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Joanne  Little Joanne Little
Inducted: 2005 - Graduated: 1976

The 1970s ushered in the era of organized scholastic

girls’ sports in New York and other states around the

country. Those early years were marked by rising participation

rates and gradually improving talent levels.

Players and fans alike took some time adjusting to the

concept of girls as competitive participants rather

than cheering spectators.

Because girls were experiencing a sharp learning

curve for acquiring basic athletic skills, what became

immediately apparent was the disparity between the

most talented players and everyone else. A premier

player could carry her team and dominate a game.

Longtime Rockland sports followers may remember

basketball standouts like Mary Brechbiel of Albertus

Magnus, Denise McGuire of Pearl River, and Sue

Collier of Rosary Academy; Jane Ronner, the foursport

star for Clarkstown North; Sheri Steckler,

Suffern’s no-hit pitching ace; and Brenda Saunders,

Clarkstown South’s distance-running prodigy.

Then there wasNanuet’s Joanne Little. On the athletic

field, there was little she couldn’t do. Blessed with great athleticism, physical strength and a fierce competitiveness,

Joanne dominated like few Nanuet

female athletes ever have. She earned 10 varsity letters in

four sports – basketball, volleyball, softball and track

& field.

Basketball was the sport in which Joanne, a guard,

excelled most. She learned the game by playing

against her brother David and other kids in the Villa

Drive neighborhood ofNanuet. She led the Rockland

County Public School Athletic League in scoring her

junior and senior years, averaging 24.1 and 20.5 points

per game, respectively. Both years shewas a unanimous

first-team All-County selection, team co-captain and

MVP. She also averaged 15.5 points per game as a

freshman and 18.7 as a sophomore in the days when

teams played only 13 to 15 games a season. She wound

up with 956 points during her four-year varsity career

but could have scored well over 1,000 points had she

played in today’s era of longer playing seasons.

Joanne had a solid supporting cast with players such

as Anne Dunne, Sherry Baron, Donna Cirolia, Peggy Borghard, and freshman Janice Olszewski, who went

on to set a Rockland County career scoring record.

Nanuet had three players among the top 20 scoring

leaders in the PSAL during the 1975-76 season:

Joanne (19.8 points per game in thePSAL, 20.5 overall);

Olszewski, 11.1; and Baron, 9.2. Interscholastic PSAL

competition began in Joanne’s sophomore year;

before that the girls played in what was known as the

PSAL extramural league.

In volleyball, Joanne earned first-team All-County

recognition her senior year and was team co-captain

andMVP, while as a junior she was honorablemention

All-County. During the spring, Joanne played softball

for three years and merited honorable mention All-

County as a junior. The following year she switched to

track & field and the move paid off handsomely: At

the Rockland County Championships, Joanne won

the shot put and finished second in the discus. She set

the County record in the shot (since broken), was

team MVP and qualified for and competed in the

New York State championship meet.

Barbara Stronczer and later Lonnie Dall were

Joanne’s coaches in basketball, and Dall also coached

her in volleyball. Catherine Kelly coached Joanne in

softball, and Julie Schaefer was her track coach.

At the conclusion of her stellar athletic career, Joanne

was one of three Black & Gold Club scholarship

recipients, along with fellow Nanuet Hall of Famers

and 1976 graduates Tony Harlin and Bret Watzka.

Joanne also was feted in several other ways, earning

the JesseKaplan MemorialAward, theNanuet

Lions Club Humanitarian Award, the I Dare

You Committee Leadership Award, and the

P.T.S.A. Citizenship Award.

Joanne earned an athletic scholarship to

Keene State College in New Hampshire, an NCAA

Div. II school where she excelled in basketball for

four years and softball for two. She then embarked

on a career in coaching and athletic administration.

During her one season as head women’s basketball

coach at SUNY Binghamton, 1989-90, she was

SUNY Coach of the Year for leading her team to

a fourth-place finish after they were picked in a

pre-season poll to finish 10th out of 11 teams.

Joanne, a resident ofNiskayuna,N.Y., has spent

the last 15 years at Union College, an NCAA Div. III school in Schenectady. (It also sponsors two Div. I

sports, men’s and women’s ice hockey.) She first

served as a coach of basketball, volleyball and tennis

and later moved into administration. She is currently

the school’s associate director of athletics and senior

women’s administrator. In that role she oversees 10

sports, sports services and sports information, and is

the marketing/promotions coordinator for her

department. She also is the commissioner of the

Liberty League, of which Union’s 23 Div. III sports

are members.