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Quartet elected to Athletics Hall of Fame

Women’s lacrosse player Jill Altshuler ’96, basketball player Bob Fortune ’70, football player Jack Rizzo ‘72, and wrestler Billy Stuart ‘66 will become the newest members of the Roger S. Penske Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 11, 2002. The quartet will be honored at the annual dinner held at Rathbone Dining Hall on the Asa Packer campus.

The dinner will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a reception being held at 4:30 p.m. in the Hall of Fame located in Taylor Gymnasium. Tickets to the dinner can be purchased through Barb Turanchik in the Lehigh Athletics Partnership office by calling 610-758-4301 or by emailing her at bat0@lehigh.edu. The cost of the dinner is $40 per person or $75 per couple.

Jill Altshuler ‘96

Arguably the best women’s lacrosse player in Lehigh history, Jill Altshuler raised the bar for women’s student-athletes at Lehigh athletically and academically. An All-American competitor on the field and in the classroom, Altshuler idealized what it means to be a student-athlete at Lehigh and on the national level. Altshuler is the third member of the Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame to be inducted in her first year of eligibility.

"Jill embodies all of the pure qualities of collegiate athletics: outstanding performance in the classroom and on the playing field," said head coach Jackie Keeley. "Jill combined her athletic skills and intellect with an unmatched work ethic to consistently achieve great success on the national level. Her determination and work ethic quickly separated Jill from her peers. She demanded excellence of herself both on the lacrosse field and in the classroom. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to coach such an amazing lacrosse player, excellent student, and wonderful person. She has defined success for Lehigh women's lacrosse."

Altshuler made an immediate impact the minute she stepped foot on the collegiate lacrosse field. She began to collect league and national individual honors beginning in her freshman season when she was tabbed an All Patriot League selection, the league’s Rookie of the Year, and a Brine Regional All-American. Those individual honors were merely the groundwork for what was to be a highly successful collegiate career.

As a sophomore she was again selected to the All-Patriot League team and received Regional All-America laurels from Brine. It was in her junior year that she really became prominent on the national level.

As a junior she led the nation in scoring and was named a Brine National All-American for the first time. Altshuler again received All-Patriot League honors and was named the Lehigh Valley Athlete of the Year.

Altshuler completed her Lehigh career with one of the best senior seasons in Lehigh sports history. As a senior captain she led the nation in scoring with 97 goals, which ranked second on the NCAA all-time single season scoring list at the time. She led the Mountain Hawks to a 14-3 record, an ECAC Championship, and a number 14 national ranking. She was again named a Brine National All-American and the Lehigh Valley Athlete of the Year. Altshuler was the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year and became a four-time All-League selection. She was one of 51 finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award and was one of 12 recipients of the Pro Am International ‘Give and Go’ award representing the true meaning of student-athlete by achieving recognition in the sports world without compromising the academic development of young people. She finished her career with 242 goals and 308 total points, which both ranked in the top ten nationally at the time.

"Jill is pretty remarkable," said former teammate and All-American Liz Brode Ota. "In all of her success, Jill was incredibly unselfish and pushed us to work harder. She came in as a true leader right from the start. She led by example and always worked harder than everyone else on the field. She had fun while she worked and never got stressed. Jill was always calm and relaxed on the field even when the game was on the line. She always knew how to get the job done and helped find a way for us to win."

Academically Altshuler was head of the class. She was a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and a member of the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society. With a 3.80 grade point average in Psychology, Altshuler received Academic All-America honors from GTE and the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association. She was an ECAC Merit Scholar Athlete Award winner and the recipient of the Patriot League’s highest honor, the 1996 Female Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Altshuler currently resides in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. She is a guidance counselor and head girl’s lacrosse coach at Catonsville High School. In 2001, she led Catonsville to a regional championship in her first year as head coach.

Billy Stuart ‘66

When entering college, Billy Stuart had two dreams. He wanted to become a national champion on the wrestling mat and he wanted to become a doctor. After spending one year in the Brown University wrestling room, Stuart realized that only one component of his two-part dream would come true. So he wrote two letters, one to Penn State and one to Lehigh. Gerry Leeman, then head coach for the Engineers responded and the Penn State coach did not. The rest is Lehigh history.

"Billy Stuart is the perfect example of what Lehigh strives to be," said former teammate and Lehigh Hall of Famer Mike Caruso. "He is a true scholar-athlete. He reached the pinnacle of success on the mat and distinguished himself in his profession as a doctor."

The second member of the "Terrific Trio" to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Dr. William "Billy" Stuart joins an elite company of past Lehigh wrestlers in the Hall. A national champion in 1965 and an NCAA third place finisher in 1966 at 137 pounds, Stuart along with Joe Peritore and Hall of Famer Mike Caruso, made up the Terrific Trio that was featured in Sports Illustrated and Newsweek in 1965.

"Billy was a ferocious guy on the mat," added Caruso who won three national championships for Lehigh in the late 1960’s. "He was not the most highly technical wrestler, he had a few good moves, but if you beat him, you knew you wrestled someone. He was a perfect example of if you have a dream and a goal, no one can stand in the way of achieving that goal."

After spending his freshman season at Brown, Stuart transferred to Lehigh his sophomore season and found immediate success. He went 9-2 in his first year as an Engineer and was runner up at 130 pounds at the EIWA Tournament. He earned instant acclaim from his admiring Lehigh fans, who were always on the look out for his unstoppable sit-out and spectacular pancake moves.

The Terrific Trio shined in 1965 and Stuart, a junior at the time was the fearless leader as Caruso and Peritore were just sophomores. Stuart went 21-0 that season and 12-0 in dual meet competition. Stuart and Caruso both won National Championships and Peritore finished second. The Engineers had four All-Americans that season with Dick Warnke finishing fourth.

As a senior Stuart again appeared to be on his way to All American status and perhaps another National Championship. He finished the season with a 9-0-2 dual meet record and earned a third place finish at the NCAA Championships, after suffering a heart-breaking semifinal loss in overtime to 1964 NCAA Champion Mike Sager of Oklahoma.

After graduation Stuart wrestled at the New York Athletic Club and was named the most outstanding wrestler at the Eastern AAU championships in 1967 at 136.5 pounds.

"I am honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said Rizzo. "I’m very pleased to be added to a list of great athletes that have already been inducted. I’m excited to join two of my very close teammates John Hill ‘72 and Kim McQuilken in the Hall. I am proud to be a part of the strong tradition of Lehigh football. I truly believe that the teams of the early and late 1970s really laid the ground work for the successful program that Lehigh football is today."

Currently the managing director of ProLogis Trust, Rizzo has been very involved in the community. He is the former board of director for the YMCA in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology school of real estate and the Harvard school of design. He is the former CEO and Senior Vice President of Perini Management Services in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Rizzo resides in Castle Rock, Colorado with his wife Priscilla and his children Lauren (24), Dana (22), and Andrea (18).

Posted on Friday, April 12, 2002

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