No women in 2019 Rutgers Hall of Fame Induction class
The 2019 Rutgers Hall of Fame class was announced today, and it recognizes three accomplished individuals and two historic teams in the history of the University, but what it lacks is any women.
The induction is a 13-0 ratio in favor of male competitors, and is the first hall of fame class since 2015 to not have any female inductees.
This year’s inductees include the 1919-20 men’s basketball team that became the first in program history to play in a postseason tournament. It's the oldest of the inductees, but a women’s basketball team did not yet exist for the Scarlet Knights back then.
The women’s program would not come about until 1974 under the leadership of Theresa Grentz, the first full-time women’s basketball coach in the history of America. Grentz was inducted in 2001.
The 2007 Rutgers women’s basketball team has not been inducted, but their resume of being the first team in program history to win the Big East title and advance to the national championship game should warrant their eventual induction.
But a male athlete who played in 2007 is being honored in this year’s class.
Current New York Met Todd Frazier is an inductee, honored for being the Knights' all-time leader in home runs (42) and runs scored (210), second in walks (138) and total bases (434), third in hits (241), slugging percentage (.625) and stolen bases (65) and fifth in runs batted in (152) in just three seasons played.
Three months after the women’s basketball team lost the national championship game to Tennessee, Frazier was drafted 34th overall by the Cincinnati Reds and his legacy at Rutgers was solidified today as a higher-priority legacy than the 2007 women’s basketball team with his induction.
The class also includes the 1981 men’s track and field two-mile relay team that became the second in program history to claim an all-time event title. This occurred the final year Debbie Deutsch competed with the Knights. Deutsch was the AIAW National Indoor Champion in the 60-yard hurdles. Deutsch was also an 11-time national championship (AIAW/NCAA) qualifier. She was inducted in 1995.
But, none of the teams that Deutsch has been a part of — teams that included fellow champions like Julie Smithers — have been inducted into the hall of fame like this year’s 1981 men’s team induction.
Greg Rinaldi became the 17th men’s lacrosse player to be inducted. He was honored for his record-setting 144 career goals and leadership as a two-year captain. He was even named the Targum Athlete of the Year by The Daily Targum's 122nd editorial board.
But, there are only two women’s lacrosse players in the hall of fame at all, with Elizabeth Ferrera in 1998 and Christine Lacy in 2006. No women’s lacrosse player has been inducted in the past 13 years.
Finally, former athletic director Fred Gruninger rounds out this year’s class. Gruninger served in the athletic department for 40 years, and spent 25 as the athletic director. His tenure from 1973-1998 saw a Rutgers football and men’s basketball team go undefeated.
The Knights have only had one female athletic director in its history, that being Julie Hermann who served from 2013-2015 before being fired and replaced with current Athletic Director Pat Hobbs. Under Hermann’s leadership, Rutgers was officially inducted into the Big Ten. The football team went 14-13 and the men’s basketball team went 22-43.
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