Grassini, Leahy to be inducted into NJCAA Hall of Fame
The 2017 NJCAA Women’s Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductees were announced on Monday afternoon. This year’s class features two former members of the CCRI Lady Knights’ Women’s Soccer Program: Katie (Leahy) Major (Warwick, Rhode Island), a former standout and All-American at CCRI, and recently retired CCRI Head Coach Dennis Grassini (Warwick, Rhode Island).
Katie (Leahy) Major, a former two-time All-American, led the country in scoring in 2002 with 54 goals, helping to guide the CCRI Lady Knights to an undefeated season (22-0-0), winning the first and only national championship title in the history of CCRI Athletics. She garnered numerous awards, including NSCAA and NJCAA All-American honors in 2002 and 2003, as well as many other awards such as the Words Unlimited Female Athlete of the Year. She was the NJCAA national tournament offensive MVP in both 2002 and 2003. Leahy holds the all-time goal scoring record, registering 94 goals in 43 career games at CCRI. She was recruited and transferred to Arizona State University, and later completed her soccer career and education at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.
Dennis Grassini of Warwick was the Head Coach of the CCRI Women’s soccer program from 2000-2016, compiling a record of 226-64-11 along with Associate Head Coach Kathy Bannan, also of Warwick, leading the Lady Knights to the National Tournament finals in both 2002 and 2003. He was named National Coach of the Year in 2002, as well as the Words Unlimited Female Sports Coach of the Year in 2002, 2003 and 2009. In 2009, the program again reached the Elite 8 and participated in the NJCAA National Tournament. Under his tenure, the women’s soccer program reached national prominence, producing over a 100 All-N.E. Region players and 32 All-American’s. In 1994, Grassini helped get the women’s soccer program off the ground, serving as the assistant coach through 1999. He was appointed to the head coaching position in 2000 and retired from coaching this past December after the 2016 season. Grassini commented on earning the induction: “I am humbled by this honor. As a coach, you do not get any awards without having the players and tools to do so. I was very fortunate to have both. I am also very happy to be put in with Katie, who was a huge part of why we won the national championship in her first year and returned to the finals in her second year.”
Leahy and Grassini will be inducted at this year’s NJCAA national tournament in Melbourne, Florida on Nov. 12.