THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
Newest members honored in November
By MIKE MADERA
(November 12, 2022) - The West Haven Hall of Fame Committee has announced its newest inductees to be honored, Saturday, November 19. After moving the ceremony to West Haven High for one year, the event will return to Cielo, West Haven Italian-American Club.
The new soon to be inductees include Modestine Vaughn, Jennifer Fuggi, Robert Jackson, Jr., Jim Brennan, Brandon Fanelli, Dennis Villani, Kendale Chambers, and Anthony Pacileo.
The night will also see Russ McCreven inducted while receiving the Tinker Blake Community Service Award.
With nine new members, there will now be 195 inductees in the prestigious club since the start two decades ago.
Jackson is a 2004 graduate who dominated the football field his junior and senior campaigns. A two-time All-State, All-Area, All-Conference and All-Levi Jackson team selection, Jackson made his mark at Fort Scott Community College and Kansas State University, before embarking on a 6-year National Football League career with the Washington Redskins as a defensive end and outside linebacker.
Fuggi is a 2008 graduate who competed as a team of one in gymnastics. Following the schedule of Jonathan Law, Fuggi made her mark as an elite gymnast for the Westies, finishing her high school career as a two-time Southern Connecticut Conference All-Area, New Haven Register All-Area, CIAC All-State, and NHSGA All-American.
Fuggi was also named the 2008 New Haven Register All-Area Most Valuable Player in gymnastics. During her final two years, Fuggi won nine different SCC titles.
Villani is a 1967 graduate who starred on the football field as a lineman. He was a four-year member of the varsity football team who was the first freshman to play on the varsity squad.
Known as a vicious blocker, Villani helped pave the way for a potent running attack, as well as the game through the air.
He was named the first ever Ken Strong Stadium Award winner and was acknowledged for his sportsmanship. Villani went on to become a member of the coaching staff for 38 years.
Chambers was a 1987 graduate who was a key member of the last and only West Haven basketball state championship team in 1987. A dynamic player on the court, Chambers was a four-year member of the team.
After playing collegiately, Chambers has become a successful coach, with over 25 years of experience on very competitive collegiate, high school, and AAU teams.
Brennan is a 1977 graduate who starred on the football and baseball fields. A quarterback his senior season, Brennan led his team to a 9-1 record and a District League championship.
On the baseball diamond, Brennan was a second baseman and pitcher his junior and senior campaigns, leading his team to the state semifinals in 1976. A captain of the 1977 team, Brennan went on to have a storied career after high school.
Brennan played nine seasons in the West Haven Twilight League, winning six championships, while also being named a 1995 Gold Bat recipient. He has since gone on to become a prominent collegiate football official the last 35 years, including 25 years at the Division I level.
Pacileo is a 1984 graduate who starred on the baseball field, leading his team to a state title and number one ranking in 1984. The right-handed pitcher finished with 23 career wins and 2.93 earned run average, striking out 177 in 219 innings.
Pacileo won six games as a sophomore and four in an injury-plagued junior campaign. It was senior year where Pacileo made his mark, finishing with a 14-1 record and 1.92 ERA.
In the state championship run, Pacileo pitched in all five games, with four victories and one save. An All-State recipient and also a member of the 1984 West Haven hockey state championship team, Pacileo received an athletic scholarship to play at the University of New Haven, where he played in the collegiate World Series.
Vaughn was raised in New Jersey, participating on three teams in high school, tennis, indoor track, and outdoor track teams. In 1986, Vaughn became an assistant track and field coach at West Haven, where she held that title until 1995.
She returned to coaching in 2004 with the girls tennis team, and returned the following year as the head coach of the girls track team, where she has served for close to two decades.
Vaughn developed an indoor track club program at West Haven for both boys and girls to be able to compete with the elite teams in the league.
In less than a handful of years, Vaughn’s 2009 and 2010 West Haven teams became dominant, setting records which have yet to be broken.
Fanelli is a 2002 graduate who starred on the ice for the boys hockey team. The sniper finished with 133 career points, which ranks fourth in school history, and led the team in scoring in each of his final three years.
An All-Area and All-State selection, Fanelli finished in the top ten in scoring in the state at the Division I level for three consecutive years. Fanelli led his team to the state quarterfinals as a sophomore (38 points) and junior (36 points), while also scoring 23 goals and adding 21 assists in a senior campaign which ended with an overtime loss to New Canaan in the state semifinals.
A 1956 West Haven graduate, McCreven will always be remembered as the eye of the Westies, with his sharp-shooting photos throughout the years. Starting as an announcer at the Edward L. Bennett Rink, his voice was synonymous with West Haven hockey as he announced games there for over 20 years.
McCreven worked as a stringer for the New Haven Register and Journal Courier, covering high school hockey and basketball, before writing for the West Haven City News.
His love of sports continued as he taught himself photography and started on his role of sports photography in 1972. Shooting tens of thousands of sports photos in over 50 years, McCreven has helped document nearly five decades of West Haven sports through his camera lens.
Upon his retirement from teaching, McCreven served on the West Haven Hall of Fame committee andalso continued contributing sports photography to the West Haven High School yearbook, as well as doing sports portraits for various banquets and team celebrations over the years.
2022 HALL OF FAME