Continuing a Legacy of Excellence

By: Jeff Kirik, Assistant Director of Athletics Media Relations

The 2023 Class of Gannon University's Athletics Hall of Fame might be best remembered for epitomizing what Gannon’s athletic program values most: prolonged excellence in competition and in the classroom. 

This year’s eight inductees each competed in different athletic programs and represent the long-term success of the university. Starting with basketball standout Calvin Graham in the 1960s, each decade through the 2010s was represented.  

In addition to Graham, the class included men’s soccer standout Frank W. Brown ’88 and women’s soccer star Samantha “Mani” Brueckner ’16, ’17M; baseball slugger Loren C. Marz ’75; wrestler Niall Frank McGrath ’10, ’13M; golfer Diana Carolina Munoz Sanchez ’17; diver Diana Rocco ’12, ’13M; and aquatics coach/administrator Donald R. Sherman Jr.  

The honorees gathered with family and friends for the induction ceremony on Jan. 28 at Yehl Alumni Ballroom in the Waldron Campus Center. Each student-athlete 
attributed their post-competition success to the Gannon education that they received.

Graham starred as a small forward from 1965-67 and later went on to play in the American Basketball Association. He credited another Gannon Hall of Famer, Mel Witherspoon, with helping him land in Erie. Both played at a junior college in Nebraska before Witherspoon enrolled at Gannon. He recommended Gannon to Graham, and the rest is history.   

Calvin Graham

Gannon basketball great and 2023 inductee Calvin Graham poses with his family.

Graham serves as President and Owner of Graham & Graham Security, a 200-employee company that he founded in 1996. 

As a member of the 1970-73 Gannon baseball teams, Marz was a slugging first baseman who holds Gannon records after half a century. He owns three of the top 10 batting averages in program history, along with two of the top three slugging percentages. 

Marz graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1975 and had a long career as a National Weather Service meteorologist. 

Brown was a key member of outstanding Gannon soccer teams from the 1980s. He joined former teammates Gerry van DeMerwe and Rob van Rheenen, and head coach Rob Russo in the Gannon Hall of Fame. They previously were honored with the 1985 Gannon team that was inducted in 2020. 

Brown graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and spent 30 years as a U.S. Treasury Department special agent. 

Brueckner was inducted for her record-setting soccer career from 2012-15. She holds numerous Gannon records, including career assists and points. She helped Gannon to a 50-24-3 record while making five All-America teams and three Academic All-America teams. 

Brueckner received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2016 and an MBA in 2017. She works as a materials technical advisor for Wabtec. 

McGrath starred as a wrestler from 2007-10. He was a two-time All-American who placed fifth in the NCAA Championships as a junior and seventh as a senior.  

In 2010, he graduated from Gannon with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, and in 2013, he earned his MBA. McGrath is a mechanical sourcing leader for Wabtec.

Sanchez made Gannon history as the first women’s golf inductee. She became Gannon’s first PSAC Women’s Golfer of the Year and won the PSAC Championship as a senior in 2016-17.  

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering in 2017 and is an engineer with Leaaf Environmental in New Orleans. 

Diana Rocco

Gannon diving great Diana Rocco delivers a speech at the ceremony. 

Rocco was a five-time All-American as a diver with Gannon from 2008-12. She still owns three Gannon diving records. 

She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences in 2012 and her Master’s in Physician Assistant Science in 2013. She is a Physician Assistant in Cardiothoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Fla.  

Former Water Polo Players

Former Gannon water polo coach Donald R. Sherman Jr. poses with some of his many former players who attended the Gannon Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Jan. 28. 

Sherman was associate athletic director for 15 years and served as the men’s and women's swimming and diving programs for almost a decade. Hired in 1996, Sherman was best known for starting the men’s and women’s water polo programs in 2001 and coaching the teams to success.  

2023 Hall of Fame Inductees

Frank Brown

Frank W. Brown ’88
Soccer, 1983-86

Samantha Brueckner

Samantha "Mani" Brueckner ’16, ’17M 
Soccer, 2012-15

Calvin Graham 

Calvin Graham 
Basketball, 1965-67

Loren Marz

Loren Marz, ’75
Baseball, 1970-73 

Niall Frank McGrath

Niall Frank McGrath ’10, ’13M 
Wrestling, 2007-10

Diana Carolina Munoz Sanchez

Diana Carolina Munoz Sanchez ’17 
Golf, 2013-17 

Diana Rocco

Diana Rocco ’12, ’13M 
Diving, 2008-12

Donald R. Sherman Jr. 

Donald R. Sherman Jr. 
Aquatics Coach/Administrator, 1996-2018

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