Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumna 2018 Honorees
On Saturday, February 9, 2019, Maclay School will host the 5th Annual Athletics Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumnus induction luncheon and ceremony. The 2018 Athletics Hall of Fame selections are Bruce Irvin (Coach and Athletic Director, 1975-2012), Stefanie Kurgatt (Cross Country/Track, Class of 2013), Blake Miles (Basketball, Class of 1987), and Danny Pellegrino Cross Country/Track, Class of 2010). In addition, the 2005 Boys Basketball team will be inducted. 1988 graduate Mary Shovlain will be honored as the 2018 Distinguished Alumna. For tickets to the event, please visit www.maclay.org/HOF. Ticket costs are $35. The luncheon will begin at 12:30 pm on February 9 in the Maclay School Dining Hall and Performance Center.
Bruce Irvin (Coach/Administrator, 1975-2012)
After ending his baseball career when he graduated from Mississippi State in 1974, Coach Bruce Irvin was hired as Maclay’s Assistant Athletic Director. Only one year later, he took over as Athletic Director and grew the athletic program by adding sports, upgrading facilities, and instilling the importance of sportsmanship.
Over Coach Bruce Irvin’s 38 years at Maclay, a sports empire was built. During his tenure, Maclay had 34 State Championships, 20 State Championship Runners-Up, and countless city, district, and regional titles. In addition, Maclay won the Fred E. Rozelle Sportsmanship Scholarship Award four times and was named Athletic Program of the Year ten times.
At the beginning of his career, Irvin coached JV Soccer, JV Basketball, Varsity Baseball, and Boys and Girls Varsity Soccer. He also served on the Florida High School Athletic Association’s (FHSAA) Representative Assembly and Board of Directors, founded the Awards Committee that selects the FHSAA Academic All-State Team, was a member of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association, served on the Florida Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, as well as the Florida Council of Independent Schools leadership boards.
After retiring in 2012, Irvin was inducted into the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame and named the National High School Athletic Coaches Association’s Athletic Director of the Year in 2013. Today, Irvin spends his days spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren and fishing whenever he can.
Coach Irvin’s dedication to escalating the athletic reputation of Maclay and its student-athletes was second to none. He mowed the grass and painted the fields to prepare for games, put the pool bubble up, and spent countless weekends and holidays away at tournaments. Maclay would be nowhere near the athletic dominance it has today without his decades of leadership and commitment to the Marauder community.
Stefanie Kurgatt (Cross Country/Track and Field, Class of 2013)
Stefanie Kurgatt is one of the best runners to wear the Marauder uniform. As a part of the Varsity Track, Cross Country, and Tennis teams, she broke records, won titles, and made history.
While at Maclay, Kurgatt went undefeated for five straight years in the State Track Championships in her specialty, the 800 meters. In the entire history of FHSAA, only one other track athlete has won more consecutive titles. With seven total individual track state titles, Kurgatt holds the most titles of any Maclay athlete, male or female. In addition to her 800m titles, she also had track state titles in the 1600m, 4x400m, and twice in the 4x800m. She was also the Cross-Country State Runner-Up. Not surprisingly, Kurgatt also broke four school records by running a 2:10 in the 800m, 4:49 in the 1600m, 10:33 in the 3200m, and 17:47 in the 5k, all of which still stand today. She also had the sixth fastest mile time in all of Florida.
As a junior, Stefanie represented the United States in the High School Caribbean games in Puerto Rico where she placed first in the 1500m and 800m. That same year, she competed at Nationals where she placed 10th. Highlighting her senior year, her team won a team state title. Stefanie considers this a “HUGE part of my Maclay experience… the best title of them all.”
After graduating from Maclay, Kurgatt attended Georgetown University on a full scholarship. After two years of running, she had to quit due to injury but still pursued her degree with the full scholarship. In May 2017, she graduated from Georgetown with a Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Management/Policy and a minor in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and works in Georgetown’s Medical Center under their Office of Advancement while pursuing a Master’s in Health Systems Administration (MHSA). With her Master's degree, she wants to go on and work in the healthcare industry increasing access to care for all people. She also aspires to coach other runners on an elite level and help young women achieve their dreams.
Blake Miles (Basketball, Class of 1987)
Blake Miles was an all-star basketball standout for the Maclay Marauders from 1983-1987. He was a four-year varsity starter where he recorded over 25 career triple-doubles. A three-time MVP, Miles was named team captain for his junior and senior years and finished his career with school records of 1,506 career points; 1,136 rebounds; and 806 assists.
Miles helped lead his team to four straight winning seasons including three district finals and an appearance in the 1986 regional finals where the Marauders lost to the eventual state champions Grand Ridge.
His junior year, Miles was named All-State and All-Big Bend, recorded 13 triple-doubles, and was ranked in the top 100 juniors in the country by Hoop Scoop Magazine. That year, he was also named to the Governor’s Cup All-Tournament Team and selected as one of 12 players picked to play on Jr. Team Florida.
As a senior, Miles averaged 15.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. A repeat All-State and All-Big Bend selection, the 6’6” forward was chosen as one of the top five players in Florida, named to the Governor’s Cup and King of the Bluegrass All-Tournament Teams, named a McDonalds All-American Honorable Mention, listed among the top 45 small forwards in the country by Cage Newsletter, and played on Team Florida.
Although he was recruited by 45 total Division I schools and received 15 scholarship offers, Miles chose to stay in town and attend Florida State University on a full basketball scholarship. There, he was part of a top four recruiting class, received the NCNB Scholar-Athlete Award, and was named to the Metro Conference All-Academic Team. Miles was also a peer tutor for other Florida State student-athletes.
In 1992, Miles graduated from FSU with a Business Marketing degree. In 1993, he married his wife, Jennifer Miles and they have two children, Drew (21) and Samantha (18), who is currently a senior at Maclay. Miles works as a Regional Sales Manager for Zoll Medical and volunteers in the community with Compassion International and as a YMCA coach. Maintaining his roots in Maclay basketball, he also is an assistant coach for Boys Varsity Basketball at Maclay. When he’s not working, he enjoys hanging out with his family, fitness training, reading, and playing golf.
Danny Pellegrino (Cross Country/Track and Field, Class of 2002)
Danny Pellegrino had a stellar athletic career in both the high school and collegiate levels.
During his freshman year at Maclay, he was a four-sport athlete participating in track, cross country, swimming, and crew. However, he spent the rest of his high school years focusing on track where he went on to set numerous school records that remain unbroken today, including the pole vault.
Besides excelling in the pole vault, Pellegrino also participated in the 110 m hurdles, long jump, 4x400m, and 300m hurdles. As a senior, he set the Florida High School State Record for the pole vault and was State Champion in multiple other events from 2000 to 2002. Named Junior All-American in the pole vault (6th in the country), Pellegrino helped lead his team to State Championships in 2000 and 2002 where he scored in multiple events.
Pellegrino’s leadership skills on the Maclay track team were evident to his teammates and coaches include Coach Gary Droze. According to Droze, Pellegrino’s teams never placed below 3rd at the State Championships all four years he competed for Maclay. Droze also described how Pellegrino “is the Maclay all-time points leader at state, scoring in hurdles, jumps, and sprints,” and that Pellegrino’s “relentless drive and intensity fueled his teammates during his entire tenure.”
At the collegiate level, Pellegrino earned a track scholarship at Georgetown University where he was the Bulldog’s top pole vaulter at the 2003 Big East Conference Championships and is still listed as Georgetown’s #3 all-time indoor pole vaulter and in the top 10 in the outdoor pole vault record.
Pellegrino now lives in Charleston and is Vice President of Bridge Consulting, a commercial real estate company.
2005 Boys’ Basketball Team
The 2005 Boys’ Basketball Team was a team like no other. With six of the nine seniors on the team being charter members of Maclay and eight of the nine playing together since Middle School, these boys grew up and played basketball together for years.
As sophomores, this Marauder team did not win a single district game. During their junior year, however, they went 6-2 in the district, ending their season district runners-up to NFC and losing a hard-fought battle against Port St. Joe in the first round of regionals. Despite having a good season, this ending wasn’t good enough for the soon-to-be seniors.
Before the 2005 season, the team put in hours of hard work and dedication to make their senior year a memorable one which is just what they did. The team met at the gym at 5:30 am for morning practice, something that had not been tried by many teams before. With basketball being the main sport (football did not exist at Maclay yet), the new Webster Center being unveiled, and the players seeking redemption from last year, the energy for this particular season was at an all-time high. The players played with an edge and aggression unseen by any Maclay team. What they lacked in physical ability, they made up for in aggressiveness and intelligence. In addition, the years of playing together created a chemistry so close that everyone knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and played for the team rather than themselves.
Their hard work paid off. The Marauders went on to win 21 games in a row and finished undefeated during the regular season. The excitement continued with first district title since 1979 and only the second district title in Maclay basketball history. After soaking up the District win, the team hosted and won the first regional home game in the school’s basketball program history. The Marauders were headed to the State playoffs. The “Dream Year” continued with a first-round victory over Palmer Trinity but they would be stopped just short of the ultimate prize when they met the Apache team of Arlington Country Day. Arlington, a team with six Division I signees, ended the Marauder’s season by defeating Maclay 55-33 in the State Championship final.
The 2005 Boys’ Basketball Team wasn’t just a great team. They were a team that changed the culture of sports at Maclay. Elementary students begged their parents to bring them to games throughout the season and the entire school watched the final game in their classrooms. Through basketball, this team began the One School One Community Maclay. They were truly something special.
Team Members: Todd Behrman, Kirby Bissell, Michael Burchfield, Brennon Clayton, Casey Clayton, Kevin Davey, Josh Hoffman, Kyle Jones, Chad Lancaster, Chase Lancaster, Pat Mullane, Andrew Rutledge, David Stewart, Drew Teaf, Christopher Thompson.
Coaches: Mike McGrotha (Head Coach), Barry Golden (Assistant), Bob Boyd (Assistant) Statistician: Whitney Smith.
Mary Shovlain (Distinguished Alumna 2018, Class of 1988)
The 2018 Distinguished Alumnus honoree is 1988 Maclay graduate Mary Shovlain. Mary was a member of the volleyball team that made it to the state tournament and served as a member of Anchor Club as well. After graduating from Maclay, she attended the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, where she received a B.S. in education. A few years later, Mary received a Master’s degree in theology and graduated with honors from Steubenville. In 1999, she received the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum, in Rome, Italy. She finished her education at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross where she received a licentiate degree in theology and graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Perhaps, however, it is Mary’s accomplishments outside of her educational achievements that are most impressive. She served as an on-stage English presenter in front of over 2 million young people during World Youth Day 2000 with Pope John Paul II. Mary also did extensive work with Vatican Radio, providing live coverage of the Pope’s international trips and Vatican events. Through doing this, she was able to interview newsmakers from around the world and Vatican officials on a daily basis.
After working for Vatican Radio in Rome, Mary returned to the United States for a year to work with the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the world’s largest religious media organization. As part of this company, Mary produced broadcasts for multiple programs and coverage of special live events, like the 2003 March for Life in Washington, DC.
Mary returned to Rome in 2003 to create television and radio programs from the Eternal City. Besides her own productions, she also collaborated on projects that have aired on the History Channel, National Geographic, and PBS. She also hosted her own program, The Vatican Report with Mary Shovlain, on SIRIUS XM’s The Catholic Channel. This weekly radio program focused on the activities of Pope Francis and explored Vatican news headlines with experts and Vatican officials. Beginning in 2015, she served as a correspondent and producer for EWTN News Nightly. She produced and hosted the network’s live special coverage of several notable events: the Fatima Centennial (May 2017), the Canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta (September 2016), and three weeks of live daily coverage of the Bishops’ headline-making Synod on the Family (October 2015). With this extensive background in Communications, Mary has recently taken a new position as the Public Diplomacy Specialist at the United States Embassy to the Holy See. Here, she works with the current American ambassador, Callista Gingrich. For this job, she develops and implements communication strategies and works as a liaison with members of the press and opinion makers in Rome regarding the policies of the American government.
Mary Shovlain has accomplished impressive feats in her work during her lifetime. From producing broadcasts in Alabama to working with popes in Vatican City, Mary continues to be an amazing representative of the Maclay community all over the world.