Lewis hosts inaugural Flyer Red dinner

Joyce Balash, Sports Editor

Photo courtesy of Joyce Balash.
Athletic Director John Planek spoke in front of more than 300 people at the Flyer Red Dinner.

The Lewis athletic department held its first ever Flyer Red dinner, Friday Mar. 17 at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook. as a fundraiser for the Lewis Flyers Athletic program.

Lewis alumni parents and families of student athletes and other members of the athletic department came to the affair as a way to show their continuous support of the  successful athletic department. Coaches and student athletes were hosts of the nights interacting with guests and giving them a first hand look for who they would be benefitting by attending this dinner.

With 20 teams and roughly 400 student-athletes, fundraisers are a common occurrence for Lewis athletics and tend to draw a crowd. Lewis Athletics thought this would be a great opportunity to unveil the 2017 Hall of Fame inductees.

“The Hall of Fame induction lets us recognize those that forged the path for today’s Flyers…” said Lewis Athletic Director Dr. John Planek.

The 2017 Hall of Fame class included Duane Chappell from men’s track and field (2000-04), Eduardo Quinones from men’s volleyball (1997-2000), Robin Martz Hammer from women’s softball (2003-06) and Kirk Vucsko from both men’s basketball and baseball (1980-84). These four athletes are some of Lewis’ most decorated.

To keep the honors rolling, Lewis also recognized former Athletic Director and coach Paul Ruddy as the Lasallian of the Year.

Ruddy’s career at Lewis spanned over 42 years. He began his career as a physical education instructor, assistant men’s basketball coach and assistant men’s baseball coach. His last 25 years at Lewis were spent as the athletic director, starting in 1978.

Ruddy got Lewis on the path to being a nationally recognized program.  Just two years after he took over as the athletic director, he helped to guide Lewis’ move from a NAIA to NCAA Division II school.

During his reign, Lewis teams were awarded 69 GLVC titles and had more than 100 NCAA postseason appearances.

“This award means an awful lot,” Ruddy said. “It means that people appreciate what I have done over the years. I look at it as I was just doing my job, but I think other people look at it as something that wasn’t expected.”

The inaugural Flyer Red dinner was a success as more than 300 Flyer fans were in attendance.

Joyce Balash
Joyce Balash is a junior public relations/advertising major with minors in marketing and organizational communication. This is her first year as sports editor for The Flyer. She is also a member of the Lewis women’s volleyball team.

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