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Plymouth State names new Hall of Fame members

August 22, 2011
PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University will honor its athletic heritage next month when six new members are enshrined into the PSU Athletic Hall of Fame

This year's ceremony, set for Sunday, Sept. 18, will mark the 27th group to be inducted into the PSU Athletic Hall of Fame. The contingent honors the best of Panther athletics over the last four decades, representing the sports of basketball, football, skiing, softball and swimming, as well as a former administrator.

The 2011 inductees are:

Meaghan Buckley ('00), former nine-time All-New England swimming sprinter who set numerous school records and eclipsed the NCAA Championships 'B' qualifying times in 1998 and 1999.

Peter Cofran ('74), former athletic administrator at Plymouth State for more than 20 years, serving as facilities and event coordinator and also heavily involved in New Hampshire high school sports.

Adriene Harvey ('03), former two-sport standout who earned All-New England honors and set hitting records as a catcher in softball and served as co-captain of the championship field hockey team.

Dave Levesque ('92), former two-time First Team All-Little East Conference basketball player who set the school's all-time scoring record as a senior and still ranks fifth on the PSU career scoring list.

Tim Mitchell ('02), former alpine skiing star who earned seven career All-America honors and won the 2001 Eastern Regional championship, as well as being a two-time Academic All-American.

Nick Vailas ('76), former Panther football team captain in the program's early years who has enjoyed a distinguished professional career and has been a key member of the Friends of PSU Athletics.

The Hall of Fame activities on Sept. 18 will be at Prospect Hall on the PSU campus, beginning with a reception at 12 p.m., followed at 12:30 p.m. with a banquet and the induction ceremony. This year's group increases the total number in the Hall since it began in 1985 to 154 individuals and six teams.

The entire list of inductees and profiles on each member, as well as a nomination form open to the public, is available on the PSU Athletics Web site at athletics.plymouth.edu. For tickets or more information, call 535-2770.

Meaghan Buckley

A star sprinter for the Panther swimming and diving teams in the late 1990s, Buckley placed in top nine at the New England Championships in eight individual events over a three-year span from 1998-00. She still owns six school records, three individual and three in relays, and can claim the title of the fastest swimmer in the first quarter-century of the program.

A native of Haverhill, Mass., Buckley made an impact as a freshman under coach Al Switzer, setting school records in the 400-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays. She established new marks in the 50, 100 and 200-yard freestyle the next season, breaking a 12-year-old standard in the 50, the sport's fastest race. By the time she was done, Buckley owned Panther standards in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle, and put her name on the record-holding contingents in the 200, 400, and 800-yard freestyle relays, all marks that still stand today.

Buckley earned three All-New England honors three straight years, with her top performances a fifth place in the 50 free in 1998 and a fifth in the 100 free in 2000. She reached NCAA "B" List qualifying times in the 50 and 100 free as a sophomore and again in the 100 and 200 free as a junior. Buckley went unbeaten in the 100 free as a senior and won 25 of 27 freestyle races and she led the Panthers to a 30-12 dual meet record in her four years.

Peter Cofran

A long-time administrator in the Plymouth State athletic department, Cofran served 22 years in several roles from 1984-07, primarily as the Physical Education Center and Home Events Coordinator. He also served stints as equipment manager and assistant athletic director. Cofran has been the athletic director at Newfound Regional High School in Bristol since 2007.

Cofran has also been heavily involved with high school sports, including lengthy coaching stints at Plymouth Regional High School. He led the softball team to a 265-151 record from 1974-83 and 1999-04, and he guided the girls' basketball team to a 105-76 mark from 1974-83 and 1989-91. He has been very active with the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA), Plymouth Area Little League and various coaches' and officials' organizations, serving on numerous committees and in a variety of leadership roles.

A resident of Holderness and a former Plymouth State student body president, Cofran has received numerous awards from many organizations. He has been a Coach of the Year, Athletic Director of the Year, Employee of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, received several service awards, and was inducted into the New Hampshire Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005.

Adriene Harvey

An outstanding two-sport athlete, Harvey was First Team All-New England and a three-time All-Little East Conference selection for the Panther softball team, setting school slugging records and helping PSU to two of the top seasons in school history. She also played on Panther field hockey teams that won three straight Little East Conference championships, serving as team captain as a senior.

A native of Nantucket, Mass., Harvey led the softball team in hitting three times, earning All-LEC Honorable Mention as a freshman outfielder and First Team honors as a catcher her junior and senior seasons under coach Harry Blood. She was named First Team All-New England as a senior after helping PSU to a program-best 30-9 record and the ECAC New England championship. Harvey set five school hitting records as a junior, including doubles, home runs and RBI, and she established eight school marks as a senior, including home runs in a season and career and hits in a career.

Harvey was a reserve on Panther field hockey teams under coach Bonnie Lord that won LEC Championships and went to NCAA Tournaments her sophomore and junior seasons before she was named captain as a senior and moved into the starting lineup. She helped the team to its third straight title and NCAA berth and a final record of 17-2 for a three-year mark of 47-12.

Dave Levesque

A former All-Star for the Panther men's basketball team from 1988-92, Levesque was a two-time scoring leader who set school records for three-pointers in a season (101) and a career (272). He ranked among the national leaders in three-pointers as a junior and a senior. Levesque finished his career as the school's all-time scoring leader and still ranks fifth on the career list with 1,474 points.

A native of Shaftsbury, Vt., Levesque shared the team scoring lead as a sophomore and topped the squad as a junior with 18.6 points per game, when he ranked fifth in the nation in three-point field goals made (98). Levesque earned First Team All-Little East Conference selection as a senior in 1991-92 when he averaged 21.3 points per game. Levesque and teammate Moses Jean-Pierre were among the highest scoring backcourts in the nation.

Levesque helped Plymouth State to three winning seasons in four years, a combined 65-39 record, and ECAC New England Tournament berths in 1989 and 1991. He served three seasons as an assistant coach for the Panthers and coached boys' and girls' basketball for several years at Laconia High School. Levesque is a two-time Ironman Triathlon finisher and completed the 2011 Boston Marathon.

Tim Mitchell

A former seven-time All-American for the Panther alpine ski racing team, Mitchell excelled on the mountain and in the classroom, earning Academic All-America honors his junior and senior seasons. He captured first place in 15 regular season races in his career and finished runner-up six times; won the 2001 and 2002 MacConnell Division titles; and captured the 2001 Eastern Regional Championship in the slalom and combined alpine.

A native of Ashland, Mass., Mitchell was a four-year starter for the Panthers under coach Kim Bownes, earning All-America honors three times in the giant slalom and twice each in the slalom and combined alpine. He made the winners' podium at the national championships as a junior when he placed third in both the slalom and combined. He wrapped up his career with an impressive fourth place finish at nationals in the slalom and fifth place in the combined alpine.

Mitchell helped the Panthers to three consecutive Eastern Regional championships from 1999-01, and runner-up finishes at the USCSA National Championships in 2000 and 2001. Mitchell is currently in his sixth year as head coach of alpine skiing at Harvard University.

Nick Vailas

A former four-year starter on the Plymouth State football teams of the 1970s, Vailas was a key player for the Panthers in their early years as a varsity program. He played receiver for one year and linebacker for three, helping the Panthers to 23-9-2 record from 1972 to 1975 under coach Tom Bell. Vailas served as team co-captain his senior year and earned honorable mention all-conference honors.

A native of Manchester (Central High School, where he is in the school's Hall of Fame), Vailas has used his football experience and degree in health education, coaching and athletic training in his professional career. He founded one of the top ambulatory surgical centers in the United States and he helped found the Safe Sports Network, an organization of physicians who perform exams on needy kids interested in sports, educates coaches and provides athletic training coverage to local schools. Vailas has established numerous fitness and physical therapy practices throughout Southern New Hampshire and also served the state as the Commissioner of Health and Human Services.

A former high school football coach, including stints as coach at the annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, Vailas received PSU's Walter Murphy Coaches Award in 2004. He has been very supportive of his alma mater and has been instrumental in encouraging former teammates to support PSU Athletics. His efforts led to an improved strength and conditioning facility for Plymouth State Athletics, now called the Vailas Performance Center.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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