Legendary NYIT coach Pete Zinno inducted into ECC Hall of Fame

Legendary NYIT coach Pete Zinno inducted into ECC Hall of Fame

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Legendary NYIT track and field and cross country coach Pete Zinno is the newest member of the East Coast Conference Hall of Fame.

Zinno was enshrined as part of the second class in ECC history on Monday night at a reception at the University of Bridgeport.

He joined former NYIT athletic director Clyde Doughty Jr. and former men's lacrosse coach Jack Kaley, who were inducted as part of the ECC's inaugural class in 2017.

"It's an honor and a testament to the great men and women student-athletes we've had over the years, and to the support of NYIT as an institution," said Zinno said, who remains involved coaching the NYIT men's and women's cross country teams, with the official title of head coach emeritus.

Former student-athletes Mike Aviles (Concordia baseball), Tammy Greene (Jefferson women's basketball), and Maja Potpara Krljic (Dowling volleyball) as well as longtime Mercy athletic director Neil Judge also were inducted Monday.

Zinno led NYIT's track and field and cross country programs for three decades, from 1973 through 2003. He was inducted into the NYIT Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.

Zinno founded the women's track and field program at NYIT in 1979, and it became one of the first in the nation.

He sent runners to the Olympic Games in 1980, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. That included Howard Burnett, who captured a silver medal in the 4x400-meter relay in '88 in Seoul, South Korea.

Zinno's pupils have medals in virtually every major international competition, including the Olympics, Goodwill Games, indoor and outdoor World Championships, Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games.

He served as the head manager for the USA Track and Field men's team at the 2004 Indoor World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. He also was an assistant coach with the U.S. national team for the World University Games in 1997 in Italy and 2001 in China. Additionally, Zinno was the head coach for the U.S. team at the Five Nations Match in Scotland in 2009 and head manager of the U.S. team that faced Great Britain in Birmingham, England, in 1993.

Zinno served as a three‐time coach at the U.S. Olympic Festival. And in 1987 and 1989 he was the assistant coach for the Jamaican national team at the World University Games, in Yugoslavia and Germany. He also served as an assistant coach for the Jamaican national team at the Pan American Games in Cuba in 1991.

Zinno coached 27 student-athletes to Division II NCAA individual championships, and 350 of his student‐athletes earned NCAA All‐America honors.

His men's teams finished in the top three at the NCAA Championships three times, while the women's squad accomplished that feat twice.

He is a seven‐time NCAA Division II District II Coach of the Year, a three‐time Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Women's Coach of the Year, and the 2002 Nassau County Sports Commission Coach of the Year.

His squad also won the NYCAC Track & Field Championships for men's indoor, men's outdoor, and women's outdoor in 2002‐03.

"The selection of Coach Zinno for the East Coast Conference Hall of Fame is just public validation of the tireless effort he has given during decades of dedication to the sport of track and field," NYIT director of athletics and recreation Dan Vélez said. "Coach Zinno is a legend in the track and field world. The number of lives he has impacted over the years is the reason why he is being inducted. His enshrinement is a testament to his hard work and dedication toward making sure NYIT student-athletes, and athletes across the country, were always prepared to perform at their highest level."