Hall of Fame Inductees 1998
Harlen Burgess is a recipient of the Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award for his efforts to create the Athletic Backers Club in 1947. He was an organizer of some parents who started out trying to provide insurance for the football team and ultimately created the Athletic Backers Club that now supports all student athletes at Plainville High School. He was honored posthumously.
Edward B. Coleman
Graduated from Plainville in 1963. Ed may be the most decorated runner ever at Plainville High School, Ed briefly tried football but redirected his efforts to running where he captained the cross country team, indoor track and outdoor track teams. He won the 1962 state and New England country meets while establishing a new state record. The cross country team won 3 consecutive conference championships including 29 straight victories. In track, he established the 1960 school record for the mile, the 1961 state record for the mile at the All State meet, and the 1963 Class M record for the mile in indoor track. Ed was also a key member of the 1962 & 1963 Class B State Championship teams.
Edward F. Conlin
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1939. Eddie played 2nd base for the 1938 & 1939 conference championship baseball teams and was captain of the 1939 basketball team, leading the team in scoring, he was selected to the 1938-39 ALL STATE Basketball team. Known as a “diminutive but eagle eyed forward”, Eddie was considered by many to be one of the greatest basketball players in Plainville High School history. Eddie attended Teachers College (now known as CCSU in New Britain) where he captained the 1941-42 basketball team. He taught
at PHS and later became principal at Plainville Jr. High School and Terryville High School.
Leroy G. Corlette
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1941. Leroy is considered by many to be one of the greatest athletes in Plainville High School history. He played football, basketball and track and was a member of the 1937 undefeated and unscored upon football team. “Corky” played halfback, end and kick returner and was captain as a senior. He broke the individual scoring record as a forward on the basketball team and was the 1st high school athlete to clear the 6 foot barrier in the high jump in 1941. Naturally, he was undefeated in that event. He also ran the long jump and 100 yd dash. He received the Newton award for excellence in track & scholastics.
Ralph N. Corlette
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1934. Ralph played football, basketball and track. His skills as a premier sprinter became evident as a halfback and safety on the football team. Ralph also used his speed as captain of the basketball team and in his 2 years as captain of the track team. Ralph was a star player of the RAMEZ basketball team which won 9 consecutive championships in the Inter Church League. Ralph also played semi-pro football, softball and was named Plainville VFW Post 574 Sportsman of the Year in 1969. He is a past President of the PHS Athletic Backers Club.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1959. John is considered to be one of the greatest athletes to pass through the halls of Plainville High School. John played football, basketball and track. He was
a quick and powerful running back for the 1958 State Championship football team. He was also named MVP in the 1958 Nutmeg Bowl. John was captain of the 1958-59 State Championship basketball team while also being named to the ALL STATE basketball team. As a sprinter and broad jumper in track, he established school records in the 100 yard and 220 yard sprints and the 1959 state record in the broad jump. He is a recipient of the William Cassidy award and Robert Babick awards. John went on to play football at Garden City Jr. College in Kansas and semi-pro football with the Hartford Charter Oaks.
Earle L. Jackson
Graduated from Plainville High in 1962. Earle was a record setting basketball and track star. As a forward/center on the basketball team, Earl was voted to the ALL STATE team and MVP on the 1960-61 State Championship team and captained the 1961-62 semi-finalist team, on which he was again named to the ALL STATE team as well as tournament MVP despite Plainville not winning the tournament. As a high jumper, shot putter and discus thrower, Earle established State records in all three events while leading the track team to 3 consecutive State Championships. He went on to play basketball at C.C.S.U. and later served in Viet Nam. He is currently an executive with Heublein and has been instrumental in the creation of a youth golf tournament for inner city youth from greater Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport.
Harold M. Johnson
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1942. A multi-sport star who played football, basketball, baseball and track. Hal played halfback on the football team and was captain and guard on the basketball team where he was known for his long distance shots, long before the advent of the 3 point line. As captain of the baseball team, Hal was hard hitting 3rd baseman and pitcher while also being a member of the 1942 Class B Champion sprint relay team. He is a past President of the PHS Athletic Backers Club and past commissioner of Plainville midget football.
Walter J. Majsak
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1944. Walt captained the football, basketball and track teams white at PHS. Walt
was a key contributor as a running back and center on the football field. As a forward on the basketball team, he was a key contributor on the 1942-43 State Championship team, and in track Walt excelled in the 440 and 880 yard dash. He is a Charles Newton award winner who went on to Holy Cross College where he captained the track team in 1946 & 1947 and was the 1947 New England Intercollegiate Champion in the 440 yard dash. Walt has served 26 years on the Plainville Board of Education.
Art Nelson is a recipient of the Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award. Art has been a tireless supporter of PHS sports for more years that most of us remember. A past President of the Athletic Backers Club, Art continues to provide assistance in the running of the concession and the support of the student athletes. Art also remains involved in the recognition of the student athletes in addition to the continuing operation of the Backers Club.
Roger L. St. Pierre
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1948. Roger played football, basketball and track. A member of the 1947 undefeated State Championship football team, he was known for his power and speed as a fullback and defensive lineman. He was a forward on the 1947-48 conference champion and Class B semi-finalist basketball team, and was a sprinter and shot putter on the track team. He went on to play football at LaSalle Military Academy and Trinity College where he was a Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance winner. While in the military service, he was summoned to play football in the armed forces league in Japan, where he was a defensive lineman for the 1954-55 Air Force Championship team.
John E. Toffolon
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1939. John played football, basketball and baseball. John played halfback and defensive back and was a member of the 1937 undefeated and scoreless football team. He was captain of the team his senior year. He was also a forward on the 1937-1938 conference champion basketball team and right fielder for the 1938 & 1939 conference champion baseball team. John attended UCONN where he captained the football team in his senior year. He went on to become an executive with White Oak Corp. in Plainville and served as the Chairman of the State of Connecticut Board of Education.
Lewis B. Tucker
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1939. Lew played football, baseball and basketball. Lew was a member of the 1937 undefeated and unscored upon football team as a halfback. He played guard on the basketball team and also ran relays for the track team. Lew was remembered best for his baseball skills as a pitcher and 1st baseman. He pitched a no hit no run game vs. Farmington in 1939 and had a career batting average over .400. During his 3 year baseball career, the team won 33 while losing just 3. Lew is considered by many to be one of the greatest baseball players ever to wear the Plainville uniform. Lew was named the Plainville VFW Post 574 Sportsman of the Year in 1969. Honored
Ivan L. Wood
Coached at Plainville High School 1937 through 1955. “Woody” coached baseball, basketball, track and was an assistant coach in football. His records include a combined 236 victories and 91 losses with 7 league championships and 3 state championships. He was the director of athletics at PHS from 1946 through 1956 and was principal from 1956 to 1976. He is a member of the Conn. High School Coaches Assoc. Hall of Fame; a Gold Key Winner; past director of C.I.A.C. football and baseball; and has received the National High School Athletic Coaches Assoc. Distinguished Award; and the Plainville VFW Post 574 Sportsman of the Year in 1967.
Michael J. Zinkiewicz
Graduated from Plainville High School in1948. Mike was a multisport star in football, basketball and baseball. Mike played halfback and defensive back and was captain of the 1947 undefeated State Championship football team. He was named to the 1947 ALL STATE team. He captained the 1947-48 conference champs and Class B semifinalist basketball team and was also named to the ALL STATE team. Mike also played 3rd base on the baseball team. Mike was also class president all four years and student council president as a senior. He went on to play football at Holy Cross where he earned All American honors.
Hall of Fame Inductees 1999
Frank “Lenny” Bowman
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1948. Lenny was an outstanding runner who earned the nickname “rubber legs” for his agility and endurance. Lenny was a member of the varsity cross country team for two years before changing gears and joining the football team as a junior. His exceptional running abilities coupled with the hard-nosed running attack of fellow inductees Tony D’Amico and Roger St. Pierre, helped to carry Plainville football to 2 consecutive undefeated seasons and a state championship in 1947. Lenny’s athletic skills were further showcased in track where for four years, he competed in the high jump, long jump and 880 yd run. He captained the 1948 state championship team and set a state record in the high jump. Lenny represented Connecticut in the New England Track Tournament in 1948. He went on to play track at Trinity Pawling Prep School where he set the school record for scoring and Univ. of Rhode Island where he was a member of the silver metal 1 mile relay team in the K of C regional competition held at Boston Garden.
Mr. C. is a recipient of the Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award. Mr. C. was a longtime fixture at PHS, always providing support for all athletes. Win or lose, Mr. C. was there to give a pat on the back or a kick in the pants. A former star athlete himself, Mr. C. knew the importance of being there as a friend, coach, counselor or big brother. He wanted everyone to understand the importance being part of a team. Always one to listen, Charlie Wong’s Laundry room was “the” meeting room after many a tough practice or game.
Anthony W. D’Amico
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1948. Tony was an outstanding three sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball. “Terrible Tony” as he was nicknamed by the local press, was the “spinner back” or quarterback for coach Ted Knurek’s football teams that compiled a 22-1-1 record and a state championship during Tony’s 3 year stint. Tony, along with Mike
Zinkiewicz, Roger St. Pierre and Lenny Bowman were dubbed “The Four Horsemen” during their senior season in football for their relentless speed and power that they dispensed to the opposition. Tony was also a power forward on the basketball team and a power pitcher with pinpoint control (according to his high school teammates). Tony went on to play football at the Univ. of Rhode Island.
Anthony John Forcella
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1943. Tony was a four sport letterman as a fullback in football, where he was also team captain as a senior, playmaker guard in basketball, shortstop in baseball and sprinter and long jumper in track. Tony was the point guard for the 1942-43 class B State Championship basketball team. After college and military service, he returned to Plainville as a teacher and coach for football & baseball. He was selected 1967 VFW Sportsman of the Year.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1960. Tom or “Ivory” as he was known to his friends, is another extraordinary track star for PHS. Tom played football for three years where he led the team in scoring and interceptions as a senior. He also played guard on the basketball team for 2 years. Tom however, was a record setting trackman for three years and team captain as a senior. During those three years, the team was undefeated with Tom setting at least seven school or state records in the 220 yd dash, 440 yd. Dash, 880 yard relay, long jump, broad jump and 300 yd. Dash (indoor track). Tom enlisted in the Navy where he completed a 30 year career. He continued to compete in Naval competitions where placed 1st in several annual competitions. He still competes in the senior circuit competitions as recently as last week.
Miss Grant is a recipient of the Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award. Miss Grant, a former teacher who retired in June 1970, was a fixture at almost every home sports event during her 30+ years of teaching in Plainville. She could also be seen sitting in the bleachers correcting papers and keeping an eye on the competition. Miss Grant epitomizes the caring educator who embraced the values of academics and athletics. She will always be remembered as Plainville High School’s #1 fan.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1967. Bob played football for three years where he anchored the offensive and defensive line for PHS. He was team captain as a senior and was selected to the ALL STATE team in 1966. He also was a shot putter with the track team, placing second in the 1967 state competition. He went on to the University of Bridgeport where he was the starting tackle for two Division II national Championship teams. He was also selected Division II ALL AMERICAN. After college, he returned to PHS as an assistant football coach. He later coached with Frank Kush at Arizona State University and Dennis Erickson at University of Washington and Miami, then later as Division I national champions. He has coached professionally for several years and is currently a coach with the
Sylvester “Vet” Mason (Father)
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1950. Vet was an exceptional three sport athlete who excelled in track where he tied or set school and state records in the 100 yd. Dash, 440 yd dash and 4X110 relay. His 440 yd dash school record established in 1947 of 51.6 sec. lasted for 13 years until another inductee Tom Graney broke it in 1960. Vet was a running back on the football team and a high scoring guard on the basketball team. After graduation, he went on to play basketball for the RAMEZ of Plainville and semi-pro football for the West Hartford Spartans.
Sylvester “Vet” Mason (Son)
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1972. Vet was an exceptional athlete who exemplified athletics at PHS. Vet was a three sport star who excelled in football, basketball and baseball. Vet was an ALL STATE running back for the 1971 state championship football team that was the first team to beat their “arch rival” Southington in 23 years. As a senior, he scored 6 touchdowns in one game and had a 100 yard interception while compiling over 2,000 all purpose yards and 150 points for the season. He was a guard on the basketball team and was captain and centerfielder for the baseball team. His teams never had a losing record. He received the Robert Babick award and William Cassidy award for outstanding athletics. He attended Norwich University and is currently and executive for IBM.
Michael Joseph Roman
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1954. “Mickey” was one of the uniquely gifted student athletes that blended academic excellence with athletic achievement. As a student athlete, Mickey was the number one ranked male scholar in PHS while earning ALL STATE honors in both football and basketball. He was the power fullback and team captain in football, center and leading scorer and rebounder in basketball. As a senior, Mickey scored 55 pointed in the two tournament games for Plainville. He was also the centerfielder for the baseball team. He went on to Fordham University where he again excelled in football.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2000
Margaret Buch Paul
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1947. “Buchy” as she is known, was a member of the “Blue Angels” intramural sports team of the 1940’s & 50’s at PHS, participating in basketball, baseball/softball, field hockey and cheerleading. After graduation, Buchy changed arenas and played semi-pro basketball for the Pajama Girls team of New Britain. She also became an accomplished golfer and was the Pequabuck Golf Club champion from 1960-64. Buchy is also a respected horsewoman riding 3 and 5 gaited horses in show competition. Since retiring from competitive sports, Buchy owns and operated Tanbark Kennels.
Francis P. “Rusty” Camp
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1963. Rusty was an outstanding two sport star in football and basketball. On the football field, Rusty was the quarterback and safety for three years earning MVP honors in the annual Thanksgiving game vs. Southington as a senior as well as the top offensive player of the year. But the basketball floor, where Rusty was called “a floor general deluxe” by the local press, provided the venue where he was able to excel as the ultimate point guard and a key part of the 1961 State Champion Basketball team. With Rusty at point guard, his 4 year record at PFS is 78 wins and 12 losses. Rusty went on to play basketball for one year at Providence College, after which he decided to concentrate on studies that allowed him to become Dr. Francis P. Camp, DDS.
William J. DeLorenze
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1947. Bill was a three sport star in football, basketball and track. Bill was a powerful lineman and converted running back in football. As captain of the basketball team, he was a relentless defender and rebounder and in track, Bill competed in the high jump, discus, javelin and shot put, where he set a state indoor record of 46’ 2”. Bill went on to play semi-pro football for the Hartford Blues and served in the Navy, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1939. “Lefty” as known at PHS was a two sport star excelling in football and baseball. As a member of the 1937 undefeated and unscored upon State Champion football team, Lefty was an offensive end who’s quick moves and sure hands made him a primary target who was almost impossible to tackle. On the baseball field he was the left handed compliment to fellow Hall of Famer Lew Tucker. Al pitched his own no hitter and 1 hitter during the regular season and was the pitcher who established a new state record in 1939 for a high school baseball team scoring three consecutive shutouts in the tournament.
Graduated from Plainville High School in1939. Dom was a three sport star in football, basketball and baseball. Dom was quarterback on the undefeated unscored upon State Champion football team. He was a guard on the basketball team and was a sure handed shortstop in baseball, who anchored the defense for fellow Hall of Famer Lew Tucker’s no hit game in 1939. Dom played semi-pro football with the Southington Gems and baseball and basketball in the General Electric industrial league. Dom was named VFW Sportsman of the year in 1972. He was a past member and chairman of the town council and was active in the Knights of Columbus.
Jeff Hopkins Howes
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1984. Jeff was a three sport athlete as a linebacker and fullback in football, forward on the basketball team and pitcher and third base in baseball. While Jeff was the all around athlete, it was baseball where he made his mark as a star of the 1983 & 1984 State Champion Baseball teams. During his days at PHS, Jeff had 151 hits, 36 of which were home runs. On the mound he won 26 games while striking out 332. Jeff earned ALL STATE in 1983 and ALL STATE and ALL NEW ENGLAND in 1984. He was also the only high school baseball player in the country selected for a tryout for the 1984 United State Olympic team. Jeff was selected by the New York Mets in the 4th round of the amateur draft in 1984.
John Allen Johnson, Sr.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1936. Johnny was a three sport star in football, basketball and baseball. Johnny lead the 1935 football team in scoring and was known for his break away speed. As a speedy guard on the basketball team, he also lead the team in scoring. On the baseball field, Johnny was a fireballing pitcher and first baseman. He later went on to star on the RAMEZ basketball and softball teams.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1949. Don was a multi sport star who played football and excelled in baseball and basketball. Don played end, halfback and punter as a senior on the football team. He was a stellar pitcher, first baseman and second-baseman in baseball and a “speedy” guard and forward on the basketball team, where he was also captain his senior year. Don was possible the first area athlete to be “red shirted” by then coach Ivan Wood and played 5 years on the basketball team. Don played basketball for 1 year at Hillyer College and later went to spring training with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Pat V. Riera
Coached basketball at Plainville High School 1950–1963 and 1974–1977. Coaching record at PHS includes eight tournament appearances, five appearances in championship games and two State Championships. Pat has enjoyed coaching several ALLSTATE players like; Earle Jackson, Bill Lasher, John
Gacek, Rusty Camp and Mike Moore to name a few. His teams twice ran off 29 game winning streaks. Pat also coached at other local schools including
N.B.H.S. where he was a star athlete in his playing days. Pat Riera also coached with the legendary Bill Detrick at
C.C.S.U. Pat Riera is a member of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame as well as the New Britain Hall of Fame.
Chuck Smith is a recipient of the Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award. Chuck is a former President of the Backers Club who was instrumental in working with Tomasso Brothers to have a track donated during his tenure with the Backers Club. He was also a driving force behind the construction of the concession stand and scoreboards on the old athletic complex. Chuck was always one to make sure that the student athletes received recognition for their efforts. He once called upon Bill Savitt to present watches to ma championship team. Chuck was a model sports supporter who always looked to provide for the student athletes of PHS.
Donald M. Tinty
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1948. Don was a three sport star in football, basketball and track. Don was a powerful tackle on the 1947 State Champion football team plowing through the opposition to open running lanes for fellow Hall of Famers, Lenny “Rubber Legs” Bowman, Mike Zinkiewicz, Roger St. Pierre and “Terrible Tony” D’Amico. On the hardwood, Don was a defensive force as center and was a tough rebounder. Don was a member of the 1948 State Champion track team where he established a State record of 50’ 0” in the shot put. Don went on to play football and track at the University of Rhode Island.
Steven A. Vargo
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1959. Steve was the consummate three sport star as he is one of only a handful of athletes that were stars on three State Championship teams in one year. Steve was the captain of the 1958 State Champion football team where he was a running back, defensive back and punter.
He was also named to the ALLSTATE
football team. He played
forward, guard and center and was a top rebounder on the 1959 State Champion basketball team and he was the shot put champion for the 1959 State Champion track team. Steve earned a football scholarship to Boston University.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2001
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1979. Keith was a three sport varsity player who starred as a pin point quarterback who lead the Devils to their first home win in thirty years over then rival Southington. His greatest achievements however, came on the baseball field first as an ALLSTATE pitcher who won 20 games during his time at PHS. Keith went on to Fairfield University where he earned All New England Honors. After graduation, Keith went overseas to play baseball professionally in Italy. His hard work continued and Keith was chosen to be a member of the Italian Olympic team and a participant in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1950. “Rabbit” earned his nickname in track teaming with fellow Hall of Famer Vet Mason to dominate the sprint events in track from 1948 through 1950. Ron was a four sport varsity player in football, baseball and basketball along with track. Ron’s speed on the football field allowed him to “rabbit” by the defensive as quarterback and halfback. He also used his speed on the hardwood and playing 2nd base in baseball, but Ron’s greatest success came on the track in the 100 yd, 220 yd, 440 yd, and 440 relay. After serving his country, Ron graduated from
C.C.S.U. and went on coach for more than 25 years at Gilbert High School.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1973. Mark was a two sport star in cross country and track. Mark was a key member of coach George Grasso’s championship teams in the early 1970’s. While he enjoyed success in distance running, Mark’s greatest abilities were as a sprinter. As a captain of the team, Mark established a school record 9.6 seconds in the 100 yd dash. He was also Connecticut State Champion in the 100 yard dash in outdoor track and the 60 yard dash in indoor track and was co-holder of the Class S State record in the 100 yard dash. Mark earned a scholarship to the University of South Carolina and was a member of the conference championship relay team.
Dr. William A. Petit, Jr.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1974. Bill was a three sport varsity athlete in cross country, basketball and track. As a member of the cross country team, Bill was a valuable point contributor to compliment the team successes of the early 1970’s. In basketball, Bill twice lead the team in scoring and was captain in his senior year and in track he competed in the long jump and triple jump where he set a freshman record of 36’ 4”. Bill was a member of the National Honor Society and Class president and went to Dartmouth College and University of Pittsburg Medical School.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1975. “Basketball Bones” as she was known in school was the first female athlete from Plainville High School to earn a full athletic scholarship, playing basketball in Florida. “Bones” was also a star as captain of the softball and volleyball teams in addition to basketball. As stated by former PHS coach George Grasso, “the only thing that Irene lacked was competition, she was that good”.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1966. Carl was a four sport letterman as an ALLSTATE quarterback in football, sharp shooting ALLSTATE guard in basketball and high jumper, triple jumper and discuss thrower in track. After three years of track, Carl decided to trade his discus for a baseball and he pitched and played outfield for the Blue Devils his senior year. Carl still holds a school record of 19 foul shots made in a basketball game, which he did against then archrival Southington. Carl continued his competitive attitude and became one of the key members of the nationally recognized Gartenhaus Softball team in the 1970’s and 1980’s and was inducted into the Connecticut State Softball Hall of Fame in 1993.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2002
Graduated Plainville High School in 1974. “Howdy” is considered to be one of the finest, most consistent long distance runners in PHS history. Gary ran varsity cross country and track for four years. He was captain of both teams as a senior. Gary was undefeated in cross country dual meets his junior and senior years. He holds the old PHS cross country course record and the 2nd fasted two mile time in track. Always one for a challenge, Gary was once held back in cross country meet for thirty seconds by his coach and still managed to win the meet. Gary continues to train and run today. One of his accomplishments was finishing 37th out of 10,000 runners in the Washington Marine Corps Marathon. He has also run the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:32, putting him in the top five hundred runners in the field.
Graduated Plainville High School in 1974. “Rome” was a four sport star playing cross country 3 years, basketball 3 years, baseball 2 years and track 2 years, captain in his senior year. Bob enjoyed varsity success in all sports but realized after teaming with his brother Gary in their sophomore year that running was his gift. Bob exploded onto the track scene after breaking a thumb that prevented him from playing baseball. His junior year, he broke the school record in the ½ mile and in his senior year, set the current record of 1:56. He also anchored the 4X440 relay to a school record of 3:26.6. Incidentally, Bob was also undefeated as a senior in track in the ½ mile. He earned a track scholarship to Baptist University where he continued to lower his time in the ½ mile. Bob continues to train and runs in local road races.
Edward “Ted” Knurek
Coached at Plainville High School from 1945 through 1955. Coach Knurek coached three sports, football, basketball and baseball. Basketball was a one year transitional coach, but he coached football and baseball for ten years. PHS football enjoyed its most successful decade under Ted Knurek. His record of 51 wins, 27 losses and 2 ties remains the best Plainville in history. His 1947 undefeated State Champions are considered to be one the best teams in the history of Plainville Football. In additional to football, Ted Knurek also encouraged education and it is estimated by many that he helped more than 50% of his graduated find and enroll in college or secondary education. He was truly a dedicated educator and coach. Ted Knurek is in the Connecticut State Coaches Hall of Fame and the East Hartford Sports Hall of Fame.
Peter John Longo
Graduated Plainville High School in 1964. “Roll” was a three sport star in football, basketball and baseball. As a running back and later quarterback, Peter set the record for completions vs. Southington as a senior in the annual Turkey day battle. Always the battler on the hardwood, he was the pesky guard who complimented his fellow Hall of Famer Mike Moore. Baseball was his true passion and he was a flame throwing pitcher for the Blue Devils establishing a single game strike out record of 21 batter, that still stands today. He was also a steady hitting centerfielder when not on the hill. Peter also pitched for the Bristol Legion team leading them to the Connecticut State Title. He too, played softball for Vito’s AC and later came back to PHS as a coach.
Arthur “Artie” Martin
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1943. Artie was the consummate “late bloomer” who excelled later in his PHS career. Artie was a three sport star excelling in basketball and baseball while being a solid contributor in track throwing the javelin and discus. Throwing has always been Artie’s strength, either throwing down baskets on the hardwood or throwing “fireballs” past opposing batters on the baseball diamond. He was a top scorer for the 1942-43 State Champion Basketball team and the “Roger Clemens” of his day on the mound. He went on to play basketball and baseball at UCONN and played minor league baseball for the Boston Braves.
Michael & Marion Mastrianni
Michael & Marion Mastrianni are the Distinguished Service Inductees into the PHS Sports Hall of Fame. “Mickey & Honey” as they are known to most of us, have been the models of support for the student athletes of Plainville High School. Mickey was an exceptional athlete in his own right and he understood the value of support and guidance. He and Honey made it a point to provide a haven for many of Plainville’s athletes after school. Everybody ended up at Mickey’s house. Their “tea parties” were the basis for many friendships and team efforts, particularly on the basketball court. Mickey would organize the games while Honey made sure that everyone enjoyed the competition. Anyone who has grown up in Plainville has probably benefited from a sports program that Mickey organized, participated in or refereed. Plainville athletics owe Mickey and Honey more than words can say. Mickey was the coach, father figure and friend, who with Honey were the source of guidance for many of Plainville’s finest student athletes of the past.
Michael Thomas Moore
Graduated Plainville High School in 1964. “Skunk” was a four sport star who excelled in football, basketball and track. Baseball was in his blood for a year, but Mike chose track & field for the final three years as a sprinter. Mike used his speed and agility as a receiver in football, and terrorized the opposition in basketball, twice leading his team in scoring and
named ALLSTATE as a junior and as a
senior in basketball. He helped lead the Devils deep into the CIAC tournament his junior and senior years. After PHS, Mike brought his talents to CCSU where he continued his hardwood success. Mike was a key component of the old “Vito’s AC softball teams and has enjoyed coaching success in basketball and golf. Mike is currently a math professor at Tunxis Community College and possesses and deceptively impressive golf game.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1933. “Yaco” was a hard nosed baseball star who caught every varsity game during his four years at PHS. A defensive star with the bullet throws, he thumped the opposition pitching at a .503 average during his senior year. Tony also played football as a back and end, but his love of baseball stayed with him as he went on after school to play semi pro baseball for several years. He also excelled in the “old General Electric” league. Tony coached little league for eight years and remains an avid sports fan.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2003
Bonnie Burns Arcari
Bonnie Burns Arcari, a 1986 graduate who was a three sport star in volleyball, basketball and softball, earning ten varsity letters in her career at PHS. Bonnie was one of the pioneers in the advent of women’s sports at PHS leading her softball team deep into the state tournament. Bonnie was a standout on the hardwood where she set a single game scoring record of 36 points and scored over 1,000 points in her career at PHS. She was also an all conference member of the volleyball team. She attended Springfield College and E.C.S.U. playing softball and basketball. She continued her involvement in youth sports in the recreation department in the Town of Cheshire and is currently the proud mother of three children, ages 6, 4 and 2.
David Higgins, a 1976 graduate who was known for his exceptional overall athletic abilities. Dave was a four sport star at PHS, playing football, basketball, diving and baseball. Dave was a versatile member of the talented 1976 football team as a halfback, receiver and punter. Dave was a free spirited bolt of lightning guard on the basketball team until he joined the swim team as a diver. But it was on the Plainville baseball diamond where he earned ALLSTATE honors as a shortstop and leadoff hitter for the Devils. Dave went on to lead the local American Legion team in hitting, striking out only three times during the season. He is currently a scratch golfer in his spare time.
Richard Jester, a 1941 graduate who excelled in basketball and baseball at PHS. Dick was captain and top scorer of the 1941 quintet leading the team to an 18-3 record and to the semi-finals of the 1941 class B tournament. His teams had a won loss record of 68-6. Dick was a member of the All Tournament team as a senior. He was also a shortstop and pitcher for the baseball team. Dick went on to college at UCONN, but was drafted and became an accomplished military pilot. He retired as a 30 year veteran Navy Captain. Dick resides in South Carolina and was unable to attend tonight’s event.
Ron Jones, a locally, statewide and nationally recognized coach who recreated and refined Plainville baseball as we know it today during his coaching tenure (1976 to 1984) at Plainville High School. His won loss record of 153 wins against 40 losses remains a benchmark for all local teams. Ron Jones was named the 1983 American Baseball Coaches New England District I coach of the Year. He coached the Blue Devils to two State Championships including a perfect 23-0 in 1983. His 1984 Blue Devils were ranked 15th nationally by “Collegiate Baseball” newspaper. Ron also coached at the college level at E.C.S.U. and has helped numerous students of the game through his volunteering with both groups and individuals.
Len Mirizzi, a 1955 graduate who was a two sport star in football and basketball. Len enjoyed a stellar career as a halfback on the football team where he established the school record with a 99 yard run from scrimmage and earned honorable mention ALLSTATE in his senior year. He was also captain of the basketball team and recipient of the Villardi Memorial Award. Len went on to become a high school teacher and coach. Len was voted class athlete in his senior year and earned the New Britain area CYO football award in 1954.
Fernando Otero a 1939 graduate who is considered one of the finest athletes of his era. Fern played baseball, track, football and basketball. At 6 feet tall, 230 lbs., he was a monster of a man who once played every play both offense and defense for the Blue Devils football team. He was also a star on the 1937 undefeated and un-scored upon football team. He was a power hitting catcher in baseball hitting balls in excess of 450 feet. He was center on the basketball team and a leader in field events such as shot put and discus. After graduation, he served in the Marines. Upon his return to Plainville, Fern was the “hired gun” for the Trumbull Electric baseball teams traveling throughout New England with the team in the industrial league.
Charlie Palmer, the imposing teacher and coach who instilled the lessons of sports, sportsmanship and life to all of the student athletes who had the good fortune to play football at Plainville High School. Charlie came to Plainville from The University of Georgia as asst. coach for Ted Knurek in 1952 and became head football coach in 1956, a position that he held until 1968. He remained a fixture at Plainville High School as Athletic Director until his retirement in 1984. Charlie was known to his players and students for his concern and compassion, blended with the perfect blend of discipline.
Walter Shelton, a 1968 graduate who excelled in football and basketball. Walter was a talented multidimensional football star who
as team captain excelled as a halfback and quarterback who earned ALLSTATE honors as a senior. He was also captain and a
lightning quick guard on the hardwood for the Blue Devils and also played baseball for the Blue Devils. After Plainville, he attended S.C.S.C. where he earned All New England honors in football and later played with the Hartford Knights and Washington Redskins. Always one to work with youth, Walter moved to California, changed careers becoming an educator and received the 1997 California Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2004
Bob Cassidy is the recipient of the Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award. Bob has been associated with sports in and around Plainville for more than 65 years. While at PHS, Bob was an athlete, manager and assistant coach. He has continued to support sports providing innovation direction through coaching and administration. Bob was instrumental in the growth and development of ASA softball in the area and remains a District Commissioner today. Bob was also instrumental in the local Knights of Columbus sports activities and remains an avid supporter of all local sports.
Don is a 1980 graduate of PHS. Don was the consummate three sport star in football, basketball and baseball. A former Backers Club athlete of the year, Don was a hard hitting linebacker in football, a hard hitting forward in basketball, and a hard hitting catcher in baseball. Notice anything? Don
played hard. He earned ALLSTATE honors in football and baseball and was team captain for both in his senior year. He went on to the University of San Francisco where his baseball team played on the far west championship team in the college world series. Don has also represented Plainville in a Washington D.C. internship with Senator Weicker and was awarded the Knights of Columbus Squire of the year in 1979 for his community involvement.
Coach Grasso represents the finest in an educator and coach and he shared those talents daily while at PHS. George coached cross country from 1965 to 1976 compiling a record of 127 wins and 12 losses. He coached track in 1966 and 1967 compiling a record of 24 wins and 1 loss. Combined record of 151 wins and 13 loses. He coached with a passion that many have, but only a few can harness and share for the benefit of the team. George also started the first ladies cross country teams and coached a powder-puff football team that beat Southington. He taught with the same passion which earned him the math department chairman duties in 1977 until his retirement in 1999.
Dick was a 1943 graduate of PHS who could be compared to the athletic talents of Forrest Gump, …he was runnin’. Dick was always running and usually without competition. Dick Hill was literally unbeatable in the events in which he competed. He would team with fellow Hall of Famers “Corky Corlette” and Walt Majsak to help win two track State Championships as a team. Dick would compete in up to six events at each meet, and not the events that runners gravitate to. Competitive events included 220 yard dash, 100 yard dash, 200 yard dash, broad jump, and javelin and team relay. In cross country competition, Dick was almost always leading his team to victory. Dick had a scholarship to Duke University, but was unable to accept.
Coach Iorli was a teacher and coach at PHS from 1956 to 1960. Almost too short a period to establish Hall of Fame credentials? Well you decide. During his tenure his track teams were 36 wins 0 losses, won 3 conference titles, 2 State Championships and 1 State runner up. He was also the assistant football coach at PHS. His athletes held a combined five state records as members of his teams and three are already in the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame. Dino moved on to Conard High for ten years as teacher and coach and is now a successful entrepreneur having produced and directed a movie and co-authoring a book on golf.
Bill was a 1962 graduate of PHS. Bill was one of only a handful of student athletes in his day to commitment to only one sport for the entire year. Bill dedicated himself to basketball and became one of the finest players on the Plainville hardwood. Bill established a single season scoring record of 442 points and was a key member of the 1959 and 1961 class B State Champions as well as the 1962 class B runner up team. He was named ALLSTATE in
1962 and went on to play basketball at Providence College. At Providence he played with former Georgetown coach John Thompson and in 1965 made it to the final 8 before losing to Princeton University lead by Bill Bradley.
Albert “BIT” Santucci
“Bit” as he was known during his active sports days, is a member of the PHS class of 1934. He was a star player in football, where he played end until his senior year when he took over the quarterback position, basketball where he was a steady guard, and baseball where he was a slick fielding third baseman. “Bit” was always one to give back to the community where he coached little league, Alumni league baseball and midget football. He also bowled, played golf, tennis and softball and had his own baseball team, the Plainville Maroons in the years before WWII. To this day, “Bit” Santucci cherishes his coaching of the kids as his most rewarding memories of his sports
Hall of Fame Inductees 2006
Lawrence William Biskupiak
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1960. Larry was one of the multi-sport stars who excelled in football and baseball. He was a versatile football player who as a tri-captain with Bob Dalke and Joe Natale excelled splitting time at quarterback, running back, punt
returner, pass receiver and punter. As a senior, Larry lead the team in tackles and also scoring 20 points in one game against Platt High School. Ironically, Larry scored all of Plainville’s points in that victory over Platt. On the baseball field, Larry was a combination of Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench. He batted over .300 during his first three years and as the senior captain, batted .508 and earned ALLSTATE honors. Larry went on to play football in the service and later came back to Plainville where he was a successful coach in Plainville youth
Brian Brooks Graduated from Plainville High School in 1959. Brian was one of the uniquely gifted honor student varsity athletes that is rarely seen. Brian was an exceptionally talented basketball player who co-captained the Blue Devils with John Gacek to the 1959 State Championship. Brian also earned ALLSTATE honors as a guard and was named to the All Tournament team. Never one to seek the spotlight, Brian is considered by his teammates to be “a terrific floor leader” and “the glue that kept those excellent teams together”. “It was a privilege to be on the floor with him” Brian also displayed his athletic prowess in football playing key roles as a kicker, receiver and defensive back for the State Championship football team. He was also known as a talented baseball player specializing in defensive skills. Brian went on to Trinity College where he captained the basketball team.
Coach Bob Freimuth is a highly recognized and respected baseball coach who has guided the Blue Devils since 1985 and is already looking forward to the 2007 season. “Freim” has lead his teams to 349 wins against 141 loses with six appearances in the State Championship game winning 4 times. The Devils were in four consecutive championship games between 1992 and 1995, winning in ’92, ’94 & ’95. They also won in 1999 and were runner up in 1993 and 2001. His teams have won nine conference titles and he has coached 27 players who earned ALLSTATE honors. Bob was named Connecticut High School Association Coach of the Year in 1996 and was nominated by the American Baseball Coaches Association Regional Coach of the year.
Gerry Joseph is the recipient of the Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award. Gerry has been a special supporter of Plainville sports for more than 35 years in various capacities with various groups. Gerry was a Little League coach, umpire and Board Member, later moving up to join the PHS Athletic Backers Club, serving as President from 1988 to 1990. After his retirement in 1993, Gerry became an Associate Scout with the Kansas City Royals from 1994 to 1997. Gerry also worked part time as a paraprofessional at the Middle School of Plainville. Currently, Gerry is the voice of Blue Devil Baseball at Plainville High School home games. It seems like baseball is his passion, but Gerry can be seen at almost any sports venue in town. Just look for the guy with the big smile cheering for everyone and you will find Gerry Joseph.
Lisa Cianchetti Mandeville
Lisa Cianchetti Mandeville Graduated from Plainville High School in 1987. Lisa was a member of the National Honor Society who was an ALLSTATE athlete in two sports and later came back to PHS to lead the Lady Devils to their first ever State Championship in basketball. That sums it up, but there is so much more. Lisa was an ALLSTATE shortstop on the softball field for the Lady Devils. Lisa was multi-talented earning All Conference honors for three consecutive years and playing 1st base for 2 years and blossoming as a senior short stop. Lisa has a career batting average of .384 with 89 hits and 6 home runs. In basketball, Lisa was a three year player who displayed her scoring abilities as senior captain to lead the team while setting the school scoring record of 37 points in a single game and earning ALLSTATE honors. Lisa returned to PHS as the Lady Devils basketball coach leading the team to the 1st ever State Championship in 2001 and has started several recreation programs to develop basketball for younger players.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1984. Rick is one of the few student athletes who according to his coaches, practiced as hard as they played. On the basketball court, Rick made a name for himself as a multi talented player who could play any position during a game. His versatile style helped lead the team into the quarter finals of the state tournament in his senior year. .Rick is remembered by his coach as a fierce competitor who never quit. On the baseball diamond, no one would ever question his desire and ability. Rick was a versatile player who in the words of Hall of Fame coach Ron Jones “As far as I’m concerned with his adaptability, I never had a better player”. Rick twice earned ALLSTATE honors. As a junior outfielder, he was the fleet footed lead off hitter and outfielder. In his senior year, Rick he changed roles to become an ALLSTATE catcher who complimented fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Howes pitching in 14 games while hitting .394 with 5 home runs and 36 RBI.
Daniel Michael Raymond
Daniel Michael Raymond Graduated from Plainville High School in 1982. Dan was an outstanding two sport star in basketball and baseball. On the hardwood for coach Ziogas, Dan was the defensive specialist who used his quickness to shut down the opponents guards as he helped his team to a 22-3 record, NWC championship and the semi-finals in the State Tournament. But Dan shined even brighter on the baseball diamond where as a shortstop, he earned ALLSTATE honors and was the first baseball player from Plainville to earn ALL NEW ENGLAND honors. As team captain in his senior year, Dan batted .445 with a slugging percentage of .837 and had 13 multiple hit games with 8 home runs leading the Devils to the Class M semi finals finishing the season with 19 wins and 2 loses, He went on to play baseball at Northeast Louisiana University and later had professional tryouts with the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2007
Francis James Accousti
Frank graduated from Plainville high School in 1965. Frank was the classic popular, good natured and athletic student that everyone enjoyed being around. He was a multisport star in football (4 years), basketball (3 years) and baseball (4 years). In his senior season, Frank was an ALL STATE captain of the football team, Frank was a "terror for all opponents" according to the New Haven Register. During his senior year, he averaged 6.4 yards per carry and scored 54 points. He was a top receiver and punter and lead the team in tackles. As leader of the defense at linebacker, the team allowed a measly 61 points over 8 games with 5 shutouts. Frank was also an outstanding member of the basketball team as a guard and power hitting 3rd baseman in baseball. Frank was his class vice president and won the William Cassidy award as the Outstanding Athlete of 1965. He was also a Deputy Chief Squire of the Columbian Squires. Later Frank was known for play on the East Street Package Store/Vito's AC softball teams. Frank will be honored posthumously.
Anthony "Tony" Badolato
Tony Badolato is the recipient of the 2007 Sports Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Award. Tony has been a special supporter of Plainville youth sports for more than forty years. A father of 3 girls, Tony never lost his passion for sports and about 45 years ago, he decided to balance his family life with a few local sports programs to help others. Those few programs included coaching midget football, coaching Little League (Cubs), Alumni League baseball, Plainville Park & Recreation Board, Civil Air Patrol, Plainville Fire Department and organizing and running the basketball leagues at Norton Park. In his spare time, Tony refereed football and basketball and was the President of the Central Connecticut Board of Football Officials. Believe it or not, Tony and his wife Catherine would also take special education children on field trips fishing (prior to the insurance requirements) Somehow, he also managed to be a loving husband and father to his family who is here tonight to honor the man who has always found time to be everyone's Distinguished Service Honoree.
George Earl Bartley
George graduated from Plainville High School in 1964. George was a multi-sport star in cross country (4 years) basketball (4 years) and track (4 years). George was a two sport captain who would lead by example. In cross country as a senior captain, he won 6 of the 8 meets he competed in, establishing course record at two competitor's courses. He captained the Class B Indoor Track State Champions personally earning 2nd place in the 1,000 yard run. On the hardwood, George would provide offense in bunches and solid defense as a small forward. As co captain of the track team, he tied the school record in 880 yd. run and set the school record for the triple jump and CVC meet record in the triple jump. George anchored the undefeated 4X880 relay team and also won every conference race that he competed in as a senior trackman. George also won the conference titles in Triple Jump, 880 yard run and 4X880 relay. He was a past President of the PHS Athletic Backers Club.
Jim graduated from Plainville High School in 1967. Jim was a two sport star in cross country (3 years) and track (3 years). Jim epitomizes everything good about hard work and positive results in cross country and track. Jim was cross country captain for two of his three year leading the team always finishing in the top three runners for PHS. In track as a senior, he established STATE records in the 60 yard dash and 100 yard dash and as a long jumper, finished 2nd at the State Open Championships and at the New England Track Championships where he established a PHS school record of 22' 6 ¾ ''in the long jump that remains today, 40 years later. Jim was also an honor student and member of the National Honor Society.
Donald Peter Dalena
"Red" graduated from Plainville High School in 1946. He was a multi-talented star in two sports, football (3 years) and baseball (3 years) who earned the respect of his team mates and coaches for his commitment to the team. Red was the consummate role player in football where he started as a lineman and finished as the wing back in the single wing backfield with Hall of Famers Tony D'Amico, Roger St. Pierre and Bill DeLorenze helping the team to a 7-1 record. Coach Knureck's once said "He didn't run fast but no one could catch him" Red's natural talents in baseball made his most notable successes as a three year varsity centerfielder for the blue devils. His speed coupled with his hitting and game knowledge made him the natural team leader and team Captain. Red was never one to look for personal awards, rather sacrificing himself for the good of the team. Dependability, dedication and leadership and ability are the qualities that make "RED" a true Hall of
Bob graduated from Plainville High School in 1971. Bob was the silent teammate who's efforts in competition spoke volumes to his teammates and the opposition. Bob was a multi-sport star in cross country (4 years), basketball (4 years) and baseball (2 years). As co-captain, he lead the cross country team setting the local course record, finishing 7th in the conference meet, 19th out of 123 runners in the sectionals and 19th in the State meet. Bob really opened eyes on the hardwood where, as co-captain in 1971, he established a school record of 43 points scored in a single game, a record that stands today. He was considered to be a "pure shooter" who could dominate games by his very presence. All of this was before the advent of the three point line. He finished his senior year with 417 points. Bob was also a key contributor on the baseball field as a sure handed 3rd baseman with a steady bat.
Robert "SWEETS" Zdunczyk
Bob graduated from Plainville High School in 1958. Sweets was a three sport athlete who earned ALL STATE honors as captain of the Blue Devil Basketball team. Bob was a forward/center on the hardwood and, was the center point of the beginning of the dominance of Plainville mens basketball during the 1950's and early 1960's. Sweets scored over 860 points and had over 425 rebounds during his PHS career helping his teams to win conference championships and to go deep into the CIAC tournaments. One local paper dubbed Bob "Mr. Basketball" during his years at PHS and he is ranked as one of the greatest basketball players in PHS history. On the baseball diamond Bob was the prototypical power hitting first baseman batting .347 as a senior and leading the Blue Devils in home runs. Bob also was a key member of the track team running middle distance events in between baseball games.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2008
Kevin graduated from Plainville High School in 1981. Kevin was the silent teammate who’s efforts in competition spoke volumes to his teammates and the opposition. Kevin was a multi-sport star in baseball and football. On the football field, Kevin used his speed as a defensive back. Baseball has always been Kevin’s arena to display his skills as a fleet footed outfielder who patrolled center field for the devils and a prolific hitter leading the offensive. Kevin earned ALL STATE honors batting .418 in his senior year. He was recruited to ECSU where he established school records in batting as the only player in school history to have consecutive 60 hit seasons. He is also the only player to total at least 200 hits and 100 walks, twice earning NCAA Division III All- American honors. He was a key member of two Division III College World Series teams and the 1982 Division III National Championship team. Kevin also played two years for the Hyannis Mets in the Cape Cod Baseball League and was inducted in the ECSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
Matt Buckler is the recipient of the 2008 Plainville Sports Hall of Fame John E. Toffolon Memorial Distinguished Service Award. Matt has been a special supporter of Plainville sports and sports throughout the state of Connecticut for more than forty years. Matt is a 1970 PHS graduate who was manager and statistician in football, basketball and baseball for three years for the devils. Matt started writing for the Plainville News, covering Plainville Sports in 1969. Matt was the public address announcer for PHS football from 1971-77 and covered Plainville Midget football during the same period. Matt moved on to cover sports for the Manchester Herald and Bristol Press 1975-78 and moved to the Manchester Journal Inquirer in 1978 covering local sports and is currently the television and radio editor at the Journal Inquirer. Matt served 5 terms as President of the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance and won the Arthur McGinley Award for meritorious service in 2003. He is currently the voice of Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson Speedway and Waterford Speed Bowl and host of NASCAR New England on NESN and TV59.
Greg or “Boxhead” graduated from Plainville High School in 1976. Greg was a multi-sport star in football (4 years) basketball (4 years) and track (4 years). Greg was a two sport captain who would lead by example. He was a tri captain of the football team as a hard nosed running back who would punish defenders with his strength and speed. On the hardwood, Greg used his athleticism to provide offense in bunches and solid defense and as tri captain of the track team, Greg used his strength and speed to be a consummate winner in the 330 yard intermediate hurtles, 220 yard dash, 100 yard dash and as anchor of the 4X110 yard relay team. He was member of the National Honor Society and went on to Dartmouth College where he played football and track, earning the Doten Award as an outstanding football player.
Louis Mandeville Jr.
Lou graduated from Plainville High School in 1985. Lou played baseball at PHS for his four years earning ALL STATE honors in his senior year. He was a member of the undefeated 1983 State Championship team and 1984 State Champions, playing left field. After high school, Lou dedicated himself to Plainville sports. Lou is possibly the most decorated coach in PHS history as an assistant coach for 4 Baseball State Championships and 1 Girls Basketball Championship. Lou was honored as the 1995 CT High School Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year. Lou was also been instrumental in the formation of the JC Courant baseball program and is currently overseeing the Jr. and Sr. American Legion baseball program while coaching the Plainville Sr. team. He has been the voice of PHS football for the past twenty years and is a fixture at most PHS home sports events.
Jim graduated from Plainville High School in 1959. Jim was a two sport athlete who was a member of the 1959 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP basketball team with fellow Hall of Fame members Steve Vargo, John Gacek and Brian Brooks. Jim was a tenacious rebounder and strong defender. On the baseball diamond, Jim was a hard throwing lefty who as ace of the staff had a 6-1 record in his senior season and also contributed with a .375 batting average. Jim went to CCSU where he played basketball and baseball. After graduation he started his 32 year teaching career at Platt HS and finally coming back to PHS in 1966. During his tenure at PHS, Jim demonstrated his diverse coaching skills as an assistant basketball coach under Joe Dehm, head coach of the girls basketball team, assistant baseball coach and head coach for girls softball. He also worked as a supervisor at Norton Park in charge of intramural basketball and baseball programs.
Amy Van Zandt
Amy graduated from Plainville High School in 1989. She gained prominence in swimming during a period of unparalleled success for the girls swim team with a four year dual meet record of 52-5. Amy lost only one event during her four years at PHS. She established five individual records,50 yard Freestyle, 100 yard Freestyle, 100 Yard Butterfly, 100 yard Breaststroke and 200 yard Individual Medley. She was also a member of two relay records in the 200 yard Medley Relay and 400 Yard Freestyle Medley. Amy earned ALL STATE honors four times and was a member of the Class S record setting 400 Yard Freestyle Relay team. Amy also participated in the YMCA national swim meet. Amy established a school record for the discus in track and placed third in the state competition. Amy was a member of the National Honor Society and continued her swimming career at Wesleyan University where she established the team record in the 50 Yard Butterfly.
Peter Van Zandt
Peter graduated from Plainville high School in 1985. Peter was a multi talented athlete who was a member of the PHS golf, soccer, tennis and track teams in addition to his swimming accomplishments. During Peter’s PHS swimming years, the Blue Devils achieved a dual meet record of 56-6. Peter twice earned ALL STATE honors. Peter established four individual school records in the 200 yard freestyle, 500 yard freestyle, 100 yard freestyle and 100 yard backstroke and was a member of two relay records in the 200 yard medley relay and 400 yard freestyle relay. As a senior, he placed 1st in the Class S state meet. The Plainville News characterized Peter as “one of the finest swimmers ever to compete for Plainville High School”. Peter was also the YMCA New England Champion in the 100 yard backstroke in 1984 and 1985. Peter was a member of the National Honor Society and was named a Cornell University National Scholar where he continued his swimming career.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2009
Mel graduated from Plainville High School in 1954. Mel was a three sport standout in football, basketball and baseball who battled through double sessions in school at that time, making Mel's accomplishments even more impressive. He was also a member of the National Honor Society. Mel was a hard nosed back for the football team, but his record breaking efforts were on the hardwood where as a forward, he set the single game scoring record of 40 points in a game, previously held by Hall of Famer Mike Zinkiewicz that held up for more that 20 years until broken by another Hall of Famer Bob Glines in the 70's. Mel was also a fireball throwing pitcher and 3rd baseman in baseball. Mel graduated from Trinity College and later coached football, basketball, track and golf.
John graduated from Plainville High School in 1950. John was a multi sport star for the Blue Devils. He was a member of the 1947 undefeated State Championship football team. He played end on both offense and defense. John was an outstanding all around player excelling as a receiver, blocker and tackler. He was also a talented place kicker, kicking five field goals in a single game. John earned ALL STATE honors in 1949. On the hardwood, John was a dominant center and power forward for the devils leading the team in scoring and rebounding. He was also a stalwart on the track team earning a 5th place finish at the State Indoor Track Meet. John received a football scholarship to attend Loyola University in California.
Bruce graduated from Plainville High School in 1971 where he was class salutatorian and member of the National Honor society. Bruce was a multi-sport star in cross country, basketball and baseball. Bruce was the silent teammate whose leadership and efforts in competition spoke volumes to his teammates and the opposition. He helped elevate the success of the PHS teams that he played on. While Bruce’s statistics were impressive, more importantly, his teams were more successful because of his play.
Bruce was a key runner in cross country contributing to the team’s 3 year record of 29-4. He was the point guard for Joe Dehm’s Blue Devils as a reliable playmaker and scorer who assisted teammate Bob Glines to break the single game scoring record in 1971. On the diamond, Bruce enjoyed some of his greatest personal success batting over .450 and not striking out in both his junior and senior years. He went on to Wesleyan University where he continued his baseball career.
Bob graduated from Plainville High School in 1965. Bob was a multi sport scholar athlete who was a member of the 1964 ALL STATE football team with fellow hall of famer Frank Accousti. He was an imposing tackle for the Blue Devils Class B State Championship team and was considered by coach Charlie Palmer to be “the best tackle we’ve had at Plainville”. Ironically, Bob did not play football as a junior while he concentrated on studies to make the National Honor Society. Bob’s first love was basketball where he was also a standout center and leading rebounder for the Class B finalist team. He also excelled in shot put and javelin for the track team. Bob went on to play football at Tufts University.
Byron J. Treado, III, Founder of the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame
Byron graduated from Plainville High School in 1974 and was a consummate sports enthusiast. He maintains his enthusiasm today as demonstrated with his efforts to support youth sports and as founder and chairman of our Plainville Sports Hall of Fame.
His volunteer efforts for local sports includes12 years in Plainville Little League as a member of the Board of Directors, Manager in minor league and major league (also All Star team manager),1st
T-Ball director for Plainville Little League when program was started in 1997, Softball team manager ( also All Star team
Manager),volunteer to assist fund raising for the A Bartlett Giamatti Regional complex and volunteer to assist fund raising for the new fields at Trumbull Park. He also coached Plainville PAL Basketball for 10 years, Plainville Youth Soccer for 8 years and Plainville Travel Soccer for 3 years.
His involvement with Plainville High School sports and the Plainville High School Athletic Backers Club started in 1996 where he was President for 6 years. His efforts and initiatives include founding the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 with the support of club members Bill Mirante, Tom Susco, Ron Osborne and Bob O’Dea, moving the annual student athlete awards dinner to Aqua Turf Club which was incorporated with the Hall of Fame inductions until 2004, re-instituted seasonal sports banquets at the school, recruited volunteer contractors to build the school sports activity board on East Street, and organized the “Blue Angels” basketball team reunion in 2003 and creating the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame website.
He continues to be an outspoken source of support for many sports programs and today, can be seen at many PHS events and at all PHS softball games watching his daughter
Gene graduated from Plainville High School in 1987. Gene was a 3 sport athlete and considered the epitome of a student athlete. As a student, he excelled in the classroom as the schools Valedictorian with National Honor Society. As an athlete, Gene earned recognition as an ALL STATE athlete in both Football and Swimming and as an All-Conference athlete in Football, Swimming, and Track and Field. Gene was captain of both the Football team, where he played as a linebacker and offensive lineman, and the Track team, where he threw the discus, javelin, and shot put. He was awarded the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Award presented to only 14 athletes throughout the State of Connecticut.
At the University of New Hampshire, Gene captained the indoor and outdoor Track and Field teams and dove for the swimming team. While in college, Gene was selected to the All Eastern Intercollegiate Track and Field Team for the indoor weight throw and outdoor hammer throw.
Gregory Ziogas is in his own class as an educator, coach, athletic director, assistant principal and now principal of PHS. Greg has set a standard for commitment to education and athletics in Plainville that will be the benchmark for others. Greg was a standout athlete in Bristol schools and later playing basketball at Springfield College. Greg came to Plainville as a teacher at Linden Street School in 1970 and became a PHS basketball assistant coach under Pat Riera in 1974. He moved to Plainville Jr. High School and coached soccer and basketball until 1987, stepping down from coaching to support his children’s sports activities. He remained involved with PHS sports as Athletic Director from 1987 to 1998. He made a brief interim coaching appearance in 2004 and served as an assistant principal of PHS from 1993 to 2004 when he became principal of PHS. Greg has been and continues to be a tremendous supporter of PHS sports and is a role model for educators, coaches and student athletes and fans of PHS
Hall of Fame Inductees 2010
Mike Lantiere has received many individual awards because of his involvement in sports, especially Little League Baseball. In 1995 when he was one of the umpires for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Lantiere worked in 20 of the 30 games and was part of the umpiring crew that worked the championship game. And this year he added something new to his resume-he was one of the replay officials at the Little League World Series. Mike is the head umpire of the East Region, which extends from Maine to Maryland. He has won the Little League’s President’s Award for outstanding volunteer. He also has been honored by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association as assistant coach of the ear for his work with the Southington baseball team. He is also a member of the Southington High baseball Hall of fame and received the Good Sport Award form the Connecticut Sports writers Alliance.
Lantiere, however, puts the people he’s met along the way far ahead of the plaques. He started making those friends when he played baseball, football and basketball at PHS playing with Hall of Famers such as Earl Jackson, Bill lasher, John Gacek, Steve Vargo and Rusty camp. Mike played on the 1961 state championship basketball team. He played quarterback on the football team and was a four year letter winner in baseball. Lantiere played shortstop as a senior tri-captain and went the entire season without making an error.
Victor Paradis had it drummed into his head at an early age how difficult it was to be a three sport athlete. “All I heard is that it’s easy to be good in one sport. But it’s challenging to be really good in all three sports”. Paradis pulled it off. He starred in three sports at PHS-football, basketball and baseball-to earn a ticket into the Hall of Fame. As a football player, he played tight end and led the team in catches and receiving yards as a senior. In basketball, he played on Plainville’s Colonial Conference Championship team.
As a back-up during his junior year and was a starter as a senior, averaging 18 points per game. He led the team in field goal percentage (62 percent) and foul shooting percentage (88 percent). His best sport was baseball. He batted .320 as a junior and made the All Conference team. He was even more productive as a senior. He batted .438 with a team leading 23 RBI’s. He was first team All State and first team All Conference and was the starting catcher for the Connecticut All Star game.
Victor went to UCONN on a baseball scholarship and won the starting catching job as a freshman during the fall season. A shoulder injury, however, ended his baseball career. Two years later when the shoulder healed, Paradis changed sports and became a basketball player at Valley Christian College in Pennsylvania, a NAIA school. He set eight records that still stand today and as a senior, was second in the nation in scoring and 11th in rebounding.
He said his experience at PHS was the perfect foundation for success in college. “Plainville sports did nothing but positive things for me, Paradis said. “I took a lot of what I learned and applied it to academics and to business.”
Jim Salomone’s first exposure to PHS athletics came courtesy of his brother John, the captain of the 1960 football team. “He used to bring his football buddies home with him, Salomone said, and they were all heroes to me”. Jim was the quarterback of a football team that won its first eight games, winning the Class B Merit Award, which was the equivalent of a state championship. His most memorable moment took place against Torrington, when he led a dramatic comeback to give Plainville its eighth straight win. The only blemish on that season was a loss to Southington on Thanksgiving Day. He carries that momentum into the basketball season and was the captain and staring guard of a team that advanced to the championship game of the Class B State Tournament before losing to East Catholic of Manchester in the title game, 59-52.
Salomone made All Central Valley Conference team as a senior and in basketball he made All Conference in both junior and senior years. He was also regarded as one of the best foul shooters in school history. Following high school, Jim became a pilot in the Air Force for 12 years.
On land, Sara was just another athlete. But put her in the water and she became a star. She has the accomplishments to prove it becoming one of the most celebrated swimmers in the history of PHS. Not only did she compete for four years, she was All State for those four years and was the MVP of her league, the Connecticut Valley Conference, for four years. In state meet competition, she set the Class S record in the backstroke in 1991 and broke her own mark in 1992, a record that stood for 14 years. She set school records in the 100-yard backstroke, 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and the 200-medley relay. Sara qualified for the state open meet in all four years.
In her senior year, she qualified in the 100-yard backstroke with an All-America time of less than 58 seconds. As a sophomore, she pulled off perhaps one of the most dramatic anchor legs in school history, giving Plainville a win in the 400 freestyle relay and the league title. The crown was significant because Plainville only had 14 swimmers on the team.
Sara was on the all-academic team for four years and was the school’s top student athlete in 1992. She continued her swimming at St Bonaventure University where her team won the Atlantic 10 Title her senior season.
Racking up 21 quarterback sacks in a nine games season is an impressive statistic. Here’s something that makes that stat even more impressive – Michael Debboli accomplished all those sacks as a defensive tackle or nose guard – not the defensive end or outstanding linebacker positions where most sacks come from. Mike was All Central Valley Conference as a sophomore, All Colonial Conference as a junior and All Conference and All State a senior as a football player and the best defensive player on a team that recorded 10 shutouts. His coach, Jim Lynch, called Debboli the best defensive player he ever coached. Debboli averaged 10.5 unassisted tackles a game his senior year and 7 assists. He also sacked the quarterback 21 times, blocked four punts and recovered five fumbles. Mike averaged 2.3 sacks per game, a stat that takes your breath away.
Debboli also was a member of the track team, winning the league title in the shot put. Mike continued his football career as a linebacker at Maine Central Institute and Boston University.
Brian was a key member of Plainville’s 1992 Class L State Championship and No. 1 ranked team in the Hartford Courant state baseball poll. In his sophomore year, he hit .328 with 19 runs batted in. As a junior he batted .333 with 17 RBIs and was one of the toughest players in the NWC to strike out. As a senior, he batted 392 with 17 RBIs and made the Class M All-State Baseball team. Brian achieved All Northwest Conference status for 3 years. He was regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in the state. He played in the coaches’ All-Star game.
Brian was the starting goalkeeper for the Plainville soccer team and was an Honorable mention All State selection his senior year.
He was also a member of the National Honor Society and was a winner of the Nutmeg Games Scholarship Award. Brian continued his baseball career at the University of Hartford.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2011
Plainville High School’s track coach from 1961-64, racking up a record of 48-2 in dual meets while winning three straight league titles, two Class M State titles and four consecutive indoor Class M track titles. His cross country teams were 44-1 and won the Class M State championship in 1962. One of his team members won the New England championship in 1962.
Was a key member of Plainville’s first state championship basketball team in 1958-59.
The Blue Devils won the Class B title thanks in large part to Davis’ long-range shooting, who earned All-State recognition in his senior year. “I was fortunate because I played with John Gacek, Brian Brooks, Steve Vargo and Jim Tufts,” Davis says humbly. “I had a good year. A road win at East Haven, a perennial Class B power in that era, to break their 66-game home winning streak was one of Ted's proudest moments. “I’ve had a lot of them and getting into the Hall of Fame is right up there with them,” he says.
Ted supplied rebounding as well as an uncanny ability to stretch a zone with his great outside shooting.
Davis went on to play two years of basketball during his time in the Air Force. His unit won a Southwest District championship playing against area colleges, army bases and naval stations, but it was the championship season at PHS that will always be his most indelible memory. “It was a great year. I’ll never forget it,” Davis says. “It was a team effort, not about individuals. That’s what I am most proud about.”
Eric Misko can be anointed as the godfather of Plainville High wrestling. During his senior season, he became the first Blue Devil to win three straight Northwest Conference titles, the first to place in a State Open meet, the first to win at a CIAC meet and the first to qualify for the New England championships. He lettered in wrestling all four years, compiling a record of 97-15. He was a two-time state finalist and was team captain as a junior and senior. He was Most Outstanding Wrestler in the Northwest Conference in 1988 and 1990.
An experience late in his sophomore season ignited his love for wrestling when he met a returning state champion from Berlin in an NWC title bout. He was pushed around for most of the first two periods until he used a headlock and throw late in the second to put his foe on the brink of defeat. He couldn’t finish, but re-created his move in the third period to register the upset. “He was squirming and choking and I just squeezed and settled in as he flipped around trying to free himself,” Misko recalls. “He fought and fought, and I feared the period would run out on me again, but I just kept making that headlock tighter and trying to pin his shoulders down. Suddenly the referee hit the mat and called the pin. “I recall running across the mat and jumping into my coaches arms. I was hooked.”
Misko burst into prominence as one of the state’s best wrestlers his senior year by taking the prestigious Bristol Central Invitational by storm. In winning a championship, he was also Most Outstanding Wrestler and won the Fastest Fall Award. Misko earned the Michael Hawksley Memorial Award and was the most outstanding Blue Devil wrestler in 1990.
The Plainville High baseball legacy hadn’t yet reached its golden years when Tom Borio came along and boosted the Blue Devils toward statewide recognition. He played three seasons for Hall of Fame coach Rob Freimuth. “It was fun for me to watch him evolve as a baseball player and as an athlete,” Freimuth says. “He was a big kid physically, but lacked strength. I told him he had to do 100 push-ups at practice and 100 at home each night. “He worked hard to improve his physical condition and turned into a bulldog who loved to compete.”
Borio, a three-time All-Northwest Conference third baseman/pitcher, had 20 hits as a sophomore for a league title team. As a junior when he went 5-2 with a 1.89 ERA. In his senior season, he was 6-3 with a 0.88 ERA, striking out 65 batters in 55 innings.
He was selected to the Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-Star Game and was the recipient of the Tom Gaudette Award as Plainville’s outstanding senior player.
Borio went on to a career at Western Connecticut State University that still lists him among the school’s all-time best pitchers. He went 17-7 with a 4.25 ERA from 1991-95. His winning percentage of .708 is third in school history. His 17 career wins tie him for second. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 1990. “His attitude and work ethic led him to a very successful collegiate career and this led him to being offered a professional contract,” Freimuth says. “He certainly typifies Winston Churchill’s famous quote, ‘The price you pay for excellence is your own sweat.’”
Bill Biskupiak was a three-sport star playing football, basketball and baseball, but his love for baseball stood out. He played shortstop for the venerable and versatile coach Ted Knurek, who called him “the best prospect in five years,” after he rapped out five hits over three preseason games. He was a four-year starter and captained the 1957 squad under first-year coach Robert Proulx. He played semi-pro ball for the New Britain Falcons and was team captain. Bill also starred in basketball, putting in four years as a starter for Plainville and its legendary mentor Pat Riera. He was named the team’s Most Valuable Player as a senior. On the gridiron, Bill played tailback for Knurek over three seasons.
Competing in one varsity sport in college is challenging enough, but Bill played both baseball and basketball for Southern Connecticut State College. He graduated with a degree in Physical Education/Health and Recreation and earned his Master’s from the University of Hartford in elementary education.
When his playing days were over, Bill continued to contribute to local athletics through coaching and officiating. He coached the PHS freshmen basketball team and the junior varsity baseball team as well as Rocky Hill’s varsity baseball in 1980. Bill officiated high school basketball from 1961-90 and slo-pitch softball in Wethersfield from 1963-85.
Amy Bisson Sykes
Vince Lombardi popularized the phrase that winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, but Amy Bisson Sykes is living proof that even the legendary Packers coach wasn’t always right. Amy vividly recalls small victories as a member of the Plainville High soccer team with great pleasure. Her greatest memory from her days as a Blue Devil was “going from an incredibly losing soccer team to making the state tournament my senior year”. “We ended up tying against New Britain to get in. I will never forget that game or that team. We had so much heart. It was fun to play and fun to be around. The girls all hung out outside of soccer. The seniors became big sisters to the younger players. We knew we weren’t going to win the state tournament. We just wanted to make it. We did, and I’ll never forget.”
Amy scored 33 career goals (15 as a senior) and 12 assists over four years of varsity play. She was All-Northwest Conference four times and All-NWC Academic twice.
But it was her prowess in softball that earned her two All-State plaques and a scholarship to American International College in Springfield. She was a catcher in a career that ended with trips to the Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-Star Game and the inaugural game between the best from Connecticut and Massachusetts. Amy played four years of softball at AIC as a catcher and second baseman. As a freshman, her team finished sixth in the nation.
Amy went on to become a legend in the world of women’s professional duckpin bowling. She is the winningest female on the tour and was Bowler of the Year in 2010.
She appears in the independently produced documentary, “Duckpin,” which focuses on the life and history of the sport.
1961 Plainville High State Championship Basketball Team
As the 1960-61 season began to unfold, junior center Earle Jackson wasn’t convinced great results were on the horizon. Bill Lasher, the Blue Devils’ 6-foot-5 junior with a college career at Providence ahead of him, was injured early in the season. Newington and Simsbury appeared the teams to beat. But tenacity and unity joined hands under the guidance of coach Pat Riera. The Devils went 18-6 and went on to sweep away all competition to win the Class B state championship.
“Surprising as it may seem, 1961 was not thought to be a good year prior to the season,” Earle relates. “Bill Lasher was injured early in the season. We had lost at least once to three of the teams predicted to win. There was not an All-State player on that team, yet we won.”
The Devils began the season by dropping a 49-45 verdict to the alumni, games that were often included in teams’ records in those days. After a 12-point loss to James Memorial of Simsbury, the Devils rebounded to win eight straight before losing to Simsbury again.
Among the victories was a rare “sudden death” win over St. Thomas Aquinas when a shot by Hoyt sealed a 52-50 win. “We won using a slowdown game,” Jackson said. “If you look at the scores, we averaged (50.2, to the opponents’ 43.9) per game. It was a very controlled game. Other teams may feel panicked, but we were so well-conditioned that we’d run a play until we found an opening. It may have taken us 30 or 40 seconds. The scores reflect that kind of play.”
Plainville was seeded sixth in the tournament. The first hurdle was Newington, which the Devils had split with during the regular season. Jackson had 20 points to lead Plainville to a 47-33 triumph and a quarterfinal trip to Yale’s Payne Whitney Gym. The Devils stung Abbott Tech of Danbury, 49-31, with Jackson and Lasher combining for 37 points. Plainville lost both games against semifinal foe Simsbury during the Central Valley Conference season but gained revenge when it really counted, 39-35. Teamwork and defense mesmerized Lyman Hall of Wallingford in the final, a 45-36 conquest.
1961 Plainville High State Championship Track Team
Coach Fred Kalbach’s team strung together 27 successive dual-meet victories en route to a Central Valley Conference championship followed by Class B title in both indoor and outdoor competition.
“Plainville had a span of about eight or nine years in track where everybody wanted to knock us off,” Earle Jackson recalls. “We didn’t lose a track meet in any of my three years and I don’t think we lost one for quite a while before I got there. “If you look closely, you might see that Plainville had one of the greatest track traditions in Connecticut that would rank up there with Weaver, Hillhouse and New Britain.
“Plainville dominated the CVC in the mid-60s to mid-70s with more undefeated seasons than any team in the state and maybe in any sport, yet for some reason, the track team has received little recognition.”
Jackson established state records in the high jump, shot put and discus in leading the team to three consecutive state championships. Captain Gary Johnson ran the 100, 220 and was on the relay squad. “The reason I was chosen captain probably had a lot to do with Coach Palmer of the football team,” Johnson said. “I was a running back and as a junior, I tore ligaments in my knee and the coach said I needed to strengthen my legs. He wanted me to be captain so I would lead the team.”
Indoor track meets were limited to only a few each year, generally held at state’s college facilities at Yale, UConn and Fairfield. The team recognizes Kalbach and Dino Iorli (Hall of Fame Class of 2004) as great track coaches.
“Our coaches developed so much talent that they were able to position people like it was a chess game. They were able to put players where they best needed them,” Jackson says. “There were no selfish people. You took the egos out of it and you can get off on an ego trip in track very easily. That’s why we won a lot.”
The team won the Class B title by out pointing New Canaan, 30-28. The 8-0 CVC season was capped by a 62-42 win over Southington.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2012
Brian Biskupiakcould make a fastball sing and put a break on his curve that would make even his cap’s seem marginal.“He was a competitor to the nth degree,” said former Plainville coach Rob Freimuth (Hall of Fame Class of 2006). “He had a bulldog mentality. He had three pitches he could throw for strikes and all you need at the high school level to be successful is two.“He was mature beyond his years and had a great concept how to get people out.” Biskupiak’s concentration and the intimidation factor he had on his success cannot be documented, but he posted a 15-2 lifetime mark for the Blue Devils, his junior year standing out as a lasting signature. He went 8-0 for the season, 3-0 in the Class L tournament without yielding a run. He pitched in 21 of the 28 innings in four tournament wins.In 65 innings, he struck out 79 batters. He also batted .328 and scored 25 runs.He earned All-State honors as a junior and a senior, when he posted a 6-2 mark for the team that lost in the ‘L’ final to South Windsor, 5-4, in extra innings. He hit .333, smacked a pair of home runs and collected 16 RBI.As a sophomore, he earned his first varsity win as a pitcher, but made a larger contribution at the plate, batting .361 with a homer and 16 RBI.
Biskupiak was also adept in the classroom, earning Plainville High’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 1993. He secured a scholarship to the University of Hartford (Class of 1997), where he started in left field and earned the reputation as being one of the Hawks’ most durable players. He was third on the team in hitting (.379) his senior year and made second-team all-conference.He played with fellow Plainville Sports Hall of Famers Brian Edge and Earl Snyder on those Hartford squads. His player profile prior to his senior year billed him as a “smart runner and natural leader.” He was named an America East scholar-athlete after his senior season, and graduated magna cum laude with a major in economics and finance.
Jeffrey Palmer guided the Plainville High football team to two touchdowns in the final 3 minutes, 17 seconds to defeat Southington, 18-14, on Saturday, Nov. 27, 1971, clinching the Blue Devils’ first win over its neighboring nemesis for the first time in 23 years.Southington led 14-6 with 10:23 to go when Palmer steered the Devils 68 yards in 19 plays, a drive that consumed more than seven minutes. It culminated with Palmer pushing into the end zone from a yard out. Palmer connected with Vet Mason Jr. for a 32-yard touchdown with 1:16 left to set off a celebration. Palmer, called “the best quarterback in the state” by his coach Jim Lynch, went 10-for-20 for 124 yards, but his fourth-quarter numbers are more defining: 7-for-10, 113 yards. Jeff was a three-sport, four-year standout with the physical attributes and competitive presence second to none. He was a fiery team leader, exuding confidence and poise in the heat of competition.
Palmer, a three-year varsity starter, also played defensive back. He was quarterback of the Class B-C All-State Team in 1971. He completed 71 passes in 131 attempts for 1,216 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was chosen to play for the East team in the 1972 Nutmeg Bowl. He went on to attend Milford Academy, where his achievements led to his being inducted in the prep school’s hall of fame in June. He earned a scholarship to play at the University of Miami.He was a two-way choice for the 1971 All-Central Valley Conference and quarterback on the All-Hartford Suburban team. He was also a three-year varsity participant as a defensive-minded forward on the basketball team and a catcher for the baseball team, but that grey day in November will always stand as Palmer’s legacy.
The girls swimming records displayed at the Plainville High pool still bear a familiar name from the mid-1990s, familiar enough that she will be inducted into the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame on October 6th as a member of the 2012 class. That name is Mary Boiczyk. She qualified for the State Open to gain All-State honors all four years. She was also an All-State discus thrower as a senior and threw the javelin at an all-Northwest Conference level. She competed in the discus event in the New Englands. She was named captain in both sports.Boiczyk, swim team MVP in 1993 and 1994, set individual records in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. Her talents contributed considerably to records in the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays. The 200-yard medley record still stands 20 years later. Her teams went 45-8.In track and field, Boiczyk was a four-year letter-winner and three time state qualifier. She qualified for the State Open and New Englands as a senior. She earned the Best in Field Award at the Greater Bristol Open in 1995. She set a school record throwing the discus.
In the classroom, she achieved All-Academic Northwest Conference recognition all four years. She was the Athletic Backers’ Outstanding Female Athlete her senior year.Her accomplishments led to achieving Plainville High’s highest honor – the William Cassidy Outstanding Athlete award – in 1995. She also won the Joseph Dehm Physical Education Award.She went on to Springfield College where she competed on the swim team all four years. She was a national qualifier and received All-America Honorable Mention in three of them. She established records in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly, and the 200-yard and 400-yard medley relays.
Never one to put athletics above academics, Boiczyk won the Springfield College Female Scholar-Athlete Award in 1999. After making the Dean’s List all four years, she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in physical education in 1999 and earned a Masters in special education at Southern Connecticut State University. She was the female athlete of the year for her first three years and scholar-athlete of the year as a senior. She was recognized by her professors at Springfield with the Frisbie-Weisbrod Award, emblematic of being among top senior students in physical education, athletic training, health fitness and sport management. As a junior, she was a United States Achievement Academy All-American scholar and professors bestowed the Eric Palmer Award – the most prestigious physical education student – upon her.She is currently a member of the physical education faculty at the United States Coast Guard Academy and is in her 13th year as the assistant swim coach for the women’s team.
The moment on a day in late spring was frozen in time. The year was 1994. The Plainville High baseball team was playing Holy Cross-Waterbury in the Class L championship. Earl Snyder caught a pitch on the sweet spot and sent a towering drive, the like rarely seen, that would become legendary for all who watched it soar. The ball disappeared into the woods well beyond the left field fence at Middletown’s Palmer Field, and it didn’t dribble in. It cut through branches halfway to the top of the majestic evergreens well beyond the fence. It came in the first inning, setting the tone for the Blue Devils’ 10-6 win. Snyder went on to glory at the University of Hartford (1996-98) and in a professional career that included big-league time with the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox.The Devils advanced to state title games for three seasons, winning crowns in 1992 and 1994. In 1993, he batted .361, whacked six homers and drove in 21 runs. As a senior, he hit .378 with five homers and 28 RBI.
Snyder went on to rewrite the University of Hartford record book. He remains first in home runs (53), RBI (173), hits (222), total bases (423) and runs (146). He was second in slugging and third all-time with a .374 batting average. He still shares season records for the most RBI (58 in ’96) and hits (66 in ’96) with Jeff Bagwell and has the highest season slugging percentage in school history (.822 in ’98).Snyder was chosen by the New York Mets in the 36th round of the 1998 amateur draft and assigned to Pittsfield of the Class A (Short-Season Rookie League) New York Penn League. He advanced to the full-season South Atlantic League with Capital City in 1999 (25 doubles, 28 HR, 97 RBI) and to the Mets’ Advanced Class A team in St. Lucie (Florida State League) in 2000 (36 doubles, 25 HR, 93 RBI). He was given the Nelson Doubleday Award emblematic of the team’s most valuable player in both 1999 and 2000. In 2001, he hit .281 with 20 homers and 35 doubles with Binghamton in the Eastern League. He was named EL Player of the Month for June by batting .367 with eight homers and 25 RBI. He played in the Double-A All-Star Game July 11 and hit a home run in the National League’s 8-3 win.By again winning the Doubleday Award, he became the first Mets minor leaguer to win the award for three consecutive seasons.Snyder was sent to the Cleveland Indians in 2001 and made his major league debut on April 28, 2002 and played in 18 games that season.He was selected off waivers by the Boston Red Sox in January 2003, and turned in two strong seasons for the Pawtucket Red Sox. He was named International League Player of the Week on May 3 and chosen as both a midseason and postseason all-star.Snyder earned a promotion to Boston and played in one game – Aug. 18. Earl finished his final campaign (2007) with the White Sox’ Triple-A club in Charlotte.
Jeff Sengle was blessed with an astounding blend of strength and speed to carve out a Hall-of-Fame worthy career as a baseball and football player at Plainville High.On the diamond, no leadoff hitter could possibly wreak more havoc with the opposition’s pitching and defense. His exquisite talents placed him in varsity competition right from the start, enabling him to set a record that can be tied but never broken. Sengle was among three Blue Devils to have played in four state championship games.On the gridiron, he establish a school record in all-purpose yardage (2,803) and to become the Blue Devils’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Johnny Gacek in 1957. Sengle’s legacy should lead off with baseball as he led off so proficiently during an era that validated Plainville High as the seat of one of the sport’s great scholastic dynasties. He scored 42 runs in 88 plate appearances. Early in his junior season when he truly emerged as a superstar, he went 2-for-2, was hit twice by pitches and scored three runs in a win over Naugatuck. He batted .333 with 17 stolen bases as a junior. As a senior co-captain, he hit .340 and stole 25 sacks.Plainville pounded Maloney, 15-3, in the 1995 Class L final, and Sengle played his role exquisitely, drawing three walks, stealing three bases and scoring three runs. The Devils may have not even reached that final if Sengle hadn’t blasted a two-run, eighth-inning homer to sink Jonathan Law, 5-3, and advance Plainville to a quarterfinal game with Watertown. He went on to hit .403 and steal 19 bases for the Plainville American Legion team that summer.
Sengle established himself as one of the school’s great running backs in the fall of his junior year. He scored three touchdowns in the opening day 27-20 win over Notre Dame-Fairfield. He ran for 100 yards on 11 carries in a win over Avon in which he raced for a 63-yard touchdown on the second play of the game. AgainstBullard-Havens Tech of Bridgeport, he scored four touchdowns, amassed 233 all-purpose yards and ran back the second-half kickoff for an 86-yard touchdown.He broke a Plainville season rushing record with 1,010 yards as a senior He ran for 131 yards to help secure a 19-8 victory despite having missed the previous two games. Sengle received an endorsement from a local scout about his potential as a professional baseball player, but went on to play football and baseball at Middlebury (Vt.) College.
Buchanan was a three-sport athlete for the Blue Devils from 1953-57, gaining attention in basketball, baseball and football, but he noted that statistics and team achievements pale in comparison to the lessons in life that team sports and great coaches teach. He selflessly passed what he learned on to the impressionable Plainville athletes who succeeded him. He was a starting guard on the basketball team as a sophomore in 1955. As a junior in 1955-56, he was selected the Most Valuable Player on a winning team that was building toward Plainville’s golden years – the state championships crafted by Riera in 1959 and 1961.Richie was proficient from the foul line. His teammates made note of his leadership capabilities and unanimously elected him captain for his senior year. Richie’s exploits on the hardwood stand foremost in memory. He led the 1956-57 squad in scoring, foul shooting percentage and assists. He broke the school record for field goal percentage.
On the diamond, the southpaw was a starting pitcher and outfielder as a sophomore and junior. As a senior, he batted over .300, but the regret of not qualifying for the state tournament despite posting a winning record is a deep-seated memory. Plainville defeated Southington in the final game, and the Blue Knights went on to state finals.
In football as a senior, he was a two-way starter at end for a team that won the Connecticut Valley Conference championship and went 6-3. Two of the losses were to Bristol (one high school in those days) and Southington, both of which more than doubled PHS in enrollment.The hardships he endured in committing everything he had to his teams went a long way in making the man, who coached PHS sports from 1963-83.
After attending Southern Connecticut State College, Buchanan returned to his roots.He spent 13 seasons as an assistant basketball coach, as the Devils posted winning records across the board. The 1965-66 team went to the state final but lost a 59-52 decision to East Catholic.He served as head soccer coach for the program’s first seven seasons. The Devils qualified for their first tournament and battled defending state champion Guilford on the road but lost in double overtime.“Never was I so proud of a team I coached,” he says. “They were only exposed to soccer for the first time as high school students.” Statistics meant little to Richie Buchanan, especially next to his devotion to the student-athletes of his town.
1983 State Champion Baseball Team
The Blue Devils have won eight state championships and the first came in resounding fashion in 1983.The Blue Devils, under the guidance of head coach Ron Jones, went 23-0 to become the school’s first undefeated team since 1938. They outscored their opposition 194-58 and placed three players on the All-State squad. Plainville defeated Sheehan-Wallingford, 5-1, in the final on June 12 at Southington High School. Plainville had posted some exceptional teams in the first seven years of Jones’ tenure, but none was able to break through to a title. The 1981 season ended at the hands of Sheehan, so the season-ending victory over the Titans two years later was sweet revenge.The Devils burned Farmington (9-4), Watertown (6-4, quarterfinals), Joel Barlow-Redding (7-0, semifinals) along the way.
When the23-game mission was complete, the Plainville program was honored by being selected the top team in District 1 – one geographical region out of eight nationally – by the American Baseball Coaches Federation. Plainville was the lone unbeaten team among the eight.
Jones summed the season up in a quotation borrowed from the late Hal Levy of the Shore Line Times in Guilford, who covered the championship game against Sheehan:“You’re dealing with a 17-year-old mind. If you can control a 17-year-old mind for a length of time, you’re going to make a million dollars and have a best seller.”Whether Jones’ squad was the best in Plainville’s regal baseball history may be subject to debate, but not too much.
1984 State Champion Baseball Team
The expectations for the 1984 Plainville High baseball team were astronomical as they very well should have been. Jeff Howes, the toast of the undefeated 1983 Class M champion team as a leader, a sensational pitcher and timely slugger, returned for his senior year with plenty of support. Rick Ouellette was productive at the plate and in spot duty on the mound. Both were All-Staters as juniors. Four other starters returned.
In an early season National High School Baseball Poll published by Collegiate Baseball magazine, Plainville was positioned where New England teams rarely tread. The Devils were ranked 15th.But expectations have a tendency of weighing heavy on the shoulders of high school athletes. After crushing Middletown and Goodwin Tech to start the season, the Blue Devils lost consecutive games to Naugatuck, ending a 25-game unbeaten skein, and Bristol Eastern. They got back in the win column against Wolcott but lost three straight to Avon, Woodrow Wilson and Wilcox Tech. On May 2, Plainville was 3-5. “It’s the fat-cat syndrome and I’m not happy with it,” head coach Ron Jones told the Plainville News after the Wilson loss. “I was concerned with the attitudes. They didn’t think anyone was going to be able to beat them. You’re not going to win a championship with words. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline.”
On June 12, after a stirring 7-5 win over Berlin in the legendary Class M title game played before about 3,500 at Beehive Field, the Devils had finished 20-5.Starting with a 12-1 win over Farmington after the Wilcox Tech loss, Plainville produced double-digit run totals in 12 of the 17 successive victories, outscoring foes by a jaw-dropping 195-42. The Devils avenged all five losses, completed a three-game sweep of Berlin in the championship and scored less than eight runs only once (4-2 win over Naugatuck on May 24).The Devils collectively batted .320 compared to .167 for the opposition. They outscored them 251-75 and out-hit them 286-151 to secure their position with the finest that Plainville has ever produced.
The championship game was Jones’ last at Plainville. He went 153-40 over his nine-year tenure including 62-7 over the final three.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2013
Robert J. O’Dea, CFSP, CPC is the recipient of the John E. Toffolon Distinguished Service Award. The Plainville Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes Bob for his unselfish dedication and service to athletics and the community. Bob graduated Plainville High School in 1967. He was a member of the CIAC Class M runner up cross country team and was on the basketball and track teams. While attending CCSU, Bob was a volunteer assistant basketball coach at PHS for two years. He has been a high school basketball referee for 43 years and a high school and college soccer referee for 38 years, including several NCAA Division II quarter final games. Bob officiated in the town recreation leagues in both soccer and basketball for many years. He is secretary of the Connecticut Soccer Officials Association and a longtime member of “Timing is Everything” which is a timing and scoring organization that handles those duties at most NCAA member institutions, including UCONN, where he is the official scorer for the men’s and women’s basketball programs. Bob has been a member of the Plainville Fire Department for 43 years, holding the unique distinction of being the only member to serve in every management position. A 1971 CCSU graduate, he is a member of the CCSU Alumni Association Board of Directors and has been a funeral director for more than 40 years, graduating in 1972 from Indiana College of Mortuary Science in Indianapolis, where he was president of his class and fraternity secretary.
Brian Verrastro graduated in 1991 as a 3 sport star with Northwest Conference and All State honors in Swimming for the 4 years during which he competed. He currently holds Plainville High School records in the 50 Meter Free Style and 3 different relay teams. As the team captain his senior year, he led the relay team to a State Championship and was voted Northwest Conference Swimmer of the Year. During his illustrious swimming career Brian only lost 1 individual meet.
In addition to his achievements in the pool, Brian was a Northwest Conference and All State Soccer player who helped lead his team to the Northwest Conference Championship his sophomore year. Brian participated in the Track and Field Sate Open his junior and senior years and was voted to the Northwest Conference Team.
Brian earned a scholarship to swim at The University of Rhode Island, where his career was cut short by a shoulder injury. He is currently the head boys and girls swimming coach at East Hartford High School. During his 15 year coaching tenure at East Hartford, he has guided the Hornets to 10 League Titles, coached more than 40 All-League Swimmers, and 4 All-State Swimmers. Three of his former swimmers are now coaching – 2 on the high school level (South Windsor and Simsbury) and one on the collegiate level (Wesleyan).
Roger Roy was a four-year member of the football, basketball, and track teams. While at PHS, he was a member of 3 State Championship teams. In 1958, as a senior on the football championship team that went 8-1, he played on the offensive line where he was known as a clutch receiver and hard-nosed blocker. In basketball he was a solid rebounder on the 1959 State Championship team and the 1958 Runner-up team. Track, his best sport, is where he excelled. As the captain, his team won the 1959 State Title after finishing 2nd in 1958. During his senior year, he set a school record at PHS in the Pole Vault. When his record was broken in 1972 Roger had the distinct pleasure of being the Head Coach of the track team and the individual who broke the record. During his 6 years of coaching, he influenced the lives of current Hall of Famers Mark Gediman, Bill Petit, Gary and Bob Heslin. In addition to coaching track, Roger was a member of the Football coaching staff during the memorable years of current Hall of Famers Vet Mason and Jeff Palmer.
Roger continued his athletic prowess at the Teachers College of Connecticut where he participated in both Football and Track. Roger truly embraced the Blue Devil culture spending 32 years in the school system where he was head of the Tech Ed Department for 6 years.
Captain Darren Raymond was an All State and 3-time All Northwest Conference in baseball while batting 417 with 5 home runs and 29 RBIs. As a pitcher his senior year, he had a 5-2 record with 70 strike outs when he received the Most Valuable Player Award. As a senior, he was selected All New England, one of only three to be nominated in Plainville History with current Hall of Famers Jeff Howes and brother Dan Raymond. Darren played on TEAM USA in the outfield and batted .450 while competing in Japan and Hawaii. The team’s only loss was to Team Hawaii College All Stars 8-7 in Aloha Stadium.
Mark Newman current Senior VP of the New York Yankees realized the talent and offered Darren a scholarship to play at Old Dominion University where he became a 3-year starter in the outfield. His team-leading 22 steals in 1991 were 2nd in the Colonial Conference and earned him the honor of captain his senior year. ODU was nationally ranked in the top 25 which allowed Darren to participate in the College World Series regionals two of three years.
In Basketball as a captain he averaged 15 points / 13 rebounds / 5 blocks per game while jumping center and playing swing forward. His contributions earned him the Hustle and Determination Award. Darren received the Male Athlete of the Year and the Most Athletic by Plainville Athletic Backers and Coaches.
Rhonda Snyder Wisniewski earned her varsity letter in 3 sports and was captain while participating in soccer, indoor track and softball. She earned All Northwest Conference honors in soccer for 2 years and indoor track for 4 years for the shot put event and as part of the Sprint Medley Relay (SIV1R) team. Rhonda and her teammates qualified for the State Open Indoor Track meet for three years where she earned All-State honors. She was selected for the New England Indoor Track meet where she placed 7th her junior year and 5th during her senior year.
Rhonda also earned All-State and All-Northwest Conference honors in softball. During her final campaign she was selected to participate in the Senior All-Star softball game. She received the Backers Club's Athlete of the Year Award.
Rhonda went on to compete at Lafayette College where she continued developing her skills for the Indoor and Outdoor Track Teams. Rhonda was a field athlete and threw the shot put, indoor weight and hammer. Rhonda's first competitive throw of the hammer broke the 12 year school record by over 20 feet. She was a 3 time NCAA qualifier in the hammer throw and Patriot League Champion in the shot put 4 times, indoor weight throw 2 times and hammer throw 2 times. Rhonda was All-Patriot League in both indoor and outdoor track for four years. She was named Patriot League MVP for indoor and outdoor track two years and was named the ECAC Division 1Track and Field Performer of the Week five times during her four years at Lafayette while placing in the top 3 at the Penn Relays for the hammer throw three times. She won the Hershey Relays four times for the shot put and weight throw. During her collegiate career she was ranked 21st in the world for the hammer throw and was named Patriot League Athlete of the Decade, the Lehigh Valley Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women's Most Outstanding Track and Field Athlete.
Theodore “Ted” Christopher graduated from Plainville High School in 1976. He began his noteworthy racing career shortly after high school and went on to become a nationally recognized racing star successfully competing in every form of motorsports from go-karts to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Among Christopher’s numerous accomplishments were being named the 2001 National NASCAR Weekly Racing Series recipient and winning the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship in 2008. He was the first driver to win SK modified track championships at all three Connecticut NASCAR Whelen All-American series tracks with a total of 14 championships.
Ted has been named one of NASCAR Series All Time Top 50 drivers. In 2008 Stafford Motor Speedway named a section of its grandstand after him in honor of his 100th victory there. Christopher has racked up 42 NASCAR modified touring series wins during his career and more than 100 wins at the Stafford Motor Speedway where he still competes today. Christopher also continues to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Touring Series and several other racing series. Ted was a member of the PHS wrestling team for four years, serving as captain in his senior year.
1937 State Champion Football Team
The inaugural year of the Blue Devils school name was introduced during the most improbable football season. After a 2-6 outing in 1936, PHS welcomed new teachers and coaches Charles “Chuck” Hardy and Ivan Wood to help turn the program around. Not only were they instrumental in selecting the PHS nickname but were able to motive 32 young athletes to achieve the impossible. The 1937 Football Team achieved greatness by winning the Farmington Valley League and State Class C title while producing the only undefeated and unscored upon team in Plainville history. Their 7-0 record was highlighted by scoring 90 points while not allowing any points to be scored. The Farmington Valley League was considered to be strong in 1937 and the Blue Devils were not expected to show much. The season opened at Farmington and fullback Louis Tucker crashed through the line for a touchdown with 3 minutes left. It was all they needed to start this miraculous run. In the second game Simsbury then headed to Plainville and Dick West’s 2 touchdowns secured the victory. The 3rd game of the season was pitted against Berlin who expected to stop the run. However, led by Tucker’s three touchdowns Plainville went on to a 20-0 victory. Mid-way through the season was the annual game against the alumni. This was a classic defensive battle and the only score came on a pass play from Tucker to Alden Doughty for six. The team then traveled to Winsted to face a tough Gilbert team. The scoring opened with a 55-yard pass play to Dick West. Tucker and Dom Forcella added 2 touchdowns each for a 31-0 victory. The team that was expected to be mediocre had now played 5 games, scored 77 points, and allowed none. At this point of the season the state had only 9 unscored upon teams and Plainville led in scoring with Hillhouse next at 76 points. The team was put to the test against Collinsville and only a second quarter passing attack that put Dick West in the end zone for 6 showed any offense on the part of Plainville’s game. The contest from start to finish was a bitter defensive battle. The only remaining challenge was arch rival Southington who was coming into this game outscoring their opponents 129-14. The game would decide the league championship and state C title. On Plainville’s first possession they marched 63 yards capped by a Tucker rush for the touchdown. Early in the 2nd quarter Tucker was injured and was put out of the game, thus immobilizing the offense. The defense with West the leading tackler and Hubert Royce’s booming punts held the ferocious air attack unleashed by Southington. The final stand was in the fourth quarter when the defense held Southington to a “four and out”. At that point the score ended at 7-0 capping the miraculous season of unbeaten and unscored upon as the most successful season in Plainville Football history.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2014
The recipient of the John E. Toffolon Distinguished Award, graduated from Plainville High School in 1964. He played both football and basketball. Mike received the U.S. Marine Corps Hartford County Athletic Accomplishment Award in 1963. Michael excelled as a duckpin bowler as a teenager winning three Class C tournament championships and ultimately turned professional.
Mike served his country as a member of the U.S. Air Force from 1965 to 1969. He graduated from Hartford State Technical College in 1972 where he lettered in basketball and baseball. After graduation he embarked on a long coaching and organizing career. As a member of the Jaycees, he served as president and all the offices leading up to that position and was awarded their highest honor, becoming a U.S. Jaycees Ambassador and Life Member. Mike started a T-ball program and coached Little League baseball and the midget football Giants. He participated in the town softball league and captained the Jaycee softball and basketball teams for more than 10 years, winning state championships with both teams.
He organized the Jaycee Basketball League in 1969 which evolved into the existing PAL league and produced state championships in both programs. Mike was involved, as an organizer, with the recreation department summer basketball league at Norton Park from 1970 to 1980. He is still involved as a supervisor for the recreation department’s men’s basketball league for more than 30 years. From 1984 to 1990 Mike worked with the Little League and Midget football programs in Forestville. Mike has been a self-employed contractor for more than 42 years and remains a devoted volunteer and family man.
Ericka Boiczyk Fangiullo
Graduated from PHS in 1993. She was a member and captain of both the swimming and diving and track and field teams her senior year. As a swimming standout, specializing in breaststroke and IM, she was All NWC and CVSC all 4 years of high school and earned All-State honors her senior year. She was a record holder in the 100 breastroke and 200 Medley Relay (a record which still stands today and is shared by other PHS HOF members Sara Doncert Fern and Mary Boiczyk Westkott). Despite playing softball her freshman year, Ericka switch to track and field where she excelled in the throwing events. Her senior year, she was All NWC in Discus and Javelin, was named Best in Field at the Greater Bristol Open, and earned All-State honors in the discus her senior year. Ericka was named top points scorer for her senior year in track. She excelled at most sports and was awarded both the Female Athlete of the year in 1993 by the Athletic Backers, as well as the Physical Education award her senior year. In addition to her athletic achievements she excelled in the classroom and was All Academic during her 4 years.
Ericka went on to Springfield College and participated both in swimming and diving and track and field. In swimming, she qualified for New England’s 4 years, and was an ECAC qualifier. She was elected team captain her junior and senior years. In track and field, she continued to help the team in the throwing events, giving up javelin after her freshman year for pursuit of the hammer, which besides discus became her best event. Academically, Ericka continued to excel making dean’s list all 4 years, earning the Provost Award and Honor’s Pen for the top two students in her major. She was elected into the education honors society of Kappa Delta Pi. Her excellence and advocacy in physical education lead her to receive the MAHPERD Outstanding Student Major award her senior year and graduated Magnum Cum Laude.
Ericka is currently working at Windsor High School where she has been the head coach of the Girls swimming and diving program where she has amassed over 100 career wins. Ericka has trained numerous athletes, many who have competed at NCAA program and 2 high school All-Americans and 10 All-American considerations. She currently serves as the CCC chair for girls swimming and participated on numerous committees and presented on health and wellness at conferences on both the state and national level.
Joseph “Buddy” Silva
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1973 as a two sport athlete in baseball and football. He is considered as graceful a ball player that has ever donned the PHS uniform. In football he was a starting defensive back on the 1971 Merit Championship Team. Buddy was a member of the infamous “Thanksgiving Day Rivalry Game” and beat Southington in 1971. In 1972 he led all offensive categories on the football field.
In baseball, he lettered and played all four years at the varsity level under then coach Tony Forcella. He was the captain his senior year and earned All-Conference and All-State honors. His senior year he had 36 hits and batted .474 and was considered one of the most feared hitters in the CVC Conference.
After graduating from Plainville High School, Buddy attended Mattatuck Community College where he continued his mastery of the baseball diamond earning All New England and All American status. After 2 years at MCC he then went on to play 2 years at Eastern Connecticut State University under Bill Holowaty, the winningest baseball coach in New England history at all levels. ECSU won 71 games in the two years that Buddy played. He was an excellent defensive outfielder with a .981 put-out average with only 2 errors in 108 chances. He had great speed, stealing 53 bases, while hitting .330 as a senior amassing a career 73 RBIs and 9 HRs. He was First-Team Division III All-New England in 1978 and 3rd Team Division III All-America. He had the honor of patrolling the outfield his senior year with his younger brother Jim another outstanding Plainville athlete.
Graduated Plainville High School in 1962 as a two sport athlete in football and track and field while earning the role of captain of the football team. Bobby was a versatile football player on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. As an offensive lineman he garnished All State honors at a position which only running backs and quarterbacks would appreciate. He was feared by his teammates and opponents alike. His ability to open holes and pave the way for offensive success earned him the Hardest Hitter Award on the team.
Robert also excelled as a member on two Track and Field State Championship teams in 1959 and 1962. He participated in the Half Mile, Broad Jump and Shot Put on these highly successful teams. Academically, Robert served as class officer for his entire school career. He held the position of class vice president for one years and president for two years while also serving on the Student Council for 3 years.
Upon graduation from Plainville High School he attended Central Connecticut State University and received a BS degree in Biology and a MS degree in Biology. He then further pursued his academic dream at the University of Hartford while receiving a degree in Organic Chemistry. Robert is an avid hiker and completed the 100 highest peaks in New England on the Appalachian Mountains Club’s List.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1999 as a three sport athlete in baseball, basketball and football. As a leader, he was captain of all three teams and was selected the Team MVP in football. He was member of the 1999 Baseball State Championship Team under the guidance of legendary coach and current Hall of Fame Bob Freimuth.
But it was football where Niko excelled. He earned All-State and Northwest Conference honorable mention and is in the top 10 of most offensive and defensive categories at PHS. Niko was elected to participate in the Connecticut/Rhode Island Football All Star game and was awarded defensive game MVP.
Upon graduation from PHS he attended Milford Academy to continue honing his football skill which then led him to attend Purdue University. During his time at Purdue, Niko was considered one of the hardest hitters in the Big 10 Conference and was awarded the teams Hammer Award. He was a two time All Big 10 Conference selection and was chosen by the Walter Camp Foundation as the Connecticut Player of the year in 2002.
Due to Niko’s outstanding results at Purdue he was drafted in the 4th round (116th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft by Seattle Seahawks and had a nine year professional career with 4 different organizations. Niko played defense linebacker but was considered a specialist on the Special Team Unit. He had the honor of participating in the post season including 2 Super Bowls.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1990 and was captain of both track and swimming. He was a three sport athlete competing and starring in cross country, swimming, and track and field. Michael was an All-Northwest Conference selection as a 200 Meter champion as well as an All-State selection in track and field both his junior and senior years. However, it was in the pool that he truly left his mark.
As a swimmer, Michael lost only one race throughout his four years career at Plainville High School. During that time he earned All Northwest Conference honors all four years as well as being named Northwest Conference swimmer of the year in 1990. At the state level, Michael earned All-State recognition all four years as well. He was the 1990 Class 'S' State Champion in the 50 Yard Freestyle as well as finishing second in the State Open that year. To this day he still holds the Plainville High School record in the 100 Yard Freestyle and is a member of the record holding 200 Yard Medley Relay, and 400 Yard Freestyle Relay teams.
Is best remembered as the teacher, coach and administrator. Anyone who attended Plainville High School during the 60’s and 70’s will remember Mr. Dehm or Coach Dehm. Joe was part of the teaching staff, became the Department Head for Physical Education and later the Assistant Principal. He coached with legendary and current Hall of Fame Pat Riera for seven years before taking over the program. Joe had big shoes to fill and had many skeptics. Not only did he quiet the skeptics but went on to coach basketball for 10 years with a career record of 120-88 with appearances in 7 CIAC tournaments. He guided the 1964-65 team to the CIAC Class B Runners-up with a 17-6 record. He had the honor of coaching many gifted athletes of which 13 of them are currently in the Hall of Fame.
Joe Dehm was a three sport athlete in baseball, basketball and football at New Britain High School and is considered one of the greatest catchers in school history. In basketball he was instrumental in the team’s success during the 1944 Class A tournament.
Like so many athletes, Dehm’s playing days were put to halt when he served our country in WW II in the Navy. Upon his return, Joe attended Arnold College where he further pursued playing football on the defensive line. He was an avid sportsman and was a local baseball umpire. Joe was inducted into the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. Joe Dehm died in 1988 and is being inducted posthumously.
1971 Class M CIAC Merit Award Champion Football Team
The 1971 Blue Devil football team ended a 23 year jinx by beating “arch rival” Southington 18-14 to end the season with a 8-2 record and the Class M CIAC Merit Award Championship. The team was lead by co captains Vinny Pitts and Jeff Palmer. The team had several individual honorees: ALL STATE – Jeff Palmer and Vet Mason. All CVC Offense- Jeff Palmer and Vet Mason. ALL CVC Defense – Paul St. Pierre and Bobo Spencer. Honorable mention Offense- Vinny Pitts, Paul St. Pierre, John Buckler, John Kavanaugh, Mike Hansen and Bob Moreau. Honorable Mention Defense- Vet Mason, Jeff Palmer, Vinny Pitts, Joe Majsak and Gary Gagnier. Palmer and Mason were also selected to play in the 1972 Nutmeg Bowl game.
The traditional Thanksgiving Day game was postponed due to snow and played at Southington High School on Saturday November 27, 1971 before more than 5,000 fans who witnessed an exciting game that was not decided until Joe Majsak sacked Southington quarterback Dave Greenleaf for a loss as the time ran out to secure the victory. Looking back at the CVC schedule that included Simsbury, Rockville, Middletown, Bloomfield, Woodrow Wilson, Glastonbury, Windsor, Newington and Southington makes one realize that the Blue Devils were always in the role of “David” vs. Goliath, yet the Devils never backed down and always made themselves proud on the way to an 8 -2 record and the CIAC Class M Merit Award (also known as) State Champion. The Hartford Courant summed it up when they said that the longest jinx in state history has come to an end with the Devils victory over Southington, their first since Truman bested Dewey for the Presidency in 1948. Coach Jim Lynch called it the greatest win in Plainville football history. None of the more than 5,000 in attendance nor anyone in Plainville will argue that statement.
Hall of Fame Inductees 2015
John “The Dude” Brundage
Is considered one of the best running backs in Plainville High School Football history, and an extremely versatile Track Athlete who amassed 973 yds. on 164 carries for an average of 6 yards per carry in his senior season . He scored 15 Touchdowns and eight 2 point conversions for a total of 106 points for an offensive that scored 277 total points. The 106 points scored in a season matched fellow Hall of Famer John Gacek in 1958. His versatility was used in the offensive backfield as well as the punter and kicker for the team that went 7-2.
As a member of the 1970 team that still holds four school records and was voted by the Connecticut High School Coaches as Class M Merit Champions. At that time there were no playoff series but, this team could compete with anyone, having played in the Central Valley Conference with many Class AA and Class A schools . John’s breakout game came Oct. 17, 1970 when he rushed for 238 yds on 25 carries, and scored 5 touchdowns in a 32-6 win @ Bloomfield.
A compact 5’9”, 198 lb combination of power,& speed and piston like drive as a running back was unequaled in any era.
John’s track career was a Coach’s dream. He ran the 100 yd dash, 110yd high hurdles, 220 low hurdles, and threw the shot put. Coach George Grasso loved having an athlete so versatile that was so willing to participate in any event necessary to help the team win.
John is retired and has been living with his wife Joanne in Maine for the last 8 yrs with his 2 Newfoundland dogs.
Coach Randy Doucette
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1966 as a two sport athlete in football and baseball. He later returned to Plainville High School and spent 35 years as a Physical Education teacher. It was coaching swimming where he left his mark on Plainville Athletics. Coach Doucette spent 34 years coaching Boys swimming. He is credited for creating both a High School Girls swim team in 1978 and a Middle School swim team in 2001, for which he spent 21 and 14 years coaching, respectively.
Coach Doucette's accomplishments include having won over 300 swim meets in his career as well as a Boys swim team record of 147-47-1 over a fifteen year span from 1973-1988. His teams won 9 League titles and were State Runner-up in 1988.
Coach Doucette is also responsible for having coached 2 All Americans, 27 All-State and 61 All-League swimmers and divers. There are currently 7 of those former athletes in The Plainville Sports Hall of Fame.
On the State level he spent 23 years as a tournament director for the State of Connecticut boys swimming committee, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award in 2007. Coach Doucette also received the C.I.A.C. Connecticut Boys Swimming Coach of the Year in 2008-2009.
As a lifelong Plainville resident grew up learning sports from the town's best. He excelled in football, basketball, and track at Plainville High School in the late 1950's under the tutelage of Hall of Fame Coaches Charles Palmer, Pat Riera and Dino Iorli.
His true dominance was on the gridiron. He was a three year starter at offensive end and defensive linebacker. During his senior year Bob was named captain while leading the team in offensive receptions, was third in scoring and second in defensive tackles. Bob set a school record for offensive receptions in one game with 7 catches. Coach Palmer described him as "a lethal blocker and one of the best tight ends in the state". Bob was elected to and participated in the 1960 Nutmeg State Bowl Game that featured the best high school players in the State of Connecticut.
In basketball under Coach Riera, he was a significant contributor on a dominate team that posted an 18-5 record. He set a school record for field goal percentage during that successful season and led the team in scoring with a 16 point effort during a State Tournament Quarter Final loss to Fitch. Coach Riera described Bob as “dominate offensive threat” on an offensively minded team.
In Track and Field, Bob excelled in the javelin and high jump. Following graduation Bob received a football scholarship to Garden City College in Garden City, Kansas and later served our country in the United States Air Force. Today, he is an avid golfer and remains very competitive in the sport today!
Attended PHS from 1995 to 1999 and proceeded to rewrite the track records. By the time she graduated in 1999, Jill had developed a reputation of being one of the most feared and respected track competitors in the state. During her track career, Jill had been ALL STATE in 11 events, All Conference in 21 events and won New England titles in both the long jump and 55 meter hurdles. She also held 8 school records in track when she graduated PHS. To top it all off, Jill closed out her high school career by winning the girls outdoor heptathlon championship. The heptathlon is a two day competition that consists of 7 events. No small feat.
Local papers wrote “She’s a poster child for “Athlete of the week” recognition for area scholastic sports”. Her track coach Jeff Sorel compares Jill to another Hall of Fame member, Tom Graney as both were great track athletes, undefeated as seniors with school and state records.
Jill epitomized being a scholar athlete playing three sports for all four years earning the title of captain in each sport as a senior while maintaining academic standards that allowed her to attend Sacred Heart University where she continued her track career.
Jill was also a wonderfully talented soccer player who continually stretched the playing field with her speed and endurance as a four year member of the team. Jill earned the respect of her teammates, coaches, school administrators and competition not simply because of her natural talents, but for her hard work to maximize her talents. Jill never took anything for granted and worked hard for all that she has accomplished. And as we all know now, she accomplished more in four years at PHS than most of us will ever witness in a lifetime.
Is considered by some to be Forest Gump before anyone knew about Forest Gump. Jim was a runner from the day he set foot in PHS and never stopped. He may have slowed to a walk on a golf course, but he is still the same energetic person.
Coach Grasso shared that “I can still remember the first time I saw Jimmy run. He took 2 steps when most others only had to take one, but he never stopped and was never intimidated or afraid to go after anyone. He was an outstanding distance runner, one of my best ever, and an absolute pleasure to coach. He wasn’t afraid of any distance or any runner or any course.”
Jim was a four year letterman and star in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track earning the captain’s title in cross country as a senior. “Little” Jim Kaine as he was called by Coach Grasso as a freshman was the #4 man on 11-2 team that was #2 in state. As a sophomore he was 3rd in the conference meet and 5th in class B state meet. Jim was the leader of 11-1 team, finished 16th in state meet as a junior and as a seniorhe was 2nd in CVC meet, 3rd in state meet and 13th in state open.
Jim’s consistency was his trademark in track where he dominated the 2 mile event losing only twice as a senior. He also doubled as a pole vaulter scoring valuable points for his team.
Jim has traded his running shoes for golf shoes and can be found on almost any course in New England, another testament to his dedication to a sport.
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1977 as a three sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball. In conjunction with his Hall of Fame brother Buddy, Jim is considered as graceful a ball player that has ever donned the PHSuniform. In football he was a starting defensive back and running back and a point guard on the Basketball team. However it was baseball where Jim truly excelled.
In baseball,he started and earned a letter all four years at the varsity level under Coach Ron Jones. He was the captain his senior year and earned All-Conference and All-State honors. In his senior year he had batted .405 and led the team with 30 hit, 31 runs scored and 20 stolen bases. Jim was considered one of the most feared hitters and base runners in the Colonial Conference.
After graduating from Plainville High School,Jim attended Eastern Connecticut State University where he continued his mastery of the baseball diamond under Bill Holowaty, the winningest baseball coach in New England history at all levels. Jim parlayed the rare combination of speed and power into a four-year baseball career which netted him the New England Division III career record for hits and culminated in first-team NCAA Division III All-America honors in his senior season. Jim was a four-year starter in center field and a member of four NCAA Division III tournament qualifier teams.
During a 176-game career which produced a .323 average, Silva amassed program records of 223 hits, 67 stolen bases, 159 runs, 691 at-bats and tied the record for games played. Through 1998, Silva’s program records for hits and at-bats have not been equaled, while his New England record for hits stood through 1992. Jim became the program’s third 1st team All-America selection in 1981. This versatile 5-foot-10 inch, 160-pound right-hand hitter batted a career-high .337 while leading the team with 20 stolen bases and sharing the team lead with nine home runs.
In 1978, the Silva brothers constituted two-thirds of the team’s starting outfield, with older brother Buddy alongside Jim in left field. Today, that brother combination remains the only All-America combination in program history and is now both in the Hall of Fame. After his illustrious career at ECSU, Jim played for the New York Yankees Gulf Coast team in 1982.
Ronald J. Serakas
Graduated from Plainville High School in 1966 after a very successful athletic career. He excelled as a football lineman, culminating with an All-State selection in 1965. Ron was very successful as a track and field competitor and served as a co-captain of the track team. He also competed with basketball program for a year. After graduating from Plainville High, Ron attended Kings Point Military Academy on a football scholarship and graduated with a Marine Engineering Degree. He sailed the globe after college in conjunction with his training. Ron entered the food service industry becoming involved with a wine and cheese restaurant as well as other restaurant ventures in the New York City area. He has been in Floridafor more than 20 years working in the banking industry.