LEWISBURG, Pa. – Six outstanding alumni will join the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame as part of its 40th induction class this fall. The Hall of Fame Class of 2018 will be comprised of former Bison standouts representing six different programs.
Among the inductees is Bill Graham ’62, the captain of Bucknell’s undefeated wrestling team in 1961-62 who has become a successful businessman and one of Bucknell Athletics’ most generous donors. Also elected this year are do-it-all baseball star Jason Buursma ’08, standout soccer defender Michael Lookingland ’05, track and field record-setters Tricia Plasko Rocchino ’92 and Noel Powell ’04, and men’s golf champion Charlie Waddell ’07.
The new Hall of Fame class will be inducted at a dinner ceremony on Friday, Oct. 19 as part of Homecoming Weekend festivities. The new Hall of Famers will also be recognized at halftime of the Bucknell-Lafayette football game the following day.
The Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 1979 to honor the very best in the history of Bison athletics. This year’s induction brings to 263 the number of outstanding student-athletes, coaches, administrators and friends of Bucknell whose contributions are forever preserved in the Hall of Fame.
BILL GRAHAM ‘62 was a standout wrestler at Bucknell, and as an alumnus has served on the Board of Trustees while becoming one of his alma mater’s largest benefactors. As a student-athlete, Graham captained the Bison to a 9-0 record in 1961-62, which is one of only two perfect seasons in team history. He finished 7-1 with two pins that season, competing in the 191-pound and heavyweight classes. He was a starter at 177 pounds as a sophomore, and competed all the way up in the heavyweight division by his senior year.
After graduation, Graham went on to a very successful business career, and he is the chairman and chief executive officer of The Graham Company in Philadelphia, one of the nation’s largest insurance brokerages. His generous support of Bison Athletics has impacted hundreds of men’s and women’s student-athletes, most notably the wrestling program, which Graham helped restore to full varsity status in 2005 after it had been discontinued.
His generous gifts paved the way for the construction of Graham Field, the home of the Bison field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams, and the Graham Building, which houses the wrestling team’s training center as well as the university’s student health center. Graham is heavily involved in the sport of wrestling at the national level, and he is a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Graham was named the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) University Division Donor of the Year in 2007. In 2013, he was recognized by The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB) as one of the top “Game Changers” over the last 100 years. Graham was also honored by The Philadelphia Insurance Society as the 2013 recipient of the Society's prestigious Distinguished Leadership Award. At Bucknell, Graham has been one of the university's most noteworthy donors and was the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Citizenship Award.
TRICIA PLASKO ROCCHINO ‘92 was a dominant sprinter for the Bison track and field team under Hall-of-Fame coach Art Gulden. Plasko Rocchino earned 10 conference gold medals and graduated with school records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and 4x100- and 4x200-meter relays. Her time of 12.07 seconds in the 100-meter dash held up as the Bucknell record for 23 years, and her record of 24.74 in the 200 stood for eight years before being eclipsed by fellow Hall-of-Famer Yetunde Daniels.
In 1991, Plasko Rocchino won four events, including the 100, 200 and two relays, to help Bucknell capture the team title at the inaugural Patriot League Outdoor Championships. The Christy Mathewson Award Winner as the top athlete in her class, Plasko Rocchino was also nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, and she returned to Bucknell to earn a master’s degree.
NOEL POWELL ’04 piled up championship points for the Bison men’s track and field team as a record-setting jumper and sprinter. Powell won six Patriot League gold medals, four outdoors and two indoors, and was a four-time All-East honoree and a three-time NCAA Regionals qualifier. Powell dominated the 2002 Patriot League Outdoor Championships, winning the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump, and the 4x100-meter relay en route to Track Athlete of the Meet honors.
Powell won the long jump and 100-meter dash again in 2003, and he also won back-to-back Patriot League indoor long jump titles. Even 14 years after graduation, Powell still holds the Bucknell records in the 100-meter dash (10.52) and indoor (25-0) and outdoor (24-10 ½) long jumps. He also graduated with the school record in the 200-meter dash and 4x100 relay. Powell earned the Christy Mathewson Award as the top athlete in the Class of 2004.
MICHAEL LOOKINGLAND ’05 is one of the top defenders ever to play for the Bucknell men’s soccer team. A two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year honoree, Lookingland started and played every minute in all 76 games over his four-year career. The two-year team captain was a three-time All-Patriot League selection, and he helped the 2003 squad to a regular-season championship with a 5-0-2 record.
A member of the Patriot League 25th Anniversary Team, Lookingland became the first Bison ever to be selected in the Major League Soccer Draft when he was the 13th overall pick by Real Salt Lake in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft. He played briefly in the MLS and then went on to a stellar indoor soccer career, winning four MISL championships with the Baltimore Blast. He was the 2012 MISL Defender of the Year and a First Team All-MISL selection.
CHARLIE WADDELL ’07 is one of the finest golfers in Bucknell history and a two-time Patriot League individual champion and Golfer of the Year. In his four years at Bucknell, Waddell finished sixth, first, first and third at the Patriot League Championship to become a rare four-time all-conference honoree, and he was the No. 1 man on title-winning teams in 2006 and 2007. In 2005, Waddell posted a then-league-record 209 (-1) to claim medalist honors by one stroke on his home course, and a year later he compiled a 3-under-par 210 at the Naval Academy Golf Course. He remains the only back-to-back champion in league history.
Waddell was a nominee for the prestigious Byron Nelson Award, and he graduated as the school record-holder for season (73.4) and career (74.9) scoring average. He won four career tournaments and was also runner-up four times. A member of the Patriot League 25th Anniversary Team, Waddell turned pro after graduation. He has since regained his amateur status and has twice qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship.
JASON BUURSMA ’08 was elected to the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, after authoring one of the finest careers in Bucknell baseball history. Buursma was both an All-America and Academic All-America honoree, and remarkably over four years he was a five-time All-Patriot League selection at four different positions: 2005 at designated hitter, 2006 at both pitcher and first base, 2007 as a pitcher, and 2008 as an outfielder.
Buursma was selected as the Patriot League Player of the Year and Tournament MVP as a senior in 2008, when he led the team to a league title, an NCAA Regional berth, and a monumental upset of fourth-ranked Florida State on the opening night of the tournament. Buursma turned in a postseason for the ages. On the mound, he was the winning pitcher in relief in all four of Bucknell’s Patriot League Tournament games, going 4-0 with a 0.00 earned-run average while allowing only three hits in 10 innings of work. He also went 5-for-10 and scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning in both victories over Navy in the Patriot League championship series. And then against the Seminoles in the NCAA Regionals, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in Bucknell’s 7-0 win.
In 2008, Buursma hit .367 with 13 home runs and 37 RBIs, and as a pitcher he broke the school record with nine wins, going 9-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 20 appearances. He made three different All-America teams that year (ABCA, NCBWA, Ping). Buursma graduated with a school-record 24 home runs, while his career era of 2.13 ranked No. 2 all-time.
Buursma was selected in the MLB Draft after both his junior and senior years at Bucknell. He was a 25th-round selection of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008, and he went on to pitch for four years in the Cardinals’ system, advancing as high as AAA in 2011. He also excelled in the classroom, earning the overall Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award for all sports in 2008. He was a top-10 finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, and he earned the Christy Mathewson Award as the top athlete in his class. Buursma was later named to the Patriot League 25th Anniversary Team.