Hall of Fame Inductees 2014

Michael Bakaysa
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.

Robert Morgan
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.

Niko Koutouvides
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.

Michael Verrastro
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.

Joe Dehm
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.