O'Rourke and Parker Inducted Into Panther Hall of Fame
May 7, 2016
Danielle O’Rourke and Eric Parker have been inducted into the Tompkins Cortland Community College Panther Hall of Fame. The two were joined by family and friends for the ceremony on campus Saturday, May 7.
O’Rourke is the first softball player inducted into the Panther Hall of Fame. She was a captain on the 2009 national championship team, earning a place on the NJCAA National Championship All-Tournament Team as well as being named an NFCA All-American. She earned a softball scholarship to Lynn University (NCAA Division II) and played for the Fighting Knights while earning her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
While at Tompkins Cortland, O’Rourke put her name in several places in the college’s record book. When she finished her career as a Panther she held the career records for home runs and runs batted in and was among the top five in hits (2nd), doubles (2nd), put outs (2nd), runs scored (4th), walks (4th), slugging percentage (4th), and on-base percentage (5th). She still holds the single-season record for walks.
In his nomination letter, Panther Hall of Famer and former softball coach Brent Doane said O’Rourke deserves much of the credit for turning the Panthers softball program into a national champion in 2009. “Without question, we could not have achieved a national championship without her as our captain, our best hitter, our catcher, and the undisputable leader of our team,” said Doane, noting the culture she helped create led to four straight trips to nationals. “No one before or since has had the immediate impact that she did on our program.”
Parker is the third wrestler to be inducted into the Hall. A graduate of Ithaca High, he wrestled at Tompkins Cortland during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons. He was the Region III champion at 149 pounds as a freshman, being named the regional tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. As a sophomore he finished second in the same weight class. Both years he qualified for the NJCAA National Championship Tournament.
A team captain, he helped the 1999 team earn the honor of being named the NJCAA Academic Wrestling Team of the Year. After graduation he continued his wrestling career at Ithaca College, and after earning his bachelor’s degree, returned to his school alma mater as a physical education teacher and coach. Parker still teaches and coaches wrestling and track and field at Ithaca High.
“Eric worked extremely hard both in and out of the classroom,” wrote Panther Hall of Famer and former wrestling coach Larry Hinkle in his nomination of Parker. “As his coach, I was extremely proud of his efforts and accomplishments at Tompkins Cortland and thereafter. He was an excellent leader and a great student athlete, and now is a great role model and an outstanding citizen of Tompkins County.”
Formed in 1999, the Hall is designed to honor former athletes, coaches, and contributors for their outstanding performance and support of Tompkins Cortland athletics. New members are elected by a selection committee that includes the director of athletics, the Athletic Advisory Board members, and current Panther Hall of Fame members. Inductions are possible bi-annually, with a maximum of three new members in each class. A plaque with the inductee's picture and description of his or her achievement is displayed at the College.
The inductions of O’Rourke and Parker brigns the total number of members of the Panther Hall of Fame to 14.