CASTLETON, Vt. – Two exemplary student-athletes and two outstanding coaches will be inducted into the Castleton University Athletics Hall of Fame as part of Homecoming Weekend, with the induction ceremony set to take place Saturday, Sept. 16.
Soccer standout Erin Zapata '06, baseball record holder Chad Phillips '05, former men's basketball head coach Stan Van Gundy, and former men's soccer and softball head coach John Werner make up the induction Class of 2017, as voted on by the Castleton Athletics Hall of Fame Committee.
The induction ceremony will take place Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Castleton Pavilion just outside Spartan Stadium starting at 10 a.m. The cost to attend is $20, and brunch will be served during the event. To register for the event online, click here. The RSVP date is Wednesday, Sept. 6.
Zapata was one of the best defenders to ever step onto the pitch for Castleton. During her four seasons with the Spartans, the three-year captain and two-time team MVP played in all 84 matches and helped Castleton compile a 52-27-5 (.649) record. In her senior season, she was named team MVP and First Team All-NAC as the Spartans won the regular season NAC title with a 9-1-1 mark. Castleton allowed just one goal in three matches to win the 2005 NAC Tournament for its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth, with Zapata earning Tournament MVP honors.
Now married with two children, Zapata has become a licensed social work professional, specializing in helping adults with mental health issues, and is currently a home care medical social worker. She has also remained involved in soccer as a youth club coach as well as playing in adult leagues when she can.
Phillips's junior year proved to be his best season at Castleton, as he was named the 2004 NAC Player of the Year. He batted .383 with 59 hits, including 10 doubles, a triple, and 15 home runs, still a Castleton single-season record, plus he scored 44 runs and drove in 44 runs. Phillips finished eighth in the country in home runs per game (0.38) and 28th in slugging percentage (.753) in 2004. He wrapped up his collegiate career in 2005 by batting .357 with 50 hits, including eight doubles, five triples, and one home run, to go along with 24 runs scored, 31 RBI, and 11 stolen bases, earned Second Team All-NAC honors.
He holds the Spartan career records for home runs with 21 and extra base hits with 65, leaving Castleton with a career .357 batting average (178-for-498) in 143 career games played. After graduating with a degree in sports medicine, Phillips worked within the medical and health fitness fields for nine years. Now, he produces maple syrup with his father and runs his property maintenance business in the summer.
At 24 years old, Van Gundy came to Castleton as the Spartan head coach and immediately led the Spartans to the best season in program history in 1983-84, winning all eight games before the Christmas break. After an overtime loss, the Spartans rattled off 18 consecutive wins, winning the Mayflower Conference title as well as the Hamilton College Continental Classic. The team advanced to the finals of the NAIA District 5 playoffs, ending the season at 26-2, the second-best record in all of Division III, and Van Gundy was named Mayflower Conference Coach of the Year, NAIA District 5 Coach of the Year, and the Vermont College Coach of the Year.
Compiling a 68-18 record over three seasons (1983-86), a .791 winning percentage, Van Gundy moved onto other collegiate head coaching positions. Since 1995, Van Gundy has been a coach in the NBA, first serving as Pat Riley's assistant with the Miami Heat from 1995 to 2003. He took over as Heat head coach before serving as head coach with the Orlando Magic and the Detroit Pistons. He has won 484 games with a .587 winning percentage in his NBA coaching career.
Werner served nine seasons (2004-12) as head coach of the Castleton men's soccer team and compiled an overall mark of 105-69-12 (.597). In 2004, his first season at the helm, the Spartans went 15-5-2, winning the NAC regular season title with an 8-1 conference mark. Castleton did not allow a goal in winning the NAC Tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament, and Werner was named NAC Coach of the Year. He led the Spartans to NAC Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament berths in 2007 and 2008 and earned NAC Coach of the Year recognition in 2007 and 2010, when Castleton was a perfect 7-0 in regular season conference play.
In the spring of 2009, he added to his duties by serving as head coach of the softball team, earning 46 wins over three seasons (2009-11). After retiring from Castleton, Werner founded the southern Vermont branch of TOPSoccer, a program for children with disabilities. He has also turned his cancer diagnosis into a positive by creating LINAO (Losing Is Not An Option) bumper stickers to raise money to benefit the Southwest Vermont Regional Cancer Center.