Class of 2015

Meet the innaugural Class

Arthur “Babe” Allen

Bulkeley High School Coach

Babe Allen began his coaching career at Bulkeley High School in 1926. He was at the helm of every football squad to don the coveted Maroon and White colors for the next 32 years. Mr. Allen coached football, basketball and baseball, he was well respected and adored for his leadership and mentoring abilities.

Statistics:
    • Basketball won & loss record: 220-W, 144-L
    • Baseball won & loss record: 201-W, 144-L
    • Football won & loss record: 110-W, 98-L, 19-ties
    • Total Career Wins: 531
    • Total Career Losses: 386
    • Total Career Ties: 19

Louis J. "lou" Bazzano

Bulkeley High School Coach

Lou Bazzano started coaching 1951 in Plymouth, New Hampshire where he coached football, basketball and baseball. In 1951 he coached the football team to the Class S State Championship. In 1951 he coached an undefeated basketball team. In 1951-52 he won the Baseball Conference League two years in a row with an overall record of 35-6. Lou started coaching at Bulkeley High School in 1953. His overall record from 1953 to 1966 was 202-86 and his teams won 40 consecutive games in the old Bulkeley High School on Maple Avenue, over 113 games and only lost 4 home games.

Significant Accomplishments:
    • 1967 UNICO National Special Athletic Award
    • 1977-79 CAHPERD President
    • 1989 CHSC Hall of Fame
    • 1991-92 Athletic Director Hall of Fame
    • 1996 New Britain Hall of Fame
    • 1997 Gold Key Award from The Sports Writers of Connecticut
    • 2006 Inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame

Morgan Gardner Bulkeley

Morgan Gardner Bulkeley was born in East Haddam, CT to a distinguished family who traced their roots to the first European settlers who came to New England. His father was a descendant of the Rev. Peter Bulkeley, who founded Concord, MA. He sailed from England on the Susan & Ellen in May 1635. Bulkeley’s mother, Lydia Smith Morgan, was a descendant of the first settlers who came on the Mayflower.

Mr. Bulkeley was educated at Bacon Academy in Colchester, as had been his father and cousins. In 1846 the Bulkeley family moved to Hartford. The family patriarch, Eliphalet Adams Bulkeley, became a prominent member of the Connecticut Republican Party, helped found the Aetna Life Insurance Company, and was appointed its first president in 1853.

Morgan Gardner Bulkeley attended Hartford Public High School and began working at Aetna at age fourteen, sweeping floors along with his brother Charles for one dollar a day. In 1852 Bulkeley moved to Brooklyn, New York to work at his uncle’s company, the H.P. Morgan & Company, as an errand boy. Eventually, he became a salesman. He left his uncle’s company to enlist in the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. When the war ended, Bulkeley returned to Morgan & Company. 

In 1872 Eliphalet Bulkeley passed away, and Morgan returned to Hartford. He was instrumental in founding the United States Bank of Hartford and became its first president. He went on to become president of his family’s company, the Aetna, and later served on the board of directors.

In the early days of professional baseball, Mr. Bulkeley formed the Hartford Dark Blues of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players. Hartford was one of the charter members, and Mr. Bulkeley was appointed as the league’s first president. In his one season as president, Morgan Gardner Bulkeley tackled illegal gambling, drinking, and fan rowdiness. In 1937, fifteen years after his death, Mr. Bulkeley was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Morgan Gardner Bulkeley distinguished himself in many areas. He served as Mayor of Hartford, United States Senator from Connecticut, and Governor of Connecticut. He was a tireless advocate of equal rights for all and a man of integrity and honor. In 1922 the New York Herald said of our school’s namesake; “Bulkeley type men know their strengths, know their ambitions, know what they want, and go out and get it.”

Morgan Bulkeley
Bulkeley Morgan Plaque

Edward "Big Ed" Cafegan

Class of 1955

Three sport letter winner in football, indoor track and baseball 1952 –1955. In 1954, Ed was co-captain of the football team, All District on offense and defense, and was also All State in football. Ed led the district in home runs in 1955 and was the leading hitter in the district, having the highest batting average. Ed was awarded an athletic scholarship to Michigan State University in 1955. He was a member of the Michigan State football team 1955-56, however Ed’s football career soon ended due to an injury. Ed married Barbara L Heureux in 1958 and they were blessed with three children. He was employed by the CT Department of Highway Division of Traffic in 1958, and retired in 1992 as a Senior Traffic Engineer.

Joseph "Big Bad Wolf" Cottone

Joe Cottone was called the “Big Bad Wolf” because “no one could tackle him.” Joe graduated in the class of 1934. He won the Gold Football in the city championship game in 1933. He was a three sport letter winner in football, basketball, and baseball. He was All State in football in 1934. Joe attended Dean Academy in Massachusetts and graduated from Dartmouth College. Joe threw right handed and punted left footed, while lettering in three sports in college. Joe coached the Wethersfield High School football team, leading them to anundefeated season in 1962. It was during this season that Joe’s son Marc played quarterback. Joe won four CCIL titles in football, compiled a .774 win percentage. Joe taught football “as the game of life: if you get knocked down you get back up and never give up.” Joe Cottone was a man of integrity, dedication, hard work, sportsmanship, and a pure gentleman. He was a great coach and will always be remembered as not only a great coach, but a great man. In 1974, forty years after Joe graduated, Babe Allen said Joe Cottone was, “The most natural athlete he ever coached.”

Quote: From 1934 Class book “A speck a mist, a shape, I wist and still it neared and neared as it dodged a water sprite in plunged and tacked and veered.” (Colleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner)

Peter C. "Doc" Dengenis

Class of 1960

Bulkeley High School 1958-1960 Football award; First team all conference 1959; Captain 1959; Best blocker 1959; Lineman of the week; Bulkeley 16-East Hartford 14; Bulkeley 40-Wilbur Cross 16; Varsity letters 1958 & 1959; Nutmeg bowl Connecticut East-West High school all star game 1960; Captain, started on offense and defense; Linfield College 1963 NAJIA Student Athlete award; 1963 Latourette Scholarship for Outstanding Social Science student; Four year Letterman starter; Best defensive player 1962 & 1963; Most tackles 1962 & 1963; Team captain 1963; Most inspirational 1963; First team UPI Little All Coast 1962 & 1963; First team AP Little All Coast 1963; Third team UPI All Coast (included major colleges) 1963; Oregon Journal Pacific Northwest Conference Lineman of the Week vs. Lewis & Clark 1962 and Oregon College of Education 1963; NAIA District 2 Student Athlete award 1963; Oregon Journal First team Northwest conference all star 1962 &1963; Oregon Education association lifetime achievement award.

Peter was inducted into Post Linfield NAIA District 2 Hall of Fame in 1987; Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame 2000; 1961 Camelia Bowl team; Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame 2005; Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame Executive board.

Peter was the creator, designer and chief fundraiser for the Durham Monument Project at Linfield, he initiated the Peter C. Dengenis endowed Linfield College Football Fund, he was the owner of four U.S. Government copyrights and wrote and self published four books.

Felix "The Cat" Karsky

Class of 1951

Felix was a three sport athlete at Bulkeley High School in football, basketball, and track. Felix was a member of the National Honor Society and he was a New Haven Register All State, First Team selection in 1950 for his outstanding defensive end play on an undefeated team. He was All Conference and also a Co Captain on the undefeated football team. One member of the 1950 undefeated football team said Felix helped beat New Britain on Turkey Day, on “One Leg” as he had a serious thigh injury, but played an outstanding game. Felix was team captain in basketball and track. He received the “Casey Award” and attended Trinity College where he excelled in football. Felix was selected for the All Conn College “54” team and the All N.E. Team in “55” where Trinity was undefeated. Felix was an honor student, scholar athlete, coach, teacher, and the faculty “coaches” manager of athletics. When Felix retired he was asked, “How did you know it was time to retire?” Felix said, “When I started teaching my students’ children.”

Edward "Chopper" Korisky

Class of 1936

High School All State Football 1936; High School All Conference 1936. Ed played two sports, football and track, lettered in both, and in total received 6 varsity letters. In Ed’s junior year in track, he established the city record in the javelin throw with a distance of 163 feet. Ed received the gold football award in his junior and senior years for the outstanding player in the city series. Ed was the captain of the football team senior year, was an all city center in 1936 and won the Gold Wing Football in his senior year. His classmates said, “Chop is not only a stellar athlete but a fine fellow as well.” Ed attended Villanova University and received All American Honors as an outstanding center. Ed returned to coach and teach at Bulkeley High School for over 30 years and helped coach the 1950 team with Babe Allen to an undefeated season. Ed’s greatest moment in coaching was defeating New Britain High School, 1958.

Barry "Legs" Leghorn

Class of 1960

Barry was an outstanding player for Lou Bazzano from 1958-1960. In 1958, Barry played on the same team with the great Carmen Perrone. In 1959 Barry scored 69 points in three games helping to get Bulkeley to the semifinals of the State Tournament, and Barry was rewarded by being selected to the All-Tournament Team. In 1960, Barry was named to the All-State First Team by the New Haven Register for large schools in Connecticut. He was named to the First All-CDC Team, was the Most Valuable Player on the 1960 team, as well as the Best Rebounder and Best Foul Shooter, shooting 83%. He averaged 23 points per game in 1960 and shot 48% from the field. Barry tied the school scoring record against East Hartford by scoring 41 points. Barry made 28 consecutive foul shots in a row during game conditions. Barry Leghorn was an outstanding basketball player at Bulkeley High School. Barry went on to Trinity College where he broke the single season scoring record and was named the Most Valuable Player in 1962. In 1963 he won the Best Foul Shooter Award, and in 1964 he again earned an MVP award and was the first player to score more than 1000 points in a career. In December of 1981 Barry was inducted into the Trinity College Basketball Hall of Fame and to top off his life-long journey in basketball, Barry was inducted into the 2015 New England Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2015 Barry has come full circle in his basketball career by being inducted into the Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Charles D. "Choo Choo" Mazurek

Class of 1950

Under Charles’ picture in the 1950 year book, it reads that he did not have any demerits, that he had an infectious smile, and was a “Great Athlete.” Charles played three sports for Bulkeley High School: football, basketball, and baseball. He was voted All State in 1949 & 1950 in basketball by the New Haven Register. This accomplishment was particularly honorable because during these times it was rare to be chosen by a down-state newspaper. Charles is the only athlete in Bulkeley High history to be First Team All State two consecutive years in the same sport. Charles scored 237 points in his junior season and 250 points in his senior season. He was also selected to the All Conference Team for two consecutive years. Charles was selected to the All City Basketball Team in 1949 and 1950. He was an outstanding pitcher for Babe Allen for three years. Charles attended Trinity College and played three sports in college, graduating in 1954. Charles retired after working as CEO of the CM Plastics Company. 

Frank P. Mirabello

Class of 1952

In 1950, Frank played on the only undefeated football team in the history of Bulkeley High School. During Frank’s junior year he scored 16 touchdowns to help bring the football team to the first undefeated season in 90 years. Members of the 1950 team said, “If it was not for Frank Mirabello we would not have gone undefeated.” While at BHS, Frank played three years as a starting halfback. In Frank’s junior year he missed being All State in football by one vote. In 1951, Frank was first team All State in football, scoring 18 touchdowns in his senior season. Frank also was Capital All District for three consecutive years, from 1949-1951. Frank played a significant role in BHS’ first win, in over 20 years, against their rival New Britain in the traditional Turkey Day Game at New Britain. It was written in the sports column by Jeff Jacobs that Frank Mirabello was “one of the best halfbacks in the state of Connecticut.” Frank earned a football scholarship to the University of Connecticut, but due to an injury he was not able to continue playing football.

Joseph T. Meucci

Class of 1957

Joe Meucci was one of the top premier running backs to play football for Bulkeley High School in the 1950’s. Joe played three years for Babe Allen in football and baseball, and received three varsity letters in both of those sports. In 1954, Joe was selected by the Hartford Courant for the All District Team Honorable Mention as a sophomore in the End position. In 1955, as a junior, he was selected to the Hartford Courant All District 1st Team as a running back and in 1956 he was All District 1st Team running back again. Joe was captain of the 1956 football team in his senior year. Joe attended and graduated from AIC (American International College) with a BA degree. Joe was a three-year starter in football and two years in baseball. Joe was captain of the football and baseball teams at AIC. Joe was voted football’s Most Valuable Player in his senior year at AIC. In his community, he served on the Board of Directors for the Newington Pop Warner Football League, the Newington Baseball Association, and coached various youth sports in the town of Newington. Joseph was inducted into the Hartford Twilight Baseball Hall of Fame.

Joseph P. Mozzicato

Class of 1954

Joe played football and basketball for Bulkeley High School. Joe was selected to the New Haven Register All State Football team and also selected to the All District Teams on Offense and Defense, 1954. He earned three varsity letters in football and basketball. Joe was elected captain of the football team in his senior year. Joe was nominated to the Honorable Mention High School All American Football team,1954. Joe had a career total 580 rebounds in basketball. After high school, Joe was called “The Mayor of the South End.” There is a story told about “Joe Moz” by the elder Sstatesmen who congregate at Goodwin Park Golf Course; Joe was asked to play golf with one of the local golfers and Joe said “I do not play golf.” After much convincing, Joe gives in and plays with them and at the end of 18 holes he shoots a score in the 80’s. This was the first time Joe ever played golf. It is said Joe Moz was a “Natural Athlete.” “Big in stature, big in nature… Mischievous… Always finds something to laugh about… An outstanding star in both football and basketball… A geat guy as well as a great athlete.”

Carmen Vincent "Our Shooting Star" Perrone

Class of 1958

Carmen had the most perfect jump shot ever to be seen at Bulkeley High School, or for that matter, in the state of Connecticut. Carmen played basketball for Lou Bazzano from 1956 –1958 and was awarded three varsity letters. In 1957, Carmen, a junior, was named to the second team Capital Conference (CDC) and selected to the Class A All Tournament Team. In 1958, Carmen broke the single game scoring record with 41 points on his home court. Carmen was then named to the All CDC First Team and he also set the all time scoring record for the CIAC State Tournament with 36 points. Carmen was on the New Haven Register’s First Team All State in 1958 and was selected the captain of the 1958 All State “Quintet.” Carmen scored a career total of 911 points and he also scored the most points in a single season with 511. Carmen broke the All CDC scoring record for one season with 527 points. Carmen was named to the All New England Tournament Team in 1958. Carmen was the best rebounder in 57-58 season with 315 rebounds for the season. Carmen, at graduation, was awarded the distinguished Joseph T Casey Athletic Medal, “Awarded to a boy in the graduating class who has distinguished himself for clean sportsmanship and gentlemanly behavior, not only on the athletic field but in the classroom and school corridor as well.”

Robert G. "Ruff" Raffalo, Sr.

Class of 1960

Bob was a steady, reliable running halfback. He helped his team senior year to go 7-1. Bob was referred to by the sports writers as “the mity might.”

HIGH SCHOOL HONORS:

Awarded nine varsity letters at Bulkeley High School; Baseball undefeated pitcher senior year, 8-0; won 8 of the 12 games played in 1960; Overall pitching career record 12-2; Co-Captain baseball team 1960; Hartford Courant All State pitcher 1960 by Pat Bolduc, Hartford Courant; Captain of the swimming team 1960; CIAC Connecticut Diving Championships 1960 2nd place; New England Diving Championships 1960 placed 3rd among 6 states;

COLLEGE HONORS:

Bob played two sports Linfield College, baseball and swimming.

Baseball

1962 First Team All-Conference; 1963 First Team All-Conference; 1964 Honorable Mention All-Conference; 1965 First Team All-Conference; 1965 Most Improved Award; 1965 Offered tryout with St. Louis Cardinals.

Swimming (diver)

1965 Captain; 1961-65 First Team All-Conference 4 years; 1961-65 All-Conference League Champion 4 years; 1961-65 Linfield Invitational Champion 4 years; 1961-65 NAIA District II Champion Diver 4 years; 1961-65 First Place NAIA District II All-Star 4 years; Undefeated Diver Northwest Conference 3 years; Undefeated NAIA District II four years; First Linfield Swimmer to be Invited to the NAIA National Diving Championships; lost only two Diving meets in four years

2011 Inducted into the Linfield College Hall of Fame as an Athlete.

Gene "Riles" Reilly

Class of 1962

Gene Reilly is considered one of the greatest basketball players and athletes to graduate from Bulkeley High School. Gene played three years of basketball for Coach Lou Bazzano.

Honors: Bulkeley High School 1962 All State First Team; 1962 All New England; All American Central Connecticut basketball 1966; Holds the record for the most consecutive foul shots (30) in the CIAC tournament and led nation in free throws, 181 out of 211, and scored 1,598 career points.

Gene played three years of baseball for Coach Babe Allen as a pitcher. He was named All American Central Connecticut baseball 1966 and he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants.

Gene was inducted into the New England basketball Hall of Fame, the Central Connecticut Hall of Fame, the Connecticut High School Coaches Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Twilight League Hall of Fame Gold Key in 2007. Gene also won class S State Championship as coach at Portland High School 1982 and 1988.

A Tribute to

Gene Reilly

by Jim Johnson

*Dedicated posthumously to Gene Reilly Class of 1962

Bulkeley High School located at 300 Wethersfield Ave, in Hartford, Connecticut is named after Morgan Gardner Bulkeley.  He was President of Aetna Insurance Company, Mayor of Hartford, Governor of Connecticut and a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The original BHS on Maple Avenue opened in 1926 with school colors of Maroon and White and the mascot is the Bulldog.

Gene Reilly
Gene Reilly

The new Bulkeley H. S. that opened in 1975 is a larger and modern building.   Bulkeley offers a complete college preparatory program, advanced placement classes and courses in the arts, music and vocational education. This story is about one of the most prolific Bulldogs in Bulkeley history.  If you were at a basketball game at BHS in the academic years of 1960 -1962, you would have seen a 5’10” player who performed tenacious defense.  He could also put the ball in the basket with a dazzling array of shots.  It did not pay to foul him because in one period he converted 30 consecutive foul shots.  Some of you at this point are guessing the name of the player is Jim Belifiore.  An excellent choice, but you are wrong.  Enter Eugene Reilly in 1962, First Team Connecticut All-State, First Team All-New England, First Team Capital District Conference (CDC) and First Team All-Tournament.

Gene Reilly with team
Gene Reilly, Captain of the 1962 Basketball team, considered to be one of the best ever at Bulkeley High School

The 1962 Bulkeley basketball team is considered one of the best teams ever.  They were led by Gene Reilly, 16.4 ppg., Jim Belifiore, 16.2 ppg. and point guard Joe Hourihan.  Hourihan a three sport star (basketball, baseball & football) who graduated academically third in his class is awarded the prestigious Casey Athletic Medal as the outstanding senior athlete. Today Joe Hourihan is a consummate trial lawyer and partner with the law firm of Kenny, Brimmer & Mahoney LLC based in Wethersfield, CT. The legendary Lou Bazzano coached this team.  Gene is remembered for his leadership qualities, bloodhound defense together with his scoring ability.  

I suspect that Gene’s older brother Richard Reilly, a member of the 1954 Weaver H. S. Connecticut Champion instructed Gene on the fundamentals of basketball.  Richard Reilly is on the back row extreme left on the picture below.

1954 Weaver H. S. City and State Champion

Dick Reilly and 1954 Weaver Basketball Team
Dick Reilly, and the 1954 Weaver Basketball Team

Get this: Joe Reilly, Gene’s brother earned four letters in basketball at Bulkeley from 1953-1957. Richard Reilly was a member and letter winner on the 1954 Weaver state championship team.  If you are confused, the answer is that in 1953 the Reilly family moved from the Weaver School District to the Bulkeley School District. Their mother permitted Richard to finish his career at Weaver. When Bulkeley played Weaver, Mrs. Reilly would sit on the Weaver side of the court for one-half of the game and then on the Bulkeley side for the other half of the game.

BASKETBALL TEAM

In the1961-1962 regular season, Bulkeley played Hartford Public H. S. twice with its High School All-America player Ed Griffin and lost. In the finals of the Connecticut State Tournament, they met again and Bulkeley lost.  Since Connecticut sends the state champion and runner-up to Boston to compete in the famed, New England Tournament, Bulkeley and HPHS met in the final game.  Again, HPHS prevailed as New England Champions.  Bulkeley lost four games in 1961-1962 season and all to HPHS.  Gene Reilly and Ed Griffin are forever linked.

Gene Reilly at Boston Garden

Gene Reilly at Boston Garden
Gene Reilly at the Boston Garden

After 1962, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), the governing body for all sports decided not to participate in the New England Tournament. The genesis of this decision began in 1958 when Wilber Cross played Somerville, Massachusetts for the New England Championship and a brawl broke out. Wilbur Cross, the New England Champs had to be police escorted out of the Boston Garden. This team was led by Dom Perno, Dom Ferrara and Bill Hulteen and coached by legendary Sal Verderame.

In the fall of 1962, Gene Reilly entered as a student Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut.  His basketball coach is the legendary “Mr. Blue Devil”, Bill Detrick.  In fact, Detrick is so well respected that the gymnasium is named in his honor.  As an interesting aside, Bill Detrick was a basketball player at Central Connecticut in the 1940’s along with Ed Rosmarin one of my coaches at Conard H. S.  According to my records, Gene is the first bona fide All-State player at Central Connecticut and greatly enhanced the basketball program. There is no need to set out what Gene established as a player under Bill Detrick because you know they are numerous.  What is important is that Gene Reilly and Coach Bill Detrick together set the stage for future long time coach Howie Dickenman, Jr. and current head coach former NBA player Donyell Marshall.

PORTLAND H. S.

          The Mission Statement of Portland Public Schools, in relevant part, provides:

”The educational philosophy of the Portland Public Schools is based on the concept of a democratic society that recognizes and promotes the dignity and worth of the individual and seeks to provide equal opportunity for each student to realize his or her fullest potential for academic and personal achievement.”

Portland H. S. is so progressive under its leader, Principal Kathryn Lawson that in 2017-18, the Board of Education approved the course, Law and Society. This course provides students with basic, practical knowledge of the law that can be used in everyday life. The course includes criminal, consumer, environmental and individual rights law.

The next stop for Gene is Portland High School as the basketball coach where he produced many outstanding players and productive citizens.  At Portland Gene’s teams were State Champions in 1982 and 1988.  Keep in mind that Gene’s primary responsibility is to teach and prepare young people for adulthood.  And, that is exactly what he was doing at Portland High School in a team huddle or in the classroom. The following, in essence, is one of the verses, for all intents and purposes, that Gene instilled in his students:

DON’T’ QUIT

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must—but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow—-
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup.

And learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

                                                      John Greenleaf Whittier

In 2015, some of the notable inductees of the Inaugural Class of the Bulkeley H. S. Hall of Fame are Morgan G. Bulkeley, Charles Mazurek, Lou Bazzano, Carmen Perrone, Barry Leghorn, Robert Raffalo (Chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee) and Gene Reilly.  For you hip-hop generation readers, take my word for it these players are paragons of the hardwood and the football field.

          Some of the accolades bestowed upon Gene Reilly are induction into the New England Hall of Fame, Central Conn. State Univ. Hall of Fame and the Connecticut H. S. Coaches Hall of Fame.  However, this is not the true measure of this man.  The following is how to measure Gene Reilly:

THE MEASURE OF A MAN

Not —“How did he die?”  But—“How did he live?”
Not—“What did he gain?” But—“What did he give?”
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not—“What was his station?”  But—“Had he a heart?”
And—“How did he play his God-given part?
Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?”

Not—“What was his church?”  Nor—“What was his creed?”
But—“Had he befriended those really in need?”
Not—“What did the sketch in the newspaper say?”
But—“How many were sorry when he passed away?”

Summer Sandercox

There is much more to tell about Gene Reilly, like his baseball acumen as a pitcher that got the attention of Major League Baseball.  Space constraints preclude me from setting it all out.  For those of you who were born too late to meet or see Gene Reilly perform, take my word for it – you missed something big and important.

CONCLUSION

When the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, he will not write if you won or lost, but how you played the Game – true to form and substance, this is Gene Reilly.

*This is to acknowledge and thank Bob Raffalo, Chairman of the Bulkeley H. S. Hall of Fame Committee for his assistance and input in the preparation of this article.

About the Author

James A. Johnson is a Conard H. S. alum in West Hartford. He is an accomplished trial attorney concentrating on serious Personal Injury, Insurance Coverages and Sports & Entertainment Law. Jim is an active member of the Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas and Federal Court Bars. He can be reached at www.JamesAJohnsonEsq.com

Robert W. "Spike" Repass

Class of 1935

Bob “Spike” Repass was a three sport star athlete. Spike earned 9 Varsity letters in three sports at Bulkeley High School. Although he was an outstanding athlete, the sport he excelled in the most was baseball. He played three years for Babe Allen and was an outstanding high school player. He was so good that he was one of the first high school players to be signed from Connecticut as a Major League player at age 16. He was signed to Asheville, SC and later to New Iberia, LA where he hit .326 and stole 29 bases. Cardinals owner Branch Rickey was in New York City when Branch invited Spike and his father to a Broadway show and signed him to a Major League contract 250 bonus. Spike made his major league debut in Sept. 1939 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Bob made his first start with the St Louis Cardinals and his team went on to win the “Little World Series” which is what the Major League had for their farm system teams as an incentive. In 1942, Bob started at shortstop for the Senators and he played Major League Baseball from 1943 to 1949. As the starting shortstop for the Washington Senators in 1942, Spike hit a homer over the Green Monster. He signed a contract for Sixty-Five dollars a month. The remarkable highlight of Bob’s career is that after baseball he went on to be the Golf Teaching Pro Manager at the Cromwell, CT Golf Club. He was one of the most natural athletes Hartford has known. He lived to love and care for his family. Spike was an outstanding, grateful player and a good man.

William F. "Billy" "Mr. Rebound" Schmidt

Class of 1955

Billy Schmidt was one of the greatest rebounders in Bulkeley High history and played three years for Coach Lou Bazzano. In 1954, Billy was selected to All State 2nd Team and First Team All Capital District Team. In 1955, Billy was selected to All State 1st Team by The New Haven Register. Bill was selected to the Class A Tournament Team and also to the Capital All District Team. Bill scored 380 season points and broke the district record. He scored a single game high of 38 points that stood until 1958 when Carmen Perrone broke his record with 44. Bill had a career total of 847 points. A great highlight of Billy’s career was when he played against Elgin Baylor in the Holiday Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Frank K. "Top Ten Best Athlete" Scelza

Class of 1944

From 1944 class book: “None but himself can be his parallel.” Outstanding athlete in football and basketball, Frank earned 6 letters. He was co-captain of the football team. Babe Allen, his coach, said, “If he is as loyal to other things as he is to football and basketball he should go places.” Frank was acclaimed by Babe Allen as, “One of the top ten athletes.” Won and loss record at Weaver basketball, 166-66. Frank graduated from Springfield College. He coached baseball, football and basketball at Hartford Public High School, and basketball at Weaver High School. He never missed a day of work in 38 years at Hartford Public High School. He won four basketball league championships at Weaver High School. He won five city titles, was the semi runner-up in CIAC final, and served as the executive director of the Northern Conn. chapter of the national football foundation & college Hall of Fame. Frank was named to the Hartford Public High School Hall of Fame in 2008, the C.H.S.C. Hall of Fame, and the Conn. Officials Association Hall of Fame. From 1969-1989, he was the executive V.P. in charge of athletics. Frank received the CIAC Basketball Merit award and the National Football Foundation Leadership award. He was also awarded a lifetime membership at the Wampanog Country Club in West Hartford. Frank is most proud of the following accomplishments that he personally spearheaded and fought for: Bulkeley High School Babe Allen Field House, the James Brophy Natorium, Dr. Gustave Feingold Auditorium, Mitchell Ivanowsky Bulkeley High School Chapter National Honor Society.

Frank Scelza

William R. "Mule" Skelly

Class of 1951

They called him Mule, and if you want to know why, ask his teammates from the 1950 undefeated football team. But if you really want to know why, ask the opponents he played against. In 1948, he was selected to the Greater Hartford Scholastic Football First team and he was selected Second Team on the All State New Haven Register team in his sophomore year. In 1949, Mule was selected to the Hartford Courant All District First team and selected First Team All State on the New Haven Register team in his junior year. In 1950 Mule was selected to the Hartford Courant All District First team, the New Haven Register First Team All State, he was captain of the 1950 undefeated football team, and helped to defeat New Britain 21-6 in his senior year. Mule received a football scholarship to Georgia Tech where he graduated with a BS Degree. Mule Skelley is the only athlete in Bulkeley history to be All State 3 times in the same sport, football.

Robert "Sully" Sullivan

Class of 1966

Bob grew up in the South End of Hartford during the 1950’s and 60’s. Prior to entering Bulkeley High School in the fall of 1962, he watched the Bulldogs play countless football games at Dillon Stadium. He dreamed that someday he would play on that same field in a Bulkeley uniform. With luck, and much help from an outstanding coaching staff and a great group of teammates, that dream came true. He played football for four years, receiving varsity letters in his junior and senior years. He also participated in track for four years, receiving varsity letters in his junior and senior years. In 1966, he was selected to the First Team All Capital District Conference and selected to The First Team All State Team by the New Haven Register. As a result of the recognition he received playing for Bulkeley, and with a great deal of support from coach Bob Raffalo and alumni Pete Dengenis, he was accepted into Linfield College.

College Sports Accomplishments:

Football: 1967 All Northwest Conference Honorable Mention; 1968-69 All Northwest Conference First Team; 1970 Co-Captain; All Northwest Conference First Team (Unanimous); Little All Northwest All Star Team; NAIA District Two All Star First Team; NAIA Little All American Honorable Mention; 2006 Inducted into the Linfield Athletic Hall of Fame; NAIA All West Coast; NAIA Honorable Mention Football Team

Bob felt that all the individual honors received are shared with his professors, coaches, and teammates who helped him a great deal. It’s important to note that many of the skills and fundamentals that he employed throughout his professional and private life were ones learned and observed from those dedicated teachers and coaches who helped him while he was at Bulkeley High School. “For me and countless individuals, Bulkeley helped define who and what we are today.”

John Arthur "School Boy" Taylor, Jr.

Class of 1934

Varsity Track 1931-1932; Varsity Baseball, spring 1933 (Senior Year)-Ace Pitcher 8-1. (alt. Center Fielder, .428 batting average).

Highlights: Pitched win over Hartford High School fanning 19 to set a new schoolboy record for Greater Hartford pitchers. Hurled Bulkeley to winning season and Statewide Schoolboy Championship with 13-4 win over New Britain. Broke own strike-out record fanning 25 in title game. John’s school pitching record still stands, he graced more Connecticut newspaper sports cover pages than any other athlete statewide.

Greater Hartford Twilight League 1933-34, in two years of Twilight League play he had a minimum of 10 strike-outs per game with most wins registering strikeouts in the teens. John was scouted by the NY Yankees and Philadelphia Athletics and was passed over because of his race. He was inducted into the Greater Hartford Twilight League Hall of Fame 1982. He played on Connecticut Semi-Pro Teams 1934, 1935, 1937, 1942: Savitt Gems; Yantic of the Norwich City League; Northwest Athletic club of Winsted; Fred Davey Team of Waterbury and Highland Lake Athletic Club of Winsted.

Highlights: Posted 13-1 record with Savitt Gems in 1937; Pitched 20 inning game win over Will Jackman and the Philadelphia Colored Giants, striking out 22 batters;

Negro National League New York Cubans 1935-37 – Pitcher 

Highlights: Part of the strongest pitcher line-up in club history that included Luis Tiant, Sr. and Hall of Famer Martin Dihigo. John pitched in the 1935 Negro National League playoffs in the 2nd half of his rookie year against Pittsburgh Crawfords’ famed line-up with Hall of Famers Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, and Oscar Charleston.

Pittsburgh Crawfords: 1937-38 – Pitcher

Highlights: Recruited by the powerhouse player-manager Oscar Charleston to replace Satchel Paige; Negro National Leagues East-West All Star Game 1938- Pitcher for the East; Highest Individual Vote Tally for East Team Members

Highlights: Mexican League All Star team 1939 with 11-1 record and 1.1 ERA with Cordoba, with Veracruz teammate Josh Gibson, posted 14-5 record with 115 strike-outs;

Cuban Winter League Marianao Club Pitcher 36-37 and Santa Clara Leopards – Pitcher 38-39

Highlights: Dubbed “el rey de Hartford, won 22 games in first season with Marianao Club of Havana, pitched for record-setting Santa Clara Leopards 1938-39 team whose records still stand in Cuban baseball.

Connecticut State Baseball League 1939 (8 team semi-pro league) New Britain –Pitcher

Highlights: The Hartford Chiefs – Pitcher 1949, Taylor was signed on as a major ticket draw as a walk-on with no Spring training. The first African-American player for the Chiefs, Taylor finished the season 6-7 and retired.

Fran Vandermeer

Class of 1975

Fran was a graduate of BHS in 1975 where she was a three sport letter winner in basketball, volleyball, and track. She was the first to play on a girls’ basketball and volleyball team at BHS under coach Debbie Horrigan. Prior to 1972, there were no sports available for women. Fran paved the way for Title IX and women athletics. Fran was named BHS Female Athlete of the Year 1975.

In college at SCSU, she played varsity volleyball all four years and was team captain in her senior year. Fran played nationally with the USVBA team for the Conn Clippers and she was a member of the C.H.S.B.O. Fran worked as a basketball and a volleyball official for 30 years, statewide and nationally. As an official, she worked the NCAA Division II V.B. finals and elite eight 1995-2002. Fran coached at St. Joseph college 1995-1996 and Trinity 1996-2000. Fran was a coach for the NCAA Division III V.B. for 20 years. She was inducted into the Conn. Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1998 and the new agenda Northeast Women’s Hall of Fame in 2002. She was named N.E. regional volleyball coach of the year 2002-2004, NESCAC conference coach of the year 2006-07. In 2007, SCSU alumni association presented Fran with its alumni citation award. Fran coached at Williams College & ECSC 2000-2009 where she won seven NESCAC conferences and 4 N.E. regional championships.

Fran’s first high school coach had this to say about her: “She defines women in sports as an athlete, referee and coach and is certainly an outstanding example of the Bulkeley athletic excellence and exemplifies the type of citizen and person we hope all our athletes to be.”

Won and loss record 254-73 for a 77.7%

36-win season 2002

Holds over all career record for wins and losses 362-183 for a 66.4%