The Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame is the highest honor bestowed by the Bulkeley Athletic Department. Nominees must be individuals of outstanding character and proven leadership skills. They are held in high esteem by their colleagues, former coaches, and fellow athletes.
Class of 1955
Dick played both offense and defense for the legendary coach and Hall of Famer Babe Allen. For three years he was a block of granite on defense and he was a tremendous blocker on offense for the running backs. Whenever Bulkeley needed to get a first down, Allen would call the play to run behind Beebe. In the Turkey Day football game between Bulkeley and New Britain, in front of 12,000 fans, Dick was singled out for his outstanding play in the game and he was presented the Most Valuable Player Award, “The Babe Allen Trophy”. Dick was all-conference in his junior and senior years. Dick also played two years of baseball for coach Allen. Dick was the Co-Captain of the football team in his junior and senior year. Being captain in his junior year shows the confidence that the coaching staff and his teammates had in Dick. He was a leader by example and he was rewarded by being selected again in his senior year. Dick was known as a gentle giant, off the field. On the field he was known as a bear of a man. After graduation Dick proudly served in the National Guard as a MP from 1959-1963. In 1961 Dick married Joan A. Horan. He was employed at Cushman Chuck Inc. and Ellington Ridge Country Club. Dick and Joan were blessed with four children and he lived to love and care for his family and friends. He was, “A Great Guy, A Great Friend & Everybody’s Buddy”.
Mr. Richard Beebe, we welcome you, Posthumously, into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame
Mr. Lawrence Bielonko, we welcome you, Posthumously, into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Class of 1948
Lawrence was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and outdoor track. Moe was awarded a total of eight varsity letters, three in football, and two in basketball and three in track. In Moe’s 1948 year book, he said this, “It Matters Not Whether We Win or Lose, But How We Played The Game”. Moe’s friends said this about him, “he was a block of granite, an ace on the gridiron, a great javelin thrower, hard worker, All District Tackle, a true friend.” This will come as a surprise, Felix Karsky was Moe’s cousin, and Felix was inducted in the first class of 2015 Hall of Fame.
Moe was an “All District” Tackle and a three year district Javelin Champion. He was also a steady rebounder on the basketball team for his Hall of Fame coach Babe Allen. In 1948 Moe was the talking sensation among the three City High Schools during the track season. He held the State record of 185 feet two inches. In regular season meets Moe was able to throw for 190 feet twice during the regular season.
He also threw a distance of 196 feet against Crosby of Waterbury. In the next meet, which was the Greater Hartford meet he threw a distance of 192, three inches. Since the CIAC, (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for all the athletics in the State of Conn. Records could only be set when performing in this State Meet, as this represented all of the schools in the State of Conn.
He was of Polish descent, he lived on Shultas Place and he would walk from his house across Maple Avenue to Benton Street and he would practice throwing his javelin in the Cemetery directly across from the High School. Moe passed away at the young age of 54 in 1984. I Edward Samolyk also of polish descent. It is with the highest athletic esteem and honor, to nominate this great athlete to be inducted into the Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Class of 2006
Shanice Billington played basketball at Bulkeley High School from 2002 –2006 Shanice holds the school career scoring record for total points with 1385. Shanice was one of the main reasons the girls basketball team won the Class L State Championship and they were the first girls basketball team in the City of Hartford to win a State Championship. Shanice helped to compile a season won and loss record of 26 wins and 1 loss. The girls’ team was undefeated in regular season play. The team averaged 69.9 points per game for the 2006 season. The girls were number one in State Polls by the Hartford Courant and the New Haven Register. The team was the CCC South
Conference Champions and they were undefeated in Conference Play, two consecutive years, 20-0. The girls were City Series Champions Nine Times out of the last Ten Years. Shanice holds the school single game scoring record of 36 points against Bristol Central on 1/31/2006. The prior school record was held by Kattya Lopez for 20 years 1986-2006 and she held the record of 34 points. Shanice is the third highest points scored per game with an average of 14.0 points per game over her career, 2002- 2006. Shanice is the second highest scorer in school history for total points scored in a single season. In 2005-06 she amassed a total of 435 points.
Ms. Shanice Billington, we welcome you into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame
Senator Biagio Ciotto, We Welcome You Into the Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame as the recipient of the, “Lifetime Achievement Award”.
Class of 1947
Billy Ciotto was born in Hartford on 12/25/1929; he presently resides in Wethersfield Ct., with his wife Jeanne, and five children, Joseph, Anthony, John, Julie, and Maria. Biagio “Billy” Ciotto is an American politician. He served as a Democrat, as a state senator from Connecticut from 1995 to 2007, before retiring in 2006; Ciotto had served as Majority Caucus Chair in the Senate. Prior to holding elective office, Ciotto worked for the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, retiring as Deputy Commissioner in 1989. In November 1994 Biagio “Billy”
Ciotto, 64, a loquacious, gregarious former state employee, kept the 9th. Senate District seat in Democratic hands, defeating Republican Joe Dinunzio. Ciotto of Wethersfield will take over the seat from Democratic Richard J. Balducci of Newington. Ciotto ended an era in Newington Politics, for the first time in two decades, Balducci a Democrat will not be in the state legislature. Balducci served as the state representative from the 27th. District for 18 years and the state senator, from the 9th district for the past two years. Billy walked into the DMV in 1947; he worked as a mail room clerk and a midnight teletyper. He rose to deputy commissioner in 1987 through the appointment of then Governor William A. O’Neil and served two years. From the time he retired at the age of 78 Billy has been an aide for the U.S. Representative John B. Larson, Billy is now 88.
Class of 1977
Carol was a three-sport athlete at Bulkeley High School. She competed on the Swimming, Gymnastics, and Track and Field teams. She also participated as a cheerleader and although cheerleading was not recognized as a sport by the CIAC, the girls received varsity letters for cheering. Carol was one of the most natural athletes to come out of Bulkeley. She was a pioneer and leader in female athletics paving the way for females as they were given equal opportunity to play sports at the high school level and no longer discriminated against due to Title IX.
Carol has been an Associate Professor at Central Connecticut State University for the past 14 years and currently serves as the Co-Chair and Program Coordinator of the department. Prior to CCSU, Carol spent 23 years serving as a physical education teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal in the K-12 public school setting. In addition to her role at CCSU, she serves as the Executive Director for the Eastern District of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) and as Treasurer for the National Society of Association Managers (SAM). Carol has received several awards for her service to the profession including the CTAHPERD Elementary Teacher of the Year Award, the CIAC Outstanding Gymnastic Coach of the Year Award, the CCSU Excellence in Teaching Award, the SHAPE America National Teacher Educator of the Year Award, the SHAPE America Eastern District Honor Award, the CTAHPERD Honor Award and she was recently inducted into the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals. Carol is a nationally and internationally recognized speaker, has published several articles in various educational journals and is co-author to the book PASS: A Guidebook to Creating Physically Active School Systems.
Bulkeley High School Athletics
Central Connecticut State University
Coaching – West Hartford Public Schools
Mr. Paul Ciotto, we welcome you into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame
Class of 1975
Paul played two sports at Bulkeley High School from 1971-75 in baseball and basketball; he was awarded five varsity letters. Paul grew up in the South End of Hartford attending Dwight School (K-4) I met Paul in 1966 my first year teaching in the city of Hartford. I did not realize that I would have the opportunity to coach him and to be his Physical Education Teacher for the next nine years. As a student and as an athlete, Paul was the best in what ever he was asked to do or coached to do. In 1966 I had a son that was a year old, born in Oregon 1965 where I went to college. I often told my wife and I told Paul’s parents, ‘I just hope my son is just like Paul”. One of the most respectful students and athletes I ever had the opportunity to coach.
In high school Paul attended the old Bulkeley High School on Maple Ave for three years, and he was a member of the first graduating class from the new Bulkeley on Wethersfield Ave. Paul’s athletic skills were honed at Burr School and he was ready for high school athletics. Paul played for the Hall of Fame coach Pete Kokinis in baseball and basketball for Joe DiChiara. Paul met life long friends under the watchful eye and mentor Jim Brophy another Hall of Fame Coach. Paul said he was lucky to have been guided, molded and influenced by Bulkeley Hall of Fame inductee Robert Raffalo. Raffalo was Paul’s physical education teacher from 4th grade through 8th grade and his coach throughout high school. Paul states,“ besides my father, Coach Raffalo has been the biggest influence in my life, not only in sports, but in preparation for life’s challenges”. Paul did meet life’s challenges. Attended Southern Connecticut State University, played baseball and graduated with a BS degree in Physical Education. Later he attended the University of Hartford and received his master’s degree in Organizational Behavior. He has worked for Aetna Insurance Company for thirty-eight years in Information Technology and is currently Director of Engineering, it does not get anymore challenging than that. His biggest challenge was getting his high school sweetheart to marry him, Carol Miller Ciotto, and they have been blessed with one daughter Kristina, works in the New London school system
Class of 1976
On November 11, 2015 at the young age of 58, Michael Curry died unexpectedly at Doctors Hospital in the city of Columbus Ohio. Michael worked for the Department of Public Services. He adored his wife and he loved his family, and he loved working for the city of Columbus. Michael was an outstanding athlete at Bulkeley High School from 1972-1976. He was a three sport athlete in football, indoor track, and outdoor track; he was awarded a total of eleven varsity letters. He was voted, Best Senior Athlete in 1976, by the coaches. Coach, Vertefeuille, (also known as Coach “V”) said this, “Michael is the fastest sprinter in the school’s history form 1926-2018, Ninety Two years.’
From the research that this writer has done, this is a fact. Michael was an outstanding running back on varsity football team, and an outstanding indoor track sprinter. In 1976 Michael ran the 100 dash sprint in the CDC (Capital District Conference) district meet in the time of 9.3. Michael placed second place in the National High School Open Track Meet in California, in the 100 yard dash and the 200 yard dash. In the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) Michael placed first in the 100 yard dash and 220 yard dash in 1976. Michael was an awesome athlete and was admired by his classmates and his teammates. Michael loved his motorcycle and called his bike, “Busa”, but he adored his wife and family more. Some of Michael’s classmates were sitting around and talking about him and what a great athlete he was, two of those people must have been his longtime friends, Al McFadden and Willie Mann. His fellow workers said this about Michael, “We were all sad to hear about the passing of Michael, his family within the Department of Public Services were all in shock. “GOD HAS CALLED FOR ONE OF HIS SOLDIERS TO COME HOME!”
Mr. Michael Curry, we welcome you, Posthumously, into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ms. Katie DaCosta, We Welcome You to The 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall Of Fame.
Class of 2003
Katie DaCosta has been a part of Amateur Athletics “A.A.U.” (Amateur Athletic Union) since 1994, after participating in A.A.U. for eight years and being a four-year varsity starter on the Bulkeley High School basketball team, under the head coach Al Phillips. Katie was a three-time All-Conference player and All-Academic All-State Player. She went on to join the elite few who played Division I basketball for Central Connecticut University. After graduating from college, Katie began coaching student-athletes at the middle school level for St Augustine’s and Classical Magnet schools. As she pursued her career, she began coaching varsity girl’s basketball for Classical Magnet and Enfield High. With hopes to broaden her career, Katie began coaching boy’s basketball for Sports Medical & Science Academy’s freshman team and the Connecticut North star’s Boys and Girls under 10-18 clubs A.A.U.
Being one of the few women to coach boy’s basketball in the State of Connecticut, Katie’s coaching career began to become recognized by higher educational institutions. She soon joined Manchester Community College, “M.C.C.” as their girl’s coach. Katie coached at M.C.C until the college eliminated all athletic programs. Katie then continued her passion for coaching at the high school level, East Catholic High School as the girl’s varsity coach for four consecutive years, 2013-2016. Katie was awarded the Coach of the Year in 2013 for the A.A.U. boys basketball. Katie is directing the Catholic Youth Organization basketball program, C.Y.O. and the Connecticut North stars with Ray DaCosta.
Katie presently works at CREC Public Safety Civic Leadership High School where she is a “Behavioral Specialist”. In 2017 she was awarded the CREC-Shining Star for her efforts and dedication to the young men and women she works with.
Coach, Teacher, Mentor
Billie Jean Duval was born in Dante, Virginia, a small coal-mining town. She was the youngest of four girls in a time when the state was not required to educate black children past the eighth grade. Billie’s parents understood the importance of education; they ensured that each of their girls received their high school diploma. The girls were sent out of state for their secondary education, and all four girls received their diploma.
After high school, Billie went on to graduate from West Virginia State College with a degree in education. She moved to Hartford to be close to her sister and began work with the Hartford Parks and Recreation Department. It was here that she met her husband, Henderson (Sonny) Duval. They had a lot in common, their love of sports, competitive personalities, and interest in children and education. Billie began her career with the Hartford Public Schools by teaching physical education, at the elementary level.
After a few years, Billie was transferred to the new Bulkeley High School, located on Wethersfield Avenue in September of 1975. Her first coaching assignments given to her by the Athletic Director were Cheer-leading, and girls’ softball. Her nickname as a coach was “mighty mouse”, her bark was often bigger than her bite. She was a mentor, disciplinarian, mother, sister, to all her athletes, and most of all, a friend. One of Billie’s athletes became a member of the Duval family, this was the 2017 Hall of Famer Regina Long Tindall class of 1986 and Hall of Fame inductee in 2017. Toni Duval and Regina became sisters and they have nominated their mom for the 2018 hall of fame.
Mrs. Billie Duval, we welcome you, Posthumously, into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Mr. Danny Gasper, we welcome you into the 2018 Bulkeley High Athletic Hall of Fame.
Class of 1974
International World Soccer Coach
An experienced Coach, Lecturer, and Entrepreneur. For more than 25 years, Dan Gaspar has studied and created ideal training methods for goalkeepers and field player development. He has worked with world-class coaches: Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlos Queiroz, and José Antonio Camacho. His knowledge, experience, and savvy earned him the invitation to join The Portugal National Team coaching staff for the 2010 South Africa World Cup, the Iran National Team who qualified for the 2014 Brazil World Cup, and The 2015 Australia Asia Cup and The 2018 Russia World Cup. Dan has set himself apart in the coaching profession working on four different continents. With his diverse expertise and strong management skills, he has the ability to motivate, train and educate coaches at all levels.
Class of 1979
Kenny Hightower was an outstanding player for Bulkeley High School for four years. Kenny played freshman basketball for coach Ruffalo, Kenny was one of the toughest rebounding freshmen I had seen at Bulkeley. I told the head coach Joe DiChiara that Kenny would be an outstanding varsity player. Kenny played both Junior Varsity and Varsity in his Sophomore year as did his brother Kevin.
Kenny learned the rules of the game and of life from his mentor Sonny Thomas who was the Director at the Southwest Boys and Girls Club. Kenny grew up in Charter Oak Terrace along with his six siblings and with his mom who was a very strong and demanding mother and a strict disciplinarian.
Kenny’s mom was an inspiration to all her siblings but Mrs. Hightower new what the potential was in both boys and she knew this could get them into college, along with the appropriate grades they did receive scholarships. Kenny’s world was basketball as was Kevin’s, of course, they were twins, they would not have it any other way. I could never tell them apart, I think they were identified as Twinkie 1, Kenny and Twinkie 2, Kevin. Kenny was an outstanding player for three years at Bulkeley
Kenny went on to play at Central Connecticut for the great coach Bill Detrick. At Central, Kenny was a monster on the boards and he was relentless, tough, strong and downright “vicious” and downright mean! It was said, that, “Kenny had the same fierce desire to win as his competitive spirited coach, Bill Detrick.
Mr. Kenny Hightower, we welcome you into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Mr. Kevin Hightower, we welcome you into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Class of 1979
Kevin was a natural athlete in three sports Basketball, Cross Country, and Tennis. Kevin played Freshman and Junior Varsity basketball and varsity tennis for Coach Ruffalo, he received nine varsity letters. As a Junior Varsity player, Kevin would also play varsity for Joe DiChiara. His mother raised Kevin and his six siblings in Charter Oak Terrace. He first became interested in basketball at the Southwest Boys & Girls Club.
Sonny Thomas introduced Kevin to the game of basketball and taught him how to play, but more importantly how to behave on and off the court, Sonny was a mentor to Kevin.
Kevin attended Quirk Middle School prior to attending Bulkeley in 1975 a year after the new school was opened and it was like a college campus. What a beautiful campus. Kevin was instrumental in bringing prominence back to basketball at Bulkeley as it was in the 50’s and 60’s. Kevin was an outstanding guard; some even have compared him to the great Gene Reilly of the great 62 team of Lou Bazzano’s tenure. Kevin went on to play at Central Connecticut State University. Kevin’s head coach Joe DiChiara told Bondhan Kolinsky of the Hartford Courant Sports that Kevin was “one of the most unselfish players he had ever coached”.
In his senior year, Kevin averaged 19.5 points per game. Kevin and his brother Kenny were considered two of the top prospects in the area and state. This is why both Kevin and his brother Kenny went to Central Connecticut and played for the great Bill Detrick. Bill said that Kevin had unique skills and could play multiple positions. Kevin had, length, quickness, leaping ability, defensive instincts, ball skills, passing skills, explosive ability to go to the hoop. Detrick said this of Kevin, “certain players have that extra intensity, its something that is activated in a close game or when the team needs it and it can not be taught, Kevin has this”.
Class of 1962
Ted played basketball for Lou Bazzano as a two-year varsity starter in 1960-61 and on the 21-4 1961-62 team receiving two letters during that time. He is the fourth member of that team to be nominated to the Bulkeley High Hall of Fame, following Gene Reilly, Joe Hourihan, and Jim Belfiore who have been inducted into the hall. Ted was the third-leading scorer and leading rebounder along with Larry Murphy. Ted’s value cannot be measured by statistics alone. As an undersized center (6’0”) he was called on to guard opposing centers much taller than him. In victories over Norwich (twice) in 1962, he held their all-conference center to 9 points total for two games and in the state tournament semi-final, guarded the Hillhouse 6’4” All-State center and in the New England tournament semi-final, guarded the All Starter of Massachusetts center to reach the finals and in both of the state and New England Finals. Ted was really a small forward, but because of his “quick and neat” shooting touch, ball-handling skills, and agility, he turned his smaller size to his advantage in drawing larger opposing centers away from the basket, so he could drive on them or shoot over them. Ted followed up his high school career playing varsity basketball for three years for the University of Hartford. He was a three-year varsity starter and the team captain, in his senior year in 1965-66. In the spring of 1966, Ted was captain along with six (6) of his former Bulldog teammates, they were featured on the cover of the Hartford Courant Magazine. With Ted, captain at the University of Hartford and Gene Reilly, captain of CCSU, Jim Belfiore captain at Trinity College, this meant that the three(3) members of the 1961-62 Bulldogs have been selected four years later as captains of their college teams. This was a unique accomplishment and a testimony to each player and Coach Lou Bazzano, who developed and mentored all three.
Mr. Kenny Hightower, we welcome you into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Mr. Thomas Leonard Jr., we welcome you, posthumously, into the 2018 Bulkeley Athletic Hall of Fame
“Tommy” or “Speedy”
Class of 1950
Thomas Leonard was an outstanding miler (and school record holder) for Flash Atlin. Leonard was considered as one of the best milers during the late forties and his teammate Subby Gallo was right behind him. The introduction of Cross Country into athletics for the first time was in the fall of 1948, this was a good fit for Tom to gain strength and speed. This would improve his performance in the mile. The Cross Country team finished fourth in the State Championship in their inaugural season and improving to number two the following year. The new sport was met with a hearty welcome as approximately twenty- five boys answered the call for the first week of practice. Tom was a fierce competitor. He finished in fourth place at the 1949 CIAC outdoor mile championship held at Yale. Despite losing his shoe to another runner’s spike with one lap to go in the race, he was still able to set a school record for the mile with a time of 4:40.
He was the second Connecticut finisher and fifth overall at the 1949 New England Cross Country Championships held at Wesleyan. The Atlinmen surprised everyone as they came in fourth out of a field of 21 schools. Tommy Leonard was the first Bulkeley entrant to cross the finish line in the eleventh position out of 145 entrants. In 1950 CIAC Indoor mile resulted in a second-place finish to John Kelly (two-time Olympic Marathoner) of Bulkeley of New London. Tom’s third-place finish in the mile at the 1950 CIAC outdoor championships qualified him for the New England Championship meet at Bowdoin College.
Class of 1969
Sal was an outstanding runner in three sports, Cross Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track. Indoor track was in the developmental stage and runners did not receive a varsity letter for the sport. The sport was used as a prelude for the Outdoor Track Season. Sal was awarded four varsity letters in Cross Country and four letters in Outdoor Track. It is not common that a Freshman athlete enters Bulkeley and is able to perform at the varsity level in most sports, Sal was an exceptional Freshman athlete. There is a story that has been told that one of the coaches that coached another sport tried to steal Sal from running Cross Country and this coach was harassing Sal to join the Freshman Football program. When Sal had heard enough he told the coach, “I do not want to play football, and please stop asking me to play football.”
I am not sure who was coaching Freshman Football in 1965 but Sal does, because he tells this story every chance he can, especially to that coach. (Question: can anyone guess who that coach was?) Sal was captain of the Bulkeley Cross Country and Outdoor Track Team 1966, 1967, & 1968. He was chosen because of his work effect and his leadership qualities.
Mr. Sal Mangiafico, we welcome you into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Mr. Anthony Mirabello, We Welcome You Into The 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall Of Fame.
Class of 1949
The legendary Hall of Fame Coach, Babe Allen said, “Tony Mirabello was one of the toughest and strongest football players that he had ever coached.
Tony played four years for Babe Allen, was awarded three varsity letters, and was All-District three years in 1947. 1948, & 1949.
Bulkeley was known from 1926 to 1950 as the “Maroons,” not the bulldogs. The name bulldog was settled on in 1950 when the school voted on mascots, and the student body voted for the team mascot to be called “Bulldogs”. The undefeated 1950 football team had a great deal of influence on this change, and no one was going to argue with any of the 1950 football players. It is said that Felix Karsky & Mirabello did not want to be called the maroons any longer, they were bulldogs.
There is a story that has been told about Tony Mirabello and Charlie Mazurek. Tony was a fullback and Charlie was a young sophomore tackle. When Tony was a senior and Charlie was a sophomore, there was a dispute between Tony and Charlie on the field. During a game, Tony turned and gave Charlie a boot in the butt, and told the young sophomore to start blocking. Charlie said later, in his senior year to Tony’s brother Frank, “there has been only one person that I have ever been intimidated by, and that was your brother Tony”.
The Matriarch of the family, dad said Tony and Frank could only play one sport. They had to work before every football game on Saturday, their Dad would have them get up early and work on a construction site that the father was working on. Then they could dress for the game.
In Tony’s senior year he was the leading scorer with twelve touchdowns for the season and was awarded the MVP in the New Britain Turkey Day game. But the highlight of Tony’s career as an outstanding running back was in the Weaver game when Ed Samolyk threw to Mirabello to help Bulkeley to win their third consecutive City Series Championship.
Class of 1973
At the age of twelve, Peter played on the McGinley Little League, Hartford, 1967 Connecticut State Championship Team, as a first baseman and pitcher. He played on the same team with his friend Ron Pizzanello who was a catcher on this championship team, and Ron was inducted into the Bulkeley Hall of Fame in 2017. Peter was a member of the Bulkeley basketball team for three years and he was Captain and All-City and All-Capital District 1973. Peter was an honor student. He was recognized in the 2017 book, “Oh, What a Move”, about the City of Hartford Basketball Players from 1964-1984. The author, Michael Copeland & Howard Greenblatt. Peter was mentioned among some of Bulkeley High Greats, Carmen Perrone, Gene Reilly, Joe Tancredi, and the Hightower Twins Kenny and Kevin. Peter played varsity baseball three years for the Bulkeley Hall of Fame coach Peter Kokinis and again with his little league teammate, Ron Pizzanello. He was Co-Captain and All-City and All Capital District Conference in his senior year, he also ran Cross Country for one year.
After high school, Peter went on to Springfield College the same college that two great coaches went to, Lou Bazzano, of Bulkeley and Frank Scelza of Weaver and later Administrator for Athletics at Bulkeley, and both were inducted into the 2015 Bulkeley Hall of Fame. At Springfield Peter was influenced by two legends, Ed Steiz, Athletic Director and NCAA Basketball Rules Editor and Ed Bilik his coach, both had a great influence on Peter entering into a career of becoming a Basketball
Official. In 1977-1978 he attended the University of Illinois and received his Master’s Degree in Community Health Education.
Mr. Peter Palermino, we welcome you into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame
“The Dream Team”
Class of 1975
In 1975 the Bulkeley Soccer Team Roster included the following ethnic backgrounds. Sixteen Italians, three Greeks, two Polish, four Americans and one Peruvian.
This was the Bulkeley High School’s United Nations team. The story of greatness began in 1973 when the BHS soccer team reached the semi-finals in the Class L CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference). In 1974 the soccer team had a phenomenal year going undefeated at 16-0. Unfortunately, the team lost in the finals to Brian McMahon. With only a few players graduating that year, the returning team vowed to win State Class “L” Championship for their coach, and for themselves.
In 1975 the challenges proved to be much greater with the team losing about 4 matches. In a very hard-fought battle, Bulkeley defeated Bullard Havens from Bridgeport 2-0. Vindication was very sweet. This was the only soccer team to go undefeated in regular-season matches and the team that holds the school-best season record and the team that only won a state championship. Coach Budaj (called “Buddha” by his players) was loved by all his players. Even though he had no assistant coach and there was no J.V. team, Coach Budja accepted everyone on the team who tried out. We all treasure the memories of Coach; He was a gentle soul and always ready to smile and to joke with his players. The coach had a player who would make many mistakes, Coach would smack his head to show the player that what he did was not accepted, jokingly curse in Greek, as the Greeks taught him and he would then kick the grass.
Class of 1939
As a graduate of Bulkeley High School, I was so pleased to see that Bulkeley had started an Athletic Hall of Fame. I graduated from Bulkeley in 1970; I would like to nominate another name that also is well deserved, for the committee’s consideration.
My uncle, Harry Parone, 1939 graduate, a three-sport athlete. Babe Allen said, “Harry was one of the top three-sport natural athletes that I coached in my first 13 years of the school’s sports history.” Harry lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. Harry was chosen for the All-District and All-City football and basketball teams for three consecutive years. He played three sports for the legendary coach Babe Allen. Harry was a nine sport letter winner and played varsity for three years in all three major sports. Harry displayed an intense passion for sports of all kinds. Babe Allen also said, “those who played on a team with Harry, will tell you at length of his athletic ability, enthusiasm, sportsmanship on the field and his teachers will also tell you what he was like, in the classroom, he was always a gentleman.
After high school, Harry entered the U. S. Army from 1941-1945 and then finished his college degree. After college, Harry played Semi-Pro Baseball in the Southern League, from 1945 –1951. Coach Parone began teaching in 1951 and altogether served fifty years in Richland County as a head coach and Athletic Director, administrator and advisor. Coach Parone positively impacted the lives of many young student-athletes and coaches.
Mr. Harry Parone, we welcome you posthumously into the 2018 Bulkeley Athletic Hall of Fame
Class of 1955
Butch was born in Hartford Hospital on March 16, 1937, and passed away peacefully at his family home in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts on January 22, 2003. The celebration of his life was held on February 1, 2003, at the First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.
Ironically, this church is where Butch’s father served as a long-time choir member, Sunday School Teachers, and sexton. Rufus Merteley Peterson AKA “Daddy” was born in Hampton Virginia on February 1, 1910, and this was his 93rd birthday. God truly works in mysterious ways.
Butch’s favorite mantra was, “ honesty is the soul of courage, courage is the soul of humility and humility is the soul of happiness”. Gerard Peterson, Manning Peterson, and Rufus Peterson were brothers growing up in the South End of Hartford, they all attended Bulkeley High School. All three brothers played golf on the Bulkeley Golf Teams. Gerard was class of 1950, Manning class of 1953, and Rufus followed as a State Championship Golfer in 1955. Ray Peterson, the oldest brother, chose to run track. The name Peterson was known in the South End of Hartford as the “Golfing Peterson Family.” The name Peterson was synonymous with “golf”. Goodwin Park is where all three brothers could be found playing and honing their craft.
Butch won his varsity letters as a member of the golf team. His consuming joy during his early adolescence was golf. When he became a caddy at the age of 12 at the Wethersfield Country Club AKA, “The Club of Champions”. Rufus crafted his golf skills playing at the Goodwin Park Golf Course five blocks from his home. After graduating high school, Butch attended the University of Hartford, but his love of country and community service encouraged him to enlist in the U.S. Navy. During his eight years of service he was a member of the Navy Golf Team, he won an all Military Tournament in Ireland. Butch followed his heart after receiving his honorable discharge. Butch won the Connecticut High School CIAC Golf Championship at the age of 16 during his junior year.
Mr. Rufus Franklin Peterson, we welcome you, posthumously, into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Mr. Paul S. Polo, we welcome you to the Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame as the recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Class of 1960
Paul graduated from Bulkeley High School in 1960. It is fitting that Paul is nominated for the Life Time Achievement Award, for what he has given to others in his life. Paul Polo as all great CEOs and coaches do, Paul has assembled a team, that has brought, success, honor, to all those who are part of his family, Bulkeley High School, and for all the lives he has touched as a “ human being”. Paul is a giver, not a taker; Paul empowers people he comes in contact with, with humility, kindness, and generosity. The Lifetime Achievement Award is opened to any Bulkeley High School Graduate. Although the person may not have been an athlete in high school when they graduated they went out and became a successful and outstanding human being with the same personal qualities that most athletes possess who played on a team or was individual on a team and they were inducted into the Hall of Fame. The success qualities are the same.
Passion, love of the sport, work ethic, sportsmanship, never give up attitude, strive for excellence, determination, consistency gracious in defeat and humble in winning. These qualities are among successful men and women. Paul has been a lifelong resident of Connecticut. After high school, Paul served in the USMC. He then forged a successful career in Aerospace Manufacturing. From a part-time job position at Gunver MFG Co., he purchased the company in 1978. In 1999 he merged with Dynamic Metals Co. to put two successful aerospace companies together. Paul served as President and Vice Chairman; the company grew to 565 employees in the USA and 100 in Poland. At the present time, Paul is the co-owner of ACMT with his son Michael G. Polo. Paul and Michael are entrepreneurial business athletes. Paul is the Head Coach and Michael is his First Assistant. Their employees are the athletes that they coach. Paul Polo has put together a winning team, not as a coach of a sport, but as a coach of his business, along with his assistant.
Class of 1970
Kenneth was a three-year starter for Bulkeley High School in baseball for the Hall of Fame coach Peter Kokinis. Ken was an outstanding pitcher for the bulldogs and he was Co-Captain in his senior year. Ken was placed on the All CDC (Capital District Conference Team) his senior year.
Coach Kokinis said, “Kenny was an athlete and a pitcher that only comes around once in a great while.” Ken was a fierce competitor who was passionate about baseball, but he also loved basketball, starting when he first started playing for the CYO league in the City of Hartford for St. Augustine youth league. Ken played from 1974-1987 and won two New England CYO Basketball Championships.
After high school, Ken attended Manchester Community College for two years and pitched both years. He then attended Eastern Connecticut University. Kenny pitched in the NAIA National Championships and his team finished in runner up in 1973.
Kenny played in the Hartford Twilight League from 1972-1982 when the league was also known as the Industrial League. Scouts from Major Leagues Teams would look for potential major league talent. Major league scout Ed Buckey was often seen taking notes on some players. The Twilight League was considered Class D ball. Many players in this league did have tryouts with major league teams and did play Minor League Ball.
Mr. Kenneth Soucy, we welcome you to the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame
Mr. Sean Spencer, we welcome you into the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Class of 1988
Sean Spencer, home town Hartford Conn, division one, associate head coach /run game coordinator/defensive line, for the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Sean was born in Hartford and received all of his public school education in Hartford. After middle school, Sean attended Bulkeley High School. Sean was a three-sport athlete at Bulkeley in football, indoor track, and outdoor track. He was awarded 9 varsity letters, and this writer had the opportunity to coach him as a defensive player.
Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant wrote, “Associate coach grew fearless in Hartford”. Dutch point vs Martin Luther King. In these two apartment complexes is where the boys were developed into men. This is where pride was developed and boys who thought they were tough, found out what tough really was all about. In a nearby churchyard, this is where the line was drawn between the points and the kings. Helmets? Eh, sometimes. Pads? “That game to me was bigger than Penn State vs. Ohio State, “said Sean Spencer Hartford native who was on the Martin Luther King squad and later on the Bulkeley High School team, and then Clarion University.
“There were about seventy-five people at these rival games and I’ll tell you, those games prepared me for any game that I would play in high school or college and helped me to be the man I am today. The individuals that I played against and I grew up with taught me what it meant to be a competitor, fighter and to never give up. The competition and the competitiveness in those football games between the point and the kings is what helped me to climb to the top of the mountain, it only took me twenty years to become, the Penn State Nittany Lions defensive line coach.”
Class of 1970
Known by his athletes, colleagues and other coaches as “Big Jim” and he was a big man, but he was a gentle man and soft-spoken. Jim came to Bulkeley High School in the early 1960s and he was a machine shop teacher in the Old Bulkeley High School where he replaced Mitch Ivanowski as the machine shop teacher. I first met Jim as a student my senior year at Bulkeley in 1960. Jim loved sports and was always supportive of all the athletes. I reconnected with Big Jim in 1966 when I started teaching and was a substitute teacher at Bulkeley and I was the Freshman Football Coach for the Hall of Fame Coach Felix Karsky who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015, Felix replaced his head coach Ed Korisky in 1965, Felix was Korisky’s assistant for seven years prior. Korisky was inducted into the Bulkeley Hall of Fame, Posthumously 2015.
Jim was hired as the golf coach in the early 60’s and he coached for over 30 years. Jim won 25 consecutive City Golf Championships over his city rivals, Weaver and Hartford Public. Jim holds a National Record for consecutive championships by any golf coach in the country. He was written up in the USA for his accomplishments. Kevin Soucy 1986 played golf for Big Jim, Kevin said this, “My fondest memories of Bulkeley High golf are not of matches and tournaments won or lost. Rather, they are of the times I was fortunate to have spent with one of the GREATEST human beings I have had the privilege of knowing. I learned many of life’s lessons under your tutelage. I am eternally grateful to God that he saw fit to grace my life with your presence,”
“Hit -’em long and straight.” This was Big Jim’s favorite saying to all his golfers before they teed off. Jim Suitor was the leader of the Bulkeley Jokesters, Karsky, Budaj and Phil Karney were his partners in playing jokes on teachers, after moving into the new Bulkeley High in 1975. Jim would think of the JOKE and then he would get one or two of the other three to carry out his JOKE. There was one particular teacher that Jim would single out. Jim would send students from his class to put oil under the teacher’s car and then call the teacher and say hey, your car is leaking oil, or your car is leaking antifreeze and when the teacher had it checked nothing was wrong. The suitor would also get Felix Karsky or Phil Karney to put shaving cream on the teachers phone ear piece, Jim would then call and the teacher would answer the phone and got a ear full of cream. Suitor would get Frank Budaj to cut small blocks to fit under the leg of the teacher’s desk, Phil Karney would place each block under each leg of the desk. When the teacher sat down the desk was up to the teachers chin.
Mr. James Ronald Suitor we welcome you posthumously into the 2018 Bulkeley Athletic Hall of Fame
Mr. William Taylor Jr., we welcome you to the Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame, as the recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Class of 1952
Born in 1934, Bill Jr grew up in Hartford, where his father was a highly regarded School Teacher. During World War II the family moved to New London when his father became an instructor at the Coast Guard Academy. Bill graduated from Bulkeley in 1952 and played football and baseball for the legendary Hall of Fame coach Babe Allen. Bill pursued a career in boxing winning the New England Golden Gloves during the 1950s. A stint in the United States Army took him to Europe for thirteen months where he boxed in the Army circuit, winning the 4th Division Championship.
After the service Bill turned Professional and won fifty-percent of his matches. Always athletic and energetic, Bill took up running as a sport during the 1960s competing in Marathons and finishing in the top 50 in the Boston Marathon in 1968. There was a lack of road races in Connecticut and this led Bill to organize a five miler in Greenwich which attracted such running luminaries as Amby Burfoot and his mentor Jimmy Keefe. Bill would lead overnight campouts for the Greenwich Boys Club, when not involved in a road race, he was the supervisor at the Boys Club.
Bill attended medical school for one year, before deciding medicine was not his calling. Bill found that working with people was more to his liking and he taught chemistry for 21 years in Greenwich and then Old Lyme. Bill left teaching due to a disagreement with the school Administration, and this compelled Bill to run with his free spirits of freelance art. Bill published cartoons in a number of magazines including, Christian Science Monitor, Boys Life, The National Enquirer, interviewed to do work for True Magazine and the New Yorker. Bill found Henry Josten, a longtime regional publisher, and the editor asked Bill to do cartoons and caricatures for the Saybrook Pictorial on a steady full-time basis.
Class of 1958
Rico played football for three years and was awarded 3 varsity letters. Rico played alongside some of the all-time great football players. Two great running backs, Pete Kokinis in 1955, Joe Meucci, 1956, tackle Dick Beebe, 1955, and guard Joe Cristalli 1956. In 1957, Rico’s senior season, he was awarded the Most Valuable Player as the MVP in the New Britain Thanksgiving Day game in front of 13,000 fans. Rico’s name can be seen on the Babe Allen Trophy, in the Historical Center at Bulkeley. He was chosen to play on the State Connecticut High School Football All-Star Team, in the Nutmeg Bowl, as a representative from Bulkeley High School. He was the only varsity football player chosen from Bulkeley.
Rico was offered a football scholarship but declined and chose to serve his country instead, during the Korean conflict. He joined the United States Army after graduation and was assigned to the 143rd. Infantry Division. In the service, Rico was a Military Policeman and also played football for his company division as a defensive end and played all of his six years and his division won three championships.
Rico received an honorable discharge after serving six years with a rank of First Sergeant. When Rico returned home, gave of his time to his community in West Hartford. Rico was a coach for the town youth athletes. He wanted to give back what he received from Bulkeley sports and what he learned in the service, discipline. He was a head coach in West Hartford’s Little League, and Pop Warner Football, Rico guided his teams to numerous town championships in football, baseball and also basketball. Rico was a natural athlete, and one of the finest young men to graduate from Bulkeley High School.
In 2008 Rico was going to retire, he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). After a three-year courageous battle; he lost his fight and succumbed on his 69th Birthday. He left behind his Bulkeley High School sweetheart Annette Bonaiuto Volpe, two sons, Rico Jr and David Anthony, and two granddaughters, Ashley and Allison.
Mr. Rico Volpe, we welcome you, posthumously, to the 2018 Bulkeley High School Athletic Hall of Fame