Kevin Kolek, a member of the UMass Dartmouth Athletic Hall of Fame, is one of seven Division III men's college basketball players among a class of 184 people who are being inducted.
A 1989 graduate of UMass Dartmouth when it was known as Southeastern Massachusetts University, Kolek played in every game during his four-year career, helping lead his team to three NCAA Division III tournament appearances and finishing third on the all-time Corsair career scoring list with 2,027 points.
As a sophomore, Kolek was the NCAA Regional Tournament MVP and earned the New England Basketball Coaches Association Unsung Hero Award. The Little East Conference Player of the Year as a junior, Kolek was named to the LEC All-Tournament team for the Corsairs, who finished 27-1 and were ranked as high as second nationally before losing their final game of the season to Clark. For the second year in a row, he made the NCAA Regional Tournament All-Tournament team, and was named ECAC Regional Player of the Year.
Kolek capped his career as the Corsairs' co-captain as a senior, being named LEC Co-Player of the Year and earning LEC Tournament MVP honors. He was named United Press International First Team All-New England, was named a Converse Second Team All-American, and made the NCAA Regional All-Tournament team for a third consecutive season. In four seasons, Kolek averaged 19 points a game, making 50.8 per cent of his field goals and shooting 51 per cent from three-point range. The team that went 27-1 during his junior year was inducted into the UMass Dartmouth Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
"Kevin was one of the best basketball players ever to play here," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste, who coached Kolek as a Corsair. "He was an outstanding player, and a 6-2 guard who played much bigger than his height. He was a good perimeter shooter and was also able to play inside, was a very smart player and was very good at anticipating on the defensive end. Kevin worked extremely hard and is a great person and is very deserving of this award."
"It's a great honor," said Kolek, a native of Pawtucket, RI who is now a police officer in Cumberland. "It's an honor to be mentioned with some of the people who are being inducted. I attribute most of the success I had there to Brian, he's a great coach. We were his first recruiting class, and he took us to the national tournament. He's one of the best coaches at any level. I wouldn't be receiving this honor if it wasn't for the support I received from my coaches and my teammates. The best time I had was when I was at UMass Dartmouth, and I've learned a lot from sports about hard work, and working together to achieve a goal. The friendships I made there have lasted a lifetime."
"The object of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame is to recognize contributions of various sorts, all of which add up to the wonderful culture of basketball in New England," said Daniel E. Doyle, Jr., executive director of the Institute for International Sport, which administers the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. High school and collegiate basketball players from every New England state are inducted, as well as coaches and referees. Other categories include those whose academic excellence earns them a place in the Hall of Fame as scholar-athletes.