NEW PALTZ, NY — The SUNY New Paltz Department of Athletics will hold the third annual Carol Eckman Society Breakfast on Sunday March 7 at 9:00 a.m. in the College Terrace Restaurant.
Former SUNY New Paltz athletes Gail Smith and Bonne (pronounced Bonnie) Kraus will become the fifth and sixth recipients of the Carol Eckman Medal of Honor. The ceremony recognizes women who were varsity athletes at SUNY New Paltz and have gone on to make an impact in the fields education and athletics.
Smith, a 1966 graduate, was a tennis and field hockey athlete at SUNY New Paltz. She has been a part of the athletics department at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, since 1977. Smith served as the head women’s tennis coach from 1983-2000 and also enjoyed coaching stints in track and field and women’s lacrosse during her tenure. She is currently the Associate Director of Athletics, NCAA Compliance Officer, Senior Women’s Administrator and the Director of Operations and Facilities at Middlebury.
Kraus, who earned her degree in 1997, was a member of the basketball and softball teams at SUNY New Paltz. She was a team captain and the Most Valuable Player for the women’s basketball team as a senior in 1997. She continues to work with student-athletes as a coach for the softball and soccer teams at New Paltz High School. Kraus is a 1993 graduate of New Paltz High School.
From 1962-67, Carol Eckman was the former Assistant Professor of Physical Education and Head Coach of the basketball, softball, tennis and field hockey teams at SUNY New Paltz. Eckman, who went on to become the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at West Chester State University, was instrumental in organizing the first ever women’s collegiate national basketball tournament in 1969. She strived to garner recognition and support for women’s athletics until her death in 1985.