Each of Us Strengthens All of Us
At the heart of Villanova Athletics are its student-athletes, the men and women who embody what it means to be a Wildcat. This foundation is built upon a well-earned tradition of excellence in academics and athletics that spans generations. Villanova's core values of Veritas, Unitas and Caritas are the threads which bind its student-athletes together and serve to unite us. We are a community where each of us strengthens all of us.
The 24 student-athletes whose images appear before you were selected by their respective head coaches. Each exemplifies to them what it means to wear the Blue and White. These 24 individuals compete with a relentless spirit that reflects the best of the Nova Nation. Among them are Olympians, NCAA national champions, All-Americans, All-Conference selections, and scholar-athletes.
Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat.
"The photo is an opportunity to recognize the collective achievements of Villanova's 24 programs. Our student-athletes have created an amazing legacy of success both in and out of the classroom. Although some of our programs may be more high profile or more consistently successful, this photo shows that being a Villanova student-athlete goes far deeper than that. Common values and experiences are the threads that bind our student-athletes - regardless of program - making us stronger together." - Athletic Director Mark Jackson
From left to right: Shanice Grant, Linley Busby, Mackenzie Niness, James Deutmeyer, Chelsey Henderson, Ishmael Muhammad, Shea Palmer, Jake Hoin, Chris Seitz, Jannah Tucker, Claire Crutchfield, Jake Prus, Michael Waterfield, Phil Booth, Carolynn Clark, Emily Lenane, Zach Zandi, Donovan May, Sheila Gerrity, Angel Piccirillo, Emily Kuefler, Pat Tiernan, Anne Yahiro, Luke Waggoner
On Shanice Grant- Head Coach Track & Field Gina Procaccio
Shanice is an incredibly versatile athlete, who has made herself available to help the team in numerous ways. Over the last two years, Shanice has elevated herself to becoming one of the top sprinter/hurdlers in the region. Her performances have steadily improved each year, placing her among Villanova's top 5 all-time top performer in five events. Shanice has been a major point scorer at the Big East Championships scoring points in six different events.
On Linley Busby-Head Women's Tennis Coach, Steve Reiniger:
"I chose Linley Busby to represent Women's Tennis because she epitomizes a "team player." As co-captain, she is extremely supportive of her teammates and has a team first attitude. Not only is she an excellent student, she also represents Villanova in an ideal manner on the court, with honesty and a positive demeanor. Linley carries the Villanova pride with her at all times!"
On Mackenzie Niness-Head Swimming & Diving Coach, Rick Simpson:
"Mackenzie is a true silent achiever. It is an unprecedented level of success, both in the classroom and being a champion in the pool, all accomplished with a high degree of modesty, that makes Mackenzie the epitome of the true Villanova Women's Swimmer."
On James Deutmeyer- Head Track & Field Coach Marcus O'Sullivan
"James embodies the true essence of a Villanovan: service, integrity, determination. As one of our program's SAAC representatives, James is an active participant in bettering the student-athlete experience on a daily basis. He's an athlete constantly looking for ways to make himself and his teammates better. These attributes along with his pole vault gifts have helped make him a Big East Champion and team leader."
On Chelsey Henderson-Head Women's Lacrosse Coach, Julie Young
"Chelsey Henderson is one of the most passionate and competitive players in our program. She is a fierceless competitor who gives everything she has each day and someone who pushes her teammates to be better. Her energy is contiguous and her intensity is unmatched. In the classroom, Chelsey earned a 4.0 this fall semester, exemplifying her dedication and commitment of being a complete student-athlete. She is also a very active member of the Villanova community and was chosen as co-president of SAAC this year. She is someone who does it all and inspires everyone around her to give their best."
On Ishmael Muhammad, Head Track & Field Coach Marcus O'Sullivan
"Ishmael's character and integrity are prime examples of Villanova's seal: Veritas, Unitas, Caritas. He has an infectious personality that permeates the entire program in a positive manner. Ishmael truly cares for his teammates, creates a supportive environment, and does so in a respectful manner to reach his full potential. He's a two-time Big East Champion in the 4x400 and 4x800 relay team showing true dedication to helping his teammates. "
On Shea Palmer-Head Softball Coach, Maria DiBernardi
"I chose Shea Palmer because she has been a model student and athlete for our program for four years. Her dedication, work ethic, and positive attitude are contagious and has helped guide us to several successful seasons."
On Jake Hoin-Head Swimming & Diving Coach, Rick Simpson
"Jake embraces the full concept of Mind, Body and Spirit. It is clear that his dedication to his academics, his sport, and the community that surrounds him, makes him a true Villanova Student-Athlete."
On Chris Seitz-Head Men's Tennis Coach, Brad Adams
"Chris Seitz represented everything a student-athlete and a Villanovan should be. While becoming a two time All BIG EAST player, he competed at the highest level during each match and practice. Chris, not only pushed his teammates to become better players on the court, he also was a driving force for team members to better themselves academically, and as members of the student body at Villanova. Chris was the ultimate workhorse, who was always focused on bettering himself in every aspect of the student-athlete experience."
On Jannah Tucker-Head Women's Basketball Coach, Harry Perretta
"Our program chose Jannah because she is a well-rounded student-athlete. She is extremely hard working on the basketball court and in the classroom. She is a leader on the court and is respected by all of her teammates. Athletically, she has faced adversity in injuries and continues to shine on the basketball court. She cares for others and is always willing to lend a helping hand. Overall, Jannah is a great role model for the ladies on our team and for the young players aspiring to become collegiate athletes."
On Claire Crutchfield- Head Volleyball Coach, Josh Steinbach
"I nominated Claire for her love and enthusiasm to our team and University. Claire is passionate about being a Villanovan, both on and off the court. You can see her passion when she plays every day in practices, as well as in matches. Claire is a well-rounded student athlete and I'm honored she's a part of our program."
On Jake Prus- Head Football Coach, Andy Talley
"Jake Prus represents Villanova Football perfectly because he embodies what it means to do things the "Villanova Way." We preach to the guys about the importance of doing well in the classroom, so that they can set themselves up for the future. Every year Jake was with us, he ranked in the top three for overall GPA on the team. He even had the option of coming back for a fifth year to play football, but instead chose to accept a spot in medical school furthering his pursuit of becoming a doctor."
On Michael Waterfield-Head Men's Lacrosse Coach, Mike Corrado
"Michael is the ultimate team player. He comes to practice every day seeking to excel and motivate his teammates. He is an outstanding student, representing Men's Lacrosse in the School of Business, where he takes his tireless work ethic to the next level, earning outstanding grades. Overall, Michael leads by example and is a great role model both on the field and in the classroom."
On Phil Booth-Head Men's Basketball Coach, Jay Wright
"One of the qualities we value most is a great attitude every day and in his three years here Phil Booth has brought that with great consistency. Phil's character and work ethic are part of what makes him such a valued part of our team. He's a great representative of our program."
On Carolynn Clark-Head Field Hockey Coach, Joanie Milhous
"We chose Carolynn Clark because she embodies what a Villanova Field Hockey student-athlete is all about. She is unselfish, loyal, competitive, not afraid to work hard, caring towards others and an outstanding student."
On Emily Lenane-Head Women's Rowing Coach, Carissa Adams
"Emily supports our new team culture theme of "do it like a champ." She has the best erg score on the squad and always has a positive attitude. Emily steps up to help out with the necessary daily activities required of a rowing team. She is a silent leader; leading by example and always makes decisions that prioritize her team. She looks like a rower and has a drive to be better and works hard every day. Emily is an illustration of the future and embodies all of the qualities that our rowing student-athletes will embrace and become in the future."
On Zach Zandi-Head Men's Soccer Coach Tom Carlin
"We chose Zach Zandi because, he embodies what it means to be a Villanova student-athlete. He aspires to be the best every day and is a leader by example to all of his teammates. His energy, work rate and commitment help set the tone for everyone else on the team, on the field and in the classroom."
On Donovan May-Head Baseball Coach, Kevin Mulvey
"Donovan May embodies a well-rounded Villanovan. 'Don' takes great pride in devoting 100% effort both on the playing field, and in the classroom. Donovan has grown as a leader on our team and exemplifies our values of a team first mentality, along with the will to help others and serve the community. Donovan has been a pleasure to coach since he has arrived at 800 E Lancaster Avenue. He has always been eager to learn and is extremely coachable. He is very caring of his teammates and has aided in the development of our younger student athletes as well."
On Sheila Gerrity, Head Water Polo Coach Rob Mida
"We chose Sheila Gerrity because she is a fierce competitor, friend, and teammate. She brings her whole self into everything she does at Villanova."
On Angel Piccirillo- Head Cross Country Coach Gina Procaccio
"Angel is the perfect example of a successful, student athlete." She got right on board from day one, and as a freshman helped the 4x800m relay team set a collegiate record at the Penn Relays. By her senior year Angel set an individual collegiate record in the 1000m to add her name to the list of greats encompassing the Villanova record book. Her academic accolades include being named the Big East Institutional Scholar Athlete as well as Villanova's Senior Scholar Athlete of the year for 2015-2016."
On Emily Kuefler-Head Women's Soccer Coach Fran Kulas
"Emily reflects every character trait that is Villanova and she represents the qualities that we want every member of our program to aspire to. She is a selfless leader, always putting our program first, both on and off the field. Emily's commitment to being a model student-athlete is extraordinary and her ability to equally balance her priorities in our program with the stringent demands of being a nursing major, is remarkable. Committed to her faith, Emily is a genuinely consistent example of servant leadership in all that she does, whether it is as one of our team captains, or through the various service projects she has been involved with throughout the community."
Patrick Tiernan-Head Cross Country Coach Marcus O'Sullivan
"Saint Augustine once said, "Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe." Patrick's commitment to the greater goals of Villanova help these words by Saint Augustine ring true. Patrick has been a devoted member of the Villanova XC/T&F program, helping to guide and motivate younger athletes, and a dedicated student in the classroom. Patrick is a seven-time All-America and two-time Big East Sport Excellence Award. All his work culminated in a selection to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games this summer where he represented his native Australia. His consistent and professional approach to his craft has helped continue the Villanova tradition of distance running."
Anne Yahiro- Head Track & Field Coach Gina Procaccio
"Anne is the quintessential representative of the values Villanova student athletes represent. She helped forge the winning culture amongst the jumps group garnering three Big East Championships of her own. After a triumphant return from knee surgery her junior year, Anne showed the perseverance of a true champion as she won two of her three Big East titles her senior year. She was a great role model and leader and demonstrated that hard work and a "never give up attitude" pay big dividends in achieving one's goals.
On Luke Waggoner-Head Golf Coach, Jim Wilkes:
"Luke had what I would consider a transformational experience during his four years at Villanova. He was always an exceptional student, maintaining 3.8+GPA while earning a double major from the VSB. However, his growth and development as a teammate, was equally impressive. He struggled to earn playing time as a freshman, and then even when he did make the lineup, he played well below his potential. It wasn't until he fully embraced the team concept, sharing rides/meals with younger players, taking a true interest in their development, etc., that he began to benefit from the intangibles of a positive environment. He was a very active leader as a senior captain, and while playing in every event on the schedule, he compiled his lowest stroke average of his career. He will always be a great example of what's possible for a Villanova student athlete, both on and off the field."