THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
HALL OF FAME CLASSES
CLASS of 2000
John “Whitey” Piurek
Melvin Wearing, Jr.
CLASS of 2001
John “Mo” Monahan
Gale Pimer Glover
CLASS of 2002
Harry Noyes, Jr.
CLASS of 2003
Salvatore “Chubby” Malinconico
James Dahlgard, Sr.
CLASS of 2004
Lisa Whitney Yarbor
CLASS of 2005
Allen DePew, Sr.
David A. Tremblay
CLASS of 2006
Edward L. Bennett
Alison Boni Perlini
CLASS of 2007
Pasquale “Babe” Amendola
Rufus Cooper, Jr.
Bill Hurteau, Jr.
Joseph A. Rossomando
Harold R. Smullen
CLASS of 2008
1968 Football Team
CLASS of 2009
Francis “Bunny” Coyle
CLASS of 2010
Robert Farquharson, Jr.
James Fanning, Jr.
Richard J. Moran
Reginald C. Hayes
CLASS of 2011
Bob Moran Sr.
Father Michael McMahon
CLASS of 2012
Nicolle DeMorro Camara
Rich Turner, Jr.
1967 Baseball team
1972 Football team
CLASS of 2013
Vin Siena Jr.
CLASS of 2014
Joseph Morrell, Jr.
Stacey Breen Sao
CLASS of 2015
James "Hooker" McMahon
Thomas Lawson, Jr.
CLASS of 2016
CLASS of 2017
Vicci Duane Messina
Julie Sitro Flemming
CLASS of 2018
Tracy Bagnoli Guyette
Line of Dave Depew, Steve Balaban, Frank Longobardi
2018 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
(August 25, 2018) - The West Haven Hall of Fame Committee has announced its newest inductees to be honored, Saturday, December 1, 2018 at Cielo, West Haven Italian-American Club. With six members and an entire hockey line added to the prestigious club, there are now 172 inductees since the start in 2000.
Included in the Class of 2018 are Vin Nitido, Rick McInnis, Dave Anquillare, Alison Karosas, Tracy Bagnoli Guyette, George DeMaio, and the line of Dave Depew, Steve Balaban, and Frank Longobardi.
“This is another great group of recipients,” West Haven Hall of Fame chairman Jon Capone said. “It is an honor to include them with our past inductees. We will cover over 50 years in this year’s induction. Each inductee is very deserving.”
Nitido is a 1951 graduate who played three years of football and was also a three-year member of the swim team and track team. Nitido has also been a mainstay in his dealings with the support of the local community.
During his time in high school, Nitido was a fullback under legendary and Hall of Fame coach Whitey Piurek, playing for some very good teams.
In the pool, Nitido specialized in the freestyle events (50 and 100) under coach Jerome Jermain, and ran the 100 and threw the discus and javelin for Tom Bowie’s track and field teams.
Nitido has made his mark in the community, coaching in the West Haven Little League and serving as the league’s President. Nitido also coached West Haven Biddy Basketball and Ray Tellier Midget Football.
McInnis graduated from West Haven High School in 1969, playing football for four years, from 1965 to 1968.
McInnis was a safety on the 1968 team which became the undefeated Connecticut state champions that year, was ranked number one in New England and number five in the United States. The Westies scored a total of 526 points in nine games, and the defense only allowed 94 points total in those games.
The games were won by 89 points, 70 points, 56 points, 38 points, 36 points, 34 points and the closest game of the season was a 15-point win over Stamford High School.
During his high school years, McInnis had the honor of being coached by Hall of Fame members Joe McHugh, Tom Hunt, and Babe Amendola. Some of his teammates from the 1968 football team who became Hall of Fame members are Bert Siclari, Harry Conlan, Ted Williams, and Ed Francis.
In 2008, the 1968 West Haven High School Football Team was inducted into the Hall of Fame, becoming the first time a team was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
McInnis joined Hall of Fame coach Jim Eagan from 1983-1995 as assistant girls basketball coach at West Haven High School. During his 12 seasons coaching with Eagan, the girls basketball team reached the state tournament 11 times and won 142 games.
In 2017, McInnis was inducted into the New Haven Tap Off Club Hall of Fame, honoring his 37 years of being a high school basketball official.
A 1989 graduate, Anquillare joins his father John and brother Mike in the West Haven Hall of Fame. A solid high school career for Anquillare ended in impressive fashion personally and team-wise as Anquillare was named to the All-District team his sophomore and senior seasons, while also being selected to the All-Area and All-State teams as a senior.
For his career, Anquillare, who was also part of the 1988 team which won the state title, finished his career under legendary and Hall of Fame coach George Hanchette first in walks (70), second in total hits (83) and on base percentage (550), and fifth in total at bats (208) and stolen bases (19).
As a sophomore, Anquillare hit .424 with an on base percentage of .567, while finishing with 25 hits and 20 runs batted in. After hitting .330 as a junior, Anquillare led the way his senior year as he hit .470 with a .608 on base percentage, including four doubles, four home runs and 19 runs batted in.
After his playing days at West Haven High, Anquillare made a name for himself at both Southern Connecticut State University and the University of New Haven.
As a freshman at Southern, Anquillare was named the NECC Rookie of the Year, while also placing on the NECC First-Team, He was a Second-Team NECC selection as a sophomore, before moving over to UNH, where he was again a second team selection after leading the team in doubles, home runs and walks. He finished his collegiate days with a .346 career batting average.
Karosas is a four-year volleyball, basketball and track star at West Haven. A solid player in all three sports, Karosas averaged 13 points a game in basketball and held the high jump record at 4’-10”, while also coming in sixth in the state in the pentathlon in 1978.
Karosas was an outside hitter/middle blocker who played since her freshman year under Hall of Fame coach Chris Santoro. Her aggressive style helped lead the Westies to many memorable wins.
Karosas was a forward on the basketball court and an all-around solid participant in track and field under Santoro, participating in sprints, javelin, discus, shot put, high jump and the long jump.
A 1979 graduate, Karosas took her talents to Northeastern, earning a full athletic scholarship in volleyball. Northeastern was good to Karosas as she graduated with an accounting/finance degree and is where she met her future husband Al.
Bagnoli Guyette is a 1987 graduate who starred on the volleyball, basketball and softball teams. Bagnoli Guyette was a three-year starter on the softball team, and captain of the volleyball team her junior and senior campaigns.
As a junior, Bagnoli Guyette was the most valuable player of the volleyball team with the best serve percentage, and was an All-District selection in both softball and volleyball. As a senior, Bagnoli Guyette was also again selected on the All-District teams for both softball and volleyball.
Bagnoli Guyette played for Santoro on the volleyball court and made her presence felt as a hitter, despite playing anywhere on the court.
Bagnoli Guyette also played for another Hall of Fame coach, Jim Eagan, on the basketball court as she was an effective player as a forward on some tough teams coached by Eagan.
The 2018 Hall of Fame inductee finished her trifecta of playing for Hall of Fame coaches under Frank Biondi on the softball field.
Under Biondi, Bagnoli Guyette started as a freshman, before making a home in the outfield. In her final two years, Bagnoli Guyette hit third in the lineup and was an All-District selection.
Depew, Balaban, and Longobardi formed one of the most feared lines on the ice in the 1970’s, putting up phenomenal numbers. As a result, the trio becomes the first complete line of a hockey team to enter the West Haven Hall of Fame.
As a junior, Depew and his squad helped snap Hamden’s 32-game winning streak against state teams as he scored the winning goal. Depew led the team in scoring with nine goals, 20 assists and 29 points, receiving All-County Honorable mention.
The following summer, Depew, Longobardi, and Balaban spent two weeks in Europe playing against high-caliber players, learning how to work together and develop their talents.
Depew was elected the team’s captain as a senior, and along with Longobardi and Balaban, the three were in the top three in points all season. The trio was nicknamed the G.A.P. line, goal a period, as the team set a school-record in goals scored with 152, surpassing the prior record of 102.
Depew, Longobardi and Balaban set a school line record of 80 goals, and a school record in wins with 18. With the G.A.P. line finishing one, two, and four in the state in scoring, the team advanced to the championship game against Hamden.
The three had their roles as Depew had the hockey sense, Balaban the talent, and Longobardi was the grinder, getting to all the loose pucks.
Balaban and Longobardi went on to play three seasons together at the University of Connecticut.
DeMaio is a 1966 graduate of West Haven High who played basketball and baseball for the Westies. He was named the West Haven High School Athlete of the Year in 1966, before setting a path which now recognizes him as one of the legendary voices the area has ever seen.
DeMaio was a fifth-grade teacher at Thompson School in West Haven until 1974, when he moved on to SNET. In 1983, DeMaio became the Sports Director at KC 101, and was awarded not soon after.
DeMaio received the Meritous Service Award from the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 1985, and the Foundation’s Award of Merit in 1986 and 1987.
In 1991, DeMaio was chosen for The Voice of High School Award by the Branford Lions Club, and was a Connecticut Scholastic and Collegiate Softball Hall of Fame inductee in 1995. He was also a Sal Tinari Biddy Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 1997.
DeMaio has been recognized by the Southern Connecticut Conference, New Haven Football Foundation, College Football Hall of Fame, and New Haven Tap Off Club to name just a few.
DeMaio was a Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2001, a New Haven Gridiron Club Hall of Fame inductee in 2007, and was given the William E. Keish Media Recognition Award from the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 2013.
DeMaio broadcasts high school sporting events through the efforts of 960 WELI and ESPN Radio from September to June.
2017 Hall of Fame
(August 2, 2017) - The West Haven Hall of Fame Committee has announced its newest inductees to be honored, Saturday, November 18, 2017 at Cielo, West Haven Italian-American Club. With seven members added to the prestigious club, there are now 165 inductees since the start in 2000.
Included in the Class of 2017 are the late Thomas “Tinker” Blake, Bill Yale, John Riederich, Vicci Duane Messina, Julie Sitro Flemming, Matt Turner, and Keith Dupee.
Duane Messina played softball for four years under Hall of Fame coach Frank Biondi. She was named an All-League selection each year, becoming the only West Haven softball player to take home that honor. Duane Messina was an All-Area selection after the 2002, 2003, and 2004 seasons, was a New Haven Register All-State selection in 2003, and a Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State selection following the 2004 season.
Duane Messina is first all-time in West Haven history with 59 wins, first with 540 strikeouts, and first with a 0.80 earned run average.
Sitro Flemming is a three-sport star on the basketball, soccer and softball teams. She played volleyball her freshman year, before the soccer team was formed and was named the team’s Rookie of the Year.
Sitro Flemming played on the first girls soccer team at West Haven High as a sophomore and was named the team’s captain her junior campaign. She was an All-District selection her junior and senior campaigns, and the most valuable player her senior year.
Sitro Flemming was the team’s captain her junior and senior season on the hardwood. She was the team’s Rookie of the Year, team’s most valuable player her senior year, an All-District and All-Area selection her junior and senior seasons, and second-team All-State as a senior. Sitro Flemming was the team’s assist leader her junior and senior seasons, the free throw percentage leader as a junior, and the team’s most valuable player as a senior.
Sitro Flemming also played for Biondi from 1986 through 1989. She was named the team’s Rookie of the Year in 1986, was the team most valuable player in 1989, and took home the Toni Johnson Award for Career Offensive Excellence in 1988.
Turner is a 1998 graduate who played at West Haven his sophomore through senior campaigns. He made his initial mark his junior campaign where he was the team’s co-captain, averaging 19 points per game. Junior year saw Turner named to the All-Conference team and All-State honorable mention.
As a senior and the team’s captain, Turner averaged 29 points per game, four rebounds per game, and five assists per game. He was named to the New Haven Register All-State team, Connecticut Post Super 15, Hartford Courant All-State, and SCC Quinnipiac Division Most Valuable Player. Turner was an All-Area selection and All-Area Most Valuable Player, along with the team most valuable player, and Gatorade Player of the Year runner-up.
Turner went on to play basketball at Boston University where he averaged 12 points per game as a sophomore, and 19 points per game as a junior, before season-ending shoulder surgery. As a red-shirt junior, Turner was the team’s co-captain, averaging 12 points per game in both his red-shirt junior year and senior campaigns.
Turner also played professionally in the Philippines and Venezuela.
Blake, who recently passed away after a long illness, was a 1974 graduate of West Haven High who played football for three years and tennis all four years. While he was a solid athlete, Blake will long be remembered as the “Voice of West Haven.”
He was a long-time master of ceremonies for the West Haven High School softball, football, girls and boys lacrosse, girls soccer, girls hockey, and West Haven Hall of Fame banquets, past president of the West Haven Penalty Box Club, former vice president and coach of the West Haven Little League, former Board of Director and coach for West Haven Youth Hockey, Board of Director and dinner chairman for the Jimmy Fund and West Haven Twilight League, co-chairman of the Savin Rock Festival, and founder and past president of the West Haven Football Alumni Association.
Blake was an active member of the West Haven community for many years. He was a former coach and board member for the West Haven Youth Hockey Association, as well as the president of the West Haven High School Penalty Box Club, which is the parent group supporting the West Haven High School hockey team.
Blake received numerous awards throughout his decorated career, including the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance Good Sport Award, the West Haven High School PTA Unsung Hero, West Haven Twilight League Community Service Award, West Haven Twilight League Program Book Award, Jimmy Fund Award, and the West Haven Football Alumni Association Edward L. Bennett Award for Community Service. Blake was also part of the New Haven Gridiron Club Hall of Fame.
A 1994 graduate, Dupee was a hockey star at West Haven from 1991-1994, where he accumulated 113 career points to join the 100-point club in just three seasons. His best year came as a senior where he had 27 goals and 41 assists to lead his team to it last state championship, a 7-4 win over rival Notre Dame.
That championship season saw Dupee tally 15 points in four playoff games on a team which was 21-2-1 and outscored its playoff opponents 29-8.
Senior year was a special one for Dupee as he was named to the New Haven Register All-Area team and All-Area most valuable player. Dupee was named the team’s most valuable player, the Hartford Whalers high school player of the month in February of 1994, and was one of only six players named to the All-State team. The Westies were ranked in the top 15 of high schools in the United States after the 1993-1994 season.
Dupee went on to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) from 1996-2000 and graduated with a B.S. in Management, concentration Finance. Named a Dean’s List of distinguished students in 1999-2000, Dupee was a four-year member of the Men’s NCAA Division 1 Hockey Team.
Yale is a 1960 graduate who played four years of basketball at West Haven, the first two under John Foley and the second two under coach Joe Pfister.
Senior year was a special one for Yale as he was named West Haven High's co-athlete of the year and was the only basketball player to receive the Savitt Outstanding Sportsmanship Award two years in a row following his junior and senior seasons.
Yale was the only player to win the Greater New Haven free throw championship four years in a row, setting a new record by making 50 out of 50 foul shots in the 1958-1959 season. He was the captain of the team his senior year, and was fifth in the Greater New Haven area in scoring with a 19.8 points per game average, while shooting 90% from the field.
Yale capped his high school career in style as he was selected to the All-District team and received the Charley Gebauer trophy as West Haven's Outstanding Player and leading scorer his senior year.
Riederich is a 1955 graduate who starred on the football field, in the pool, and was a key member of the track and field team.
Riederich was a four-year member of the football team who was an Honorable Mention All-State selection. In the pool, John, was a key performer his first two years, before the program was dropped at the end of his sophomore campaign. John swam in the state finals his sophomore campaign and placed sixth in the 100 meter relay.
Riederich also left his mark in track and field. Playing the final three years of his high school career, Riederich was a standout thrower in the discus and javelin events and he received the Outstanding Athlete Award.
Riederich went on to play football at the University of Connecticut from 1957 to 1960.For more information on the West Haven Hall of Fame, including how to purchase tickets for the event, contact Jon Capone at Jonathan.Capone@whschools.org.
2016 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
(August 16, 2016) - The West Haven Hall of Fame Committee has announced its newest inductees to be honored, Saturday, November 19, 2016 at Cielo, West Haven Italian-American Club. With seven members added to the prestigious club, there are now 158 inductees since the start in 2000.
Included in the Class of 2016 are Dan Montesi, John Skarlos, Bob Squeglia, Shaun Jackson, Kristen Anderson, Joseph Ciaburri, and Jeanine Middleton.
Dan Montesi Jeanine Middleton Kristen Anderson
“These athletes have been a credit not only on the field, but off the field as well,” West Haven Committee Chairman Jon Capone said. “The committee is proud to honor them for their accomplishments.”
Montesi is a 1987 graduate who starred in both baseball and football. Not only was he a stand out player in each, but Montesi set marks along the way.
Montesi, who will also be inducted into the New Haven Gridiron Hall of Fame in September, was an All-District selection in baseball in 1986 and 1987.
Playing for West Haven Hall of Fame coach George Hanchette, Montesi batted over .400 for his career, playing both first base and second base. He was selected to the Five-Star baseball Camp in 1986 and was named to the Hartford Courant All-State baseball team in 1987.
Montesi was also a four-year member of the football team under West Haven Hall of Fame coach Ed McCarthy, where he was the team’s captain. He was an All-District selection, as well as All-Area in 1985 and 1986. Montesi was named to the New Haven Register All-State team in 1986.
With Montesi leading the way at monster back, tight end, punter and kicker, West Haven won the state championship in 1986 and finished ranked second in the state.
Montesi was named to the Hartford Courant All-State team for defense in 1985 and 1986, and honorable mention as a receiver and punter.
Middleton is a 1986 graduate who was a three-year member of the volleyball and softball teams, and a four-year member of the girls basketball team.
Middleton was an outside and middle hitter as well as a strong blocker for West Haven Hall of Fame coach Chris Santoro and Carol Franco on the volleyball court.
Middleton played four years on the basketball court for West Haven Hall of Fame coach Jim Eagan. She was team captain and center as a senior. The team played twice in the state tournament.
She played three years on the softball diamond for West Haven Hall of Fame coach Frank Biondi, where she was the team captain and centerfielder as a senior.
With Middleton on the team, the Westies made three state tournament appearances. She was an All-District selection with her top-ranked team her senior year. Middleton was selected to the New Haven Register Dream Team and was a member of the prestigious .500 club.
Anderson was a three-sport star at West Haven, graduating in 2007. While standing out in volleyball, swimming and softball, Anderson left a giant mark on the program as she received plenty of honors on the volleyball court.
Playing for her father Jon Anderson, the multi-sport star excelled on the court from her setter position. With a defined athletic ability, Anderson was able to move around the court and easily spot the open hitter. That court vision, led to many points and numerous West Haven victories.
Anderson’s play on the volleyball court garnered her a Second-Team All-State selection in the fall of 2006, as well as a New Haven Register All-Area selection. Anderson was named to the Southern Connecticut Conference Quinnipiac Division team after her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
Shaun Jackson Bob Squeglia John Skarlos
After starting his high school career at a boarding school, Jackson finished in impressive fashion as a member of the Blue Devils. With his prowess on the ice, Jackson will go down as one of the best hockey players to lace the skates in a West Haven uniform.
Jackson attended Kent Boarding School in Kent, Connecticut as a freshman, being the only ninth-grader to make the varsity team, before attending West Haven High. As a center and left wing, Jackson immediately caught the attention of West Haven Hall of Fame coach Joe Morrell.
Using a physical style in which he did all the dirty work in the corners and made all the plays in front of the goal, Jackson became a regular on the ice, whether it was on the power play or any big situation for the Westies. That hard work was rewarded quickly as Jackson was selected as an assistant captain for the Westies as a junior, before getting the captain’s nod as a senior.
Jackson was named to the All-Area hockey team and All-SCC (Southern Connecticut Conference) team as a junior and senior, and was also selected to the All-State hockey team as a senior. Over Jackson’s three-year career at West Haven, he accumulated 98 points, including 22 goals, 14 assists and 36 points as a junior.
Jackson’s teams qualified for the postseason every year he was at West Haven, advancing the farthest as a senior. Jackson’s play on a line which also included Aaron Beauvais and Brandon Fanelli, helped him receive recognition from Hockey Night in Boston as well.
Skarlos is a 1957 graduate who played football and baseball. He played for legendary coaches who would soon find themselves in the West Haven Hall of Fame.
Born in Manchester, New Hampshire, Skarlos moved to West Haven his freshman year, playing freshman baseball for West Haven Hall of Fame coach Hal Smullen. A player who used his speed to disrupt opposing teams, Skarlos played center field and hit in the leadoff position.
After playing his freshman campaign for one hall of fame coach, Skarlos then played his final three years on the baseball diamond for West Haven Hall of Fame coach Whitey Piurek. The Westies won the District League title in his junior campaign.
Skarlos played two years of varsity football for the Westies, playing varsity baseball and football for Piurek. With his speed his strength, Skarlos coupled that with his hard hitting and aggressive play to make his mark on the defensive side as an outside linebacker.
Squeglia is a 1963 graduate who played football, baseball and basketball, being named captain of the basketball team.
On the gridiron, Squeglia was a quarterback and defensive back under West Haven Hall of Fame coach Bill Irons, and was a 3-year starting forward on the basketball court, averaging 11, 14, and 17 points, respectively, per year.
On the baseball diamond, Squeglia played for another West Haven Hall of Fame coach in Piurek as a three-year starter, where he played, shortstop, third base and pitcher.
Seeing plenty of action as a sophomore and junior on the football field, Squeglia made his mark in the buckeye offense, led by the running of West Haven Hall of Famer John Poe. A speedy player on defense, Squeglia made opponents forget he was a quarterback with his ferocious hitting.
On the basketball court, Squeglia was a 5 foot – 9 inch guard who had great court vision, before moving to the forward position. Squeglia’s athletic ability allowed him to keep pace with the likes of Hillhouse, Wilbur Cross, Notre Dame and Hamden in what was a powerful league.
A line drive hitter on the baseball diamond, Squeglia hit .325 as a sophomore, .360 as a junior, and finished .390 as a senior, where he led the team in home runs with four. Squeglia was given the Silver Cup Award as the most outstanding athlete.
Coupled with an outstanding glove and a strong arm on the pitching mound, Squeglia was named to the All-District team following his junior and senior campaigns.
Ciaburri is a 1947 graduate who was involved in many sports activities. What he may forever be remembered for is the nickname he gave to West Haven in 1946, that of the Blue Devils.
In his years at West Haven High, Ciaburri was the assistant football team manager his sophomore and junior campaigns and the head team manager his senior year. Ciaburri played two years of soccer for Francis DeGangi and played one year of basketball. Ciaburri also participated on the track and field team, running the mile for one season.
Ciaburri’s community involvement throughout his entire life has been second to none. With numerous collegiate, government, banking and civic awards, Ciaburri has also been a legendary leader in the sporting community.
He has spent time as a coach at St. Louis Elementary School and West Main Elementary School, has been an announcer of college football games (1963-1966) for WNHC and ABC, and has also been a sports owner (New Haven Elms Professional Basketball Club) from 1960 to 1965.
Ciaburri was the business manager of the Connecticut Post Chiefs basketball team, was the general manager of the Columbus Bears softball club, which won the ASA championship in 1952, 1955, and 1956, along with that team participating in the World Championship in Clearwater, Florida, Detroit Michigan, and Sacramento, California.
Ciaburri was also the Connecticut State Deputy Commissioner for Biddy Basketball in 1959, was the coach and manager of the Hughson Post 71 American Legion baseball team which won the New England championship and was sixth in the World Championship in 1945-1946.Ciaburri has also done work as a public address announcer for the Waterbury Orbits of the Atlantic Coast Professional Football League, was the Vice President and Director of the West Haven Superiorettes (Women’s ASA), Vice President of the Orange Little League, and Vice President of the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 1972.
For more information on the West Haven Hall of Fame, including how to purchase tickets for the event, contact Jon Capone at Jonathan.Capone@whschools.org.
West Haven Hall of Fame Class of 2003. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
West Haven Hall of Fame Class of 2004. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
West Haven Hall of Fame Class of 2005. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
West Haven Hall of Fame Class of 2006. Seated (l. to r.) A.J. Paolillo-Palermo, Charles Windhorst and Alison Boni-Perlini. Standing (l. to r.) Mark Carlo, Ted Williams and James Cassell. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
West Haven Hall of Fame Class of 2007. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
Bottom row, l to r: Rich Smullen accepting for his father, Harold R. Smullen, Marybeth Howlett accepting for her father, Joseph Rossomando, Dorothy Blasczyk accepting for her husband, John Blasczyk, Laurie DelGrego, Frank Berretta
Top row l to r: Rufus Cooper, Jr., Rob Thompson, Wally Camp, Bill Hurteau, Jr.
West Haven Hall of Fame Class of 2008. Seated from left to right are: Ken Provost, Donna Bruneau-Lester, Danielle Lacroix and Joe Carroll. Standing (l. to r.) Harry Conlan (1968 football team), Jason Shea (accepting for Bob Greenwood), Jim Peccerillo, Keith Johnson, Nathaniel Cotton and Peter Chirico (1968 football team). Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
West Haven Hall of Fame Class of 2009. Seated (l. to r.) John Wezenski, Liz Vaccino, Carol Franco and Luigi Cappetta. Standing (l. to r.) Vin Rispoli, Rob Farnen, Ulish Booker and Neil Garbatini. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
The members of the 11th West Haven Athletic Hall of Fame from 2010 are (front row, from left to right): Harry Noyes, Adrienne LaCroix-DeLucia, Shelby Poe-Argentino, James Fanning; (back row): Bob Serenson, Bill Egress, Jim Eagan, Robert Farquharson III, accepting for his father Robert Farquharson Jr., Reggie Hayes, and Rich Moran. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
West Haven's 2011 Hall of Fame Class. Seated from left to right are George Hartmann, Shannon Curren, Jacqueline Wearing and Lou DeStefano. Standing from left to right are Paul McMahon (accepting for his brother, Father Michael McMahon), Bob Moran Sr., Mike Violano, William Gambardella and Ron Conyers. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
Pictured above are the recipients of the 2012 West Haven High School Hall of Fame, held on November 24, 2012.
Seated (from l. to r.): John Cascio, Richard Turner, Angie "Yogi" Sousa, Nicolle DeMorro Camara, Gene Spaziani, Warren Howe
Standing (from l. to r.): Jeff Belmont (accepting for his father Al Belmont), Peter Riccio, Kevin Nugent, Chuck Reiss (Captains accepting for the 1972 football team), John Piurek (accepting for the 1967 baseball team), Art DeLucia, Jon Capone (Chairman). Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven,
2014 West Haven Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
2016 West Haven Hall of Fame held on November 19, 2016. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
Standing (L. to r.): Shaun Jackson, John Skarlos, Bob Squeglia, Dan Montesi
Seated (l. to r.) Kristen Anderson, Joe Ciaburri, Jeanine Middleton
2018 West Haven Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven. Standing (l to r): Steve Balaban, Dave Depew, Frank Longobardi, Dave Anquillare, Rick McInnis.
Seated (l to r): George DeMaio, Tracy Bagnoli Guyette, Alison Karosas, Vin Nitido
HALL OF FAME
2015 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
(August 24, 2015) - The West Haven Hall of Fame committee announced the most recent class to be inducted November 21, 2015 at Cielo, West Haven Italian American Club, Saturday, November 21, 2015. The eight new members bring the total to 151 in the prestigious club.
The event will be held a week earlier this year as prior inductions have been held the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
The 2015 inductees are Gene Staehly, Bill Weirether, Lisa DeFaranos, Ivoree Stanley, Thomas Lawson, James “Hooker” McMahon, Paul McMahon and Ray Luedee.
Hooker McMahon and Paul McMahon join their son/brother, Michael, who was inducted to the cherished club in 2011.
Hooker McMahon Lisa DeFaranos Tom Lawson
"It is another year and another great group of athletes,” Hall of Fame committee chairman Jon Capone said. “They have laid the foundation and the standards of what the athletic department stands for today. It’s an honor to celebrate their careers.”
Hooker McMahon is a 1953 graduate who stared in football, basketball and baseball. Known as “Mr. Blue Devil”, McMahon had an odd start with the Westies, moving to Florida, then Tennessee after Thanksgiving of his freshman year.
Wanting to be a Westie and play sports in the town he loved, McMahon moved back to West Haven a short time later.
In his interrupted time at West Haven, McMahon starred in football, basketball and baseball. On the gridiron, McMahon made his mark as a defensive halfback, before leading the way on the hardwood.
As a forward, McMahon was the leading scorer his junior year, averaging 14 points per game. He increased his average to 15 points per game one year later to remain on top of the scoring charts for the Westies.
McMahon continued his stellar career on the baseball diamond. After missing his freshman and sophomore years of baseball due to the move, McMahon returned in style.
As a junior, he started in right field for coach Whitey Piurek and helped his team battle for the District League title. As a senior first baseman, he continued his solid hitting, batting over .300 with a handful of home runs.
Hooker McMahon received the Academics and Athletics Silver Cup his senior year, before attending the University of Connecticut on a baseball scholarship.
DeFaranos is a 1987 graduate who excelled in volleyball, basketball and softball. A four-year varsity athlete in each sport, DeFaranos was a dominant hitter in volleyball, an aggressive forward in basketball and a stand out pitcher in softball.
After going 0-1 her freshman season from the pitching circle, DeFaranos went 18-2 as a sophomore, 15-3 as a junior and 16-3 as a senior for a 49-9 record.
DeFaranos is second all-time at West Haven in innings pitched with 379, second in strikeouts with 336, second in total wins with 49 and fourth in earned run average at 2.21.
Offensively, DeFaranos is tied for first all-time with 106 career runs scored and first all-time in walks with 70. She was the team most valuable player in 1985 and the runner up in 1986 and 1987. DeFaranos was an All-District selection in 1985 and 1987.
Lawson grew up in West Shore, where he lived for 54 years. A 1951 graduate, Lawson was a backup goalie on coach Ed Bennett's District and state championship teams in 1949.
Lawson progressed to become a two-year starting goalie for coach Hal Smullen in 1950 and 1951, and had a run of seven shutouts and a goals allowed average of less than one goal per game in 1951. That same year saw Lawson lead his team to the state and District championships.
Lawson's play in 1951 helped lead the Westies to an undefeated season in league play. Lawson was honored with a unanimous selection to the WELI Radio Schoolboy Hall of Fame as a junior.
As a senior, Lawson was named to the Bridgeport Herald and New Haven Journal Courier District and All-State First teams.
As a junior on the baseball diamond, Lawson caught for coach Whitey Piurek. In 1950, with Lawson as the team's catcher, the Westies advanced to the state championship game at Quigley Stadium before falling to Stratford High.
Lawson also was part of a tough offense on coach Luke Crowe's soccer team which posted a winning record in District play.
While his high school career ended in fine fashion, it did not begin that way. Lawson played baseball and football as a freshman, but a serious rib cage injury during a gym class forced him to quit both sports as a sophomore.
Lawson traveled to play baseball at the University of Pennsylvania. At a university which did not have hockey, Lawson was the starting catcher for the freshman team and was a walk-on center for the freshman football team. Lawson's college days were cut short his sophomore season as his NROTC/Reserve Unit was activated during the Korean War.
Stanley was a 1995 graduate and a four-year varsity starter on the hardwood, where he piled up the basketball awards. Starting as a 5 foot – 9 inch freshman point guard, Stanley grew in the ensuing offseason.
Returning as a 6-3 sophomore forward, Stanley’s career took off. As he grew in height, he did as well in stature. Stanley was a two-time New Haven Register All-Area selection and the 1995 New Haven Register All-Area most valuable player.
Ivoree Stanley. Bill Weirether Gene Staehly
1995 was a good year for Stanley as he was named to the New Haven Register All-State team and was also honored as a McDonald’s All-American nominee.
Stanley’s hard work did not go unnoticed. He was Quinnipiac University’s first Division I recruit and was named team captain in his senior year at Quinnipiac. Stanley was also named a two-time Northeast Conference Player of the Week.
Stanley’s time at Quinnipiac was a memorable one as he finished in the top ten in the nation for field goal percentage and placed on the 1999 Phoenix Classic All-Tournament team.
Weirether is a 1959 graduate who starred on the football, basketball and baseball teams, playing three years on each. A strong side of a leader, Weirether ran each team from the top spots.
On the gridiron, Weirether played quarterback and running back for William Irons. He ran the offense from his guard position on the hardwood floor under coach Joe Pfister, and played shortstop and center field for legendary coach Whitey Piurek.
Weirether’s accomplishments after graduating from West Haven are just as good. He served three years in the United States Army with an honorable discharge, played six seasons in the West Haven Twilight League and participated and completed in the 1981 Boston Marathon in 3 hours, 4 minutes, 23 seconds.
Weirether gave back to the community as well. He coached 14 years in the Ray Tellier Midget Football League in West Haven and coached 16 years in the West Haven Babe Ruth League and American Legion programs.
If coaching was not enough to keep him busy, Weirether officiated for 29 years as a referee of high school football with the New Haven Football Officials Association.
Staehly is a 1974 graduate who played football and lacrosse. With his love of football growing by watching the likes of Dick Butkus and Bob Lilly, Staehly made his mark on the gridiron from his guard position.
A smaller guy, but big at heart, Staehly played on the senior kickoff team as a freshman. One year later, he started as a sophomore at the left guard position, playing both right and left guard.
As a junior Staehly settled in at right guard and watched his career take off as he would go on to make the All-District and All-State teams.
As plenty of football players did, Staehly also played lacrosse in the first year of the program under coach Joe McHugh.
After graduation, Staehly attended St. Thomas Moore Prep, before an opportunity with Idaho State fell through. Staehly moved on to the University of New Haven, before playing on semi-pro teams in New Haven and Bridgeport.
In the early 1990’s, Staehly became an assistant coach at East Haven, where he coached the freshman team to one of its best records in a season at 8-2. Staehly has also coached in the West Haven Pop Warner with the Midgets with Mike Last. That team won the New England Regional championship, finishing with the best rushing yardage in the championship with over 300 yards.
Paul McMahon is a 1987 graduate who was a key player on West Haven’s 1987 state champion basketball team. That team, the only West Haven basketball team to win a state title, had many important pieces, but was led by McMahon.
In his senior campaign of 1987, McMahon became the only West Haven player to score over 600 points in a season with 625, averaging 25 points per game. As the team’s co-captain, he became the fourth West Haven player to score 1,000 points with 1,070, he tied a single-game scoring record with 44 points against Wilbur Cross and scored in double figures in all 25 games his senior campaign.
Paul McMahon Ray Luedee
McMahon raked in the awards as he was named the New Haven Tap-Off Club Scholar Athlete, WTIC Coca-Cola Player of the Week, New Haven Register Player of the Week, New Haven Register All-District selection, New Haven Register All-Area selection, Hartford Courant Coaches All-State, New Haven Register All-State, Connecticut High School Coaches Association Class LL (Thomas Monahan) Tournament Most Valuable Player and WTIC/Coca-Cola Class LL Player of the Year.
As a junior, McMahon averaged 20 points per game, finishing with 420 points on a 12-9 team that advanced to the second round of the Class LL state tournament. McMahon scored in double figures in 20 of the team’s 21 games.
Upon graduation, McMahon attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in history, before attending the Columbia Business School.
At Penn, McMahon played four years of varsity basketball, where he was named to the San Francisco Cable Car Classic All-Tournament team, was given the John Saxenmeyer Most Improved Player Award (1988-1989), and was named the Arthur Kiefaber Most Valuable Player (1990-1991).
McMahon moved on to play professional basketball in Perth, Australia for the Perth Redbacks of the Australian State Basketball League.
Luedee is a 1975 graduate of West Haven, known for his prowess on the ice. Ray made his presence known as a sophomore at West Haven in the 1973-1974 season. Aggressive and never afraid to have possession of the puck, Luedee was strong in the corners and one of the key players who had the ability to crash the net. A third-line left winger for Crouse, Luedee finished his inaugural season for the Westies with 30 points.
As a junior, Luedee became part of history as he was named to the first New Haven Register All-State team as a center. Luedee was also named to the All-District, All-County and All-Tournament teams.
An aggressive forward, Luedee finished his West Haven career with 122 points, setting the mark as a senior with 52 points as the team’s captain. It was during his senior campaign which Luedee placed in the 100-point club at West Haven High, breaking the mark of Jim Fanning, set ten years earlier. Luedee remains fifth on the all-time scoring list for West Haven, maintaining his place as one of the school’s best players.
2014 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
(August 22, 2014) - The 15th class to enter the West Haven Hall of Fame will be honored Saturday, November 29, 2014 at the West Haven Italian-American Club on Chase Lane. The nine new members will increase the membership in the prestigious club to 143 members.
The newest members to be inducted are Joseph Morrell Jr., Stacey Breen Sao, Ron Conlan, Michael Anquillare, Michael Keyes, the late Joseph Giannotti, William Engels, Lindsay Michel and Robert Sveda.
"This is another great class,” West Haven athletic director and Hall of Fame chairman Jon Capone said. “They all come from different eras and the committee is extremely honored to induct them.”
Joe Morrell Stacey Breen Sao Ron Conlan
Morrell is a 1983 graduate who was a three-sport star in baseball, hockey and soccer under Hall of Fame coaches George Hanchette, Art Crouse and Elliot Marnell.
During his high school career, Morrell was the starting goalkeeper in soccer for three years, being named the captain his senior year and the team most valuable player following the 1982 and 1983 seasons.
Morrell was a center on the ice under Crouse for three years. The future West Haven coach was named to the All-District team in 1983, as well as an honorable mention for the All-State team that same season.
A captain his senior year, Morrell was a member of the first Team Connecticut squad in 1983.The year proved to be a good one for Morrell as he was the team’s leading scorer, was named the team most valuable player and received the Outstanding Athlete Award.
Under Hanchette, Morrell anchored the corner of the infield for three seasons, playing first base his sophomore and junior seasons and third base his senior year. A captain his senior season, Morrell was also named to the All-District team.
Morrell played junior hockey for the Milford Blues under legendary coach Marty Roos. The team advanced to the league finals in 1984 and Morrell was the team’s top scorer in 1985.
A graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, teaching was definitely in the future for Morrell as he coached youth sports from 1984 to 1997, winning a Division I state championship in hockey along with four New England appearances.
Coaching youth soccer in West Haven for 14 years, Morrell’s teams won eight league titles and one state title. He was named the top soccer coordinator for 10 years and has been the commissioner of the West Haven Invitational soccer tournament for six years.
Morrell also coached in Shore Haven baseball and served as the softball commissioner.
On the high school level, Morrell led the West Haven girls’ soccer team for six years, winning one Southern Connecticut Conference title and making five appearances in the state tournament.
On the ice, Morrell was an assistant coach at Guilford under former Notre Dame coach Bill Gerosa and was an assistant under Hall of Famer Mike Violano at Notre Dame, where the teams won two state titles and reached three state finals.
Presently West Haven’s head hockey coach since 1999, Morrell enters this season with a .606 winning percentage (191-121-17).
Coaching 20 All-State players, Morrell’s teams have made 15 state tournament appearances, with four semifinal berths and one SCC title.
In 2005, Morrell received the 2005 Connecticut Outstanding Coach award. He was named the Connecticut Post Coach of the Year in 2010 and the SCC Coach of the Year in 2014.
Morrell is presently a physical education teacher at West Haven High.
Breen Sao is a 1987 graduate who could play any sport and starred on the basketball court and softball diamond.
Sao was a two-year player on the volleyball court and was on the swimming team for one year. While Sao did well in those sports, she turned heads playing basketball and softball.
A four-year varsity starter and captain her senior year in basketball, Sao was a two-time First-Team All-District and All-County selection, and an honorable mention All-Area and All-State pick.
Sao represented West Haven High School with the Connecticut Scholar Athlete Award, was a New Haven Tap-Off Club Scholar Athlete and was named to the Connecticut Junior Olympics Squad.
On the softball field, Sao was a four-year varsity member, including the team’s captain her senior campaign. Sao was twice named to the All-District First Team and was named to the KC 101Connecticut Summer Softball League All-Star team.
Off the field and court, Sao was also a member of the marching and concert band for four years, playing the flute and saxophone, and was a member of the National Honor Society.
Sao is a Charter member of the Girls’ Biddy Basketball League and was an umpire in the West Haven Little League.
After graduating from West Haven, Sao attended Villanova University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Economics.
Sao immediately made an impact with an internship at the White House in 1991, later promoted to Correspondence Liaison to the First Lady in early 1992.
Sao is currently the managing director at BostonCentral.com.
Conlan is a 1968 graduate of West Haven High, excelling in basketball. A co-captain his senior season, Conlan was regarded as one of the premiere shooters from the outside.
As a junior, Conlan was regarded as the sixth man, before starting as the shooting guard his senior campaign. With the outside shot a pivotal part of his game, Conlan also had the ability to drive to the basket.
After graduation, Conlan attended Southern Connecticut State College from 1969 to 1973. The 1973 campaign saw Conlan named the team’s co-captain as well as taking home the team most valuable player award. Conlan finished the season as the team’s leading scorer.
Continuing his allegiance at Southern, Conlan was the assistant basketball coach there from 1974 to 1978.
With a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and Political Science, Conlan has embarked on a successful teaching career, where he has been a Social Studies teacher at West Haven High.
Some of the titles held by Conlan are Director of the Alternate Program, Teacher and Director of the Summer School Program and Mock Trial Advisor.
Among the awards and achievements for Conlan are Person of the Year given by the West Haven Bar Association, Mark R. Shedd Award for excellence in teaching law and citizenship in education in 1997 and 1998, Walter Camp Football Foundation for community service and participation in the Special Olympics in 2002 and the Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding service to the West Haven Community House.
Michael Anquillare Lindsey Michel Michael Keyes
Anquillare is a 1986 graduate, who made his high school mark on the ice and baseball diamond, before going on to star on the baseball field at Fordham University.
Graduating ninth in his high school class with high honors, Anquillare was part of the 1984 teams which won state titles in baseball and hockey and was a member of the Class LL runner-up in 1986 on the baseball field. Anquillare’s baseball teams won District League titles in 1985 and 1986, with Anquillare named to the All-District teams the same years as well as the All-State team in 1986.
Anquillare put nice book ends on his high school career as he made the varsity hockey team as a freshman while at Bailey Middle School and was named the McDonald’s Rotary Club Scholar Athlete his senior season.
After graduating from West Haven, Anquillare went on to play baseball on a baseball scholarship at Fordham University, where he was a four-year starter.
While at Fordham, Anquillare’s teams won three MAAC titles, three ECAC titles and qualified for three NCAA Division I tournament appearances. Among the many collegiate honors for Anquillare were he was nominated for Freshman All-American, he was an All-MAAC and All-New York selection, and he was named the team’s captain in 1990.
Anquillare went on to play 17 years in the West Haven Twilight League, winning five league titles. Anquillare won the batting title in 1990 as well as the playoff most valuable player, was the regular season most valuable player in 1991 and received the Irving O’Connor Award for most outstanding first baseman from 1992-1996.
Anquillare again went on to leave his mark on the baseball field, this time as a head coach. After working under legendary coach Frank “Porky” Vieira as a graduate assistant at the University of New Haven, Anquillare became an assistant coach at Platt Tech in Milford in 1992 before taking over at age 24 in 1993. His three-year reign at Platt Tech included a CVTC championship in 1994.
Anquillare then became an assistant coach at West Haven under Hall of Famer Jon Capone from 1996-1999, before taking the helm in 2000, where he still resides.
Anquillare’s teams at West Haven have won a Southern Connecticut Conference title in 2003, Quinnipiac Division titles in 2003, 2004 and 2009 and a Class LL state title in 2009 with a 21-5 record.
The 2009 championship team was voted the unanimous number one team in Connecticut by the New Haven Register as well as the top team in the state by the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Coaches Association.
Anquillare was named the Coach of the Year by the Southern Connecticut Diamond Club following the 2009 campaign and was named the New Haven Register All-Area and All-State Coach of the Year, while also being named the head coach of the Senior All-Star game. Anquillare won state titles as a player and coach at West Haven.
Michel is a 2004 graduate who starred in soccer, basketball and tennis for four years and was involved in numerous other activities.
On the soccer field, Michel was an instrumental player for coach John Camara, playing center midfield and defense.
Playing mostly shooting guard and, at times small forward, Michel was an All-Area selection as a freshman on the basketball court and was an All-Conference selection as a junior. Michel played her final two years on the hardwood under Hall of Fame coach Jim Eagan.
Not only was Michel a force in the fall and winter, but the spring season saw the versatile athlete dominate on the tennis courts. Her quick movement and powerful strokes led to an All-Conference selection her senior campaign.
Playing for three different coaches, Jeanne Palmer (freshman and sophomore), Modestine Vaughn (junior) and Kara Kaczynski (senior), Michel progressed dramatically each year. As a singles player, Michel moved through the lineup, becoming one of the team’s top players.
Playing three sports was not enough for the multi-talented Michel as she was part of the mock trial team her junior and senior years, winning the state title as a junior.
Michel was not done. With some extra time in her schedule, Michel was a member of the band, playing clarinet for four years, as well as being the field leader her junior and senior seasons.
A peer advocate her senior campaign and a member of the national honor society in her junior and senior seasons, Michel combined her academics and athletics to take home awards in each sport.
Michel moved on to Connecticut College in New London where she majored in Environmental Studies and Anthropology. She continued her sports career with four years of basketball, including being named the team’s captain.
The multi-dimensional Michel finished her career at Connecticut College with 662 points, 274 assists, 447 rebounds and 149 steals.
Keyes is a 1978 graduate who starred in football and lacrosse. Keyes made his mark right from the start as he was the freshman football captain in 1974, playing fullback and middle linebacker.
Freshman year on the grid iron saw Keyes dress for every varsity game, playing in three, with Keyes taking home the “#47 Jersey Award.” Keyes moved on to his sophomore year where he started at middle linebacker on defense and full back on goal line offense in football.
Keyes stood out in 1977 as he started varsity lacrosse at crease defense under legendary coach Joseph McHugh and was the tri-captain of the football team from his middle linebacker position. He was named All-District and All-State in football as well as Honorable Mention Prep All-America Football Squad sponsored by National High School Athletics Coaching Association.
During the spring season of his senior campaign, Keyes was the co-captain of the lacrosse team, making the All-State Second Team for defense.
After graduating from West Haven High, Keyes played middle linebacker at Milford Academy before moving to the University of New Haven one year later, playing middle linebacker on a Chargers team which went 8-0-2.
Keyes continued to remain involved in community activities as he has coached West Haven T-Ball, youth football for 12 years and youth lacrosse for four years. Keyes was inducted into the New Haven Gridiron Club Hall of Fame with his brother Ted in 2006.
Married to Gina DeGennaro, Keyes has a daughter, Ashley, and a son, Michael Jr.
Joseph Giannotti William Engels Robert Sveda
The late Joseph Giannotti was a star football player in the early 1930’s at West Haven. Known for his physical play, Giannotti played on both sides of the ball, using his 230 pound frame to his advantage.
In 1932, Giannotti was the captain of the football squad, being named to the New Haven Register’s first All-State High School Eleven team as the team’s right tackle.
After graduating from West Haven, Giannotti enrolled in Dean Academy where he continued to play football. In 1936, Giannotti entered Boston University, where he immediately left his mark as a freshman.
With all freshmen required to play junior varsity, one assistant coach stated he was happy to see Giannotti move to the varsity level due to the amount of players Giannotti put out of commission for the next game due to his tough style of play in every Wednesday’s scrimmage with the varsity team.
Upon completing a notable career at Boston University, Giannotti was signed by the Cleveland Rams of the American Football League. Due to an injury, Giannotti left the Rams and signed with the Patterson Panthers in New Jersey, playing several years before leaving the game due to injuries.
Engels is a 1946 graduate of West Haven High who played basketball for four years and football and baseball for three years.
On the basketball court, Engels played on the freshman team, then followed by seeing time on both the junior varsity and varsity teams his sophomore year, before playing on the varsity squad his junior and senior years.
On the football field, Engels started on the varsity squad his junior and senior years. He was the blocking back of the single wing his junior campaign and was the quarterback his senior year.
Defensively, Engels was a linebacker who also blocked four punts. Engels played every minute of every game his senior season.
On the baseball diamond, Engels was the starting catcher for three years, batting over .300 each year. Engels also picked off three runners at third base his senior season.
During the summer of his freshman and sophomore seasons, Engels played in the West Haven Twilight League on a team of varsity players. The team won the league both years.
In the summer following his junior year, Engels played in Torrington, Connecticut where he was offered a pro contract by the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants).
At the spring award banquet, a new award system of bronze, silver and gold medals was initiated with the ultimate award being a trophy. Hall of Famer Frank Winfield and Engels were the only players given all three medals.
After high school, Engels played for a semi-pro baseball team made primarily of players who had been out of school for a few years and coached by Hall of Famer Joe Rossomando.
Engels’ professional career has seen him serve 15 years as a minister and 24 years as a Federal employee.
Sveda is a 1954 graduate, who made his mark on the soccer and baseball fields as well as the basketball court.
On the soccer field, Sveda was a midfielder who played for coach Jim Peters. Sveda continued his athletic career playing guard on the basketball court under legendary coaches Whitey Piurek and Luke Crowe, before playing first base and outfield for Piurek on the baseball field. As a senior, Sveda and his teammates took home the District League baseball championship.
Following his graduation from West Haven, Sveda attended Arnold College, now the University of Bridgeport, where he played both soccer and baseball all four years. As a midfielder on the soccer field Sveda was named the captain his senior year and was also an All-New England Honorable Mention that same year.
Sveda continued his versatility on the baseball diamond as he played the outfield and first base during his collegiate years.
Sveda went on to become a physical education teacher at Newtown High School from 1959 until his retirement in 1992. Becoming Newtown’s athletic director in 1963, Sveda guided the sports program from nine to 20 sports.
At Newtown High, Sveda coached the boys varsity soccer teams from 1959-1978, compiling a record of 153-56-19. Never having a losing season, Sveda’s teams were state runners-up in 1961.
In his fourteenth year of coaching in 1973, he recorded his 100th career victory. In 1974, Sveda’s team won the Western Connecticut Conference crown and finished third in the state.
Sveda was also the boys varsity baseball coach from 1963-1970, the girls soccer coach from 1983-1988 and the girls softball coach from 1975-1992.
As the founder of the girls soccer program and first girls soccer coach, Sveda compiled a record of 58-9-1, winning 3 WCC titles. On the softball diamond, he posted a record of 247-103, with 15 consecutive winning seasons and seven WCC crowns.
Sveda’s team went to the state finals in 1989 with a 21-2 record.
2013 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
Eight new members will enter the prestigious West Haven Hall of Fame Saturday, November 30, 2013 at the West Haven Italian-American Club onChase Lane.
Spanning seven decades, the new inductees bring the total to 134. The 14thclass to be honored consists of Bob Raucci, Paula Uscilla, Lindsay Connor, Brian Nugent, Mark Heffernan, Don Fitzgerald, Bob Reilly and Vin Siena, Jr.
“It is another outstanding class,” West Haven Hall of Fame dinner chairman Jon Capone said. “There is a wide range of years, from the 1940’s to the 2000’s.
“This is the first class where we have someone from the 2000 era and actually there are two with Mark Heffernan and Lindsay Connor. We have a lot of years covered. We look forward to another great class.”
Vin Siena, Jr. Bob Reilly Don Fitzgerald
Raucci is a 1964 graduate who starred in football, basketball and baseball and was named the West Haven High School Sportsman of the Year in 1964 by the West Haven Fire Department. Raucci also played under two Hall of Fame coaches in William Irons (football) and Whitey Piurek (baseball).
As a three-year member of the football team, Raucci controlled both sides of the ball as he played quarterback and safety.
Raucci continued his leadership on the basketball court as he was a three-year member of the team and the starting point guard under Joe Phister. Raucci was named the Savitt Award winner in basketball his senior year.
Senior year was capped in style for Raucci as he helped lead the baseball team to the District League title. Raucci, a shortstop, also played three years on the baseball diamond for Piurek.
Following his career at West Haven, Raucci played in the West Haven Twilight League from 1960-1966 and 1968-1972, finishing with two championships.
The diamond is where you will continue to find Raucci as he has played organized slow pitch softball the last 40 years, recently winning the National Championship for the senior games in Cleveland, Ohio.
Uscilla was a three-sport star who excelled on each team. Playing soccer, basketball and softball under Hall of Fame coaches, Uscilla left her mark as she was named to the all-conference team in each and All-Area for basketball and softball.
On the soccer field, Uscilla was a center midfielder playing under coach Mike Violano. On the softball diamond, Uscilla played shortstop for Frank Biondi and, on the basketball court, she was the point guard under Jim Eagan.
Uscilla, who was the captain on all three teams, earned 11 varsity letters, with the only letter not attained coming in her freshman year as she did not play softball. She was awarded the Kelly Camp Award her senior year.
Uscilla attended the University of New Haven where she was on the dean’s list every semester and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Management. She was named an All-America Scholar Athlete her senior year and was named the captain on both the women’s softball (second base) and soccer (central defender) teams her junior and senior years.
Uscilla was also a second team All-New England Collegiate Conference selection in soccer and was awarded the University of New Haven Sportsmanship award her junior and senior years.
The Boston University School of Law was next for Uscilla where she concentrated on Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She graduated cum laude from both the University of New Haven and Boston University School of Law.
Uscilla has since gone on to a successful career practicing Law. After spending time at the United States Attorney’s Office as a law clerk and other firms in Stamford, Connecticut and Boston, Massachusetts, Uscilla is now at United Technologies Corporation in Hartford, Connecticut.
Paula Uscilla Lindsay Connor Mark Heffernan
Connor is a 2003 graduate who was a three-sport star while at West Haven. Active and leading the way from fall to spring, Connor excelled in volleyball, basketball and softball.
Voted the most athletic female her senior year and a recipient of the Kelly Camp award, Connor was a captain for each team she played on.
On the volleyball court, Connor was the team’s captain her junior and senior years, was named to the All-Southern Connecticut Conference team and was the team most valuable player.
Senior year saw Connor lead the way as the captain on the basketball court and on the softball field. The diamond was where Connor had her best year as she was named to the All-State, All-Area and All-SCC teams.
The awards continued for Connor as she was named the team’s most valuable player, also taking home the Golden Glove and Golden Bat awards.
Bryant University was the next stop for the Westie star and Connor made her presence felt immediately, starting all 43 games as a freshman.
Connor led the team and the Northeast-10 Conference with a .418 batting average while starting all 46 games in her sophomore season. The season also saw her finish with a .461 slugging percentage, leading the Bulldogs with 69 hits and a Northeast-10 Conference First Team selection.
As a junior, Connor again was a First Team All-Northeast -10 First Team selection with a .350 batting average and 25 stolen bases. Connor finished her collegiate career being named to the All-Regional Team of the NCAA tournament her sophomore, junior and senior years.
Connor is presently an Operations Analyst at Fortress Investment Group inNew York City
Nugent is a 1975 graduate who played football and lacrosse. After graduating from West Haven, Nugent went on to play four years at theUniversity of New Haven, where he started at linebacker.
At West Haven, Nugent was three-year starter at linebacker and a member of the 1972 state championship team. He was a tri-captain in 1974, an All-District selection in 1973 and 1974, a Second Team All-State selection in 1973 and a First Team All-State selection in 1974. Nugent was also a recipient of the Coaches Award in 1974.
Nugent was a member of the first West Haven High School lacrosse team, where he started four years at attack and was a tri-captain in 1974.
At the University of New Haven, he led the Chargers in tackles in two seasons, averaging more than 12 per game and was the team’s captain in 1978. Nugent was named to the All-New England Football Conference in 1976, 1977 and 1978, was a UPI All-New England selection in 1978 and was the team’s most valuable player in 1977 and 1978.
The honors continued for Nugent as he was named the UNH Male Athlete of the Year for the 1978-1979 academic year, and was the New Haven Gridiron Club Small College Player of The Year in 1977 and 1978. He was named to the University of New Haven Hall of Fame in 1996.
Bob Raucci Brian Nugent
Heffernan is a 2002 graduate who left his mark on the ice for the Westies. A highly touted goaltender, Heffernan did not disappoint.
Heffernan mastered his craft between the pipes and walked away with three All-State selections, following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He was a Southern Connecticut Conference All-Area selection the same three years and was named the team’s most valuable player after his sophomore and junior years.
During the 1998-1999 season, Heffernan was selected to the Team Connecticut Select 15 (year-old) squad as well as the Team New England Select 15 team.
The following year Heffernan was selected to the Team Connecticut Select 16 year-old squad and the Team New England Select 16 team. Heffernan capped the run by being selected to the Team Connecticut Select 17 squad.
As Heffernan moved past West Haven, his hockey success continued. Heffernan played in the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League where he played for the Connecticut Jr. Wolves and was selected to the All-Star team.
Heffernan moved on to the Maritime Junior A Hockey League, playing for the Campbellton Junior Tigers.
Heffernan has since moved on from his playing days and has been a hockey instructor at the Shelton Rinks and was also the assistant hockey coach at St. Joseph High from 2004 to 2007.
Fitzgerald is a 1955 graduate of West Haven High who excelled in soccer, baseball. A solid performer in each, Fitzgerald was usually the player teammates turned to.
On the soccer field, Fitzgerald was the starting goalkeeper his junior and senior campaigns. Coached by Luke Crowe, Fitzgerald led his team to the state tournament his senior year with eight shutouts and was named to the All-District team.
Fitzgerald was also a four-year member of the baseball team where he played for Hall of Fame coach Whitey Piurek. During his junior and senior years, Fitzgerald was West Haven’s ace, compiling an overall record of 15-2.
In 1959, Fitzgerald pitched in the state championship game which West Haven lost 1-0 to Naugatuck in extra innings. The team finished the year with an 18-3 record.
When not pitching, Fitzgerald played right field, hitting .320. He was named to the All-District team and was given the Savitt Award.
Fitzgerald went on to play in the West Haven Twilight League from 1954 through 1959 before entering the army. He was a Gold Bat recipient in 1994.
Fitzgerald is a charter member of the New Haven Football Foundation and is on the Board of Directors of the South Hamden Baseball Association. He was given the Good Guy Award from the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce in 1994.
Reilly is a longtime resident of West Haven, where he grew up and currently resides in the West Shore Area.
Reilly attended Colonial Park School where he played soccer and scored the game-winning goal in the 1939 city championship game. Reilly moved on to West Haven High and played soccer and was captain of the hockey team.
Reilly left high school during his senior year to join the Navy, where he served two years in the South Pacific.
After the war, Reilly continued his education getting engineering degrees from both Alfred University and New Haven College. Reilly played baseball in the West Haven Twilight League and is noted for hitting a home run through a barn window in a game against East Haven.
Reilly coached and administered for eight years in the Shore Haven Baseball and West Haven Biddy Basketball leagues. He was president of the West Shore Baseball and Basketball Association. He was also the founder and president of the West Haven Midget Football Association.
A 1982 graduate, Siena was a two-sport star while at West Haven, playing for three Hall of Fame coaches.
A star on the baseball team, Siena played one year for Piurek and his final two years for George Hanchette. On the soccer field, Siena played for Elliot Marnell.
Siena will largely be known for his play on the baseball diamond. Starring for the Westies for three years at shortstop, Siena hit third or fourth in the lineup, continually hit in the .300 range and had a handful of home runs.
Siena was an All-District selection his sophomore and senior years and was selected to the Senior All-Star game his final season. During Siena’s senior campaign, as a captain, his three-run homer helped knock arch-rival Notre Dame out of the quarterfinal round before the Westies fell to Warde in the semifinals.
Siena was a three-year player for Marnell on the soccer field and was named captain his senior season. Siena was also an All-District selection in soccer.
Siena went on to continue his baseball career at Quinnipiac Universitywhere he played four years under legendary coach Dan Gooley.
Moving to third base on the collegiate level, Siena was an All-New England First Team selection following his sophomore and senior campaigns and was the most valuable player his senior year, hitting .397. Siena held the home run record at Quinnipiac for 15 years.
He was the starting third baseman his freshman year before being moved to center field. Siena was named the team’s Most Improved Player in 1983 and the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1985.
Siena was a First Team All-New England selection, First Team All-City selection and a member of the NECC Division II First team.
With Siena on the team, Quinnipiac advanced to the Division II College World Series in 1983. He was inducted into the Quinnipiac College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990 for his outstanding offensive play on the baseball field.
Siena moved on to the West Haven Twilight League where he was a player manger for 25 years. Playing in the league since 1981, Siena was three-time league most valuable player, leading his team to five championships and three second place finishes.
While also receiving the league Sportsmanship Award, Siena was a Gold Bat recipient in 2012.
2012 Hall of Fame
8 individuals and 2 teams highlight 13th class
"Once a West Havener always a West Havener," Hall of Fame inductee Gene Spaziani quoting Ken Strong on induction night, November 24, 2012.
"Westie Pride is something no one can ever take away from you," Angie Sousa on what it means to be a Westie.
By MIKE MADERA
The 13th Annual West Haven Athletic Hall of Fame will have 10 new inductees, including a pair of teams. The recipients will be honored Saturday, November 24, 2012 at the West Haven Italian-American Club onChase Lane.
Honored individually are Albert Belmont, Angelina Sousa, Art DeLucia, Gene Spaziani, John Cascio, Nicolle DeMorro Camara, Rich Turner, Jr. and Warren Howe. Also being inducted are the 1967 baseball team and the 1972 football team.
“It is another great class,” West Haven athletic director and Hall of Fame chairman Jon Capone said. “The well hasn’t run dry.
“These are all well-deserving athletes, coaches and teams. It is an honor to be associated with them.”
Howe was a two-sport star, graduating in 1956. Howe made his mark on the football field and baseball diamond, playing for legendary coach Whitey Piurek in each.
n the football field, Howe was an offensive and defensive tackle, along with playing special teams. During the 1955 season, Howe played just about every minute of every game, rarely coming off the field.
On the baseball diamond, Howe was the starting catcher his final three years. In 1955, Howe was a member of the team which played against Naugatuckin the state championship and was named to the first ever All-District League first team.
In 1956, he led the Westies to a win over Notre Dame. In that game, he became the first player to hit a home run over the left center field fence at Quigley Stadium.
In that same season, Howe was named the Savitt Award winner for Outstanding Sportsmanship on the vote of his teammates.
Howe went on to play in the West Haven Twilight League where he was an All-Star catcher for 13 seasons. A graduate of Providence College, Howe played three years of varsity baseball .
Howe worked out for the Cincinnati Reds in 1957 and was scouted by the Detroit Tigers, Reds, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees.
Howe was elected to the Southern Connecticut Diamond Club Hall of Fame in 2010 and was selected by the Connecticut Chapter of the March of Dimes to be an Elm City Legend in 2012.
Belmont is a 1948 graduate who passed away in 1988 from Lou Gehrig’s Disease. While at West Haven, Belmont lettered in football, basketball and baseball.
After graduating from West Haven, Belmont attended Suffield Academy and St. Michael’s College, where he continued to be a stellar athlete. Belmontalso played in the West Haven Twilight League.
Cascio is a 1958 graduate who starred in football, basketball, baseball and track. Cascio played one year of track and played for three years each in football, basketball and baseball.
The career of Cascio saw him named co-captain of the football team his senior year. On the football field, Cascio was also a part of the last team to play in the Yale Bowl against Hillhouse in a 13-13 tie in November of 1957.
Cascio was awarded the Savitt Sportsmanship Award in basketball and was part of three District League baseball titles.
Providence College was the next stop for Cascio as he attended there for two years. He then joined the United States Army, where he also played basketball and baseball.
Spaziani is a 1947 graduate of West Haven High, where he starred in football, basketball and baseball. Spaziani played on District League champions in football and baseball.
Spaziani received an athletic scholarship to Suffield Academy, starring on the football, basketball and baseball teams. His Suffield basketball team won the New England Prep School championship over Tilton Academy of New Hampshire in the old Boston Garden in 1948.
Spaziani was enshrined into the New Haven Football Hall of Fame last year. He was also honored by Southern Connecticut State University for being part of the 1949 football team which held the national defensive record that year for all colleges and universities by holding its opponents to under 100 yards per game.
Camara was a 1991 graduate who played soccer, basketball and softball. Camara was so dominant she played the most important positions in each sport as she was the goalkeeper in soccer, point guard in basketball and shortstop in softball.
Recruited by several Division II and Division III schools to play basketball and softball, Camara attended Albertus Magnus from 1991-1993, playing point guard on the basketball team and catcher on the softball team. Camara was named Rookie Athlete of the Year her freshman year.
With the University of New Haven still recruiting Camara, she transferred in September of 1993. Camara played soccer during her time at UNH.
Camara is currently the Athletic Director at Lauralton Hall and Director of Sports and Enrichment for Kids, overseeing the athletic department at Lauralton Hall.
Turner is a 1985 graduate who starred in basketball, track and football. Turner went on to play for the University of New Haven, where he received a full scholarship for football and track.
During his high school years, Turner starred on the basketball team as a sophomore and also took home All-State honors in the long jump. As a junior, Turner again followed up with an All-State selection in Track and Field, preparing him for what would become a standout senior campaign.
As a senior, Turner was named to the All-District football team as well as the New Haven Gridiron Club. On the track, Turner received All-District, All-State and All-American honors.
Turner finished third in the nation in the long jump at the California Golden West Invitationals and was also third in the long jump in the Junior Olympics in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
DeLucia was an assistant hockey coach at West Haven from 1973-1988 and the head coach from 1989-2004. During that time frame, West Haven won five Division I championships.
As an assistant, DeLucia helped guide the Westies to titles in 1977, 1984 and 1988. The magical run continued when DeLucia took over the reigns, winning titles in 1990 and 1994.
DeLucia’s record as head coach was a remarkable 87-24-2, including 55 wins and just 10 losses against public schools and 32 wins against private schools. In his state championship winning years, DeLucia’s teams were 18-5-1 in 1989-1990 and 21-2-1 in 1993-1994. His overall state tournament record was 11-3.
DeLucia was also behind the bench in what may be one of the best games inWest Haven hockey history. Trailing Fairfield Prep 7-4 in the first round of the 1990 state tournament with 4 minutes, 4 seconds to go in the game, West Haven scored four times in 2:52 to win 8-7. The Westies then went on to defeat Hamden, Notre Dame-Fairfield and Greenwich to win the state championship.
DeLucia was twice honored by Hockey Night in Boston as the Connecticut Coach of the Year and twice by the New Haven Register as the Connecticut Coach of the Year.
Sousa was a 1994 graduate who starred in volleyball and softball. Nicknamed “Yogi” by softball coach Frank Biondi because she wore number eight and her play behind the plate reminded Biondi of Berra, Sousa was a force between the lines and on the court.
Sousa was named the softball team’s Rookie of the Year following her freshman campaign and received the Coaches Award and Most Improved Player awards, while also being tabbed for the All-District team after her sophomore year.
Sousa’s junior year saw the spark plug garner the team Most Valuable Player award with a .358 batting average and a team-high four doubles for a team which was 20-0 in the regular season. Sousa was also named to the All-District team. In 1994, Sousa’s senior year, she was named to the All-State team as a catcher.
On the volleyball court, Sousa received the team’s Best Setter Award as a junior and was also selected to the Connecticut Girls All-Star team.
The 1972 football team epitomized the word team. With a highly talented defense entering the season, the offense knew it had to do its part. By the time the season had ended, both components were too much for opposing teams as the Westies outscored their opponents 291-69.
The Westies were named to the top spot of the New Haven Register Poll on October 18 and never relinquished the spot. The state title was West Haven’s second, following the historic 1968 team.
West Haven had two players named to the All-State team. Don Herzog was named as a defensive end and Gene Staehley was named as an offensive guard. The Westies also had numerous players on the All-District team.
Led by head coach Tom Hunt, the Westies opened the season with two late scores to defeat Weaver, then defeated cross-town rival Notre Dame at Quigley Stadium.
The defense then was the center of attention as West Haven posted three straight shutouts over Lee, Ansonia and Hillhouse. After defeating Hamden,West Haven pounded Law and Milford High and did the same to Danbury.
The last step to an undefeated season and a state title was a victory over Wilbur Cross on Thanksgiving Day. On a day which was bitter cold and the hitting was just as hard, West Haven defeated the Governors 9-0.
The 1967 baseball team may go down as the best baseball team in the school’s history. Under Piurek, the Westies posted a 21-0 record.
With West Haven Hall of Fame players such as Augie Garbatini, Neil Garbatini, Ed Francis and Harry Conlan on the team, West Haven outscored its opponents 110-24 in the regular season and 24-1 in the four games of the postseason, wrapping up the championship with a 2-1 victory over Brien McMahon.
Garbatini was the king of the hill as he posted a 17-0 record on the mound and capped the season with a two-hitter with nine strikeouts against McMahon in the championship game.
The Westies won the District League crown with a 3-1 win over Hamden in the season’s eleventh game. Anthony Valente led an offense which could put up big offensive statistics.
2011 Hall of Fame
“There is nothing like the pride of being a Westie.”
West Haven Hall of Fame inductee Mike Violano
“I am very proud. My brother Michael’s examples have been in his actions from when he was little to now.”
Paul McMahon on his brother, Father Michael McMahon
“He came from St. Joe’s already a winner. He already won a state championship. He installed a new system and changed the program around. Coach McCarthy is a football genius.”
Ron Conyers on former coach Ed McCarthy
“He was always there for me. I could never forget. He meant so much to me. I love Mr. Eagan. Nobody can be him. He taught me everything about basketball.”
Jacqueline Wearing on former coach Jim Eagan
“I am truly honored. This is a great thrill for me.”
Robert Moran on being inducted into the West Haven Hall of Fame
“I bleed Blue, Westie Blue.”
Shannon Curren on the pride of being a Westie
By MIKE MADERA
The 12th class for the West Haven Hall of Fame has been announced and once again it is an impressive list. Spanning several generations, eight new inductees will be honored Saturday, November 26, 2011 at the Woodwinds at the Italian American Club on Chase Lane at 6:30 .m.
The eight new members bring the membership to 116 inductees. Those honored this year include Ron Conyers, Lou DeStefano, Billy Gambardella, George Hartmann, Bob Moran Sr., Shannon Curren, Father Michael McMahon and Mike Violano.
“It is another great group,” West Haven Hall of Fame chairman Jon Capone said. “It is very diverse. It covers a variety of sports.
“We are proud of all their accomplishments. They have made the athletic program what it is today. They have laid the foundation for what the athletic program is today.”
Conyers enjoyed a stellar football career at West Haven. His finest campaign was in 1983 as he was named to the All-State team, first team for defense and second team for offense. In that same year, Conyers was an All-District selection and was a Kodak All-American honorable mention.
For his efforts, Conyers earned a full scholarship for football and track and field at the University of New Haven. Playing football for the Chargers, Conyers was a two-way starter and was named to the All-New England, All-ECAC and All-East teams.1987 was Conyers’ finest year at UNH as he was part of 13 school records which were either broken or tied.
Conyers has since moved on to coaching, where he has coached at the Biddy Basketball level for eight years, high school-aged basketball for six years and Pop Warner football for five years. His Pop Warner team competed for the National Championship two years in a row.
DeStefano is a 1953 graduate who played freshman and varsity baseball and basketball for legendary coach Whitey Piurek. DeStefano was part of a District League championship baseball team, before signing on the professional level.
DeStefano signed to play professionally with the Cincinnati Reds and played in the Reds’ farm system. DeStefano entered the Army and played at Ft. Meade, Maryland, where the team traveled extensively to military camps to play ball.
Gambardella played football and baseball at West Haven. He was named to the All-District teams in both sports in his senior year and was an honorable mention for All-Sate in football.
Gambardella moved on to the University of New Haven where his football rushing records stood tall for seven seasons. As a senior, Gambardella earned All-New England honors and ranked sixth all-time on New Haven’s rushing list.
Gambardella was also a member of the UNH baseball team which advanced to a pair of College World Series. He was inducted into the University of New Haven Hall of Fame in 2006.
He is presently a Lieutenant with the New Haven Fire Department.
A 1955 graduate of West Haven High, George Hartmann made a name for himself in several sports. Starting his freshman year, Hartmann played football, basketball and baseball and added hockey by his junior season.
As a freshman, Hartmann played quarterback on offense, safety on defense, kicked and punted for an undefeated West Haven team. He played under coach Hal Smullen in both basketball and baseball, where he was a forward on the court and a starting shortstop and pitcher on the diamond.
As a sophomore, Hartmann continued to play the three sports and was a starting pitcher and shortstop of the baseball team which won the District League title, providing the game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh against Hamden.
As a junior, Hartmann led a football team which upset Notre Dame in the season opener and was named All-State Honorable Mention. In that same year, Hartmann played goalie on a hockey team which just missed going to the New England tournament by one game. Hartmann also led the baseball team to a 12-2 record and a District League championship as the starting shortstop and pitcher.
He was signed by Brooklyn Dodgers’ scout and legendary high school coach John “Whitey” Piurek, playing a short stint with the organization’s farm system.
Moran is a 1955 graduate who played football, basketball and baseball for legendary coach Whitey Piurek. On the football field, Moran played defensive end and offensive line. He was a guard in basketball and played left field in baseball.
Moran’s teams were part of special moments. As a junior, he was part of the West Haven football team which upset Notre Dame and All-American Nick Pietrasante and started every game in left field for the District League champs in baseball.
As a senior, Moran was named an All-State Honorable Mention and also was named New Haven Register “Player of the Week” during the season. He again played left field for a baseball team which won the District League and placed second in the state behind Naugatuck.
Among his many awards, Moran was named the Elks Banquet Outstanding Athlete in 1955 and shared the West Haven Twilight League batting title in 1954 with Hooker McMahon as each had a .471 batting average. Moran was also given the Jimmy Fund Award in 1987.
Moran is also involved in the community. He has been part of the West Haven Twilight League for over 55 years as either a player, coach, president or director. Moran was involved as a coach and commissioner of the West Haven Midget Football League for 10 years and has also been involved with the West Haven Biddy Basketball, West Haven Youth Hockey and West Shore Athletic Baseball Leagues.
A 1995 graduate, Curren was born with sports in mind. Curren started skating at the age of two and quickly traded in her figure skates for ice skates.
During her youth years, Curren also played basketball, soccer and softball. By the time high school came around, Curren had excelled on both the softball diamond and on the soccer field.
Curren started three years at West Haven for coach Frank Biondi on the softball field and was part of the 1993 team which went undefeated in the regular season. She would be an All-State selection in 1995 and went on to play softball at Florida Community College in Jacksonville.
Curren also played soccer for coach Mike Violano, also a 2011 West Haven Hall of Fame inductee. She started four years and was a co-captain her senior year.
Father McMahon graduated from West Haven in 1985, finishing a career which saw him excel in football, basketball and baseball. He was a the starting quarterback on the football team his junior and senior seasons, was a two-year starter on the baseball team which won the 1984 state championship and was a three-year varsity starter on the basketball team.
Father McMahon had two hits and drove in two runs in the baseball championship victory over Wilby. He excelled on the basketball court where he was the first West Haven player named All-State from both the New Haven Register and Hartford Courant as well as an honorable mention All-American for USA Today.
Father McMahon went on to play basketball at Yale University where he played all four years and was named captain his senior year. Father McMahon entered St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, Minnesota. He is presently the Headmaster of Notre Dame de La Salette Academy.
Violano graduated in 1975 with an impressive resume. A three-sport star in soccer, hockey and baseball, Violano played for legendary coaches Elliot Marnell, Art Crouse and Whitey Piurek. Under Marnell’s direction in soccer, Violano was an All-Area and All-State selection his senior year as well as the team’s captain.
Violano was a standout goalie for Crouse, where he was the captain his senior year. Senior year also saw Violano named All-Area, Second Team All-State and the state tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Violano was also the captain under Piurek for his senior year in baseball. Violano was an All-Area selection that year and was part of the 1973 state championship team.
Violano is well known in the coaching ranks as he was the head coach of the West Haven girls soccer team from 1990-1997and was the head coach of Notre Dame – West Haven hockey from 1988 to 2000.
He was part of four state championship teams either as an assistant or head coach at Notre Dame and was named Hockey Night in Boston Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1997. Violano was the Gatorade Hockey Coach of the Year in 1994 as well as the Hartford Courant Coach of the Year that same year.
Starting in 2000, Violano took over at North Haven for twelve years where he led the Indians to a Division II hockey state title in 2003. Violano was the New Haven Register Coach of the Year in 2004.
2010 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
The West Haven Athletic Hall of Fame committee honored its 11thclass Saturday, November 27, 2010 at Woodwinds at the Italian American Club. The class included James Fanning Jr., Robert Farquharson, Bill Egress, Harry Noyes, Richard Moran, Reggie Hayes, Jim Eagan, Bob Serenson, Shelby Poe-Argentino and Adrienne Lacroix-DeLucia.
Fanning was a three-year hockey player in a time where ninth graders did not play. The offensive-minded Fanning was named captain his senior year and also placed on the All-District team.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Fanning said. “One of my thoughts is I had an enjoyable career. I had terrific teammates. We were able to play at a high level of competition The fans were wonderful. It was just a great experience to go through high school always knowing hockey was going to be on the weekends.”
Fanning was the leading scorer on the team and was considered one of the great players of the 1960’s, playing under legendary coach Art Crouse. His best games were against arch-rival Hamden.
A 1940 graduate, Farquharson was a three sport star at West Haven. He played on the football, basketball and baseball teams.
Farquharson was known as a tough fullback, who also was a punter and linebacker in the era of one-platoon football. He was an All-District and All-State Honorable mention in football and was named to the Bridgeport Herald All-State team.
Egress graduated in 1959 and was named captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams his senior year. He would graduate from St. Mary’s College in 1964 with his Bachelor’s Degree and later in 1976 with his Master’s Degree in criminal justice from the University of New Haven.
Egress has received numerous awards, from the Savitt Sportsmanship Award in 1958 for football to the Golden Bat Award in 2003. In between, he was named Unified School District Number One Connecticut Department of Corrections Teacher of the Year in 1992 and the state of Connecticut Teacher of the Year award in 1992 and 1993.
Noyes was a three-sport star at West Haven, graduating in 1950. He would play baseball for four years, being named captain in his senior campaign. Noyes also played basketball for two years and football for one.
Moran graduated in 1958, playing varsity football for three years. He started his junior and senior year as quarterback, returner and linebacker. During his time at the high school, he received such honors in 1957 as Player of the Week, All-District quarterback First team, All-State Honorable Mention at quarterback and was named to the first Nutmeg Bowl All-Star team as a quarterback and defensive back.
“It is something when you think back all the years and the great guys that played before me,” Moran said. “Since then, West Haven has had some terrific athletes. You never really think you are qualified to get in the Hall of Fame. Looking back, we had a lot of fun.”
Moran has received such honors as the West Haven Twilight League Gold Bat Award (1982) and was named to the New Haven Grid Iron Club Hall of Fame (2001). Moran was also named one of the area’s All-Time football players by the New Haven Register (2002) and was given the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Football Official Award in 2004.
Hayes was hired to coach at West Haven in 1981, and led the team to improvements over the next few years. In 1986, all the baby steps led to a CIAC Class LL state championship.
Hayes’ record at West Haven was 236-194, qualifying for 14 state tournaments and coaching six All-State players.
“This is just overwhelming,” Hayes said. “I was in the school doing social work when Jon Capone told me. I stood in the hallway of the school and I cried. It meant so much to me. It meant so much to me to be a part of history of this school.”
Along with coaching his team to a state title, Hayes’ influence was part of the reason 98% of his players graduated from high school and 70% attended college. Hayes is a 23-year veteran as a State Social Worker.
Eagan has had two stints coaching at West Haven. His coaching career at the high school started when he coached the boys freshmen team from 1979-1980 and the girls varsity team from 1980-1994. Eagan returned to the girls team in 2003 where he presently is ready to enter his 31st year on the coaching sideline.
Eagan picked up his 100th win in 1991, 200th win in 1999 and 300th win in 2008. His West Haven teams were Quinnipiac Division champs in 2003-04. He has coached numerous All-Conference players.
“When (committee member) Tinker (Blake) first called me, I was stunned then a little embarrassed,” Eagan said. “I look back at the names ahead of me and there are some legendary people not just in West Haven but in the state of Connecticut. I just hope that I am worthy of it. It’s just mind-boggling to be in that company.”
Serenson graduated in 1984 and was a valuable member of the hockey team, leading the team to a state title in 1984. Serenson was outstanding in goal and for his efforts was named the state tournament’s most valuable player and was named to the tournament’s first team. In 1984, Serenson was also named to the All-District team, All-State team and was named to the Team Connecticut High School All-Stars.
“Tonight is a very special night for me,” Serenson said. “I’m a Westie, a true Westie and when I say that, meaning I have lived in West Haven my whole life and I’ll probably end up being here my whole life, so a Blue Devil through and through.”
Serenson would go on to sign an amateur contract with the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League in 1988. He has been a valuable coach in the West Haven Youth hockey where he will be the league’s next president.
Serenson helped create the Connecticut Wolves Tier 1 Hockey Program. He has also been the owner/operator of the All Area Goalie Camp for 15 years and Connecticut Hockey Skills for 10 years.
Poe-Argentino graduated from West Haven in 1985. She was a standout player in basketball (for coach Eagan) and softball and also participated in track and field. Poe-Argentino was named co-captain of the basketball and softball teams her senior year and was named to the All-District team in softball as a senior.
“It’s very exciting,” Poe-Argentino said. “My two young boys are here. We try to tell them you play sports you have fun. It’s the people that you meet, the friendships that you make. Seeing that I am being honored like this and they see all the people that are coming and all the people that are here, they get an appreciation of what it really means to in the sporting aspect of it, the camaraderie.”
Lacroix-DeLucia joins her sister Danielle as members of the West Haven Hall of Fame. A 1998 graduate, Lacroix-DeLucia played varsity soccer, softball and basketball all four years, becoming just one of two players to start four years of varsity for three different sports at the time.
She would finish with 13 goals and six assists in her final two years of soccer and was named to the All-Southern Connecticut Conference team in basketball her junior year.
Lacroix-DeLucia was a force on the softball field her senior year. She batted .377, with a .407 on base percentage. Lacroix-DeLucia had 29 hits, drove in 22 runs, scored 21 runs, had a team-leading five doubles and was second on the team with 12 stolen bases. She shared team most valuable player honors with two present West Haven Hall of Fame inductees, Liz Vaccino and Laurie DelGrego.
“It is completely an honor to be recognized as an athlete that has played three sports because not everybody is able to manage all three sports,” Lacroix-DeLucia said. “Just to be recognized as an all around athlete is just amazing.
“I think my class has probably one of the most inductees right now. We have Catrina Hawley (Stewart), Laurie DelGrego and Liz Vaccino. We had a great athletic class all around. And I’m totally honored to be there with my sister. She is my little sister and she did beat me in but I’m okay with that. She deserves it more."
Lacroix-DeLucia finished her softball career with a .353 batting average. She was an All-SCC softball selection her junior year and was captain of the soccer and softball teams her senior year.
2009 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
The tenth annual West Haven Hall of Fame class was honored at Westwoods at the West Haven Italian-America Club. The class saw a mix of different generations.
Included in the class were Luigi Cappetta, Liz Vaccino, Rob Farnen, Ulish Booker, Neil Garbatini, Francis “Bunny” Coyle, Carol Franco, John Wezenski and Vin Rispoli.
“We’ve again been able to cover just about every decade,” committee chairman and West Haven athletic director Jon Capone said when the class was announced. “We have six different decades covered. We expect another sellout crowd.”
Cappetta is a 1989 graduate who made his name on the soccer field. Cappetta had a four-year career, where he was an All-District selection his junior and senior years.
Cappetta, who was a co-captain his senior year, was the first West Haven High School player to be named to the All-State team in soccer. Cappetta had such a stellar career he maintains all boys’ soccer records at West Haven High from 1986 to the present time.
Vaccino is a 1999 graduate who excelled in softball, swimming and volleyball. While she was solid in all three sports, it was softball where Vaccino left her mark.
As a junior, Vaccino pitched every inning of every game, leading West Haven to a 21-5 record where it lost to Southington in the state semifinals. Vaccino pitched five no-hitters as a junior and threw consecutive shutouts in the state tournament.
Vaccino was the team’s Rookie of the Year as a freshman with 23 hits and 22 runs batted in. She was named to the Southern Connecticut Conference team and was the team’s Most Valuable Player. Vaccino again took home SCC honors and team MVP honors again as a sophomore.
As a junior, Vaccino was SCC Player of the Year, All-Area Player of the Year, MVP and co-Female Athlete of the Year. Junior year saw Vaccino compile the lowest single season earned run average in West Haven history at 0.91.
Vaccino’s regular season numbers were 17 wins and three losses with 108 strikeouts and 19 walks in 131 innings. Vaccino batted .365 with 19 runs, 4 doubles, 2 triples, one home run and 26 runs batted in.
As a senior, Vaccino was named to the All-SCC, All-Area and All-State teams, while also taking home team MVP honors, Gold Glove Award and leading hitter award with a.371 average.
Vaccino is listed in several West Haven records. She is fourth in career hits with 100, third in career at bats with 314, first in career runs batted in with 83. Her 32 career wins are second as is her 1.82 earned run average and 254 strikeouts.
“It is a big honor for me,” Vaccino said. “I am very proud. I had such a good team when I had such a good pitching record. Just to be honored here tonight is wonderful.”
Farnen is a 1994 graduate who excelled on both the football and baseball fields. Farnen was a three-year starter at quarterback where he was named to the All-State team in 1993.
On the baseball diamond, Farnen was a four-year starter at third base and shortstop. He was an All-State selection in 1994.
After graduating from West Haven, Farnen attended Yale University, where he was a four-year starter at shortstop and third base. Farnen was a 1998 All-Ivy League team Honorable Mention.
“Tonight really means a lot,” Farnen said. “It’s been quite a while since I visited West Haven.”
Booker began his football career at West Haven High in 1994 where he played on the offensive line for coach Ed McCarthy. After solid junior and senior campaigns, Booker accepted a full athletic scholarship at Michigan State.
In 2003, Booker was signed as an undrafted free agent by the National Football league’s Atlanta Falcons. He then signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005, where he was allocated to NFL Europe. Playing for the Amsterdam Admirals, Booker won most valuable player honors as the team won the 2005 World Bowl.
That same season, Booker returned to the Steelers as a practice squad member of the team which won the Super Bowl. Booker is one of only five players to ever win a World Bowl and Super Bowl in the same season. Injured in 2006, Booker was placed on the Steelers’ injured reserve list.
“Coming in, my thing was to work hard,” Booker said. “My grandfather was very old-schooled from North Carolina. There were a lot of intangibles he instilled in me. When I got to West Haven, the only thing I knew was to work hard.”
Garbatini played for the Westie baseball team from 1966-1968. In that time span, West Haven had a record of 55-5 and Garbatini was 16-2 on the mound.
Garbatini could not only pitch, but he was a solid hitter as well. Named to the All-District team in 1967and 1968, Garbatini led the District League in home runs and runs batted in.
Coyle was a three-year hockey player who played for coach Ed Bennett from 1946-1949. Coyle was known for his speedy skating, talented play-making, fierce competitive nature and scoring ability. Coyle played on two of West Haven’s great early hockey teams.
During the 1948-1949 season, Coyle was the co-captain with Joe Carroll. The Westies were District League champions and were the first team to go undefeated in league play with a 10-0 record. In that same year, West Haven won its first state title.
The 1948-1949 season saw Coyle gain the John Downing Trophy as the MVP of the District League and the Hugh Young Jr. Memorial award for Outstanding Sportsmanship in the District League.
Franco graduated from West Haven in 1979. She was a three-year player in softball, making the All-District team in 1978 and 1979. Franco batted .490 in 1979 as the Westies won consecutive District League titles.
Franco also played three years in basketball and volleyball. On the basketball court, Franco was an All-District honorable mention and was part of District League champions in 1977 and 1979. On the volleyball court, the Westies won the District title in 1978-1979 and finished third in the state in 1979.
Presently the head coach of the West Haven girls hockey team, Franco played for the Conlon All-Star hockey team from 1972-1982. She was the captain from 1979-1982. The 1979 team placed second at the GURKA Cup Tournament in Vastras, Sweden and placed fifth in 1981 in the USA Hockey Women’s National Championships in Lake Placid, New York.
“It certainly brings back the past, especially the (19)70’s,” Franco said. “It was my love of the sport. I played it constantly after school with the boys in the neighborhood and my brother.”
John Wezenski attended West Haven in the mid 1950’s, playing football, basketball and baseball. Wezenski was the New Haven Register’s Player of the Week in the annual Thanksgiving game against Hillhouse at the Yale Bowl.
Wezenski was the most valuable player of the West Haven Twilight League in 1957 before signing a contract with the San Francisco Giants. Wezenski has coached in the Wet Shore Baseball League and West Haven Biddy Basketball League.
Rispoli played baseball for four years at West Haven in the mid 1960’s. During and after high school, Rispoli won several championships in the West Haven Twilight League and for Post 71 in American Legion play.
Rispoli played for legendary coach Frank “Porky” Vierra at the University of New Haven and started all four years. Rispoli played in three Regional Championships, winning one, and also played in the NAIA College World Series in Missouri as a freshman. Rispoli was chosen NAIA All-American as a senior.
After his senior year, Rispoli signed a contract with the Montreal Expos. Upon his release, Rispoli played two years with the Raybestos Cardinals fast pitch softball, playing in two national championships, winning one.
2008 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
The ninth West Haven Athletic Hall of Fame class, which continues to bring out the very best in West Haven history, was highlighted by the induction of the entire 1968 football team.
Joining the team and this prestigious class were some stellar names in Ken Provost, Bob Greenwood, Joe Carroll, Jim Peccerillo, Donna Bruneau-Lester, Keith Johnson, Nathaniel Cotton, Sr. and Danielle Lacroix.
West Haven Hall of Fame Class of 2008. Seated from left to right are: Ken Provost, Donna Bruneau-Lester, Danielle Lacroix and Joe Carroll. Standing (l. to r.) Harry Conlan (1968 football team), Jason Shea (accepting for Bob Greenwood), Jim Peccerillo, Keith Johnson, Nathaniel Cotton and Peter Chirico (1968 football team). Photo courtesy of Russ McCreven.
The weekend saw a three day reunion of the 1968 football team highlighted Friday night with a team gathering with over 200 guests at the Italian-American Club. While the likes of coaches Joseph McHugh, Tom Hunt and Pasquale “Babe” Amendola and players Harry Conlan, Bert Siclari, Ed Francis and Ted Williams have gone in individually, this is the first time a team has gone in as one.
“This is the most special thing that’s ever happened to me to be inducted with all these players who I have become very good friends with,” said Conlan. “We were and are very good friends. We had the camaraderie then and it continues throughout the members of the team. This is more special to me than my individual induction. I would not have been inducted the first time without these guys.”
Hall of Fame chairman Jon Capone was thrilled with this year’s class.
“It is a unique class,” said Capone. “It is the first time we have inducted a team. The 1968 team had a reunion weekend where we had two days of events. Also, Bob Greenwood is a legend in West Haven. He goes in as a community service candidate. He is not a coach or player but it is what he has done to make athletics better for everyone.”
Provost graduated from West Haven High School in 1945. While he had a wide involvement in school activities, Provost was the star of the football and basketball teams.
A three-year player and captain of the football squad, Provost left his mark on the field. For his efforts, he was named to the All-State team his senior year. Provost also starred on the basketball court.
Greenwood graduated from West Haven in June of 1946. Following a career which has endeared him to the public, Greenwood has spent his time helping the community.
Greenwood, who becomes the first person to be selected for the West Haven Hall of Fame and the Notre Dame Knights of Honor, has become a key member of the West Haven Twilight League. He graduated from the University of Bridgeport in 1952 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Economics.
In regards to the West Haven Twilight League, Greenwood has served in many roles since 1955, including secretary, treasurer, Board of Director and President. He has been the treasurer since 2000 and is known around the city as “Mr. Twilight League.”
“Everybody knew Bob Greenwood. He was Mr. West Haven,” said Jason Shea, who accepted the award for Greenwood. “He is involved in so many aspects of the town politically and definitely athletics. He is involved with West Haven and Notre Dame. The West Haven Twilight League is his true passion. He is a true Westie. He loves this town.”
Carroll graduated from West Haven in 1949. Along with being the class president, Carroll played soccer, hockey and baseball.
Carroll was a three-year player on the soccer team and played under assistant Hall of Fame coach Hal Smullen. He played hockey for three years under Hall of Fame coach Edward Bennett and was an outstanding goaltender. Carroll led West Haven to the state finals, where it eventually lost to Hamden and the New England finals where it lost to Malden Catholic (Mass.).
“It is a great honor that I was selected to join some of the greats,” said Carroll.
In his senior year, Carroll led West Haven to a 12-1 record and the team’s first state title. He was named to the All-New England second team after leading his team to the New England semifinals where West Haven lost to Arlington, Massachusetts in overtime.
The 1968 West Haven football still remains arguably the best in the school’s history. Led by head coach McHugh and assistants Amendola, Hunt and Felix DellaRocco, the Westies went 9-0. The team, which was captained by John Befus, Conlan and Peter Chirico, was the District league champions, state champions and was ranked fifth in the nation by National Sports Service.
The team scored 526 points for an average of 58.4 points a game. The defense allowed only 94 points which was 10.4 points a game.
The toughest game of the year was defeating the previous state champion, Stamford, 37-22. When West Haven shut out seventh-ranked Jonathan Law 34-0 in week eight, the Westies jumped over top seed New London.
“The thing about this team was the way we worked together,” said Chirico. “The team was total synergy. There was never any dissension. It felt like one. Everybody had everybody’s back. We trust everyone to this day with our lives. The bond is unbelievable.”
The 1968 team saw Tom Lavery and Steve Johnson place on the All-District offense, while Alex Sampara, Ken McManus, Ted Williams, Chirico and Siclari were named All-League on defense. Williams was also named to the All-State team.
Peccerillo was born in West Haven and graduated from the high school in 1974. Peccerillo is currently known in the city as a member of the West Haven City Council and the Chairman of the West Haven Charter Revision Commission.
The former Westie, however, was a great athlete. Peccerillo was a quarterback of both the 1972 state championship football team and the 1973 state championship baseball team where he hit third. Peccerillo was a three-year starter and the captain of each team his senior year and took home many honors on both teams.
“It is quite an honor to be included in the Hall of Fame,” said Peccerillo. “My father was also inducted a few years ago (2003). I believe we are the first father and son to be inducted. It goes without saying it is a thrill for both of us.”
Peccerillo was named to the All-District League baseball team his sophomore through senior years and was an All-State selection his senior year. On the football field, Peccerillo was an All-District league selection his junior and senior years. He was an All-State honorable mention his junior year and an All-State second team selection his senior year.
Bruneau-Lester graduated in 1977. A three sport star at West Haven, Bruneau-Lester played volleyball, basketball and softball.
Bruneau-Lester played on the Conlan All-stars, where she played in the nationals in Lake Placid, New York and internationally in Sweden for the Gerka Cup.
“It is wonderful to be back,” said Bruneau-Lester. “It is going to be a wonderful thing to see a lot of people I played with. It is a big deal. Not many women get honored to be in the Hall of Fame. It is very exciting.”
Johnson is a 1982 graduate of West Haven High School. Johnson was a star on the West Haven basketball team, playing under coaches Dave Kingsley and John Vento.
Sophomore year was the time Johnson made a name for himself as the varsity team went 17-1. His progression continued and Johnson was named to the All-District first team his junior and senior years.
Senior year was especially good for Johnson as he added a second team All-State selection to his resume. Johnson was also the second leading scorer in the state behind Earl Kelly.
Following his time at West Haven, Johnson played at Sacred Heart, where his teams won the NECC championship every year and won the NCAA Division II National Championship in 1986. Johnson was the second leading scorer on the team and the leading rebounder.
“This is a great honor,” said Johnson. “I am really proud to be here. I remember the coaches and great players I played with.”
Cotton was a three-year starter on the football team and graduated in 1983. Playing defensive tackle and nose guard, Cotton was the captain his senior year. He was named to the All-District team his junior and senior years and was named All-State his senior season.
Noted for his speed as a lineman, Cotton was very quick off the ball. Cotton was also a four-year track team member and excelled in the field events.
After his solid football career at West Haven, Cotton attended UConn on a full scholarship. He was a four-year player who earned All-Conference honors his senior year as well as being named the team’s captain. In the mid-1990’s, Cotton was named as one of UConn’s Top 100 players of all time.
“West Haven was the stomping ground to lead me in the right direction,” said Cotton. “I remember the practices. (assistant coach) Bert Siclari had a way to conduct practices. He was very creative. It will be very special to see Bert. It has been a long time. I just want to give him a big hug and thank him for everything.”
Cotton is also an army veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. He was the Chief of Staff of Intelligence Operations from 2000-2003 and moved to Chief of Staff of Logistic Operations from 2003-2004. From 2004-2005, Cotton was the army reserve battalion Operation Officer in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Serving our country is an honor,” said Cotton. “Two wars and I’m still in as an Army reservist.”
Lacroix is a 2000 graduate of West Haven High school. She was a three-sport star of the soccer, basketball and softball teams. Lacroix played on all three teams for the entire four years and was the captain of the soccer team her senior year and the basketball team her junior and senior seasons.
Lacroix excelled at each sport but soccer was the one she will be remembered most for. She was an All-Quinnipiac Division selection in soccer her sophomore through senior seasons and an All-State selection her senior year.
“It is actually overwhelming,” said Lacroix. “I couldn’t believe it, being the youngest inductee and being inducted with some of these people who are legends. It’s hard to believe. It really is. I have to say to any aspiring athletes stick to sports. They have been everything to me. They helped me through school and I went to grad school. What it teaches you to be competitive. You take the wins with the losses. You keep you perseverance.”
The three-sport star took her athleticism to Southern Connecticut State University where she starred on the soccer team for four years. Lacroix was named the team’s captain her senior year.
2007 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
The West Haven High School Athletic Hall of Fame inducted its newest members at the West Haven Italian-American Club. The eighth group inducted consists of Rufus Cooper Jr., Rob Thompson, Laurie DelGrego, Bill Hurteau, Jr., Wally Camp, Cindi Shendell, Joseph Rossomando, Frank Berretta, Harold Smullen, John Blasczyk and Pasquale “Babe” Amendola.
“We have had a lot of great athletes go in. We continue with another great class,” committee chairman Jon Capone said.
Wally Camp played three years of basketball and soccer at West Haven. Born in New Haven on October 10, 1929, Camp was drafted into the army in 1951.
In 1957, he accepted a teaching position in Durham, Connecticut and remained there for 33 years. He was the varsity basketball coach and athletic director at Coginchaug Regional High School.
Camp’s awards are numerous. He was named Shoreline Coach of the Year following the 1978-1979, 1979-1980, 1986-1987 and 1989-1990 seasons. He was a Hall of Fame Inductee in the Connecticut High School Coaches Association in 1983-1984, was named to the Tap-Off Club Hall of Fame in 1995, the NHSACA National Hall of Fame in 2002 and the New England Basketball Hall Of Fame in 2004.
“It’s always great to come back to West Haven. I don’t think you ever leave it. It will always be part of me,” Camp said. “It is two different places. Durham is my home now but West Haven will always be my home.”
Shendell was a four year star in three sports, which included basketball, volleyball and softball. She was the captain of all three teams and graduated in 1972. Shendell was also a part of the badminton, track and field and tennis teams.
Thompson was a three year starter at offensive tackle and co-captain for the football team. Thompson, who graduated in 1984, was a first team All-District selection in 1983 and 1984 and was a Hartford Courant All-State selection the same two years.
Thompson was a New Haven Register All-State selection in 1984 and was a Preseason Street and Smith Honorable Mention as an All-American. Thompson was also a four-year lacrosse starter and co-captain.
“My first year, I played for Tom Hunt. Those were six hour practices. You had to dig deep,” Thompson said. “Then coach Mac (Ed McCarthy) came in and we lined up and started winning some games and having fun. I owe a lot to coach Mac for showing me the fun side of the sport.”
Thompson went on to play at the University of New Haven where he was a four-year starter at offensive tackle and a co-captain. He was a First Team All-New England and First Team All-ECAC selection in 1987 and 1988. Thompson was also a First Team All-Kodak All-American in 1988.
DelGrego ranks up there as one of the best softball players to wear a West Haven uniform. The 1998 graduate set eight school records and was named to just about every team possible as a Westie.
DelGrego, who went on to set numerous records at Division II Assumption College, is now teaching English at the Morgan School in Clinton. She spent 2004 and 2005 at Harry M. Bailey Middle School in West Haven as an English teacher.
“It means a great deal to me. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that got me here; my coaches, my teammates, my family. If it was not for them, this definitely would not have happened,” DelGrego said.
Some of the athletic accomplishments for DelGrego are staggering. She placed on the All-District team her sophomore through senior years, the All-Area team her junior and senior years and the All-State team her senior year. DelGrego’s senior year also saw her place on the ALL-SCC All-Star team and the Connecticut All-Star team.
DelGrego was the team captain her junior and senior years, was the team Rookie of the Year as a freshman and won the Golden Bat Award and team Most Valuable Player her sophomore through senior years. She was also named as part of West Haven’s Player of the Decade in her senior year as well as the Rotary Club Scholar Athlete her junior and senior years.
Among the records DelGrego set at West Haven were most at bats in a career with 332, most runs scored in a career with 106, most hits in a single season with 44 and most hits in a career with 130. DelGrego also set records with most stolen bases in a single season with 27, most stolen bases in a career with 66, highest batting average in a single season at .550 and highest batting average in a career at .453.
Rossomando graduated from West Haven in 1933. He began a professional baseball career which lasted seven years and included playing in the organizations of the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Boston Braves and Chicago Cubs.
In 1946, Rossomando was hired as the assistant baseball coach at Yale University. He went on to coach and teach physical education at Yale for a total of over 48 years. In that time, he coached and befriended two presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
“For all his travels and all his time at Yale, he really kept West Haven in his heart. He always talked about how the Sound used to freeze and about Savin Rock. He traveled far and accomplished many things but never really left West Haven,” daughter Marybeth Howlett said.
Hurteau is a 1949 graduate. He was a varsity player in baseball, football and basketball and was the captain of the 1949 District League Champions in baseball. Hurteau signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 but served in the United States Army from 1951-1953.
“I moved to Cape Cod but still always kept West Haven in my heart. I loved playing ball for West Haven,” Hurteau said.
Berretta is a 1979 graduate who was a basketball star for the Westies. Berretta was a two-time All-District selection in 1978 and 1979.
He was a second-team All-State selection in 1979 and was the first male player to score 1,000 points in school history. Berretta was the all-time leading scorer with 1,445 points.
“This is a great honor and privilege. I am very humbled. There are a lot of people I have to thank who helped me throughout my career. It means a lot to me,” Berretta said. “My fondest memories come back to West Haven and meeting a lot of people throughout my career.”
Cooper Jr. is a 1979 graduate who was a dominant basketball player. Cooper was the shooting guard and point guard who was second team All-District in 1978.
Cooper placed on the All-District team, All-County District League team and was a Second Team All-State selection in 1979. He scored over 1,000 points.
The year 1979 also saw Cooper’s Westies win the District League title while he was named to the All-tournament team and also received Player of the Week honors.
“The list goes on and on. I am shocked and honored for this award. I am really happy for this award,” Copper Jr., said.
Amendola is a 1946 graduate who played three years of basketball, four years of football and four years of baseball. Amendola was the captain of all three sports.
Amendola attended Southern Connecticut State University, where he played one year of basketball, four years of football and four years of track. Upon graduation, Amendola taught in West Haven from 1955-1991. He was the head golf coach at West Haven High from 1966-1978 and was the assistant football coach from 1957-1976.
Smullen is a 1938 graduate who was a star pitcher on the baseball team. Upon graduating from West Haven, Hal played in the Northern League and the Cape Cod League.
Smullen coached the freshman football team and hockey team at West Haven before taking the athletic director job at Amity Regional High School. At Amity, Smullen coached baseball, soccer, hockey, basketball and girls volleyball.
“This means a tremendous amount of respect and pleasure for my family. My father lived here his whole life and worked here. There were many, many friendships built here,” Smullen’s son Richard said. “The relationship my father and I had was tremendous. My father was my best friend.”
Blasczyk is a 1938 graduate. He played football, baseball and basketball under the late Frank Fitzgerald. Blascyk was the basketball captain his junior and senior years and was the captain of the baseball team his senior year.
Blasczyk is a 1980 recipient of the West Haven Twilight League Gold Bat Award and was inducted into the New Haven Gridiron Club Hall of Fame in 1994. He appeared on the Honor Roll of “Heroes of the 20th Century” in the New Haven Register on September 23, 1999.
2006 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
The seventh class was inducted into the West Haven High School Athletic Hall of Fame at the West Haven Italian American Club. The class, with nine members, brings the total of members to 69.
The new inductees span quite an era and feature John M. Anastasio, Edward L. Bennett, Mark Carlo, James Cassell Jr., Frederick Spreyer, Charles Windhorst, Alison Boni-Perlini, A.J. Paolillo-Palermo and Ted Williams.
Perhaps Paolillo-Palermo said it best Saturday evening.
“I’ll always bleed Blue. You’re always a Westie. You’re a Westie or you’re not. And I am,” Paolillo-Palermo said.
Chairman Jon Capone had some tough selections to make along with the committee. Once again, the committee has picked yet another fine class.
“The seven years have gone by very quickly. The class is determined with the criteria of being an athlete or coach or the person did something outstanding which contributed to West Haven. The person must have been out of school for five years. They must have had a great career in high school or after high school or have been a good citizen,” Capone said.
Anastasio graduated from West Haven in 1947, where he played football, basketball and baseball. He was the captain of the football and basketball teams.
Anastasio went on to play basketball and football at East Texas State College, now known as East Texas A&M. The new inductee played in the Cotton Bowl against West Texas State.
Bennett is synonymous with hockey as the rink at the high school is named after him. The 1926 graduate played basketball and football for three years.
Bennett attended the University of Richmond, where he played football for four years. He went on to become a teacher for two decades before becoming the assistant coach under Whitey Piurek in football. Following his teaching journey, Bennett went on to become principal, assistant superintendent of schools and finally superintendent. He will receive the honor posthumously.
“He is another great recipient. It is a great honor for him. While he was the superintendent, he saw the rink become a reality,” said Tinker Blake, who accepted the award on behalf of the late Bennett.
Carlo is known around West Haven for his hockey prowess. He became the starting goalie as a junior and was an All-State tournament goalie, a Journal-Courier All-Area Hockey representative and a New Haven Register All-State selection. That year also saw Carlo earn Most Outstanding goalie honors in the Helsinki, Finland / Stockholm, Sweden Skuru Cup tournament.
As a senior, Carlo was part of a state championship team which was 20-3. The co-captain was an All-State selection and the state tournament’s most valuable player.
Carlo posted nine shutouts and had a 1.52 goals against average during the season. He was named to the Journal-Courier All-District team, New Haven Register All-State team and was the Russell B. McKeon Memorial Trophy award winner presented by the West Haven Penalty Box club for the most valuable player. He was nominated and awarded the National High School All-American award based on the criteria of superior athletic ability, academic achievement and scholarship and leadership in school and the community.
“This is a really great honor. I was really surprised to be called. We had such a great team. We really played together and we hung out a lot outside of the team. We had great coaches who were very disciplined,” Carlo said. “He (Coach Crouse) was great. I can’t say enough about him. He was fair but stern. If you performed, you were in. If you didn’t, he told you about it.”
Cassell graduated in 1973 after playing soccer, basketball and track. Cassell played four years of soccer, where he was the co-captain in 1972, playing on the District League champions and being named to the All-District team.
He played three years of basketball, being the team’s tri-captain his senior year along with being named to the All-District team. In track, he played three years and was the state champion his junior and senior years and the State Open champion his junior year.
Cassell went on to play basketball at Central Connecticut State College for four years. He was the team’s co-captain his junior and senior years. After graduating, he worked at Sikorsky Aircraft where he is still currently employed as a Purchasing Manager in the Military Aircraft Center.
“This is a big event. It is a great thing Jon Capone is doing for the town of West Haven. He is creating a heritage. It is good for the whole town,” Cassell said.
Spreyer graduated in 1936 and played football, baseball and basketball. He was the captain of each sport. Spreyer went to Choate then Harvard College where he was a star halfback on the football team.
When the United States entered World War II, Spreyer was sent to Officer’s Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He then saw action in North Africa and Europe.
Charlie remained in the Army stateside then entered government service in Washington, D.C. He died on June 14, 1975 in Washington, D.C.
“I always thought my father was a great man. I am very proud of him and very happy. This gives me an indication of what other people thought about him,” Richard Spreyer said about his dad.
Windhorst graduated in 1949 as part of the 100th graduating class at West Haven. He graduated as a three sport, four year varsity letterman in football, basketball and baseball.
Through his sophomore to senior years, his teams combined for a 20-2-1 record, starting at halfback and defensive back. During his senior year, he averaged over a touchdown per game. His team broke the New England region’s attendance record with a crowd of 40,000 attending the league title game at the Yale Bowl.
Windhorst started at third base his junior and senior years, where his teams were 27-2 in three years. During his final two years, the team took home the District League title. He started at point guard in basketball.
“I can’t believe it. I am thrilled,” Windhorst said.
Boni-Perlini is a 1989 graduate. She played four years on the volleyball team, serving as the co-captain and qualifying for the All-District team. She also played four years on the track team, where she was the co-captain and an All-District selection. She was named the best all around athlete as freshman, most versatile athlete as a sophomore and senior and most valuable player as a junior. Boni-Perlini set the school records in the 300 hurdles, 4x400 relay, 800 and heptathlon.
She received the First Annual Kelly Camp Memorial Scholarship and also the William “Bud” Conlan Scholarship Award. Boni-Perlini went on to play volleyball for four years at Albertus Magnus where she was the captain and was named most valuable player.
“I loved high school sports. This is nice to cap off my career. It was great to be a part of West Haven athletics. We were tough. When we came to their (opponents) school, they expected good stuff,” Boni-Perlini said.
Paolillo-Palermo is a 1991 graduate who was a four year starter on the softball team. She was named Rookie of the Year, was the most valuable player as a sophomore and hit .539 as a junior.
This was a record for batting average in a season and is ranked third in West Haven history. That season she was named the most valuable player and was awarded the Golden Bat.
As a senior, Paolillo-Palermo had 41 hits in the regular season and eight in the post-season. She was named the Player of the Decade. Paolillo-Palermo had 11 hits and hit .424 in her career which is ranked fourth at West Haven.
“I did not think about it back then. This is the first time since I graduated I looked back and think about what the sport did for me,” Paolillo-Palermo said.
Paolillo-Palermo set school records in at bats, runs scored, hits, hits in a season, singles in a season, singles in a career, doubles in a career, runs batted in for a career and fewest strikeouts. She also had the most sacrifices, most stolen bases, highest on base percentage in a career and season.
“Mr. B. (Coach Biondi) was a quiet coach. But, he supported me constantly,” Paolillo-Palermo said.
Paolillo-Palermo was also a three year starter in volleyball and was the captain her final two years. She was an All-District selection her junior and senor years.
2005 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
The West Haven Hall of Fame committee announced its selections for the 2005 class and once again the class is impressive. The sixth class has eight members joining the previous 52 selections. This year’s class is yet another in a group of exceptional choices.
The 2005 class includes Catrina Hawley–Stewart, Edward “Tedd” Carr, Carlin Guarneri, David Tremblay, Vin Sgro, Allen G. Depew, Joe Guglielmo and Jackson T. King. The group has a nice variety from different generations and is well deserving of the honor.
“It is another stellar class of individuals in the long history of West Haven athletics. I am honored as chairman to acknowledge these past athletes,” Hall of Fame Chairman Jon Capone said.
Hawley-Stewart is a 1998 graduate of West Haven and will forever be known by her performances on the basketball court. While Hawley-Stewart also participated in track and played volleyball, it was basketball which was her ticket to college and where she received abundant amount of exposure.
She was a two time All-State player in 1997 and 1998 and went on to play college at Division I Providence where she was the captain her senior year.
Hawley-Stewart has again made a name for herself as she has been the head coach of the girls basketball program at Hillhouse High the last two years. During this time, her team has won every championship it could possibly win as Hillhouse has been the Southern Connecticut Conference Division champions two straight years, the SCC champions two straight years and most importantly, state champions for two straight years under Hawley-Stewart’s guidance. The 2005 inductee was also named the New Haven Tap Off Club and the New Haven Register Coach of the Year in 2004.
Guglielmo was a 1954 graduate who starred on the baseball diamond for the Westies. While he also played soccer, his 27-3 mark at West Haven will be remembered for a long time.
Guglielmo received the Savitt Outstanding Sportsmanship Award and his double shutout performance which helped the Westies win the District League crown in 1954 may be one of his lasting images in West Haven.
Now retired, Guglielmo also played 15 years in the West Haven Twilight League, where he won the Most Valuable Player award four times and the Gold Bat award. The former Westie star also had tryouts with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.
Guarneri left her mark at West Haven in soccer and track and field through her four years at West Haven. A 1997 graduate, Guarneri posted several records before departing her beloved Westies.
As a goalkeeper, Guarneri posted a single season shutout record with nine shutouts in 16 games and posted a career record of 26 shutouts in 52 games. She was named to the All-State soccer team and the All-New England team in 1996-1997.
Guarneri’s final high school statistics are staggering as she played 52 games and posted 26 shutouts. One of the best goalkeepers West Haven may ever see, Guarneri was a four year starter and faced 1,027 shots, making 776 saves.
She allowed only 59 goals and posted a goals against average of 1.13 for her career. Her senior season put the exclamation point on her career as Guarneri had nine shutouts in 16 games and made 185 saves on 241 shots. Guarneri allowed only 15 goals and finished the season with a mind boggling 0.94 goals against average.
The awards for Guarneri never seemed to stop on the soccer field as she was selected to the Connecticut Top 100, the Senior Bowl, the Connecticut PostAll-Star team and the New Haven Register All-Star team following the 1996 season.
Guarneri was the team MVP all four years and was also named in the “Who’s Who among American High School Athletes” each year. Guarneri was a Southern Connecticut Conference first team selection, a Quinnipiac Division first team selection and an All-Area first team selection from her sophomore through senior years.
While she may have been a gem on the soccer field, Guarneri was equally impressive at track and field where she participated in the javelin, discus, shot put and high jump. Her strength was the javelin and in 1997, Guarneri set a school record with a throw of 127 feet, 11 inches. Guarneri equaled her soccer performance as she was also named All-State and All-New England in track during 1996-1997.
While her awards are endless in track and field, it was her senior season which Guarneri will remember for a long time. She won the 1997 New England Track and Field Championships with a school record throw of 127-11. Guarneri was named to the New Haven Register All-State team as well as the Connecticut Post All-State team. Guarneri was named the team most valuable player her senior year.
Guarneri went on to play soccer at Sacred Heart University where she posted 17 career shutouts, which was a school record for men and women. Gaurneri posted a career best 1.26 goals against average, made 411 career saves and had a career save percentage of 0.867.
All three are school records for men and women. Guarneri set school records in the javelin in 1998 and 1999 and placed third in the USA Track and Field Invitational meet with a school record throw of 134-4.
Carr was a 1948 graduate where he played both basketball and baseball for three years and football for one. Carr starred in baseball and was named to the New Haven Register All-Star team and the Prospect Beach All-Star team.
He continued his career playing for K of C of the West Haven Twilight League and also played in the Northern League for the Rutland Royals. Carr also played for the West Haven Sailors. The talented Carr was also a member of the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
After his playing days were over, Carr worked for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, Penn Central, Metro North and retired from Amtrak in 1991. Carr married Joan Hitchcock in 1950 and has four children; Robert, Timothy, Cynthia and Karen.
Sgro was a 1968 graduate who excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track and field. He was a four year player in football and played three years of basketball, while playing only one each in baseball and track and field.
Sgro’s best year was his senior year in football as the tri-captain was selected to the All-District, All-State and All-American football teams. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Lineman Award at West Haven and also won the West Haven Scholar Athlete award. Sgro was a recipient of the John “Whitey” Piurek Award in 1968.
The awards did not stop as Sgro also received some outstanding awards in 1968. He was selected to the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, he was a recipient of the Montesanto Scholarship Award and the Savitt Outstanding Sportsmanship Award and was selected to participate in the Nutmeg Bowl All-Star game where he was the co-captain of the West All-Stars.
Sgro went on to play football at the University of Pennsylvania from 1968-1971. He was twice selected as the Pennsylvania Defensive Player of the Week and the ECAC Defensive Player of the Week.
He was named to the All-East Football team and the Second Team All-Ivy team in 1971. Sgro was the defensive captain in 1971.
After graduating from Pennsylvania, Sgro entered the entertainment business where he did a variety of work. He is presently working with his brother Tom on a screenplay about growing up in the fifties and a video documentary on the fantasy football craze.
King was a 1947 graduate who made news right from the start at West Haven. King made his mark immediately as he started on the basketball team as a freshman in an era where freshmen were not permitted to play varsity sports.
King progressively saw his baseball, basketball and football teams improve. In front of a crowd of 32,500 at Yale Bowl on Thanksgiving Day, West Haven tied Hillhouse 6-6 when King threw a halfback option pass to Dick Freed.
King and John Anastasio led the team in scoring during the basketball season, where the team was 13-7 and finished second in the District league. West Haven played fourth-ranked Ansonia in the state tournament and trounced the team by a score of 66-43.
King then finished his senior year playing for one of the best baseball teams West Haven has seen. The team lost only once, won the District League and had five players play Major League Baseball. King led the team in hitting as a third baseman.
King was awarded a scholarship to Suffield Academy where he played football, baseball and basketball.
King studied Law at Columbia Law School and has practiced law for more than 45 years. He is married to his wife Nancy and has four children and four grandchildren.
Tremblay will forever be known as the swimming coach at West Haven. A 1967 graduate of West Haven, Tremblay has been a chemistry teacher at the high school since 1971. He has received over twenty awards from the American Chemical Society.
In high school, Tremblay was a varsity swimmer and diver from 1964-1967 and received his varsity letter those years. He was named Most Improved player in 1966 and Most Competitive in 1967.
Tremblay was named the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Outstanding Coach in 1991 for girl’s swimming in the state of Connecticut and was also named the National Federation of Interscholastic Coaches Association Outstanding coach for girl’s swimming in 1991. He also received the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association 25-year service award and was named the Coach of the Year in girl’s swimming in 1991.
Tremblay has made his mark at West Haven as coach of both the boys and girls teams. He has had two stints as the boys head coach.
The first stint was from 1977-1997 and again from 2000 to present. He has been the diving coach since 1973 and has been the girls swimming coach since 1975. Temblay is married to his wife Leona.
Depew was a 1941 graduate and was a pitcher and outfielder during his high school baseball days. Depew also played football and basketball where he was a key member of each team.
He was named the West Haven High School All Around Athlete in 1941 and has a scholarship given in his name at West Haven High School for a senior athlete.
Depew was a captain of the 1941 baseball team and also played in the West Haven Twilight League from 1939-1942 and 1946-1956. He was a West Haven American Legion coach from 1960-1976 where his teams won state championships in 1963 and 1967. They were state runners-up in 1961 and 1962.
During his high school football career, Depew was a running back and went on to play semi-pro ball for the Prospect Beach Vets. Depew was a guard and forward for the basketball team and went on to be a founding member of the West Shore Athletic League.
Among his many awards, Depew was a Jimmy Fund Award Recipient in 1981 and received the Life Membership Award from the West Haven American Legion. He was posthumously awarded the West Haven Twilight League Award for Outstanding Civil Leader and Character Builder Award in 1995. Alana Gooley will accept the award for Depew.
2004 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
The Fifth Annual West Haven High School Athletic Hall of Fame saw nine more inductees join the previous 43 in the prestigious club. Included in this group are Jon Capone, John Poe III, Edmund Belmont, Lou Sharretto, Taryn Smith, Paul Mulligan, Lisa Whitney Yarbor, Frank Biondi and Frank Winfield.
Capone may be best known as the athletic director at West Haven, but his credentials go far beyond that. As a senior in 1973, Capone pitched 16 of the team’s 20 games and compiled a 14-2 record. That team went on to win the state championship.
The present athletic director became an assistant baseball coach alongside legendary head coach George Hanchette. When Hanchette retired in 1997, Capone took over and was the head coach until the late Tom Hunt took Capone under his wing and groomed him for the position. Capone became the athletic director in 2000 and gave up the head coach position to present head coach Mike Anquillare.
“It is a great honor to have my name associated with the recipients of tonight and the past. I think the state championship in 1973 really stands out. I had a great group of teammates. There are guys I still see and still talk to. I pitched in 16 of 20 games my senior year. You could have pitched every day if you wanted to. It is unheard of today. The rules have changed,” Capone said. “I think my best years are still ahead of me as an athletic director. My playing days are obviously over. But, my most important role is still ahead of me.”
Poe was a 1963 graduate who is considered one of the best running backs in West Haven history. He was a two-time All-Stater and a retired West Haven firefighter.
Poe was selected to the All-State teams his junior and senior years. His daughter, Shelby Rhey, accepted the honor in his absence.
“It is a proud moment. My dad never pushed us. He would tell us to play sports because you like to play,” Shelby said. “My dad feels he should not be awarded. He would say he was just playing a game. It was natural to him. He played because he had fun and feels he should not be rewarded for that. As a firefighter, my dad rescued a state trooper. He was honored but he felt he was just doing his job. It came natural to him. He is old school.”
Belmont was a three-sport star who played football, basketball and baseball. A 1939 graduate, Belmont’s football and basketball teams were District champions.
Belmont served in the United States Marine Corps and rose to the rank of sergeant. He is retired from the U.S. Postal Service.
“I never expected this. It is a great honor and something that happens once in a lifetime. It feels good. Lou Sharretto caught me in the Twilight League and we are going in together. Some of my class mates are already in; Sal Malinconico, John Monahan and Billy Irons,” Belmont said. “There are a lot of memories. We played Hillhouse in basketball at the Hillhouse gym and it had that track around it. I got in the corner in overtime and hit the winning basket. It was a great time.”
Sharretto starred in football, basketball and baseball. He was a catcher under legendary head coach Whitey Piurek from his freshmen through senior years.
In football, Sharretto was a punter, fullback and kicker and is believed to be the only freshman to ever dress varsity in the Yale Bowl Thanksgiving Day game. Sharretto played Semi-Pro football with the Port Chester Steamrollers in Port Chester, New York.
“It is a great feeling and a great honor. There are so many deserving people,” Sharretto said. “I just enjoyed playing ball. Every minute I had I was playing ball. It is unlike today. It was great back then. I watch my grandson play a couple days a week. But, they need more days to practice. We played every day, seven days a week. We would just play and play. It is not the same today.”
Smith graduated in 1996 and was a two-time All-State diver. Smith won the Class L title in 1994 and was the runner-up in 1995.
Smith also won the Southern Connecticut Conference titles in 1994 and 1995 and won the Bill Dykes Diving award for the state’s outstanding diver in both years. She was also an All-State selection.
Smith went on to dive at the University of Connecticut for four years. She is currently a sixth grade teacher at Carrigan Middle School.
“It is an honor to be inducted. I was a little surprised. It is a great honor and is very special. It feels great especially since it is not one of the popular high school sports. I had a great coach (Dave Tremblay) and wonderful people around me. I made great friendships and traveled all over the world because of it (diving). It opened the door for me. My coaches and family were my biggest supporters. My family was at every meet and my mother traveled all over. Their support meant a lot,” Smith said. “I try to motivate the kids to be athletes but you have to do well in academics as well. Athletics can open many opportunities to go to college and can open many doors. But, you have to keep your academics up too. You have to set goals, work hard and you can achieve what you put your mind to.”
Mulligan was a fiery leader on both the hockey and baseball teams during his career at West Haven. Mulligan was the captain of both teams in 1988 and each won state titles.
He was named All-League and All-State in both sports. The 1988 hockey team was 17-6-1 and Mulligan was a key part with six shutouts in net, two of which came in the state tournament. He finished with a 1.85 goals against average and was named tournament most valuable player and Defensive Player of the Year by Hockey Night in Boston. Mulligan led the baseball team to a 22-2 record in 1988 with a .420 batting average and an .813 slugging percentage. Mulligan went on to play at the University of Hartford and was a teammate of former Houston Astros star Jeff Bagwell.
“It is very special. Obviously they are team sports. I couldn’t have accomplished this without my teammates. It feels like yesterday. I can still remember all the good times,” Mulligan said. “1988 was just a special year. The expectations were higher in baseball. We were supposed to be good and we were good. We just gelled at the right time in hockey. My fondest memory was the shutout game against Immaculate in the semifinals in 1988. They beat us twice during the year. It was the best athletic event I have been involved with in my life. There was an excitement in the arena and we won 1-0. I cherish those times.”
Yarbor was one of the first great female athletes at West Haven. She was the co-captain of the girls track team in her junior and senior years and specialized in the 100, 200 and long jump. Her records still stand. Yarbor then helped find the women’s track program at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. While there, Yarbor watched as the team grew from two members to 15. She is presently employed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institution in Wallingford and is the Chairman of the West Haven Board of Police Commissioners.
“I am extremely honored. Running was just something I loved to do. I enjoyed it. It is nice to be recognized. I actually wanted to scream when Chris Santoro called me at work. I was stunned,” Yarbor said. “This is quite an honor. I am really going to enjoy it.”
Biondi will be long remembered for his role as the softball coach at West Haven. Since 1982, Biondi has tutored some of the finest athletes and has compiled a record of 313-143.
Biondi has seen his team finish first in the league 15 times, and second four times. His 1993 team may have been his best as the team was only the sixth in West Haven history to go undefeated.
Perhaps the biggest accolade for Biondi is his players have been recognized with All-League or All-State selections 121 times. Biondi was a great baseball player who graduated in 1960.
Playing for Piurek, Biondi led his team in hitting his first year and was selected to the All-District team. He capped his career by hitting over .400 his senior year.
“It feels great. I am really happy and honored. I was surprised. I could think of 100 people who are deserving. I love to get out there. I love the smell of the glove. I love getting swings in. But, I have had great girls,” Biondi said. “There were so many great teams. There was the undefeated team in 1993 and the 1998 team with Laurie DelGrego breaking every record and Liz Vaccino pitching us to the semifinals. And last year was a great team too. But, this is quite an honor. I bleed Westie blue.”
Winfield played football, basketball, baseball and track during his Westie career and received 11 letters. Winfield hit .400 his senior year in baseball and was named to Coach Piurek’s All-Time West Haven High School baseball team.
He was offered professional contracts from the Brooklyn Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles. Winfield graduated in 1946 and went on to West Point. Winfield presently resides in San Diego.
2003 Hall of Fame
By MIKE MADERA
The Fourth Annual West Haven High School Athletic Hall of Fame held its inductions for its newest members Saturday evening, November 29,2003 at the West Haven Italian-American Club. This year’s inductees proved to be yet another well deserving class. Led by Dave Rettig, Lou Peccerillo, Lauren Aloi, Salvatore “Chubby” Malinconico, Peter Riccio, Tammy Hackley Brower, James Dahlgard, Sr., Ed Francis and the late Marty Moran, the group joins the 36 previous inductees in fine fashion.
Rettig was a solid lineman in his career at West Haven and played on the undefeated 1972 football team. His senior year may have been his finest as he was voted All-State and All-American at defensive end and was All-District at offensive tackle. Rettig went on to Syracuse University where he was a three year letterman.
“This is great. It has been thirty years since I have graduated. I was fortunate enough to attend the dinner the last three years. It is something special. West Haven is a special place,” Rettig said. “I really have so many people to thank. What an honor this is. You can’t beat this. This is the ultimate cap of your career.”
Peccerillo was a vital cog in the success of many Westie programs. Peccerillo was one of the many men who helped find the Ray Tellier Midget Football League, the West Shore Athletic League and the Don Brereton Baseball League.
Peccerillo played hockey, football and baseball at West Haven and starred in each. The new inductee played under and with legends Frank Fitzgerald, Whitey Piurek, and Artie Crouse.
“I am very honored. I have lived in West Haven for 72 of my 75 years. I am true blue West Haven. I still have friends I made in grammar school. You got a lot of credit when you played sports. But, we did it because we enjoyed it. I made some of my best friends through sports,” Peccerillo said. “Back then, West Haven – Hillhouse in football and West Haven – Hamden in hockey were the rivalries. But, you made good friends through those rivalries. I think my biggest thrill was playing football in the Yale Bowl in front of so many fans.”
Malinconico played football, basketball and track at West Haven. He was on the field for the last game at historic Donovan Field where the Westies tied a heavily favored Hillhouse team.
In his senior year, Malinconico captained the basketball team to a District league championship and was named to the All-District team. Malinconico went on to become the Police Chief in West Haven.
“It feels very good. I am the old geezer of the club. It is nice to go in this early. It is nice to come back to your roots and receive an honor like this. Sports played a big part of my life. We went to different parts of Connecticut. I remember all the good times,” Malinconico said.
The late Moran captained the football, basketball and baseball teams and was a true leader. Moran was a tremendous quarterback under Piurek for three years and went on to tremendous success at Brown University.
Moran received the West Haven Twilight League’s Gold Bat Award in 1988 and was posthumously inducted into the New Haven Gridiron Hall of Fame in 1990.
Riccio won two state titles in two different sports at West Haven. In his senior year in 1973, Riccio led his team to the Class LL state title in baseball from his third base position.
Riccio is regarded as one of the best third basemen in West Haven history. Riccio batted .350 his senior year from the three spot. Riccio’s first title came in football the previous fall as he was a flanker on the undefeated and number one team in the state.
“This is an incredible honor. This town has always been good to me. The celebration is the leadership the coaches and mentors have provided. They are the true hall of famers. I am deeply honored,” Riccio said. “I was totally shocked. It is a special feeling and I am very humbled by it.”
Dahlgard made his mark on the football team for two years at West Haven. He made the All-District first team and All-State second team his senior year.
Dahlgard went on to play football at Colgate where he enjoyed a successful career. Dahlgard also played basketball and baseball for the Westies.
“It is a tremendous honor being it is only the fourth year. I was surprised because of all the professional athletes to come out of West Haven. This is a special honor. As it goes on in years, this is an honor which I will always remember,” Dahlgard. “I enjoyed playing in the Yale Bowl in front of 42,000 fans. We were undefeated and got beat in both our junior and senior years.”
Francis had the honors of playing on the 1968 undefeated state champion football team and the 1967 championship baseball team. Francis went on to West Point where he caught the winning touchdown to lead Army over Navy.
“It has been thirty years since I have played ball. I still think about those days a lot. It was a great time in my life. We did some terrific things and I still talk to my lifelong friends. It really is an honor to come back to West Haven. It is incredible the names which have gone before me. It is a team thing. I will remember this forever and will consider this representing my team,” Francis said. “I played in the Army-Navy game three times. I scored the winning touchdown my junior year. There is no way to compare the rivalry. It is the most intense atmosphere you can imagine. The whole country is watching. It is an incredibly emotional game.”
Aloi made her mark in the early 1990’s by receiving a varsity letter for three sports in all four years. The 12 varsity letters are presumed to be the most in Westie history.
Aloi was a standout in soccer, basketball and softball and was part of the 20-0 (regular season) 1993 softball team. Aloi played third and was in the middle of the Westie lineup. She played midfield in soccer and was a dominating force on the court in basketball.
“No words can describe how I feel. I am truly honored to be recognized as an athlete. I am a recent graduate so I feel very privileged to be inducted with all the other inductees,” Aloi said. “To coach any girls team from West Haven, you have to have patience. But, the coaches enhance everyone in their own individual way. It all comes down to the coaches”
Hackley-Brower starred in three sports for the Westies in the 1990’s. Brower was a starter in basketball, volleyball and softball for the majority of her high school career.
In 1993, Brower guided her team to a perfect 20-0 regular season mark and won all twenty games. She pitched 128 of the team’s 137 innings and had a stunning 1.01 ERA.
Brower also hit .443 as she was named All-American, All-State, All-Area and was the New Haven Register All-Area Most Valuable Player. Brower went on to continued success at the University of New Haven where she was All-New England in her junior and senior years as well as NECC (New England Collegiate Conference) First Team All-Conference both seasons.
“Each team was different and brought its own lessons. I wish I was still playing, but I am considered old as far as sports go. I miss the competitiveness. It is a different aura when you are on the field,” Brower said. “That 20-0 team had some great teammates. I did not do it by myself. We had six seniors who all played together since Little League. We started and ended together.”
While the nine inductees come from a different generation, all had the same thing on their mind. Each spoke of an advantage called “Westie Pride” and feel it is just as strong today. Aloi has the perfect view as she gets to see her brother Pete play now.
“My younger brother plays now. When I go to his hockey games or baseball games, I can still see the Westie spirit. I go out and see people I went to West Haven with,” Aloi said.