Pittsburgh -- Former offensive lineman Hank Fraley (1996-99) of the Robert Morris University football team was one of eight members named to the inaugural Northeast Conference Hall of Fame induction class, it was announced by the league as part of its 30th anniversary celebration.
The NEC Hall of Fame was established as a means to recognize, honor and perpetuate the memory of those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to NEC athletics and have helped to bring recognition, honor, distinction and excellence to both the NEC and its Division I athletic programs.
Nominations for the NEC Hall of Fame were made by current and former member institutions, along with the league office. Enshrinees were then selected in a vote by administrators from each member institution and the NEC.
One administrator, one coach, three male student-athletes and three female student-athletes comprise the inaugural class of the NEC Hall of Fame.
Joining Fraley as male student-athletes inducted into the NEC Hall of Fame are former Wagner basketball player Terrance Bailey (1983-87) and former Mount St. Mary's track & field and cross country student-athlete Peter Rono (1987-91).
The three female student-athletes earning induction into the NEC Hall of Fame are former Fairleigh Dickinson track & field student-athlete Sharlene Milwood-Lee (1990-94), former Monmouth soccer player Christie Pearce-Rampone (1993-96) and former Saint Francis (Pa.) basketball player Jess Zinobile (1996-2000).
Chris Monasch, the first full-time commissioner of the NEC who served in the post from 1987 to 1997, was inducted as an administrator, while legendary Mount St. Mary's head men's basketball coach Jim Phelan (1954-2003) earned the coaches honor.
A 2006 inductee into the Robert Morris Athletic Hall of Fame, Fraley was a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Colonials. An All-NEC selection at tackle in 1997, 1998 and 1999, he helped guide RMU to NEC regular-season championships each of those years as well as the 1999 I-AA Mid-Major National Championship according to Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette.
Just the second player to have his number retired at Robert Morris, Fraley's No. 75 was enshrined prior to RMU's game against Sacred Heart Sept. 22, 2001. Over his three years as a starter on the offensive line, the Colonials posted an overall record of 20-11 (.645). In Fraley's first year as a starter in 1997, RMU finished with an overall record of 8-3, claimed the NEC regular-season championship and posted a 35-13 win over Georgetown in the 1997 ECAC Bowl.
Signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers to a free agent contract in April of 2000, Fraley was claimed off waivers the following August by the Philadelphia Eagles. Fraley became the starter at center in 2001 and helped the Eagles appear in four straight NFC Championship games from 2002 to 2005. In 2005, Fraley became the first RMU alum to appear in the Super Bowl when started at center against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Fraley, a native of Gaithersburg, Md., also spent four seasons with the Cleveland Browns from 2006 to 2009, earning 52 starts in 63 games. Prior to the 2010 season, his 11th in the NFL, Fraley signed with the St. Louis Rams. He has appeared in six games so far this season with the Rams and over his career Fraley has started 123 of a possible 141 contests. He also owns 10 career postseason starts.
You can read an interview with Fraley in the Fall 2008 Foundations magazine.