Former Bridgewater State Teammates Smith & Habel to Join Athletics Hall of Fame

Former Bridgewater State Teammates Smith & Habel to Join Athletics Hall of Fame

By Marvin Pave, Globe South Sports Notebook

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Among six inductees into the Athletics Hall of Fame at Bridgewater State University next month, Erika Smith and Paula Habel share much in common.

The two Hingham residents were stars and teammates on the women’s lacrosse team at the university, and both competed in several sports.

Smith, a Raynham native who attended Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High, went on to become the winningest coach in the Bridgewater State program’s history with a record of 74-32.

This spring, in her final season at the helm, she was named the New England Women’s Lacrosse Alliance’s Coach of the Year after guiding the Bears to a program-record 17 wins.

After Smith’s retirement, Habel was hired as her successor, based on stints leading the lacrosse squads at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, Allegheny College, and, most recently, Emerson College.

Habel graduated from Bridgewater State in 2003, and Smith, who is still the university’s head field hockey coach and teaches at Brockton High, in 2004.

Joining them as inductees this year are Dave Morwick (Class of 1964), a graduate of Scituate High who resides in Middleborough; Kimberly Rhodes Robinson (2005), a Marshfield High graduate and town resident; longtime baseball coach Rick Smith, a Raynham native and resident who also graduated from Bridgewater-Raynham Regional; and baseball star Fred Martin (1998).

All will be enshrined during Homecoming next month.

Habel was a four-time NEWLA first team all-star, and a two-time NEWLA Offensive Player of the Year, and ECAC Division 3 New England second team all-star in 2002 and 2003. She was selected to play in the 2003 STX Division 3 North-South Senior All-Star Game.

She captained the women’s lacrosse team from 2001 to 2003, and ranks second all-time at Bridgewater State in assists, third in scoring, and sixth in goals (184). She, along with Smith, helped lead the Bears to a NEWLA tournament championship and to the NCAA tournament in her senior season. She was also a basketball team captain her junior and senior seasons.

Smith was the lacrosse team’s captain for her senior year, when she led all of Division 3 with 93 ground balls. She was a four-time NEWLA all-star (twice making the first team), and also captained the field hockey team for three seasons.

Through her first five seasons as the Bears’ field hockey coach, her teams went 52-44. She was named the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference’s Field Hockey Coach of the Year in 2007, when Bridgewater State set a program record with 16 wins and won the ECAC’s New England championship.

“This is a great honor for both of us and even more special because we’re close friends,’’ said Smith.

Habel said she admired Smith as a lacrosse teammate because of her speed and energy and her quick adaptation to the sport.

“I played attack and Erika was at midfield and you’d never know she didn’t play lacrosse in high school,’’ she said. “Going into the Hall of Fame with a teammate is a great recognition for the sport at our school.’’

Morwick was a two-sport athlete - football and baseball - before an injury his junior year ended his college career in both sports. He returned to Bridgewater State in 1967 and spent the next 40 years as director of several departments before retiring in 2007.

Robinson was an All-MASCAC first-teamer in each of her four seasons with the women’s soccer team, with NCAA appearances in 2002 and ’03. The program’s second all-time leading scorer in goals (55) and points (143), Rhodes holds the Bears’ record for assists in a game, season, and career.

Smith, head baseball coach the past 18 seasons, has guided the Bears to nine NCAA regional and two NCAA College World Series (1996 and 1997) appearances. He is the winningest coach in school history with a record of 449-242-4 (.649) and his honors include American Baseball Coaches Association New England Division 3 and MASCAC Coach of the Year.

The ceremony will take place Oct. 21 in the Rondileau Campus Center ballroom, with a cocktail reception getting underway at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Michelle Slavick in Alumni Relations at 508-531-2682, or via e-mail at The cost is $35.