Five Former Bison Greats To Be Inducted into Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame
July 8, 2004
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Five former Bison athletics stars spanning four different decades have been elected to the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame. The Class of 2004 will be formally inducted at a breakfast ceremony during Homecoming Weekend festivities on Nov. 6. The inductees will also be honored at halftime of the Bucknell-Fordham football game later that afternoon.
The Bucknell Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 1979 to honor the very best in the history of Bison athletics. Elected to the Class of 2004 - the 26th Hall of Fame class -- are former football stars Mickey Melberger '61 and Hassen Abdellah '80, standout soccer defender Gary Toubman '76, swimming record-holder Margaret (Grunow) Conze '93 and two-time wrestling All-American Bobby Ferraro '94.
This year's induction brings to 179 the number of outstanding student-athletes, coaches, administrators and friends of Bucknell whose contributions to Bucknell athletics are forever preserved in the Hall of Fame.
CLIFFORD "MICKEY" MELBERGER '61 was an outstanding halfback and team captain of Bucknell's 1960 football team that finished 7-2, outscored its opponents 188-59 and won the Lambert Cup as the top team in the East. Melberger was Bucknell's leading rusher and led the Middle Atlantic Conference in scoring that year. He received honorable mention All-MAC and Associate Press Little All-America recognition.
A resident of West Pittston, Pa., who also owns a farm on the outskirts of Lewisburg, Melberger remains a loyal follower of Bison Athletics and is currently a member of the Bison Club executive committee. The CEO of Diversified Information Technologies, Melberger's firm contributes scholarship funds in the name of the outstanding Bucknell football player in each game. In addition, the national Division III football player of the year award is named in his honor.
Also representing the Bison football program in the Hall of Fame Class of 2004 is HASSEN ABDELLAH '80, a former standout tailback and return specialist. A four-year letterwinner, Abdellah graduated as the school record holder with 3,484 all-purpose yards (he now ranks fourth). He compiled 1,543 career rushing yards, graduating in the top 10 all-time. A resident of Elizabeth, N.J., Abdellah led the team in scoring with nine touchdowns in 1978 and led the squad in receiving yards (129) in 1979. He averaged 121 all-purpose yards per game in 1978 and averaged nearly 10 yards per punt return during his career. In one memorable game against Lehigh during his senior year, Abdellah had a 91-yard touchdown run and an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown. An ECAC all-star as a senior, Abdellah, who was known as Allen Simmons during his first three years at Bucknell, twice won the team's Big Blue Award as the outstanding back or receiver.
The addition of Melberger and Abdellah brings to 68 the number of football players or coaches enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Newington, Conn., resident GARY TOUBMAN '76 becomes the seventh soccer player to earn Hall of Fame distinction, joining Arthur Raynor '50, Lyman Ott '62, Dave Rath '70, Bruce Strasburg '75, Scott Strasburg '77 and Dave Dohmson '80. Toubman was a defensive catalyst on some of Bucknell's all-time best men's soccer teams. He helped lead the Bison to an East Coast Conference title in 1974 and back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament in 1974 and 1975 - the program's first-ever postseason appearances. A team captain as a senior, Toubman was a four-year letterman and a two-time All-ECC selection. With the Strasburg brothers accounting for much of the scoring punch, Toubman anchored a defense that three times set or tied the school record for shutouts (seven in 1973 and 10 in 1974 and 1975). The 1974 Bison squad went 12-1-2, won the ECC title, defeated Penn State 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, then lost 1-0 in double-overtime to Philadelphia Textile in the second round. That team finished with a No. 14 national ranking and had a miniscule 0.33 goals-against average. Toubman's senior season, 1975, also culminated with an NCAA Tournament appearance and a heartbreaking loss to Fairleigh Dickinson in penalty kicks after the teams played to a scoreless tie for 150 minutes.
One of the finest women's swimmers in Bucknell history, MARGARET (GRUNOW) CONZE '93 won a school-record 88 individual races and never lost a regular-season 50 or 100-yard freestyle event. In 12 career individual league championship races, she captured 11 gold medals and one bronze medal. During her junior and senior campaigns she was a perfect 49-0, including six Patriot League individual titles and an Eastern Seaboard championship. Conze became the first female swimmer in school history to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials, where she finished 32nd among the nation's elite. A two-year co-captain, Conze graduated as the owner of six individual Bucknell records (50, 100 and 200-yard freestyle; 100, 200-yard butterfly; 200-yard individual medley) and was a member of four relay teams that set school marks. In 1992 she obliterated the previous 50 free record by 1.25 seconds - a monumental differential in a sprint event - and broke the 100 free standard by 2.11 seconds. Her record time of 56.02 in the 100 fly still stands as the Bison record, by a whopping 1.04 seconds over the nearest pursuer. Conze was named the Patriot League Championships Outstanding Swimmer in both 1992 and 1993, and she also won three individual events as a freshman at the East Coast Conference Championships but was passed over for Outstanding Swimmer honors. Following her senior season she won gold in the 100 fly at the Eastern Seaboard Championships and was subsequently named to the All-East Team. She also placed ninth in the 100 fly at the U.S. Senior National Championships and met the NCAA provisional qualifying standards in several events. Conze was both a winner of the Robert A. Latour Award as the top Bucknell swimmer and the Christy Mathewson Award as the top senior athlete in her class. A native of Kensington, Md., Conze is the fourth woman swimmer to earn Hall of Fame enshrinement, joining Sue Mestier Brauner '74, Kathy Frazier '82 and Kathy Lynch '87.
A first-ballot Hall of Fame choice and Bucknell's only two-time wrestling All-American, BOBBY FERRARO '94 graduated with an impressive 118-21-1 career mat record and four East Coast Wrestling Association gold medals. He became just the third grappler in school history to earn All-America honors with an eighth-place finish in the 177-pound class at the NCAA Championships during his senior season, and then he repeated the distinction with a seventh-place finish as a graduate student in 1995. Ferraro finished 31-8 in 1994, falling just one victory shy of the school record, and he tied a 37-year-old school mark by recording pins in five straight matches. With a 30-6 record in 1995, Ferraro broke the school career victory record and finished second all-time with 44 falls. In becoming just the second man to win four ECWA titles, Ferraro in 1995 also helped the Bison to their second-ever team championship. He was the ECWA Championships Outstanding Wrestler in 1992 and never lost a conference bout. A two-time team captain, he won the Christy Mathewson Award as Bucknell's top senior athlete. A Lewisburg native who now lives in Marietta, Ga., Ferraro is just the second Bucknell wrestler to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, joining Tom Scotton '78.