
The Knights entered Sectional play as the number eight seed. They also entered the tournament healthy. Sparked by the return of point guard Kevin Haefner and dominant 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 its Sectional run by defeating rival East in the finals.
Once again playing the underdog role at the state Final Four in Glens Falls, McQuaid shocked Henninger (Syracuse) in the semifinals. Henninger was ranked second in the state at the time.
McQuaid faced Hempstead in the state final. Tied at 42 going into the fourth quarter, Cade hit a 3-pointer to break the tie and McQuaid never looked back, outscoring Hempstead 27-13 in the quarter and capturing the second basketball state title in school history.