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Adelphi University

Bras to be auctioned in March for Adelphi University's breast cancer program

A Creative Cup made by Samantha Eddy and Sandra Lundy will be among 137 auctioned off by Adelphi University to raise money for breast cancer support. Photos from Adelphi University

Two Selden college students got creative making bras to support breast cancer support programs.

Through Adelphi University’s Breast Cancer Program, Samantha Eddy and Sandra Lundy constructed works of art for the Creative Cups project, which encourages artistic expression in celebration of the lives of those living with and lost to the disease.

The bras will be auctioned to benefit the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program. The program seeks to educate, support, empower and advocate for breast cancer patients and professionals. Those working the hotline answer questions, provide people with someone to talk to and guide them to resources to help.

To make their Creative Cups, people embellished ordinary bras to fit with stories they wanted to share.

Eddy said in 2014, when she received a position in Consumer Advocacy and Low Income Programs as an assistant coordinator, she was given the opportunity to join the Employee Outreach Council at PSEG Long Island. This group of employees has a mission to coordinate support for the specific needs of the communities served by PSEG.

“I hope it brings support to the fight against breast cancer.”

— Sandra Lundy

When October came around and breast cancer awareness fundraising was in full force, the Employee Outreach Council launched Cups for a Cure, according to Eddy.

“The entire company was invited to design a bra and donate the winners to Adelphi’s Creative Cups,” she said. “I was inspired by everyone’s enthusiasm and decided to create a bra that was influenced by my favorite place to visit: Las Vegas. Just like Vegas, this bra has glitz, glam and is over the top. I am proud to donate Bras Vegas to such a great cause.”

Lundy’s “Hunting for a Cure” will also be auctioned off.

The inspiration for her piece was not just her Aunt Diane, a breast cancer survivor, but also her husband.

“My husband and I are opposites, so I took his love for hunting and my love for art and morphed it into ‘Hunting for a Cure,’ ” she said. “This bra is a very personal piece as I feel it demonstrates our love and support for each other. I hope it brings support to the fight against breast cancer.”

“Bras Vegas,” “Hunting for a Cure” and 135 other Creative Cups will be auctioned at a gala event at Adelphi University’s ballroom in Garden City on March 16. NBC News personality Pat Battle is hosting the event. To date, major sponsors include Goldman Sachs Gives, The Leviton Foundation Inc. and Digital Graphic Imagery.

For further information about the hotline and support program, call 516-877-4320 or email breastcancerhotline@adelphi.edu. The hotline number is 1-800-877-8077.

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Jackie Brown sends the ball up the field. Photo by Carla Sciara

By Desirée Keegan

The relationship between a star player and a coach can sometimes be complicated, but when they’re immediate family members, a special bond is needed to achieve success.

Jackie Brown’s athletic career has been unique — her mother Deb Brown has been coaching her for five years in both field hockey and softball at Port Jefferson high school, and was her basketball coach for two years. Despite having her mother as coach, playing time and accolades were never handed to her.

Jackie Brown was Long Island's leading goal scorer, and led in overall points this season. Photo by Carla Sciara
Jackie Brown was Long Island’s leading goal scorer, and led in overall points this season. Photo by Carla Sciara

“If anything, she’s probably had to work even harder with me being her coach,” Deb Brown said. “I hold her to a higher standard, and I put more pressure on her than anyone else. For instance, in practice, she does the most push-ups.”

Brown recalled a game when her daughter had a one-on-one with a goalkeeper and she told her daughter to do one move, but she did another. “I’m yelling at her, and that’s when the parent in me comes out,” she said. “As beautiful as it was, the ball did not go in.”

Jackie Brown said the constant push has aided her success in sports, especially field hockey.

“It’s definitely interesting,” she said of their relationship, laughing. “Sometimes I tried to step over her and she puts me in my place, but what’s great is we got to talk about all of the games afterward whether it’s me saying something bad or her giving me something to work on. She teaches me new things every year.”

Brown first picked up a field hockey stick at 6 years old. From there, she became involved in clinics and played for East End Field Hockey travel team. She decided to try clinics in basketball and softball, too, and joined the Long Island Bandits fast-pitch travel softball team.

“Believe it or not I thought she would gear toward softball,” Deb Brown said. “But she just loved field hockey so much. It’s been fun watching her grow as a player.”

Jackie Brown said field hockey ran in her blood thanks to regular visits as a young girl to the field with her mother, who has been coaching at Port Jefferson for 27 years. She said the style of the sport felt like a fit for her.

“It wasn’t the sport everyone else was playing, and I liked how you had to move the ball a certain way and work with your teammates,” Jackie Brown said. “A lot I learned from field hockey, like field position and power, also helped me play softball and basketball.”

Speaking of power, the midfielder and forward has a strong shot, along with the knowledge of nuances needed to score, which helped her become Long Island’s leading goal scorer and leader in overall points this season.

Jackie Brown is hoisted up by the 2007 Royals field hockey team following the Long Island championship. Photo from Nancy Gallagher
Jackie Brown is hoisted up by the 2007 Royals field hockey team following the Long Island championship. Photo from Nancy Gallagher

“Besides just having a good shot — a hard hit and accurate — her ability to read the defense and the goalkeeper makes it much easier for her to get around them and beat them,” Port Jefferson assistant coach Nancy Gallagher said.

Gallagher is also in a special position. She played for Deb Brown and graduated from Port Jefferson in 2010. She first met Jackie when the coach’s daughter would come to games when Gallagher was a player. The assistant coach remembered the team hoisting her up on their shoulders following big wins, and the girls would teach her the tricks of the trade.

“She’d practice, and I’d tell her to do it 100 times in a row if she wanted to get better, and she was so eager to learn that she’d sit there on the sidelines doing it 100 times in a row,” Gallagher said. “She’s the ideal player to coach because not only does she have the athletic ability to pick up skills quickly, but she’s also willing to put in the time and energy to make it an instinctive part of her play.”

Gallagher said the athlete not only knows the skills, but she understands what skills are used when and why, and then how to put them to use.

Adelphi University field hockey head coach Gloria O’Connor saw each attribute Jackie Brown possesses — even the field hockey standout’s recent 6-inch growth spurt.

“Jackie has great size and feel for the game,” O’Connor said. “She is a daughter of a coach, and therefore knows the game of field hockey from a whole different perspective. She competes hard, has passion and desire and is always putting in extra practice time. She demonstrates the ability of taking care of business both on and off the field.”

The feeling of knowing the team wanted her, and the fact that Adelphi felt like a “home away from home,” led Brown to sign a letter of intent this November to play with the Panthers.

As a member of three high school teams, vice president of the Student Organization, co-president of the Varsity Club and a member of the Yearbook Club and National Honor Society, Brown knows what it means to put in the time to improve.

Jackie Brown is surrounded by her family as she signs her letter of intent to play field hockey for Adelphi University. Photo from Port Jefferson school district
Jackie Brown is surrounded by her family as she signs her letter of intent to play field hockey for Adelphi University. Photo from Port Jefferson school district

“It’s a lot to juggle when I go from one practice to the other, and then come home and do homework before going to another practice, but it’s manageable,” she said. “I learned how to be a leader on the field, work with my teammates and develop a strong work ethic.”

As Brown departs for college in 2017, her mother said she too may be hanging up her whistle at Port Jefferson. The head coach will receive a coach of the year award during the Suffolk County awards dinner, while her daughter will receive her second All-State honor and an All-Tournament nod following the No. 2-seeded Royals’ appearance in the Class C county finals.

Gallagher said the recognitions are well deserved, especially for her former coach.

“She’s very humble,” Gallagher said of Deb Brown. “No one can argue about how much she cares and dedicates herself to these girls and to this program. The success not only during these past couple of season but over her whole tenure shows it.”

Despite a hesitancy to talk about her daughter, Brown is even more proud of the success her daughter has had over the years than her own accolades.

“When I have to get the job done I do rely on her heavily to get the job done for Port Jeff,” Brown said. “I kind of downplay what she has accomplished over the years, but she’s worked very hard for this, and she deserves recognition. I’m probably retiring this year, so it’s bittersweet, but it’s great to go out with her after how well she’s done. I’m very proud of her. It’s been a heck of a ride.”

By Marissa Paganelli

Cancer survivor and Northport native Alexis Attardi is returning to hospitals — but this time, it isn’t for treatment. Instead, the 19-year-old is helping patients who are fighting the battle against cancer she once fought.

Attardi, a sophomore at Adelphi University, works with Love Your Melon, a nonprofit started by college students in 2012 that raises money for cancer research by selling hats. For each hat sold, one is also given to a child cancer patient.

Love Your Melon has made a name for itself through college representatives like Attardi, who take their time to spread the word and deliver hats to local children’s hospitals.

“Giving a hat to a child with cancer is meant to bring continuous smiles and support to someone fighting,” Attardi said. “Losing hair is a part of the fight where the request of a hat from a loved one is supposed to make the process easier and something these children can look forward to wearing.”

Attardi was 11 when she was diagnosed with stage four of anaplastic non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a strain of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system from cells called lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell that helps the body fight infections.

The only response Attardi said she could muster when the doctor told her was “Am I going to die?”

She said she was told that she was going to be in for the fight of her life, and was given a 70 percent chance of survival.

Attardi was just starting middle school at the time, and was scared no one would want to be her friend because of the way she looked. She had lost 30 pounds and most of her hair as a result of her 15 chemotherapy treatments.

Attardi received her treatments at Stony Brook University Children’s Hospital where staff members and nurses soon became her closest friends. Whether it was coming into her room to spend time with her or just to check in and see how she was doing, she said the staff made the hospital feel like home.

“It was the little signs of thought and care that made being in a hospital and not in school with my friends a bit easier,” Attardi said. She missed her last three months of sixth grade due to treatment.

After her yearlong battle, Attardi was told she was cancer free.

“It was a miracle to hear those words, and a feeling I can’t put words to,” she said.

Attardi said she understood that her cancer could come back at any moment, and it’s because of this she works so hard to give back to children and people who face the same obstacle she once did.

“As a cancer survivor and captain of Adelphi’s Love Your Melon campus crew, giving back is what I’m all about,” she said.

Attardi said she plans on returning to Stony Brook  University Hospital.

“I just want to contribute the same help I was given and I know even the littlest things, like receiving a beanie, means so much more than it would be thought.”

Attardi’s commitment to her cause has impressed her peers.

“I have no doubt Alexis can make a huge impact in children’s lives,” said Erica Massmann, a member of Adelphi’s Love Your Melon crew who has worked alongside Attardi in recruiting new members on campus. “Being a cancer survivor herself, Alexis knows what these children are going through. She can take her experiences with her fight with cancer and bring that into the community to help make a difference.”

Attardi said she has come out of this experience a stronger person.

“I’ve realized life isn’t about materialistic things,” she said. “Helping others is a task that has continued to shape me as a person.”

Tom Rotanz poses for a photo with a gold medal and trophy after the U-19 team he was an assistant coach of won a world championship. Photo from Tom Rotanz

A familiar face is stepping onto the college lacrosse scene.

Tom Rotanz, a former head boys’ lacrosse coach for Shoreham-Wading River for 18 years, will helm St. Joseph’s College’s new men’s lacrosse program, which will begin its first season in spring 2017.

“It’s something I always wanted to do,” Rotanz said of joining the college ranks. “I think any competitive athlete and coach wants to show someone what good can come from having the right people around you and the good players that are willing to commit themselves, and I hope to have another successful tenure at St. Joseph’s.”

Tom Rotanz will be the first head coach for St. Joseph's College's men's lacrosse program. Photo from Tom Rotanz
Tom Rotanz will be the first head coach for St. Joseph’s College’s men’s lacrosse program. Photo from Tom Rotanz

Rotanz has a long history with lacrosse.

His elder brother was on the team that won Ward Melville’s first Long Island championship in 1974, and the younger Rotanz was part of the squad that won the second and third in 1976 and 1977. The lacrosse captain earned All-American honors as a senior in 1977, after his team also made it to the New York State championship game, the first one for lacrosse. The boys lost that game, 12-11.

From there, he was the captain of the Suffolk County Community College lacrosse team that won a national championship and earned All-American honors twice. He then repeated that feat at Adelphi University, where he was also named an All-American twice.

“Tom was a great player,” said his former high school coach, and a legend on the lacrosse scene, Joe Cuozzo. “He was a great competitor, had a great sense of humor about him, and I really enjoyed working with him.”

As a coach himself, with the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats’ program only a year old, Rotanz took over a roster of 14 players, including six freshmen. The team went 1-15 his first season, scoring 38 goals on the year. But seven years later, the team was ranked fourth in the country, after winning a New York State championship and scoring close to 400 goals.

“It snowballed into something that was really neat to be a part of,” he said. “In the last 13 years I was there, we won 10 county championships, five Long Island and three New York State. People always wondered why or how we kept winning every year and being ranked one or two in the county. I say if you have bright kids that buy into the system, I think anything is possible.”

Tom Rotanz gets water dumped on his head by a former Shoreham-Wading River team after a win. Photo from Tom Rotanz
Tom Rotanz gets water dumped on his head by a former Shoreham-Wading River team after a win. Photo from Tom Rotanz

Rotanz earned his first of six Suffolk County Coach of the Year honors in 1999, two years before he led the program to its first county championship in 2001. In 2002, the program repeated as Suffolk champs en route to Long Island and New York State titles. The team also swept Suffolk, Long Island and New York State championship titles in 2007 and 2012.

In 2012, the coach added to his list of accolades, serving as an assistant for the 2012 USA Men’s U-19 lacrosse team that won a world championship.

Now, he hopes to be able to bring that same success to St. Joseph’s, and Shantey Hill, assistant vice president and senior director of athletics and recreation for the college, thinks Rotanz is the perfect fit.

“We were very lucky in that Coach Rotanz applied,” she said, referring to the school’s intensive, national search across all NCAA institutions. “He has a plethora of experience, and … he knows the landscape of Long Island, and he’s very well-connected with his peers to be able to do good recruiting for what we’re looking for.”

For Rotanz, being on the scene as long as he has and being a part of Long Island lacrosse, serving as an assistant coach at Smithtown West for the last two years, will be beneficial throughout the recruiting process for the Golden Eagles.

“I’m very close friends with a lot of the Suffolk and Nassau coaches, so they’re already contacting me with players that they think will be a great fit, kids that they think would really like to play for me; so that’s the neat thing.”

He added, laughing, “I think there will be a lot more kids that think about not leaving the Island now, hopefully.”

Tom Rotanz makes a save during a Ward Melville boys' lacrosse game. He helped the team to two Long Island championship titles and a New York State championship appearance. Photo from Tom Rotanz
Tom Rotanz makes a save during a Ward Melville boys’ lacrosse game. He helped the team to two Long Island championship titles and a New York State championship appearance. Photo from Tom Rotanz

According to Hill, the school decided the time was right for a lacrosse program after seeing that a number of Division III student-athletes in the college’s Skyline Conference that commit to play lacrosse come from Long Island and that there was interest with incoming and current students. The college also built a new outdoor athletic facility.

Hill said St. Joseph’s found the right coach in Rotanz.

“We think we hit a home run with coach Rotanz,” she said. “He’s not only a wonderful coach, but also a great man, and he will do great things. We’re looking forward to him not only being the face of the lacrosse program, but also being a mentor to our male student-athletes. His tenure speaks for itself. He’s very well-connected, and he has good relationships with lots of people, and that’s something you can’t put a price tag on.”

Cuozzo, who was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, said he used to go to Shoreham-Wading River practices and games to watch his former athlete, and has been thrilled with his approach to the game.

“The way he treats kids, he’s a real student of the game, and I can’t say enough on how proud I am of his accomplishments,” he said. “He brings a winning attitude.”

Rotanz, who said he tries to emulate the ways and successes of his former coach, is competitive, according to Cuozzo.

“He hates to lose — I think he got that from me,” he said, laughing. “I wasn’t a very good loser.”

Luckily, neither one of them has had to do much of that.

Tom Rotanz coaches from the sidelines of a Shoreham-Wading River boys' lacrosse game. Photo from Tom Rotanz
Tom Rotanz coaches from the sidelines of a Shoreham-Wading River boys’ lacrosse game. Photo from Tom Rotanz

Cuozzo compiled a 699-73 record while at the helm of the Patriots’ program. In 2007, he became the head coach at Mount Sinai, where he brought his win total to 747 in his four years before retirement. During his tenure with the Wildcats, Rotanz amassed a 256-99 record.

Cuozzo also thinks Rotanz will be able to draw athletes to the school.

“A lot of kids like to leave Long Island when they are finished with high school — they don’t want to stay local — but knowing Tom, he’s very convincing,” Cuozzo said. “He’ll do his homework. He’ll go out and scout, he’ll go to high school games and he’ll talk, make phone calls. He’s very organized, he’s very knowledgeable about the game, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to be successful there.”