We’re just getting started in our quest to rank the top-100 athletes in Syracuse Athletics history. It was a lot tougher than simply pulling up the SU record books an ranking accordingly. Post-collegiate accomplishments are weighted heavily. It’s important that players continue to enhance the Syracuse brand after they’re done wearing Orange. Football and basketball players are advantaged in that respect. But as you’ll see, the truly exceptional athletes outside of the revenue sports earned prominent rankings. 100-96 can be found here. Onwards.
#95: Brian Megill
As of 2010, no freshman defenseman had ever started every game under John Desko. Brian Megill changed that. The presence of a rookie sometimes signals a weak unit, but that SU backline held opponents to an NCAA-best 7.4 goals per game. Megill’s career stayed on an elite track after the blazing start. He scored back-to-back All-BIG EAST First Team selections in his final seasons. Best performance? As a senior, Megill closed the door on a 42-game scoring streak from Army attack Garret Thul. He could rank higher on our list, had his defense led Syracuse past Duke in the 2013 NCAA championship game.
#94: Nicole Michael
When Nicole Michael graduated in 2010, she was undoubtedly the best player in Syracuse Women’s Basketball history. She set program records in points and rebounds. Michael eclipsed 500 points in a season twice: as a freshman and then again as a senior. No Orange player had ever reached the milestone. At the time, Coach Quentin Hillsman was still building up the program. Michael never won an NCAA Tournament game, but she was a Coach Q era pioneer. His first true star. She’s now the 4th leading scorer in SU history, and the 2nd highest rebounder.
#93: Ben Williams
Ben Williams won faceoffs. So many faceoffs. He is the all-time leader in faceoff wins, with 669, and he only had three years to do it. He transferred to Syracuse after a season at Holy Cross. Williams epitomized the “FOGO” (face off get off) position, and played it with ferocious intensity. Faceoffs are a one-on-one proposition. Williams beat his opponent at the X at an incredible 61% clip throughout his career. Possession, Syracuse.
#92: Felisha Legette
Recently, Felisha Legette was in the news, bashing Syracuse University for the absence of women’s basketball jerseys in the Carrier Dome rafters. She not only has a point, but a good one. Lagette grew up in Syracuse, went to Nottingham High School, won two state championships, became an All-American and committed to SU. In 1985, she won BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. She was injured the following season, and was never the same, but the injury helped her realize her calling. Legette went into coaching. She’s currently the head coach at the University of Buffalo, where she’s the all-time wins leader.
#91: Trevor Cooney
If there’s anything Cooney should be known for, it’s winning. He’s the only Syracuse basketball player ever to play in two Final Fours, in 2013 and 2016. His role was never in question: hit threes. He connected on 281 triples in his four seasons, ranking only behind Gerry McNamara and Andy Rautins. Cooney never averaged more than 13.4 points per game in a season. He took a redshirt as a freshman, because he wouldn’t have played. Cooney is not a top-100 talent, but he was a beating pulse that kept SU fighting hard on the court. That must count for something.