Frank Aiello and Angie Estep-Cranford Comprise of 2012 Wilmington University Athletics Hall of Fame Class
Monday, October 8, 2012 - Newark, Del.
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Angie Estep-Cranford (middle) with head coach Kim Huggins-Habbert and Director of Athletics Linda AndrzjewskiFrank Aiello (left) with Director of Athletics Linda Andrzjewski and Associate Athletics Director and head baseball coach Brian August
A pair of standout individuals who helped bring the Wilmington University athletic department to where it stands today have been inducted into the 2012 Wilmington University Hall of Fame, with the final induction happening prior to this past weekend’s volleyball match.
Former athletic director Frank Aiello and former standout volleyball student-athlete Angie Estep-Cranford were both honored with the induction into the Hall of Fame for their work as a Wildcat.
Aiello was introduced into the 2012 Class prior to a baseball game on April 7, while Estep-Cranford’s ceremony was held prior to the volleyball match on Saturday, October 6.
Although in much different capacities, both Aiello and Estep-Cranford put Wilmington University athletics on the map in the early 2000’s, playing an integral part in helping this athletics department become what it is today.
Aiello, who started in the spring of 2003 and retired following the 2011 spring season, helped complete the department wide move in becoming a fully active NCAA Division II sanctioned university in the fall of 2004. He increased the current full-time athletic department staff from three to 10 employees and also increased the student-athlete scholarships and salaries for coaching staff members.
During his tenure, two teams were integrated into the department with the addition of women’s lacrosse and men’s golf. Since his start in 2003, the student-athlete population has risen from 125 to a current total of more than 220.
Aiello has been at the helm of the Wildcats for six Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championships (2004-05: volleyball; 2006-07: baseball; 2007-08: men’s soccer; 2008-09: baseball; 2010-11: men’s golf, baseball), eight NCAA Regional appearances and one NCAA Division II National Tournament appearance (2011 men’s golf).
Ten Wildcat student-athletes have been named NCAA All-Americans under Aiello and one student-athlete was named an NCAA Academic All-American during his tenure. He has also helped raise graduation rates among the student-athletes to an all-time high of 68 percent.
The former athletic director also played an integral role in the foresight of the new athletic facility that is currently in its first season of competition this fall.
Estep-Cranford came to Wilmington in 2002 and immediately stepped in as the team’s starting setter. Through her career, she surpassed 4,000 assists and continues to lead the career record book by averaging 8.73 assists per set while a member of the NCAA.
As a junior in 2004, Estep-Cranford guided the team to a perfect 20-0 conference record, being named the CACC Tournament MVP in leading the team to Wilmington’s first NCAA Division II regional appearance in any sport.
During her first three years on the court, the Wildcats did not lose a conference match, setting a school record with 68 consecutive wins inside the CACC. The 68 wins helped the team to three straight CACC regular season titles. In her four years as a student-athlete, the volleyball team went 67-9 in the CACC and 94-56 overall.
Estep-Cranford was a three-time First Team All-CACC honoree and a two-time CACC All-Tournament team member. She also earned a spot on the 2002 NAIA All-Region X All-Tournament team in leading the team to the NAIA National Tournament.
Having only two years under NCAA competition and record keeping, Estep-Cranford is second all-time in Wildcats history with 1,972 assists and sixth all-time with 106 aces in two seasons.
The two inductees in this year’s class will bring the Wilmington University Athletics Hall of Fame membership to 20 former Wildcat greats.