Editor's note: Information from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Marist Sports Information were used in this report.
EDISON, N.J. – In conjunction with the 2014 MAAC Basketball Championships at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass., the MAAC has announced the latest class to be inducted in the MAAC Honor Roll, in which honorees will be enshrined in “The MAAC Experience” exhibit at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Marist’s honorees are Mike Hart and Julianne Viani.
"The tremendous response from the 2012 and 2013 honorees reinforced within the MAAC the value and honor of being associated with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with this event," notes Rich Ensor, Commissioner of the MAAC. "The 2014 class of honorees is deep in basketball success, and the conference membership looks forward to their induction in March into the MAAC Basketball Hall of Fame Honor Roll."
Each member institution of the MAAC will have one male and one female of its basketball “family” as part of the 2014 induction class. A dinner event will be on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Court of Dreams to recognize the Honor Roll inductees, and the Honorees will be added to “The MAAC Experience” exhibit.
Each honoree will be profiled in the game program for the 2014 MAAC Basketball Championships, and will also be featured in a video display at The MAAC Experience. The honorees will also be recognized at halftime of the men’s championship evening quarterfinal round (session 5).
Mike Hart was a local product out of Poughkeepsie who stayed home and became a standout for the Marist College basketball program. The 6-5 Hart played primarily at small forward and power forward, but also saw action in the backcourt when needed. The lefty was known as a smooth shooter. Although plagued by a leg injury that limited him to just nine games as junior, Hart still managed to score 1,343 career points, the all-time leader when he graduated, and still in the Red Foxes’ Top 10 at No. 8. Hart helped the Red Fixes advance to the NAIA Region 31 championships in as a senior, when Marist posted a 16-10 record. He prided himself on being a coachable athlete, under the tutelage of head coach Ron Petro. Following his graduation from Marist, he went on to a successful career as a land surveyor.
Julianne Viani was one of the all-time great backcourt performers in Marist basketball history. The 5-8 point guard led Marist to four consecutive MAAC Championships and the accompanying automatic berth to the NCAA Championship tournament. Viani scored 1,447 points, No. 5 all-time at Marist and good for 11.2 points per game. More importantly, she directed the Red Foxes from her point guard position, leading the Red Foxes to a 113-20 record overall, and 67-5 mark in MAAC play. She contributed 441 assists, third all-time in Marist history. Julianne earned All-Rookie honors her freshman season, and was an All-MAAC selection as junior and senior. She has since gone on to a bourgeoning career as a TV sports announcer. She has served as the analyst for the MAAC’s women’s basketball championship, shown on ESPNU, for two consecutive years.
This is the third induction class for the MAAC Honor Roll. On the men’s side, Hart joins Rik Smits and Fred Weiss as Marist’s honorees. Viani joins Alisa Kresge and Rachele Fitz as the women’s inductees.