Nicholls Athletics reveals 2017 Hall of Fame class

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THIBODAUX, La. – The Nicholls State University Department of Athletics announced Friday the five-member 2017 Hall of Fame Class – Alejandro “Alex” Castano (men’s soccer, 1983-85), Brian Stropolo (football, 1982-84, ’86), Lionel Vital (football, 1981-85), Amy Whitehead (volleyball, 2006-10) and Ray Washington (men’s basketball, 1990-95).

The class will be inducted on Saturday, Oct. 14 prior to the Colonel football against Abilene Christian. The ceremony will take place in the Harold J. Callais Recreational Center at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. Additionally, the 2017 class will be recognized during halftime of the football game, scheduled to kickoff at 3 p.m.

Castano was the most prolific scorer in men’s soccer program history, lettering three seasons for the Colonels from 1983-85. In each campaign, Castano led Nicholls in goals scored and finished with 52 in a total of 43 games played. He scored 19 goals in his first season before following up with 21 and 12 in the next two years. A two-time offensive MVP and one-time overall MVP, Castano also contributed with 30 assists in his three-year career. In the classroom, Castano excelled as well as he was named to the Dean’s and Presidential lists.

A native of Metairie, Louisiana, Stropolo left Nicholls in 1986 with 2,203 receiving yards,which ranks No. 2 on the program’s all-time career list. In four seasons with the Colonels, Stropolo finished with 135 receptions and 20 touchdowns, averaging 16.3 yards per catch. His most successful season as a receiver came in ’86 where he hauled in 63 catches for 1,113 yards and 10 touchdowns, highlighted by a three-touchdown game in a win over Troy, which is still tied for the program’s single-game record. A member of the ’84 Gulf Star Conference championship team and a Second Team All-Gulf Star selection in ’86, Stropolo also ranks in the top 10 on the Colonels’ career punt and kick return lists. Scoring a touchdown in each, he ranks sixth in punt returns at 390 yards and is ninth in kick returns with 916.

Hailing from Loreauville, Louisiana, Vital also starred for the Colonel football team in the early 80s, playing from 1981-84. Despite sharing the backfield with the program’s second-leading rusher, Oscar Smith, Vital piled up 1,518 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in his career and his 776 yards in ’83 was the program record at the time. Vital was also a member of the ’84 championship team and went on to earn Second Team All-Gulf Star. After being drafted in the seventh round by the Washington Redskins and playing in the Canadian Football League, Vital moved into the front office of the NFL where he has had a successful career in scouting/personnel.

A native of San Antonio, Whitehead started all four years for the volleyball team from 2005-09 and graduated as the program’s all-time leader in assists. For her career, she totaled 3,745 assists, which is twelve hundred more than the current No. 2 player on the all-time list. Whitehead averaged 8.79 assists in 426 career sets and her 1,109 assists in ‘06 ranks fifth-best all-time in team history. In ’09, Whitehead earned All-Southland honorable mention after helping the Colonels to an upset victory over No. 2 Sam Houston State in the Southland Conference Tournament. She also garnered Second Team All-Louisiana in ’08 and was a two-time honorable mention selection.

Washington, a Pineville, Louisiana native, played in 100 career games for the Colonel men’s basketball team from 1990-95. Playing at point guard, Washington wrapped up his career ranking second on the Colonels’ all-time list in both assists (526) and steals (220). For the 1994-95 campaign, Washington put up record numbers to help Nicholls claim the program’s first Southland Conference regular season and tournament titles, as well as its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. That season, he led the SLC with 213 assists (7.3 avg.) and 80 steals – both ranking in the Southland’s single-season top 10 lists, and his 3.0 steals was fourth-best in the NCAA. He dished out a program-best 20 assists in a win over McNeese and the performance still ranks No. 2 in the Southland for a single game. In addition to his assists and steals, Washington averaged 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds.

The purpose of the Nicholls Athletics Hall of Fame is to strengthen and perpetuate athletic tradition at Nicholls State University. Members in the Athletics Hall of Fame shall consist only of those outstanding persons whose dedication and performance merit the great honors that the University can bestow.

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