On April 13, 1996, Penn inducted its inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame class. Since then, 10 more classes have been elected, with the most recent inducted on May 4, 2019. Candidates for the Hall of Fame must have earned their last letter at least 10 years prior to their induction while coaching candidates must have coached at least five years at Penn and no longer be actively coaching at the university. We have three recommendations for the next class.
Al Bagnoli — Penn football coach, 1992-2014
After 14 years of coaching at Union College, Bagnoli was introduced as the head coach of the Quakers in January of 1992. Following a decade where the Red and Blue won six Ivy League titles, the Quakers were in the midst of three straight when Bagnoli arrived at Franklin Field. However, by the time the legendary Penn coach departed the program in 2014, Bagnoli would go on to be remembered as arguably the most successful coach in program history.
In his 23 years as the coach of Penn football, Bagnoli achieved a 148-80 overall record and 112-49 record in the Ivy League, earning him records for most games coached, most games won, most Ancient Eight games won, and most outright Ivy titles in program history. Bagnoli led the Quakers to an impressive nine Ivy League championships.
While no other coach in history has won back-to-back Ivy titles with an undefeated record in the Ivy League, Bagnoli has done so three separate times. Bagnoli’s Quakers not only hold the record for the longest Ivy winning streak in league history but also the NCAA record for the longest winning streak in FCS history.
Ugonna Onyekwe — Penn basketball power forward, 1999-2003
From 1999 to 2003, the Quakers were a dominant force in the Ivy League, winning four conference championships during this time. In three of these years, power forward Ugonna Onyekwe was an integral part of the team’s success. During his tenure with the Red and Blue, Onyekwe was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year and four-time All-Ivy honoree.
As a freshman, the power forward from Lagos, Nigeria collected Ivy League Rookie of the Year accolades and was named second-team All-Big 5. In his junior and senior campaigns, Onyekwe was named to first team first-team All-Big 5 in addition to his back-to-back Ivy League Player of the Year selections and Associated Press All-America Honorable Mentions in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
Onyekwe graduated second on Penn’s all-time scoring list, with 1,762 points, and eighth on the all-time rebounding list with 759 boards. He was part of two Penn teams that went unbeaten in Ivy League play and three Quaker squads that participated in NCAA Tournaments. In recognition of his Quaker career, Onyekwe was inducted into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame in 2015.
Jessica Fuccello — Penn women’s soccer, 2006-2009
After even just a quick glance at the Quakers’ record books, it is easy to tell that Jessica Fuccello played an integral role for Penn women’s soccer during her time on the team. Second in program history in career goals, career points, and single-season points to only Penn legend Katy Cross, Fuccello is the program’s leader in single season goals and single-game goals.
What makes this especially impressive is that Fuccello played essentially only three seasons as she only made two appearances her junior year due to a series of injuries. Fuccello made an instant impact in her first season, leading the team in goals, assists, and points.
By her senior campaign, Fuccello was a two-time first team All-Ivy selection, leading the Ivy League and finishing third nationally with a 1.07 goals-per-game average while also leading the Ivy and finishing fifth nationally with a 2.33 points-per-game average.