Iona Athletics announces Arrigoni Hall of Fame class of ’23


The Arrigoni Hall of Fame is now up to 128 total members. 

Lachlan Wellington, Sports Editor

The Iona Athletics department inducted six former student-athletes into the Arrigoni Hall of Fame on Feb. 25.

The new members were inducted in a ceremony at the LaPenta School of Business and were honoured at the home men’s basketball game on Feb. 27 against Siena College.  


The six additions to the Hall of Fame included former basketball players Karen (Culbertson) Brauer ’01 and Tariq Kirksay ’20, rowing’s Erin (Whalen) McGee, Esq., ’99, baseball’s Brian Merkle ’00, soccer’s Tatum Nussbaum ’99 and football’s Ralph Saldivero ’02.

Brauer graduated as the No. 3 all-time scorer in program history, scoring 1,456 points, a mark that remains sixth place all-time.  


During her career, Brauer averaged 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in 109 games. Brauer finished with the all-time No.1 ranked career free throw percentage, which still stands today.

Brauer was selected to the All-MAAC team four times, as she became the first player in Iona history to be named all-league in all four seasons. Brauer graduated in 2001 with a degree in Social Work.

Kirksay finished his career as the No. 4 all-time scorer in program history with 1,815 points, averaging 14.7 points and 7.5 rebounds in 123 games.

Kirksay set several Iona records, ranking third in free-throws made (464), third in steals (207), fourth in rebounds (926), fourth in free throw attempts (639) and sixth in field goals made (619).  

Kirksay was the first Iona player to earn All-MAAC honors in all four seasons, including first team as a junior and senior and the 1999-2000 Player of the Year. He was also named to the All-Tournament team in 1998 and 2000, winning multiple MAAC Championships and appearing in the NCAA tournament. Kirksay returned to Iona to graduate in 2020 after a successful professional basketball career abroad. 


Erin (Whalen) McGee, Esq., ’99 of women’s rowing (1995-1999), was the first and only Rhodes Scholar in Iona history. When women’s rowing became an NCAA and MAAC sponsored sport in 1997, McGee was a standout performer for the Gaels in the late 1990s.  


McGee also helped in the community as she worked as an usher at athletic events, tutored students, donated time as a campus minister, edited the sports section of The Ionian and was part of the Honors Program as an English and communications major. 

Performance-wise, McGee competed in all three MAAC Championships during her time at Iona, winning four medals and helping the Gaels to a second-place finish at the MAAC Championships in 1997 and 1998, which remains as Iona’s best performance to date.  


Brian Merkle ’00, graduated as Iona baseball’s all-time career and single-season home run hitter, finishing with a batting average of .310 in 173 career games, including 38 home runs and 133 RBI.  


Merkle also set a single season home run record of 16, as well as being a three-time All-MAAC selection. He earned a degree in Criminal Justice from Iona in 2000.  


Tatum Nussbaum ’99 of women’s soccer (1992-1994), still remains at the top of several categories for records, nearly 30 years after she graduated.

Nussbaum was a part of the first-ever women’s soccer championship back in 1992. She still remains Iona’s all-time leading goal scorer with 32 goals, 15 assists and 79 total points.  


Fourteen goals and a program single-season record of 10 assists in 1992, followed by a record 18 goals and five assists the next season, means Nussbaum’s marks still stand No. 1 and No. 2 point scoring totals in program history. Her 18 goals in 1993 was the second most in MAAC history at the time.  


Nussbaum was named an All-American on the back of her efforts, all while only competing in two seasons for the Gaels. She earned her degree in education in 1999.

Ralph Saldiveri ’02, was the top offensive player in Iona football history. He maintains almost every rushing and scoring record in program history, as he finished with 4,507 yards rushing and 41 touchdowns, both Iona records.  

Saldiveri was an All-American selection during his time with the Maroon and Gold and in his senior season finished ninth in the NCAA with 138.2 yards per game.  


Saldiveri earned his degree in Marketing from the School of Business in 2002.