On April 22, Seton Hall announced its 2019 Hall of Fame class consisting of two former administrators, a former soccer standout, one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, a home run-happy softball star and a local product who evolved into one of the best facilitators in Seton Hall women’s basketball history.
Larry Keating, Joseph LaSala, Eion Monahan, Rich Scheid, Ka-Diedre Simmons and Laura Taylor will all enter the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame on June 19 during an enshrinement dinner inside Bethany Hall.
The Athletic Director from 1985-97, Keating oversaw a prosperous run for Seton Hall athletics. In his 12 years at the helm, the Pirates won 10 Big East Championships and made 15 NCAA Tournament appearances across all sports. Keating influenced staff and facility upgrades, expansion of season ticket growth and fundraising, and he was instrumental in women’s soccer becoming a varsity sport .
Arguably Keating’s most impressive work came with the men’s basketball program. With PJ Carlesimo struggling early in his tenure at Seton Hall, Keating convinced the Board of Regents to keep the embattled head coach and was rewarded with trips to the national championship game in 1989 and Elite Eight in 1991. Keating was also a deciding factor in Carlesimo spurning Kentucky in favor of remaining in South Orange and orchestrating Seton Hall’s stay at Continental Airlines Arena at The Meadowlands despite a packed schedule which featured New Jersey Devils and New Jersey Nets home games throughout the duration of the Pirates’ regular season schedule.
From 1993-2000, LaSala chaired the Athletics subcommittee and was in that position for nine NCAA Tournament appearances across all sports and Big East championships in men’s basketball, men’s golf and women’s track and field. LaSala currently sits on Seton Hall Law’s Board of Visitors.
As for the athletes, Monahan was the star of a pair of Big East championship teams on the soccer field, Scheid was an elite pitcher for Mike Sheppard Sr., Simmons spearheaded Seton Hall’s offensive attack and Taylor brought power to Seton Hall softball’s lineup.
At the time of his graduation, Monahan ranked fourth in program history in total points with 84. He is also top 10 in goals scored (30) and assists (24). In 1987, the Ireland native was the Big East South division rookie of the year, an All-New Jersey selection and All-Mid-Atlantic region pick in 1988, and an All-Big East selection in 1990.
Scheid was one of Seton Hall’s best pitchers in an era that featured a handful of aces on Sheppard Sr.’s staff. When he was picked by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1986 MLB Draft, Scheid ranked second in program history in strikeouts (234) and complete games (13). He was also tied for ninth in career wins with 21. A two-time All-Big East selection, Scheid spent three years in the MLB, mostly with the Florida Marlins.
A Newark native, Simmons came to South Orange with lofty expectations and delivered. In 2015, she led Seton Hall to a national ranking and the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years. That season, she averaged 17 points per game, 5.7 assists and 2.2 steals per game, numbers that are considered among the best in school history. Simmons capped her career as Seton Hall’s all-time leader in assists (562) and free throws made (502). She also sits second in steals (257) and third in points scored (1,717) and will enter the Hall of Fame as one of its youngest inductees.
The final member of the 2019 class, Taylor’s bat powered Seton Hall to consecutive Big East championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2004 and 2005. She is the program’s all-time leader in home runs (59) and runs batted in (160), as well as top 10 in batting average (.309), hits (180), doubles (33) and walks (103). She was also the 2005 Big East Player of the Year, a three-time All-Big East first-team selection and finished her career as the BIG EAST’s all-time leader in conference home runs with 24.
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.