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- Former New England Patriots Linebacker Steve Nelson, Alums Honored at Curry College Athletics Hall of Fame Ceremony
Former New England Patriots Linebacker Steve Nelson, Alums Honored at Curry College Athletics Hall of Fame Ceremony
November 10, 2011
On Friday, November 4, 2011, Curry College inducted three alumni, along with former Athletic Director and former New England Patriot Steve Nelson, into its Athletic Hall of Fame. Alumni inductees who showed excellence in athletics while attending Curry College included Lisa Bello, class of 2004 (softball) ; Brian Doherty, class of 2005 (hockey); and Erica Veenendaal, class of 2006 (tennis).
Steve Nelson served as Curry College's Athletic Director from 1998-2006, and was Head Football Coach for eight seasons from 1998-2005. To say Steve Nelson was instrumental in Curry football's winning legacy is an understatement. In his first year alone, Coach Nelson's Colonels finished at 6-4, producing the Curry's first winning season in eight years. As head football coach, he led the Colonels to two ECAC tournaments, three NEFC championships and three NCAA tournaments. He was NEFC Coach of the Year three times and is Curry's leader in all-time career wins with a record of 64-22 as head coach. During Steve's time as athletic director, Curry College added women's lacrosse as a varsity sport. The College also enhanced its athletic facilities by upgrading the baseball and softball fields, as well as constructing a new turf field with lights and bleachers for football, soccer and lacrosse.
Nelson expressed his gratitude in a brief statement to the athletic community during the induction ceremony, and attributed his success at Curry to the support he received from coaches and players alike. He noted that the key to running a successful athletic program is to maintain a winning spirit at all times.
"That's the most important thing: wanting to win. If you don't want to win, you're done. You have to start with players and people who want to win. Then they'll put the time in, they'll use all their abilities and they'll use all their resources to find a way to win."
Lisa Bello made an immediate impression at Curry as a freshman, winning Rookie of the Year and grabbing an all-conference honorable mention in 2001 for her softball skills. She led the Colonels as team captain for the next three seasons and was named First Team All-Conference in 2004. She played in 151 career games, compiling a .376 batting average with 110 runs scored. Bello was awarded the Paula Martin Memorial Award in 2002 and the Colonel Pride Award in 2004.
Brian Doherty began his Curry hockey career as assistant team captain and Curry Classic MVP during his first season (2001-2002). He went on to lead the team as captain for the next three seasons, being named to several all-conference teams along the way. In his senior season he was named team MVP, Curry College Male Athlete of the Year, ECAC First Team All-Conference and he won the Joe Concannon Award for best American-born Div. II/III player in New England. Doherty scored a career total 82 goals, placing him third on Curry's list of all-time highest goal scorers. With 113 assists and 195 points, he ranks second on Curry's career record charts for each.
In 2002, after her first season at Curry, Erica Veenendaal was named team MVP. It was a distinction she would go on to earn every season of her Curry tennis career. She was also 2002's Rookie of the Year for Curry and the Commonwealth Coast Conference. She led the team as captain in her junior and senior seasons and was named First Team All-Conference for singles in consecutive seasons during 2003 and 2004.
The Curry College Athletic Hall of Fame was established to recognize the College's greatest athletes and those who have given extraordinary support to Curry's athletic program, bringing honor and distinction to the College. Hall of Fame members include individuals who have demonstrated exceptional athletic ability, personal integrity, high standards of sportsmanship and good character; have participated in varsity intercollegiate athletics at Curry for at least two years; or those who have made a significant contribution to the Curry athletic program.