Acee To Be Inducted Into NJCAA Lacrosse Hall of Fame
The NJCAA Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association will induct Air Force head coach Fred Acee, formerly of SUNY-Farmingdale, and Mike Candel of Nassau Community College into the Association's Hall of Fame May 13 as part of the NJCAA Men's Lacrosse Invitational Championship banquet in Baltimore, Md. Acee and Candel are the first two inductees in the newly formed NJCAA Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
For 30 years, Acee made a name for himself as head coach at SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island. Competing in arguably the toughest region in junior college lacrosse at the time, Acee built the Rams into a national lacrosse powerhouse. His belief in fundamentals and tenacious defense propelled the Rams to the National Junior College Championship in 1977, 1981 and 1987. Under his guidance, Farmingdale advanced to the NJCAA Final Four an amazing 25 times. As a testament to his coaching skills, Acee, whose overall coaching record is 312-119-1, was named NJCAA Coach of the Year in 1977, 1981, 1987 and 1997. Realizing the importance of athletics and academics, Acee has produced a bevy of academic and athletic All-Americans during his tenure.
The New York native was inducted into the Long Island Metropolitan Hall of Fame in 1992, served on the coaching staff of the 1994 World Champion United States lacrosse team and was named USILA Man of the Year in 2001. He is also a past president of the NJCAA Lacrosse Coaches Association. Acee brought his talents to the Division I level at the Air Force Academy in 1998 and has raised the profile of the Falcons' lacrosse program, scheduling some of the toughest competition in the nation.
Candel, Acee's fellow inductee, founded the first lacrosse team at Nassau Community College in 1966 and the first junior college program on Long Island. In 1970, his team won the inaugural NJCAA championship, which was the brainchild of Candel and Acee. Not only did the junior college Final Four succeed, but it became the forerunner and model for the NCAA Final Four, which began in 1986 and now draws over 40,000 spectators.
After a brief but stellar career as the school's lacrosse coach, Candel spent 22 years as a writer and columnist for Newsday, one of the country's largest newspapers, where he brought the media spotlight to lacrosse as it grew on Long Island and throughout the country. Candel also served as Nassau's basketball coach for a decade and is now in his 40th year as a professor of Physical Education at Nassau.