Tags Posts tagged with "Owls"


Georgette Nixon during her track and field days at Southern

Former SCSU women’s track & field All-American and current assistant coach Georgette Nixon, ’17, was featured in an article sponsored by Under Armour on Popsugar.com, “How This First-Generation College Athlete’s Track & Field Career Jump-Started Her Life Off the Turf.”

Nixon was a member of the first relay team in SCSU history to win a National Championship, and in the article discusses her journey as a walk-on onto the Owls as a freshman to becoming one of the most decorated student-athletes in program history. She graduated in 2017 with a major in business administration with a concentration in marketing. She minored in communications.

Georgette Nixon


owls stand together

Southern’s Director of Athletics Jay Moran has announced that the Department of Athletics will host an anti-racism virtual panel discussion on Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 6 p.m. “Owls Stand Together Against Racism” is open to all SCSU student-athletes and will be the first of several in a series of programs to discuss and address racism.

Read more about the panel discussion

The panel will be moderated by Dr. Steven Hoffler, Ph.D., L.C.S.W, associate professor and member of SCSU’s Social Work Department and will feature a panel consisting of Southern Connecticut Hall of Fame members James Barber and Dawn Stanton, Men’s Basketball Head Coach Scott Burrell and Volleyball Assistant Coach Marshay Greenlee, who designed the concept of the forum. In addition, a Southern Connecticut student-athlete will be chosen to participate on the panel. The five individuals will also serve as group leaders during break-out sessions, with Dian Brown-Albert, SCSU’s Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs, serving as a co-facilitator for the session led by the student-athlete.

An article in the Connecticut Post, “SCSU coach knows uncomfortable conversations key to discussion of race” (by Jeff Jacobs, July 2, 2020), highlights Greenlee’s inspiration to bring such a discussion to Southern’s Athletics Department and her efforts at bringing it to fruition.

Marshay Greenlee


Kwadir Delgado-McIntyre

As he heads into his senior year, rising football star Kwadir Delgado-McIntyre, ’21, was recently profiled on NFL Draft Diamonds. Not only is Delgado-McIntyre tackling opponents on the field, he’s a star in the classroom as well, boasting a 3.6 GPA, and he received five scholarships this past academic year.

In addition to playing football, Delgado-McIntyre work for the University in Card Services as well as Procurement Services. He is majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing.

Read about Delgado-McIntyre and his professional prospects (by Jimmy Williams, May 18, 2020)


Kwadir Delgado-McIntyre

Left to right: Ruvens Exantus, Milan Spisek, Justin Kelly, Trinity Collins, Elijah Henry, Oghenefejiro Onakpoma, Nigel Green

Seven members of the men’s indoor track and field team have earned All-American honors. Nigel Green (Shirley, N.Y.), Oghenefejiro Onakpoma (Naugatuck, Conn.), Ruvens Exantus (Stratford, Conn.), Milan Spisek (Easton, Conn.), Trinity Collins (Middletown, Conn.), Elijah Henry (Stratford, Conn.), and Justin Kelly (Hartford, Conn.) all received NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field All-American Honors, as announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Read more about these outstanding athletes


Nicole Cislo at work

Sophomore Nicole Cislo, a member of the Southern Connecticut Women’s Swimming & Diving Team, is entering her junior year in the nursing program and is currently working as a nurse’s aide for a local assistive living facility in her hometown. Cislo wrote about her experiences in a recent article, “Swimming & Diving Sophomore Nicole Cislo Discusses Her Experiences As A Nurse During COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Nicole Cislo, member of the SCSU Women’s Swimming & Diving Team



SCSU Softball Captain Sara Buscetto

The spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has caused innumerable cancellations and closures across the state, the country, and the globe. Among the canceled activities at Southern are spring sports, and for senior athletes, the loss of their final season.

Southern’s softball Senior Captain Sara Buscetto has written about what it means to her to have her senior softball season canceled. She writes, “It’s been hard for me to find the words to explain how I have been feeling regarding the abrupt cancellation of our softball season. After finally processing what’s happening here, I speak on behalf of all athletes affected by this when I say that we’re heartbroken.”

Read Buscetto’s thoughts on staying positive in the face of adversity and loss.

Photo: © Brian Foley for UNH Athletics

The first few weeks of February have been extremely fruitful for winter programs within the Southern Connecticut State University athletic department.

These Owls haven’t had to worry much about seeing their own shadow due to the collection of trophies accumulating inside Moore Field House.

Since the turn of the calendar to February, Southern Connecticut’s teams have claimed four Northeast -10 Conference team championships, four more individual awards and one additional team runner-up placing.

Things kicked off with the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams each capturing NE10 Championships on Feb. 11. It was the 13th title in 16 years for the men and 12th for the women – bringing the program’s combined total to a whopping 25. In addition, Katherine Crochet (Watertown, Conn.) was named the Women’s Most Outstanding Swimmer for the second time in her career while Tyler Prescott (Meriden, Conn.) collected Men’s Most Outstanding Swimmer laurels.

Thirteen proved to be a lucky number as well for the men’s indoor track and field team the following weekend as the Owls won their 13th NE10 indoor title and 27th overall. The women’s squad also finished as the runner-up for the fifth straight year.

Destiney Coward (East Haven, Conn.) was named the Most Outstanding Field Performer for the third straight year after winning both the shot put and weight throw. On the men’s side, Turner Kelly (Amityville, N.Y.) earned the same honor after also taking the top spot in those two events.

Photo: © Brian Foley for UNH Athletics.

Finally, the women’s basketball team claimed its first-ever NE10 Southwest Division title when the final game of the regular season concluded on Feb. 20. The Owls ended the regular season with 20 wins – including an earlier triumph over Division I Rhode Island – and are poised for a run deep into the post-season.

Men's Basketball Captain, 2017-18

Now in his third season with the Owls, Isaiah McLeod is more formidable on the basketball court than ever.

Last night, Mcleod broke 1,000 total career points, hitting an important university milestone against crosstown rival UNH.  As a junior, McLeod is a team captain and dedicated student-athlete, but here’s some more things you might not know about him….

Hometown: Cambridge, MA
Degree status: Junior currently majoring in sociology with a focus in criminal justice
Position: Guard

Why did you choose Southern?

I felt really comfortable as soon as I came on campus. I got to sit in and watch a college practice and it really drew my attention. The basketball program was a real family and I wanted to be a part of something like that because it is special. The coach showed that he really cared for me and wanted me to be a part of this program so it was hard for me to turn it down.

You have some very impressive stats. To what do you attribute your success?

I owe my stats to my mother and father constantly pushing me to be the best student-athlete I could be. Then I owe my success to my trainer for spending so much time with me, helping me to get better and really learn the game at a higher level. Also, I really want to just get better and be the best basketball player I can be. I stay humble and hungry so I can perform on the court.

What are your expectations this season?

I want to uphold the legacy our alumni have created. I want this program to keep getting the national attention it was getting. I love winning so I want to win a lot of games. I want my teammates and me to have a fun, successful season.

What are your long-term goals?

My dream is to win an NE-10 championship, a regional championship, and a national championship. These goals are easier said than accomplished. But I truly believe that with the talent we have on our team, if we constantly work hard and stay together, we could possibly make a huge run for those championships. I would also like to possibly play professional basketball overseas and then, later on, go back home to Cambridge. I could become a police officer to really help the kids in the community accomplish their goals.

What have been the major highlights in your career thus far?

Being able to make the NCAA tournament 2 years in a row is a major highlight for me because that is very hard to accomplish. Also, being named a captain of the basketball team is a huge highlight for me. It lets me know that coach believes in me and trusts me to be a leader for this team.

Describe yourself in three words:

  1. Humble
  2. Determined
  3. Shy

What do you enjoy most about the athletics program here at Southern?

It is like a huge family! Every sports team supports and wishes the best for the others and that is amazing. It shows that the athletes all care about each other’s success.

What is one of the best connections you have made here at Southern?

All the connections I’ve made at Southern have been great, from the equipment staff to the professors. I am grateful to have met every single one of them.

Scott Burrell and Kate Lynch have led their teams to the Northeast Conference Tournament, which will be played on Sunday, Feb. 28 in the Moore Fieldhouse at Southern. The men (22-6) clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament and will play at 4 p.m. The women (11-9) have earned the No. 2 seed and will play at 2 p.m.

It’s a whole new game for Southern basketball — with Owl national champion Kate Lynch, ’08, and celebrated former NBA player Scott Burrell taking the respective leads of the women’s and men’s teams.

Southern basketball is headed to the postseason – Visit Southern Athletics for game times.

The excitement surrounding these “new kids” is palpable. Both are celebrated athletes and share strong personal connections with Southern. Lynch is a Southern graduate as are Burrell’s parents, Samuel (B.S. in recreation and leisure studies in 1970 and a graduate degree in education in 1980) and Gertrude (B.S. in nursing in 1980 and a graduate degree as an adult educator with a concentration in nursing in 1991).

In July, the proud parents were among some 150 gathered on campus for a press conference officially announcing Burrell’s appointment. He came to Southern with extensive experience, having spent the last eight seasons as an assistant coach at Quinnipiac University. Arguably one of the finest athletes in Connecticut history, he was the first-round NBA draft pick of the Charlotte Hornets in 1993 and also suited up for the Golden State Warriors, the Chicago Bulls, and the New Jersey nets while playing professional ball from 1993-2006. Among the highlights of his storied career is playing with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls when they won the 1998 NBA Championship.

Burrell remains the only athlete in professional history to be drafted in the first round of two different sports. A three-sport scholastic standout at Hamden High School, he excelled at baseball, basketball, and football. He was picked in the first round of the 1989 Major League Baseball draft by the Seattle Mariners and again by the Toronto Blue Jays the following year, but instead enrolled at the University of Connecticut, playing basketball from 1989 – 1993.


He became one of the Huskies’ all-time greats, the first player in NCAA history to score more than 1,500 points, with at least 750 rebounds, 290 assists, and 300 steals.

More than two decades after playing for the Huskies, Burrell is still interviewed about one particular awe-inspiring play. It was March 22, 1990. With UConn down by one point and only one second remaining in the game, Burrell made a nearly full-court pass to Tate George, who scored for the win.

A celebrated athlete in her own right, Kate Lynch is a Southern hometown hero — a member of the 2007 team that won the Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship. She remains the all-time leading scorer for Southern’s women, with 1,779 points to her name. A two-time All American, she’s been inducted into three basketball halls of fame (Connecticut, Northeast-10, and New England).

Lynch’s winning tradition extends to coaching. Most recently, she was head coach at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, N.Y. Previously, she spent three years as the head coach of the Community College of Rhode Island, leading the Knights to three straight Region XXI regular season titles, and being named the 2013 National Coach of the Year at the community college level after a 25-win campaign and a District N Championship. Lynch launched her career as the director of basketball operations at Fairfield University, where she worked alongside her former coach at SCSU, Joe Frager.


Southern Magazine: Had the two of you met before coming to southern?

Kate Lynch: No, we never met. We were complete strangers.

Scott Burrell: Total strangers. I just knew that Southern had won a championship when she played here. When I got to Southern, I found out how well she played — that she was on the team that won the national championship, which I remember.

KL: The average sports follower, of course, knows Scott Burrell — and I’m a sports fanatic. Being an NBA champion trumps winning the collegiate national championship. Everybody here knows Scott Burrell — what a great athlete he is and what a great person he is.

SB: But she came back to where she played which is really special. She won a championship at Southern — and now she can try to win one as a coach.

Both of you have prior connections to the university.

KL: I always wanted to have the opportunity to coach here. Southern is home to me. I felt it even when I was being recruited. The atmosphere was great. The head coach and everyone on the administration — the staff and faculty — they were all just wonderful during my four years [as a student-athlete]. . . . Of course, we had a lot of success during that span, which makes it even more special. I haven’t stopped smiling for the last couple of months.

SB: It’s exciting because it’s my first head coaching job — and it’s where my mom and dad went to school. Half of the campus is located in my hometown [Hamden]. Walking around campus, I’ve seen so many people who I went to school with or played baseball with or other sports. It just makes it feel like home.

You want to build a team where your family can see you play and see you be successful — and Southern is a place where you can be successful. We have great support from President Papazian and a great athletic director, Jay Moran. Mike Donnelly [the former men’s basketball coach] did a wonderful job while he was here. It’s a good place for me to jump into head coaching. There’s a lot of pressure to come back to your hometown and be a head coach — but that’s the part I am excited about.


What led you to Southern?

KL: I was at Molloy College the last couple of years — and your intention is never to leave before you achieve the goals you’ve set for a particular institution. But this opportunity came up, and it was easy. I was supported by everyone at Molloy, which was great. Like I said, Southern is home to me and it’s always been that way. I’m looking forward to the future . . . looking forward to being here for a very long time.

SB: For me, it’s Southern’s winning tradition — though it’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, you might want to go someplace less successful, because then you know you’ll look good. [laughing] But, look at what Coach Donnelly did the last couple of years — 33 wins two years ago, 24 wins last year. The kids are here and the success is here to build on.

When did you first started playing basketball?

SB: I grew up watching the NBA games on NBC — watching Magic and Bird, and all those guys playing the Lakers. When I was a little kid, I played Biddy Basketball where they lower the hoop. Growing up, we had to go to the park and play on cement — and there were 30 kids waiting. If you lost, you waited three games to play again. So you learned how to win and lose. Because if you lost, you knew you had to wait another hour to play. Everyone was out there gunning for you, and you had to compete and win to stay on the court.

KL: I have two older brothers. So happily I didn’t have a choice growing up. My older brothers were always out playing in the neighborhood or at the local park, trying to find a game. I actually started playing really young, because I wanted to do everything that my big brothers did — and my big brothers played basketball. My first organized opportunity was with the fifth grade CYL [Catholic Youth League]. I was only in fourth grade, but I must have hounded every volunteer CYL coach. They eventually let me play, so I was a fourth grader on the fifth grade team. We actually did really, really well. I had my first taste of winning very young.

SB: My family got me involved as well. My dad coached football – so I was hanging around Yale my whole life. He coached New Haven baseball and Hillhouse lacrosse. I remember growing up and going to Yale games. I remember going to watch the Giants and the Jets play at Yale Bowl. So it was watching sports — and picking up little things while watching.

KL: It was the same for me. My brother played college basketball. But even when they were both in high school, I would go to every single game. . . . They gave me the opportunity to play.

SB: My older brother played Little League baseball. I was six—too young to join—and I wanted to play so badly. My parents signed me up early, and I played shortstop. I was doing well. My brother’s team was winning.

KL: You were the ringer.

SB: [laughing] A too young ringer. One day, I came home from practice. We got dropped off by the coach, and I came in crying. My mom tells me I said to her, ‘They found out!’ I got kicked out of the league for a year until I was old enough.


Do either of your players ask what it was like when you played?

KL: They want to know about our experience in 2007 — winning the national championship and what it takes to get there. Steph [assistant basketball coach Stephanie Hiriak, ’10] played with me on the team, and she’ll sometimes share stories about what we did and how we did it . . . How hard they have to work to get there. It’s a storied history at Southern going back to AIAW [Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women]. They were final four for three years in a row. We always remind them of the legacy — and the tradition that we are trying to build here.

SB: The only time they asked me about it was during my interview. . . . They asked me about Michael [Jordan] and playing for Chicago.
 Since then no one has asked me about that. . . . I think they are trying to feel me out as a coach. . . . I don’t want to make it about me. It’s about me coaching them and making them better.

But if they ask you?

SB: But if they ask me? Sure, there is a lot to tap into.

What are some of the strengths of the current teams?

SB: I lost 60 points a game from last year’s team . . . three and a half starters. I have two guys coming back. Mike Mallory was a sixth man who came off the bench, and Desmond Williams is coming back as well. They are very talented players. I’ve got to find the pieces to fit around them for us to be successful. We brought in five new guys this year, and I think we have some good players to fit those spots. Obviously losing two guys who averaged 18 points a game is going to be tough. But the new guys are going to get the opportunity. I hope they are excited about the challenge.

KL: I am going to second Scott. We certainly have some strong pieces of our puzzle. They’ve all been working really hard. They push themselves and that is all I can ask for. Do we have the opportunity to win this year? Yes. If we keep our focus and stay together as a team. We have a senior class that has talent — and we are looking to them to help lead us. We know they want to win a championship — and that takes a lot. But if last practice was any indication, we will be in good shape for the season.


When did you realize you wanted to coach?

KL: Life without basketball would be . . . [shaking her head] interesting. I don’t know what I would do. Coach Joe Frager at Fairfield University gave me my first opportunity. I went home for the summer after graduating, and he called and said, “There’s a director of operations opening, would you be interested?” To coach basketball? With Coach Frager? Are you kidding me? Of course, I went. I learned so much from him. I caught the coaching bug and moved up the ladder from there.

SB: When you are close to being done playing, you start to think about your next step. . . . I knew I wanted to stay involved with basketball, and I love coaching for several reasons. Today’s youth need guidance. They need mentors, especially young black males. . . . [There] are a lot of temptations out there . . . or they might look at the wrong things as signs of success. . . . The lure of easy money. But it’s not the right way. There are ways to become successful, and getting an education is number one for most of these guys. Being an athlete helps make that possible. . . . and it builds morals — dedication, an understanding of the importance of hard work. It carries over into every part of life.

After coaching nine years as an assistant, you see things that you might do differently . . . but you also learn from every coach you had. You want to use what you learned over time . . . to do what you think is best for your own team.

How do you want your players to think of you?

KL: I will go back to my experience here with Coach Frager. I consider him a great friend . . . and he is a great family friend, too. And he was tough as nails. He would set his expectations high, because he knew we could get there. But you also knew he wanted the best for you. There is that amazing balance — of being TOUGH but letting your players understand that you’ll always be there for them . . . that you will do anything that you can for them — on and off the court. It is something that everyone strives for. But Coach Frager is the master at it. It’s been 11 years . . . He is still a great friend, and he was one of the best coaches I ever had. I hope that when my players graduate I have the same relationship with them.

SB: Like Kate was saying, you have to be a psychologist in this day and age to be a coach. You have to know when to put the hammer down. But also know when to pick them up.

Is that what is most challenging?

SB: I think so.

KL: At the college level, you have a lot of different personalities . . . people from different walks of life. They all grew up differently. They all were the best on their high school basketball teams. . . . You have all these different puzzle pieces. You have to make them fit, because in the end, when you’re playing, it’s about the team. It is not about me. It’s not about Scott. It’s not about each individual player. . . . It’s a delicate balance we all hope to achieve. Sometimes you reach them, sometimes you don’t.

SB: Some kids fold . . . bow out.

KL: It’s not easy. But that’s what makes it fun for us, too. . . . Because everyone is different. Everyone learns differently . . . reacts differently. As coaches we have to understand each of our players.

I expect that you want it to be somewhat heartbreaking to lose.

KL: Yes.

SB: You play only 28—30 games [a season]. In AAU Basketball they play 30 in one month, so they get used to whatever happens. Sometimes, you have to break that habit.

What is most rewarding?

KL: For me, it’s that ‘ah ha’ moment, when you reach them. They are working so hard . . . and working so hard . . . and they finally get it. They are feeling and achieving the success they have been striving for. . . . Because again, it is not about us; it is about their experience. They only have four years as college athletes — and I want them to have the same type of experience at Southern that I did. Of course, with that comes bringing Southern back to national prominence and a national championship.

SB: I feel the same way. You want to have that impact. . . . You want them to gel as a team — and if they do and if you have the talent, you are going to win. . . . and that makes them happy. That makes everyone happy. It’s the best moment . . . . that and seeing them at graduation. [laughing] Especially if they come up and hug you after.

Can you talk a bit about your future goals?

KL: I want to put Southern on that stage. So one of my long-term goals would be to bring back one of these [points up to the national championship trophy] — and to make sure that our players graduate, and that I give them the tools needed to be successful.

SB: I don’t have goals for myself. I just have them for my team and that’s to win every year. 1. Win your regular season championship. 2. Win your conference championship. 3. Go as far as you can in the NCAA tournament. . . . Everybody is going to be nervous. But as long as your team is the most prepared and set to battle, that’s all you can do. Prepare them the best that you can.

You obviously have your assistant coaches who you work closely with. But in the future, will you sit down and talk with each other about strategy?

KL: Scott has had different experiences . . . different coaches who he has worked for. I’m looking forward to picking his brain.

SB: We haven’t had time to talk about anything really. But I can definitely see that. I asked her to have a cup of coffee . . . but she said, ‘No. I’m too big time for that.’

KL: That’s exactly what I said to him. [laughing] Too big time. I’ll get back to you.

Read more in the latest issue of Southern Alumni Magazine.
Read the full story in the latest issue of Southern Alumni Magazine.


Tyler Steskla

Sophomore Tyler Steskla of the Southern Connecticut State University men’s swimming and diving team is accustomed to dealing with adversity. At the same time, he is also well versed in the elements of perseverance and accomplishing goals.

He was all set to enter the pool and be a key contributor for the Owls’ in the pool last fall. Unfortunately, he was deemed ineligible by the NCAA to compete following a review of his high school coursework. Rather, he was able to practice with the team but could not compete in regular or post-season meets.

Part of the reason why he is able to shake off obstacles is the fact that he has overcome plenty of roadblocks since being diagnosed with autism at age 3. Tyler’s story was recently featured on NBC Connecticut and received national publicity as well across the NBC broadcasting platform.

“People that have this diagnosis know that it’s not easy for them, and they want to accomplish more than people think that they can,” Steskla said.

Accomplishing more has always been a part of Steskla’s nature. In the pool, he was an Age Group champion and Nationals qualifier as a part of the Cheshire Sea Dogs swim club. That prowess caught the eye of Owls’ coach Tim Quill. Steskla joined the program for the fall 2014 semester.

After receiving the unfortunate news from the NCAA, Steskla did what he always does – overcome the roadblock. He had a grade point average in excess of 3.0 in the spring of 2015.

“Personally, I was really worried about him because I know how passionate he was about it (swimming),” Quill said. “He was devastated, but instead what he did was embrace the situation, pull a 3.0 (grade point average) last semester.”

A Cheshire native, Steskla was one of the Owls’ stars of this year’s Northeast-10 Conference Championship, which took place in Worcester, Mass., in early February. He had three top-14 finishes, including a fourth place finish in the 1,650 yard freestyle – the equivalent of a mile swim. Southern Connecticut won its sixth straight NE-10 title and 14th in the last 15 years.

“He’s just a great example of that when you set your mind to something, anything’s possible,” Quill said. “People would look at Tyler in that he has a disability in some regards, but I look at it more as a strength.”

Watch the video about Steskla on NBC Connecticut