Manguiob, Puglisi, Smith join Club Sports Hall of Fame
December 9, 2016 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's Club Sports department inducted its third three-member Hall of Fame class, Friday night in the Hancock Welcome Center — athletes and coaches who embody what the university stands for from athletic, educational, and spiritual perspectives.
Former Lady Flames women's hockey goalie Patti Smith, snowboarder and ski & snowboard Assistant Coach Kevin Manguiob, and men's hockey Head Coach Corrado Puglisi arrived at Liberty before the Club Sports department could afford to provide transportation, hotel accommodations, or even meal allowances for its student-athletes on road trips.
Each helped launch or revive their programs at Liberty on tight budgets, through hard work and extreme dedication to their respective teams.
"I loved my time here," Smith said. "It was full of ups and downs, but really, I got to live out a dream. I got to play a sport I loved while getting a world-class education. To be recognized just for doing something I loved is very humbling. I appreciate it so much."
She formed lifelong friendships, including one with her presenter, Liberty ACHA Division I Head Coach Paul Bloomfield, and memories during her four years on campus, and on road trips to St. Louis, Rhode Island, and everywhere in between.
|Patti Smith, a goalie, was the Lady Flames' first ACHA DI women's hockey recruit.|
"When I look back, what I realize is that what, not just Club Sports, but this whole university is about is developing character," Smith said. "Sports are amazing and I am so grateful I can look back and be proud of the work that we put in. This school is constantly building people giving everything they have in that small time that they're here. We were never the most skilled, but we always outworked everybody, and we never quit."
Manguiob and his teammates thrived on limited resources, dominating Southeast Region competition and putting several individual skiers and snowboarders on the podium at the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships.
|Kevin Manguiob (left) mingles at Friday's Club Sports Hall of Fame banquet in the Hancock Welcome Center.|
But they had a higher calling than bringing home trophies: seeking first to be soul-winners through their testimony and witness to other riders.
"We always say we want our teams to be a light on the hill, a light to these teams that are in so much need of Christ," Manguiob said. "They've done that every year, seeing them build these relationships and share the Gospel with these kids from other schools has been an awesome thing. This team is not only winning at a national level, but also winning from a spiritual standpoint by sharing the love of Christ."
Liberty Ski & Snowboard Head Coach and Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre General Manager Ryan Leeds said as a rider and a coach, Manguiob helped his teammates maintain that spiritual focus.
"Kevin was always using his talents and his abilities as a platform to create relationships with other teams and as a platform to share the Gospel," Leeds said.
|Corrado Puglisi spoke about the history of Liberty hockey, which he helped revive in the late 1990s.|
Puglisi's presenter, Rasty McGibbon said Puglisi sold thousands of dollars of hockey trading cards to help cover his tuition to Liberty and then would commute three and a half hours from Fredericksburg, Va., to the Flames' practices and games, played at the Roanoke Civic Center back in the late 1990s before the construction of the LaHaye Ice Center.
"When he got here … (the hockey team) wasn't terribly well organized," McGibbon said. "(But) he took that club, that loose group of guys, and he turned it into a team. For a guy that had come down to school, was recently married, it was a tremendous amount of work to take these guys on. … He has tremendous business acumen, so they could not only generate some money to pay for the ice, but to also use the games as a cash cow to keep it going, and I give him a tremendous amount of credit for that."
Puglisi brought his wife, Melissa, and teenage sons, Chris and Daniel, who he has coached throughout their youth hockey careers up in Newmarket, Ontario.
Before attending the Flames' "Midnight Mayhem" matchup against Indiana University of Pennsylvania at the LaHaye Ice Center, he expressed thanks to a long list of people who made it possible for him to be honored at the induction ceremony, starting with Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr., who paid the debt Liberty owed the Roanoke Civic Center.
He also thanked his wife for coming to all but one of the games over the three-year period he served as head coach at Liberty.
Lastly, he thanked Flames ACHA Division I men's hockey Head Coach and Club Sports Athletic Director Kirk Handy for extending the invitation.
"When Kirk called and told me, ‘You're in the Hall of Fame,' I got choked up when I got off the phone because it means so much to me that my boys can finally be here to see this and experience it with me and my wife," he added. "I'm a very blessed man."