Gilligan picked for Duquesne Hall of Fame

Graduate of Glen Burnie broke volleyball records for Dukes in early 1990s

January 07, 2000|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

When a gentleman from Duquesne called a couple weeks ago, Stacey Gilligan thought he was calling from Pittsburgh to solicit money from an alumnus for the Dukes' athletic program.

Little did the former Glen Burnie All-Metro and county player of the year (1990) know he was calling to inform her that she had been chosen for induction into the school's Hall of Fame.

"I said thank you, wow, didn't know what to say because I couldn't believe it and was pretty overwhelmed," said the 26-year old Gilligan, a 1995 Duquesne graduate.

A week from tomorrow, the 5-foot-9 Gilligan will be the first volleyball athlete to be inducted into the Duquesne Hall of Fame.

Gilligan will be honored at halftime of the Duquesne/Xavier men's basketball game along with three other former Dukes including Derrick Alston, who went on to play in the National Basketball Association with the Philadelphia 76ers.

"Our Hall of Fame was established in 1963 for the purpose of honoring those who contributed significantly to furthering athletic programs at the university or have achieved significant personal recognition after leaving," said Brian Colleary, Duquesne director of athletics.

"Stacey is part of an elite group."

After completing her high school career at Glen Burnie by leading the Gophers to a Class 4A state championship in 1990, Gilligan went on to play four seasons at Duquesne.

What Gilligan accomplished at Duquesne did not surprise her high school coach, Juanita Milani, who predicted such success.

Setting numerous records at Duquesne as a prolific hitter, Gilligan played under two coaches, Jeff Yurko (1991) and Ray Bobeck (1992-94), each of whom has departed.

Gilligan says the exposure she got playing club ball during high school with Joe McClure's traveling Capital Volleyball team attracted college coaches.

She chose Duquesne because of its proximity to a big city and to Maryland.

"Pittsburgh is unlike Baltimore in that it seems to fold up on weekends, but I liked it," said Gilligan.

"And it gave my dad a chance to see me play."

Her father, Mike Gilligan, is anAnne Arundel County attorney and former county councilman who attended nearly all of his daughter's high school contests and was a frequent spectator at Duquesne matches for four years.

Gilligan finished her career (1991-94) as the all-time leader in kills (1,482) and digs (1,675) and second in service aces (156). She also ranks sixth in career block/assists (125) and seventh in career total blocks (168).

Gilligan holds the single-season record for most digs (579) set in her sophomore season when she posted an average of 4.35 digs per game, which ranked 11th in the nation. She rung up the second most kills (430) in a season (1992).

Gilligan was also named Atlantic 10 All-Conference and Rookie of the Year her freshman season.

"College volleyball was exciting, visiting schools like Notre Dame, UMass and Xavier, even though it was tiring traveling in dinky little vans," said Gilligan.

"We didn't have a lot of time at those places, but it was a good experience."

It was also a good experience academically as Gilligan maintained a 3.0 grade-point average and earned a degree in elementary education with intentions of following in her mother's footsteps.

Barbara Harrington has been a county teacher for 35 years, but after a couple years teaching at Sunset and High Point Elementary schools, her daughter Stacey decided to give up the vocation.

"I found out that I wasn't enthusiastic enough to teach," said Gilligan, who is finishing up computer classes at Anne Arundel Community College and plans to enter network management in a move to Cleveland this summer.

"To be a good teacher, you have to be enthusiastic all the time for the kids' sake."

Two years ago, Gilligan was an assistant volleyball coach at Glen Burnie to Kevin Guite, who succeeded Milani in 1998. She liked coaching, but had to give it up because of computer school conflict.

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