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Chesapeake College announces ’09 HOF class
Dr. Kotula, Connolly, Todd, 2009 softball champs to be inducted as sixth class

WYE MILLS – Former President John R. Kotula, instrumental in bringing women’s softball back to Chesapeake College, headlines an Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2009 that includes the 2009 Region XX championship women’s softball team.

Katie Connolly, an NJCAA Distinguished Academic All-American who played on the college’s 20-win women’s softball team in 2006, and Jim Todd, who won a national men’s basketball rebounding title as a sophomore, will join Dr. Kotula as individuals to be inducted at October’s sixth annual induction dinner.

"It’s really an outstanding class," said Dr. Richard Midcap, who chairs the Hall of Fame Selection Committee. "We’re pleased to have Dr. Kotula, our most successful women’s softball team, and two outstanding student athletes who all embody the characteristics we seek out in Hall of Fame members."

The newest inductees will increase the number of individuals honored to 28, with two organizations (American Legion Post 278 and the Dave Haslup Foundation) and two teams, including the 2005 baseball squad that went to the Division II World Series. The Hall was created in 2003 with an initial group of 10 inductees.

The Class of 2009 will be inducted on Thursday, October 22, at 7 p.m.

Dr. Kotula – a former minor-league baseball player – served 15 years as president of Delaware Technical & Community College prior to becoming Chesapeake’s president in 1992. Early in his tenure at Chesapeake, the college revived its women’s softball, basketball and volleyball programs. He was also instrumental in establishment of the annual Chesapeake College Golf Tournament, now in its 18th year, which provides the bulk of the funding for the college’s athletic scholarships.

Dr. Kotula was a very enthusiastic support of the student athletes who played for the Skipjacks, according to Dr. Ed Baker, a professor of kinesiology at Chesapeake College who remains close friends with him.

"Dr. Kotula didn’t just support athletics financially, he got involved," said Dr. Baker. "He talked with student athletes and showed his concern for them and for our coaches. He had a genuine understanding of athletes and coaches and what they go through based upon his own incredible background, and was a very positive force on behalf of intercollegiate athletics."

Since leaving Chesapeake, Dr. Kotula has served as chairman of the Wellness Community of Delaware and on the boards of Wilmington Trust and the American Red Cross of Delmarva. Dr. Kotula and his wife, Connie, reside in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Todd was a third-team all-Region XX selection in 1998 and second team all-region in 1999, finishing eighth in NJCAA Division II in scoring as a sophomore in addition to claiming the national rebounding title. He was named to Chesapeake’s Dean’s List three times and was a Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society inductee.

Todd went on to play basketball at Salisbury University before becoming a physical education teacher and high school basketball coach. He has been assistant principal at Annapolis High since 2005.

Todd lives in Stevensville with his wife, Alison (who attended Chesapeake with him) and their two sons, Jacob and Nicholas.

"Jim was very solid fundamentally – great basic skills, a strong work ethic and always rose to the challenge," said Norm Amorose, Todd’s coach at Chesapeake College. "He was also a great team leader – he was a leader for us from Day 1."

Connolly set school records for hits and runs scored during 2006, finishing fourth in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference batting race with a .526 average. She served as captain of the 2006 team that became the college’s first women’s softball team to win 20 games.

Connolly, who compiled a 3.96 grade-point average at Chesapeake, is an auditor for Bond Beebe, a Bethesda-based accounting and advising firm. She also volunteers for Spay Now Animal Hospital in Grasonville.

"Katie was exactly what you’d want in a student athlete," said Frank Szymanski, Chesapeake’s athletic director. "She was a great student, a great competitor, and just an outstanding player. She was one of the key players on a team that finished third in the region (2006)."

The 2009 women’s softball team broke the 3-year-old record for wins during a 23-15 season that included the school’s second Region XX women’s softball regional championship and fourth overall region title. The title was the end result of a remarkable turnaround as the team went from 6-16 in Durrie Hayes’ first season as head coach in 2008 to an appearance in the NJCAA Division II Women’s Softball World Series this past spring.

The October 22nd induction ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. with a social, followed by a dinner and the induction of the Class of 2009. Tickets may be purchased for $75 per person by contacting Barbara Smith by phone (410-827-5843) or email (bsmith@chesapeake.edu) by October 13.

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