University of Delaware Men’s Soccer Team; Women’s Cross Country Coach Jim Fischer Honored at Annual DSBA Banquet
March 22, 2012
DOVER, Del. -- The 2011 University of Delaware men’s soccer team, which capped a historic season by winning the conference title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament, and Blue Hen women’s cross country head coach Jim Fischer (at right), whose service to his sport go way beyond the UD varsity team, were two of the big award winners at the annual Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcaster’s Association Banquet Thursday night at the Dover Downs Hotel.
The banquet celebrates the year in sports in the state of Delaware and recognizes outstanding teams, athletes, coaches, officials, and administrators from all levels of sports, including an introduction of the high school All-State teams.
The Blue Hen men’s soccer team was named the state Team of the Year while Fischer earned the Herm Reitzes Award, which is presented to a person who exhibits exceptional community service to the state. Both Fischer and UD men’s soccer head coach Ian Hennessy were on hand to accept the awards.
Other awards were presented to Alex Sklar (Special Olympics Delaware Athlete of the Year), Indian River High School football coach Ray Steele (Tubby Raymond Coach of the Year Award), and Penn State University football standout defensive lineman Devon Still (John J. Brady Athlete of the Year Award).
The 2011 season was the best in school history for the Blue Hen men’s soccer team as Delaware posted as record of 13-6-4 overall, including a mark of 6-4-1 in CAA play. The Hens, who set a school record for victories in a season while also earning votes in the national Top 25 poll, stormed through the CAA Tournament with wins over 20th ranked James Madison and 18th ranked Old Dominion to win their first ever CAA title and their first league crown of any kind since 1983.
The Blue Hens moved on to the NCAA Tournament for just the third time in school history and for the first time since 1970 and made history once again. The Hens knocked off host and 2009 national champion University of Virginia 1-0 in the opening round to post their first-ever NCAA victory. The dream season ended several nights later when the Hens battled host UCLA down to the wire before falling 1-0 in the NCAA second round. UCLA went on to advance to the national semifinals.
Individually for the Hens, Evans Frimpong was named the CAA Player of the Year while also earning second team All-American honors. He later became the first-ever UD player to be selected in the Major League Soccer Draft. In addition, Robert Gimenez earned All-Region honors and was the CAA Rookie of the Week while Darren O’Connor also earned All-Region honors.
“Our men’s soccer program, our athletes, and our coaching staff would like to thank the DSBA for this award,” said Hennessy. “I am very proud of the team and what we are able to accomplish this past season. It was a history-making season and it speaks volumes about the kind of kids we have here and how hard they were willing to work. We also want to thank the UD administration for their outstanding support.”
Fischer, who recently completed his fourth season as UD women’s cross country head coach and director of running programs after serving as the men’s cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track & field head coach for 29 seasons before the program was reclassified as a club sport, was honored for his long-time commitment to athletes and coaches throughout the state.
He was honored by Special Olympics Delaware at its annual Night of Heroes Dinner this past November for his over 20 years of volunteer services with the organization. He is also the founder of the Delaware Track & Field Hall of Fame; hosts, organizes, and runs countless cross country and track & field meets during the year; and opens the UD Mini-Stadium Tuesday nights throughout the year where he offers instruction to runners of all ages and levels.
“This is truly an honor for me to be considered for this great award,” said Fischer. “Everyone should have the opportunity to train, compete, and meet new people. If I can help in any way, it’s a highlight for me.”