By David Schoen
Cathal “Carl” Quigley (Class of 1975) is set to retire after a monumental career with St. Francis College.
Quigley attended St. Francis College from 1971-1975 as a student athlete and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Along the way, Quigley joined as a member of the Dun Scotus Honor Society.
After starting out as a part-time Water Polo coach in 1976, Quigley was hired to be head coach by athletic director Dan Lynch Sr. and Dean of Students John Clifford. Quigley also continued his academic studies, attaining an Master of Science degree in Adapted Physical Education and Rehabilitation with a concentration in Developmental Disabilities while conducting graduate work at Long Island University in 1979.
In 1979, Quigley also founded the St. Francis Youth Water Polo Club which gives children the opportunity to play Water Polo at local, state (Empire State Games) and national competitions while even guiding one of his members to play in three Olympic competitions during his tenure. Quigley not only participated at the Empire State Games as a player and coach, but he also served as the organization’s State Chairman from 1985-2002.
Quigley was inducted into St. Francis College’s Hall of Fame in 1991 for his accomplishments as a swimmer, player, and coach. Eight years later, Quigley was named “Educator of the Year” by the Brooklyn Heights Enrichment Program.
In 1999, Quigley was named St. Francis College’s Assistant Athletic Director and Director of Aquatics at St. Francis College, overseeing the Men’s and Women’s Water Polo teams as well as the daily operations of the pool. Quigley served as the President of the Collegiate Water Polo Association Board of Directors from 2001-2002.
With Quigley as head coach, St. Francis College’s Men’s Water Polo team won six Collegiate Water Polo Association Northern Division Championships and five consecutive Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association Championships. Quigley also helped bring the Men’s Water Polo team to their first ever NCAA Final Four appearance in 2005.
Most importantly as coach, Quigley’s Men’s Water Polo team led the nation academically, sporting the highest collegiate GPA in the sport four times from 2000-2007.
Quigley also helped coach 17 All-Americans at St. Francis College and two of his players, Tamas Katona and Gergely Fabian, have won the prestigious NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship award. Two additional players, Tamas Bakacs and Andrija Vrdoljak, were selected as Graduation Valedictorians in 2000 and 2006, respectively.
Quigley also taught as an adjunct professor during his tenure at St. Francis College, inspiring athletes to work at their best level. St. Francis College President Miguel Martinez-Saenz stated that “Carl Quigley’s passion for our students, commitment to this College, and spirit for success represents what St. Francis College is about.”
Upon hearing of Quigley’s retirement, Director of Athletics Irma Garcia (Class of 1980) stated “Carl is synonymous with St. Francis. For our values, our traditions, our history and our commitment to others” via social media. The Athletic Department posted “over the last 43 years Carl has poured his heart into St. Francis and we cannot thank him enough” on their Instagram account before wishing Quigley luck in his retirement.
Quigley is married to fellow graduating classmate and St. Francis alumnus Christabel (Class of 1975). Carl and Christabel currently live in Belle Harbor, Queens with their two sons Bryan and Matthew.