By Staff reports
HOUGHTON — The Allegany County Athletic Association inducted its 2013 Hall of Fame Class on Saturday night at Houghton College’s campus center.
There were 14 new members to the Hall of Fame, including: Molly Turner (Andover); Andrea Scott (Andover); Ike Burr (Belfast); Brenda Bowen (Bolivar-Richburg); Don Lounsberry (Bolivar-Richburg); Wayne Torrey (Bolivar-Richburg); Gary Stolberg (Cuba-Rushford); Casandra Mills (Fillmore); Tracey Brinkmann (Friendship); Ed Amore (Friendship); Jacob Presutti (Genesee Valley); Skip Lord (Houghton); Ann Todd (Scio); and Dan Denner (Whitesville).
From his early coaching days at Franklinville Central School in nearby Cattaraugus County to Cuba Central and finally on to Houghton College, Skip Lord has been both a model of success as well as professionalism. While at Franklinville, he coached football, wrestling, track and field, and girls’ basketball. His basketball record was 110-15, highlighted by a streak of 80 consecutive league victories.
When Skip came to Houghton, he became the women’s volleyball and basketball coach. As the volleyball mentor, he compiled a record of 164-64 over a 25-year career. On the basketball court he gathered more than 350 victories and led his squads to four NAIA National Tournaments. For his tremendous successes, he earned numerous Coach of the Year awards at different levels.
Under Skip’s direction, the athletic program at Houghton College has expanded to the point where it is now one of the most respected among small schools in the Northeast. He takes great pride in running this department that is so well-known for its sports ministry, character development, academic excellence, and athletic achievement. He took control of the reins of the athletic department in 1994, eventually being promoted to the position of Associate Vice-President for Athletics and Conferences before just last year being named Executive Director of Athletics.
One of Skip’s priorities has been his involvement in NAIA’s Champions of Character program. This program places an emphasis on developing the ideal student-athlete, a priority during his entire professional career. He was instrumental in developing that program, as well as speaking to both high school and collegiate groups on the subject.
While Skip is not technically a member of the Allegany County Athletic Association, the athletic directors of this county understand the support that he provides. He is a supporter of their efforts at the high school level and has been a friend of both the county as well as Section V, and he has demonstrated this by offering a variety of programs, camps, services, and use of facilities. For his efforts and dedication, the athletic directors of Allegany County would like to thank and honor Skip Lord.
Casandra Mills’ athletic career at Fillmore Central School spanned the time from her role as the shortstop on the boys’ Junior Little League New York State District Two champions through an illustrious high school resume. From there she moved on to Houghton College, and today she is still coaching at her alma mater with eight years of soccer experience and nine years of both softball and basketball.
During her playing days for the Eagles, Casandra played softball (six years), basketball (four years), and soccer (six years). In soccer she was selected to the county all-star team all six years, culminated by being selected as the Allegany County MVP both her junior and senior years with another three selections to the Section V All-Star Team. In basketball she again racked up the awards with four county all-star nominations along with two Section V honors. In soccer Casandra made such a name for herself that she was able to continue her career in college. While still in high school, she scored 178 goals and 105 assists (which still stands as the state record) during her six-year career. She was named county MVP three times and was selected as the New York State Class D MVP for 1999.
Continuing her soccer career at nearby Houghton, Casandra’s individual honors included: finishing fifth all-time in career points (152), second in career assists (50), and eighth in career goals (51). Other individual honors included all-conference selections three times and NAIA All-America Honorable Mention twice. During her time as a Highlander, the team finished with a cumulative record of 68-7-6, making it to the National Sweet 16 three times. They also won the conference championship three consecutive years. To top it off, the team finished the season nationally ranked at 15th, 8th, and 9th after three seasons.
At the end of her high school career Casandra was named as the Olean Times Herald “Sportsperson of the Year” in 2001. Sportswriter Jim Melaro of that paper noted her greatness and how she had impacted the school. He wrote, “You don’t replace an athlete of Casandra’s stature; you thank her for what she’s accomplished, both individually and as a team member. And you hope younger student-athletes in your program aspire to follow in her footsteps.”