AHEPA Athletic HOF Announces 2012 Inductees
WASHINGTON - The Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame Selection Committee of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading membership-based association for the nation’s three million American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, has announced its Hall of Fame Class of 2011, announced Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides and Gregory Stamos, chairman, Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
The AHEPA Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame inductees are:
"The 2012 Induction Class is comprised of athletes who have excelled to the highest levels of their competition," said Supreme President Dr. Grossomanides. “In doing so, they have also remained true to their Hellenic heritage. We congratulate and welcome them into the AHEPA Athletic Hall of Fame.”
They will be inducted into the Hall at the Athletic Luncheon held at the 90th AHEPA Supreme Convention, July 25, 2012, Las Vegas, Nev.
Added Stamos, "They are also outstanding leaders in their respective post-career fields, and represent the classic Hellenic ideal of the treasured confluence of a 'solid body – sound mind.' While they most certainly excelled on the playing fields, they have also remained true to their Hellenic heritage and roots, and we congratulate them and are proud to welcome them into the prestigious AHEPA Hellenic Hall of Fame."
The AHEPA Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 1974, and includes more than 125 inductees. Annually, candidates are nominated by members of the Order of AHEPA, and after a thorough vetting process, are ultimately selected in balloting by 20 Hall of Fame Selection Committee members, who encompass a broad cross-section of engaged voters, geographically and experience-wise; their selection is based not only on athletic accomplishments, but also character and civic and personal service. The 2012 distinguished class joins such stellar prior inductees as: Harry Agganis, Alex Karras, Milt Pappas, Pete Sampras, Eric Karros, Gene Rossides, and Bob Costas.
Thomas Pappas is the only decathlete to represent the United States in three Olympics: 2000 Sydney Games, 2004 Athens Games and 2008 Beijing Games. Eight times in his career he ranked in the top 10 in the decathlon. He won a record-tying five U.S. Championships between 2000-2007. As a collegiate at the University of Tennessee, he set the United States decathlon record and won the NCAA Championship in 1998.
Leonidas Tsantiris just concluded his 32nd year as head coach of the Women’s Soccer program at the University of Connecticut. Under his leadership, the team has advanced to 28 NCAA National Tournaments, including 26 straight from 1982 – 2007. On four of those occasions, the team reached the NCAA Championship game. He is the second most winning NCAA coach of all time with more than 450 career wins. He was a standout soccer player at the University of Connecticut in the mid-1970s, and he played professionally in the former American Soccer League.
Steve Leondis had a distinguished basketball career at Yale University where he became Yale’s third all-time leading scorer (1,540 points) and was voted to the All-Ivy League Team for three consecutive years. In 1980, he was Freshman of the Year. He serves on several community, philanthropic and charitable boards, and in particular, he founded Hoops on the Hill in 2006, which is a basketball outreach/urban ministry providing opportunities to many disadvantaged students in the New York area.
Dean Lambros was a member of the All-State high school basketball team in Ohio and played collegiately at the University of Cincinnati in the mid-1960s. In his senior year, the team advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to eventual national champion Texas Western in overtime. Dean is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and he serves on the Hellenic Museum Board of Directors in Chicago.
Nick Pappageorge averaged 18.8 points per game in his senior year at St. Mary’s College in California, surpassing 1,000 career points in his two years there. After a try-out with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1978, he played pro basketball in Greece with the professional team AEK. He is a long-time AHEPA member. (His father Peter Pappageorge was a past District Governor for District 21.) Dean continues to coach basketball in various church and AHEPA leagues.
Lampros, Pappageorge and Leondis also represented the Order of AHEPA as members of the All-Star Basketball trips to Greece After their collegiate years.
AHEPA is the largest Greek-American association in the world with chapters in the United States, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, and sister chapters in Australia and New Zealand. It was established in 1922 by visionary Greek Americans to protect Hellenes from prejudice originating from the KKK, and in its history, AHEPA joined with the NAACP and B'nai B'rith International to fight discrimination.
The mission of the AHEPA family is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of education, philanthropy, civic responsibility and family and individual excellence through community service and volunteerism.
For more information about the AHEPA family, or how to join, please contact AHEPA Headquarters, (202) 232-6300, or visit www.ahepa.org. To learn more about the AHEPA National Educational Foundation, please visit www.ahepa.org/education.