Athletic alumni share a future on and off the field

By Rebecca Portillo

Contributor

The NCAA mission is to make collegiate athletes known as students first. Seton Hill University (SHU) follows these guidelines given as each year they watch athletes graduate with a degree in their hand and a future waiting for them on the field, or in the workplace. Seton Hill officials say 95 percent of all student athletes graduate the university with the intention of not persuing their athletic abilities any farther and instead applying for a different occupation. The Setonian caught up with the alumni office, as well as the most recent inductees of the Seton Hill University Athletic Hall of Fame in order to discuss how life is after Seton Hill for athletes, and what the alumni office does to keep them involved with the campus.

“We have the pleasure of meeting alumni across the country and around the world to learn about their experiences and lives since leaving Seton Hill and to educate them on all that is happening at Seton Hill today,” explained Mary Cox, [SHU] director of Regional Alumni Relations. “As time goes by, universities undergo great changes and it is to our advantage to have a network of alumni who can be our advocates to communicate the changes to other alumni, prospective students, parents and friends in and around our community.”

In order to keep in contact specifically with past athletes, Cox, along with Louise Lydon, the director of national alumni relations, and assistant Emily Heinicka hold the yearly SHU Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony. This event is held to induct the year’s new members of the Hall of Fame, but also allows past athletes to meet up once again to catch up on their lives after college.

“It’s such an honor to be inductee into this prestigious group of athletes,” commented inductee, Albertina Cabal. “This University shaped my future, and for that, I am extremely grateful.”

Cabal, a 1997 graduate, was a force on the women’s soccer team. A co-captain her senior season; Cabal was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America 2nd team All American. After graduation, Cabal moved to Spain where she worked for NOA, an international media company. After backpacking through Africa and Asia, Cabal accepted a position with MTV Networks International as an international account manager.

Other inductees, such as 1985 graduate Carol Gelet, stayed on the athletic path after college, only to make it her successful way of life. A basketball player for Seton Hill during her four years, Gelet is recognized for her work after college, as she became a well-known basketball coach around the state.

In 1997, Gelet was named the Associated Press Pennsylvania Small Schools Coach of the Year for leading the Clairton boys basketball team to the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Class A Championship. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Tribune-Review and McKeesport Daily News newspapers also named her their Coach of the Year, for being only the second woman in WPIAL history to coach a boys team, and the first to win a game. Gelet continued coaching at Clairton until 1999, when she accepted the position of women’s basketball coach at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. In 1999, she was named a Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year nominee, and in 2000 received the Seton Hill Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award.

“Seton Hill athletics was the foundation of my coaching career.” commented Gelet, “Without my athletic experiences at the university, I’m not sure what my future would of entailed.”

Lydon said, “Our alumni are some of the best ambassadors for Seton Hill.”

Not only do they leave the university for a life of success ahead of them, but also they represent the school. They show freshmen recruits how beneficial SHU athletics is to their experience, but also how with time, all good things come to an end.

“Don’t take your years on the field or court for granted.” Cabal explains, “You’ll cherish the memories your whole life.”

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