Mediacom Communications chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso was inducted into Columbia University’s Athletics Hall of Fame Thursday night, for his lifetime commitment to Columbia Althletics, specifically its soccer program.
Commisso, a Columbia graduate, was honored at a black-tie gala Thursday night at the Low Library on the University’s Morningside Campus.
The Hall of Fame was founded to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of intercollegiate athletics and who have helped bring recognition, distinction and excellence to Columbia University. With his induction, Commisso joins a legendary group of Columbia alumni including Lou Gehrig,Sid Luckman, Roone Arledge, Robert Kraft, Len Renery and Amr Aly.
On Saturday (Oct. 22), Commisso will be recognized by the University during the official dedication of the newly renovated soccer field at the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium named in his honor. Scheduled in conjunction with the Columbia’s 2016 Homecoming festivities, the ceremony will take place at 6:30pm between the women’s and men’s soccer matches against Dartmouth College. During the program, Commisso will be joined by Columbia Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Peter Pilling, as well as a large contingent of current soccer players, coaches, alumni, family and friends.
Despite not playing soccer in high school, Commisso earned a full four-year undergraduate scholarship to attend Columbia and was awarded three soccer letters. He started every game during his four-year career from 1967-70 (except for one due to injury) and earned a reputation as the “toughest” player in the Ivy League. A three-year All-Ivy League honoree both as a defensive and offensive player, Commisso guided the Lions to a four-year winning record. He served as Co-Captain of the 1970 team, the first-ever Columbia squad to advance to the NCAA Tournament, scoring 9 goals in 8 games as a center-forward, including Columbia’s first two NCAA Tournament goals in school history. He was also a member of a freshman squad that finished with an undefeated record and was invited to try-out for the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team.
Commisso has supported the University’s soccer program for 49 years, co-founding the Friends of Columbia Soccer in the mid-1970s and serving as its chairman from 1978-86, during which time Columbia won 8 straight Ivy Championships and became the only Ivy League school ever to compete in the NCAA Championship Final Game. In 2013, Columbia recognized his long-standing contributions to the university by naming its soccer venue at the school’s Baker Athletics Complex as the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium.
Commisso earned both a BS degree in Industrial Engineering in 1971 and a MBA degree from the Graduate Business School in 1975. At the Business School, he was elected president of the student body and was the recipient of the prestigious Business School Service Award.