Three individuals and two teams were inducted into the Florida Tech Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 20, 2015. In front of a large and excited crowd in the Hartley Room at the Denius Student Center, Jonathan Baksh, Sara Trané, Kari Wanat, the 1974–75 men’s varsity lightweight eight and the 1989–90 men’s basketball team were welcomed as the newest members into the hall.
Baksh put together one of the finest baseball careers in Florida Tech history, holding Panther records in career batting average (.412), single-season batting average (.469), single-season games played (55), single-season hits (100), single-season doubles (21), single-season slugging percentage (.732) and single-season on-base percentage (.523).
He was named NCBWA All-American twice, earning a third team selection in 2005 and making the first team in 2006. Baksh garnered ABCA and Rawlings All-American Second Team honors in 2006 and First Team All-Sunshine State Conference in 2005 and 2006.
Following his Panther career, he was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2006 MLB draft, the highest selection in FIT baseball’s program history.
Trané came to FIT after a successful career at Washington State University. Though she only competed for the Panthers for one season, she left quite a mark on the cross country program.
After winning two races during the regular season, Trané topped the competition at the Sunshine State Conference Championship, registering a time of 21:10.32 in the 6K race to earn SSC Runner of the Year. She wasn’t done.
She then broke the tape at the NCAA Division II South Region Championship at 21:37.00, garnering FIT’s first-ever region championship and USTFCCCA South Region Athlete of the Year laurel. Trané placed 18th at the NCAA Division II Championship, chiming in at 21:29.00 to become the first Panther cross country runner to achieve All-American status.
One of the most accomplished volleyball players in FIT history, Wanat was a two-time Second Team All-Sunshine State Conference selection. She led the SSC in digs in 1997 with 555 and again in 1998 with 505. She is FIT’s all-time leader in digs, accumulating 1,791 during her career, second most in SSC history.
Wanat was not only a stellar player on the court, she was also an exceptional student in the classroom. She was named GTE Second Team Academic All-American in 1998 and first team in 1999. She was also an all-region academic first team honoree three straight years from 1997–99. A two-time SSC Scholar Athlete of the Year, taking home the honor in 1999 and 2000, Wanat graduated from FIT with a 4.0 GPA in molecular biology.
1974–75 Men’s Varsity Lightweight Eight
Coached by athletic director Bill Jurgens, the 1974–75 men’s varsity lightweight eight was FIT’s first varsity crew to win gold at the Dad Vail Regatta.
The crew of coxswain Gene Jeffords, stroke Tom DeLuna, seven-seat Skip Schied, six-seat Steve Wright, five-seat Andy Doan, four-seat Bob Stickler, three-seat Bill Alonso, two-seat Doug Engler and bow Gene Ferraro helped the men’s team finish second overall in the Dad Vail Regatta points trophy in 1975.
1989–90 Men’s Basketball Team
The 1989–90 men’s basketball team took home FIT’s first-ever Sunshine State Conference Regular Season Championship, finishing 26-4 overall and 11-1 in conference. The Panthers advanced to the second round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament, garnering the school’s very first NCAA tournament win.
The team included head coach Tom Folliard Sr.; assistant coaches Kevin Dunne, Tom Folliard Jr. and Al Skellet; and players Dwight Walton, Davon Kelly, Astley Smith, Robert Sewell, Ray Paprocky, Chris Rose, Igor Beros, Mike Smith, Dave Love, Jamie Lathrop, Dave Murphy, Doug Newbert, Craig Burnett, Jim Krantz, Joe McManus and honorary member Arthur Jackson.