The Adelphi athletic department sure gave Robert Hartwell one heck of a retirement present.
In Hartwell's final year as athletic director and assistant vice president, Adelphi was awarded the 2012-13 Northeast-10 Conference President's Cup, presented annually to the institution that collects the most cumulative points based on standings in the regular season from all of its programs competing in league championships.
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The Panthers racked up 177 points, finishing ahead of Bentley (171.5) and Stonehill (167).
The 2012-13 President's Cup is a first for Adelphi, which joined the Northeast-10 in 2009-2010.
"We're the newest institution to enter the Northeast-10 athletic conference," said Hartwell, who is retiring after 26 years. "I think we had credibility before it, but I don't think they thought that we were going to capture the Cup so quickly, so it gave us instant credibility within the conference and within the Northeast region in general."
The Panthers ended the winter season in sixth place in the Cup standings. By the end of the year, they leapfrogged to first place with a conference-best 74.5 points during the spring season. Adelphi's softball team had won the regular season, and its men's and women's lacrosse teams both tied for first place. The Panthers also won the 2012 Northeast-10 Golf Championship.
"Going into the spring, we thought we would be in contention," Hartwell said. "But then as the spring was halfway through, it looked like our teams were going to do really well so we were extremely optimistic that we might be there and be able to win it. We finished strong, won the Cup, and are completely overjoyed."
In addition to the award being a validation for all of the hard work that the current athletes have put into their sports, it has had an even bigger impact on past and future students.
"I think that it really benefited our relationships with our alumni," Hartwell said. "Our alumni really felt that we were a Long Island-based program . . . so I think the success of our athletics has made them a lot more comfortable following our sports and learning more about our university. I think that's a great outcome of us winning the President's Cup in the Northeast-10 because I think we've set a really good example, and it's meant a lot to our alumni and our recruiting of athletes from the New England region."
2012-13 Presidents' Cup Standings
1. Adelphi - 177
2. Bentley - 171.5
3. Stonehill - 167
4. UMass Lowell - 154.5
5. New Haven - 150.5
6. So. Connecticut - 146
7. American International - 143
8. Merrimack - 141
9. Franklin Pierce - 130
10. So. New Hampshire - 124
11. Le Moyne - 108.5
12. Saint Rose - 106.5
13. Assumption - 106
14. Saint Anselm - 96
15. Saint Michael's - 68.5
16. Pace - 60