May 16, 2024

2024 Athletics Hall of Honor inductees selected

Ceremony will take place June 8 during Reunion Weekend

Phillips Academy is pleased to welcome five athletes into the Andover Athletics Hall of Honor. These alumni and educators are being honored for their accomplishments in varied sports as well as for the exceptional ways in which each has lived the values of Phillips and Abbot academies. The induction ceremony will take place Saturday, June 8, at 4 p.m. in the Pan Athletic Center during Reunion Weekend.

Marla B. Milkowski Anderson ’89

Marla Milkowski Anderson was an exceptional varsity athlete and team leader in volleyball, basketball, and track and field. Coming to Andover as a lower, Milkowski immediately drew accolades for her athleticism by breaking school records in discus throwing. She was chosen Athlete of the Spring Term by The Phillipian in her lower and upper years and ultimately named Athlete of the Year her senior year. “Whether she’s throwing the discus, sprinting up the basketball court, or slamming one of her ‘killer spikes,’ Marla Milkowski stands out as an extraordinary athlete and student leader,” reported The Phillipian.

Senior year, Milkowski served as captain in all three sports. In spring 1989 track and field, she remained undefeated in discus and consistently excelled in shot put, winning all but one meet. Milkowski held the discus school record for several years and was ranked in the top 10 nationally. As an upper, she received the David Spencer Hackett Scholarship, awarded to a student who exemplifies characteristics of leadership, scholarship, and athletic ability. She received the Press Club Award senior year.

At Dartmouth College, Milkowski pursued a double major in English and anthropology. Captain of the track and field team for two years, she was a four-year letter winner, earning accolades such as the Excellence Award in 1992 and Captain’s Tray in 1992 and 1993, and was a top-five Heptagonal finisher and four-time ECAC qualifier. In volleyball, Milkowski was a three-year letter winner, achieving All-Ivy status in 1991 and becoming Dartmouth’s inaugural Ivy League Player of the Week that same year. In 1998, she was named to an elite volleyball team in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Ivy League Women’s Championships.

Milkowski graduated cum laude from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2000 and has since forged a successful career as an attorney and director in the retirement services group at Willis Towers Watson.

Kathryn A. Birecki, Athletic Trainer

Kathy Birecki, a graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a degree in physical education and athletic training, joined Phillips Academy in 1984. As one of the few women in her field at the time, Birecki blazed trails as the second-ever female athletic trainer at Andover, earning widespread respect and admiration from colleagues and students alike.

Described by fellow athletic trainer Mike Kuta as a “pioneer,” Birecki seamlessly integrated the bio/psycho/social model into her work, showcasing the kind of foresight that set her apart. Her innate sensitivity to students’ needs, coupled with her dedication to giving time and energy, fostered unwavering trust in the community. Birecki’s compassion and unique ability to connect made her a beloved figure among faculty, staff, and students.

Always committed to excellence, Birecki actively pursued professional development, attending workshops and meetings at regional, state, and national levels to augment her expertise. The fusion of extensive experience, knowledge, and instinctual caring made her an indispensable asset to the athletic training team.

Upon her retirement in 2019, Birecki continued her advocacy for female athletes. She directed the remainder of her faculty foundation funds toward the girls’ wrestling program for the purchase of a new weight scale and important training aids and equipment, such as resistance bands, specifically designed for young women.

In addition to her role as an athletic trainer, Birecki served as a dedicated physical education instructor, a cluster dean, a house counselor at Bancroft House and Newman House, and a member of numerous faculty committees. Her multifaceted contributions reflect a lifelong commitment to nurturing both the physical and emotional well-being of Andover students. Birecki’s legacy endures not only through her professional achievements but also in the countless lives she touched and inspired during her remarkable 35-year career.

Jane Cashin Demers ’73

A four-year boarder and member of Abbot Academy’s final graduating class, Jane Cashin Demers excelled in multiple sports, playing varsity tennis for four years, two years each of JV then varsity basketball and varsity lacrosse her last two years. She was also on the cheerleading squad for Andover football. Her leadership and athletic skills were recognized her senior year when she captained the basketball team and received one of two gold
“A” pins awarded at graduation for the highest athletic achievement at Abbot.

Cashin continued as a multisport athlete the year she was at Connecticut College before transferring to The University of Pennsylvania for four years, graduating with degrees in psychology and nursing. At Connecticut College, she competed in tennis, basketball, and lacrosse and started rowing. She and several of her Connecticut College boatmates joined forces with Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia in June and, with Cashin in seven seat, won the 1974 U.S. National Championships in the Women’s Eight and went on to represent the United States in the World Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland.

At Penn, Cashin played lacrosse for four years and continued rowing for Vesper, which won the National Championships in the Women’s Eight for the second time in 1977. Vesper’s eight, with Cashin in two seat, set the course record at the Head of the Charles in 1976 and was featured on the cover of The Oarsman, the USRowing Association’s magazine.

Following graduation from Penn, Cashin worked as a critical care nurse while earning an MBA in health-care management from Boston University. Beyond her athletic and academic achievements, Cashin has supported USRowing and local rowing efforts and has been an active YMCA, youth sports, school, and church volunteer. She has volunteered for various Abbot Academy and PA events through the years and served as a class secretary for a decade.

Randall F. Koch ’74

Arriving at Andover as an upper, Randall Koch immediately made his mark as a talented athlete and team leader, excelling in varsity hockey and lacrosse. Koch received the Sumner Smith Hockey Award his upper year, the first in Andover’s history. Senior year, he was named hockey captain—and again earned the Sumner Smith award. That same year he was named a high school All-American for his skills and determination as a lacrosse midfielder.

Koch’s contributions to the athletics community were further acknowledged senior year when he was named Athlete of the Year by The Phillipian and received the Press Club Award. “Koch established himself as one of the best hockey players in the country and probably the best in the East,” wrote The Phillipian.

Following graduation, Koch transitioned to the University of Vermont and set the stage for a remarkable collegiate career as a Catamount hockey player. Team captain his senior year and recipient of the John C. Cunningham MVP award, Koch still places fifth on UVM’s all-time scoring list nearly 50 years later. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Koch was inducted into the UVM Hall of Fame in 1989.

Drafted by the New York Rangers in the sixth round in 1975, Koch opted to pursue a business career after the Rangers training camp session concluded in 1978. His dedication to sports extended well beyond playing. One of his great joys was working with young people as a youth hockey and lacrosse coach, positively influencing not only the athletes but also the entire community. Koch was instrumental in the founding of Cairns Arena in Burlington, Vermont, where a plaque honors his commitment and lasting impact.

Tragically, Koch’s life was cut short at the age of 44. Despite his untimely passing, Koch’s non sibi spirit, leadership, and contributions to lacrosse, hockey, and community service continue to resonate and inspire new generations of athletes.

Allison Jennings McCance ’60

Allison Jennings McCance, fondly known as “Sunny,” began her athletic journey at Abbot Academy, where she played two years of varsity tennis. She then continued her tennis career at Sweet Briar College and clinched the 1963 Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate Women’s Doubles Championship.

Beyond college, Jennings was ranked #1 in women’s doubles tennis in New England in 1972, 1974, and 1975. Transitioning to the professional paddle tennis circuit from 1976 to 1981, Jennings’s team was consistently ranked among the top 10 women’s doubles teams nationally—while playing with three different partners. Notably, she reached the semifinals in these three major events: the Tribuno Professional Platform Tennis World Championship in 1977 and the Women’s Platform Tennis National Championships and the National Platform Tennis Mixed Doubles Championship in 1978.

Even after retiring from national tournaments, Jennings secured over 40 tennis and paddle tennis titles at prestigious clubs. Her dedication to the sport went beyond playing. She served on the boards of the American Platform Tennis Association and the USTA/New England Tennis Association. In 1993, Jennings and her family received the USTA/New England Edwin Goodman Family of the Year Award. She was individually honored with the USTA/New England Gardner Ward Chase Memorial Bowl in 1997 for her lifetime contributions to tennis in New England.

Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2000, Jennings continued to exhibit immense resilience by playing racquet sports well into her 60s. Her courageous battle inspired her husband, Henry, to co-found the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in 2004, aimed at preventing, slowing, or reversing the disease. The Henry and Allison McCance Center for Brain Health at Massachusetts General Hospital was founded in 2018 as a testament to their shared commitment to combating Alzheimer’s and advancing brain health research. Jennings lost her battle with Alzheimer’s in January 2023.

Nominations for 2025: The Alumni Council Athletics Committee will accept nominations of individual alumni, teams, and coaches for the 2025 induction year until July 1, 2024. Email nominations to Mary Corcoran in the Office of Alumni Engagement. Please note that previously submitted nominations stand for consideration in future years.

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