New Britain Hall of Fame Dinner Planned
On April 26, the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame, which began in 1996, will hold its annual induction dinner and ceremony at the General Ameglio Hall. Joe Lombardo, the Chairman of the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame Committee, spoke in great detail and length about how excited they are about this year’s class of inductees. He also knows how much of an honor it is for those who are being inducted.
Here is a brief biographical sketch of each inductee for the class of 2015:
Len Corto, the New Britain district Coordinator of Health, Physical Education and Athletics has been actively involved in interscholastic athletics for over 40 years as a coach and athletic director. Before making an impact as an administrator, he made an impact on the football field, coaching in Hartford from 1974-1988 and then in New Britain from 1988-2000. During that time, he coached three players who went on to play in the National Football League and all three played in a Super bowl. In 1979 and 1993, he was honored as the Football Foundation Coach of the Year. He was the recipient of the Connecticut High Coaches Association Coach of the Year award in 1994. In 1998, he was and NFL High School coach of the Year Finalist. 0In 1999, he was honored by the Central Connecticut Board of Officials and was awarded the National Football Foundation Grant for Athletes to improve academic performance in 2008. That year, he was also inducted into the CHSCA Hall of Fame. He was also named Athletic Director of the Year in 2014.
Jeff Grunwald attended New Britain High School and was a member of the class of 1975. He was the quarterback for the football team and was a successful left-handed pitcher and batter. In his senior year, the football team was recognized with a ranking of sixth in the state. Jeff’s baseball career at NBHS culminated a team record of 65 wins and only six losses. In 1974, NBHS baseball won a state championship. Jeff’s senior year, 1975, the season ended in a disappointing 1-0 loss in the championship finals. That was the solo loss for the team that year and the only pitching loss Jeff would experience in his high school career. His pitching record was an impressive 25 wins and one loss. He received the coveted Burns Memorial Award at graduation. In 1996, Jeff became a member of the inaugural class of inductees in the New Britain High School Baseball Hall of Fame.
George Kisluk knew that sports and athletics were in his blood, dating back to early in his youth at Holmes Elementary School to the present. He excelled in athletics while at Pulaski High School playing football, wrestling and baseball from 1975-1978. He captained the football team his senior year, was part of two state championship wrestling teams and helped the baseball team to its first appearance in the state tournament. As a senior, he was honored with the Frank J. DiLoreto trophy awarded to the schools most outstanding male athlete. He went on to a four-year football career at CCSU, starting at tight end in his junior and senior year.
Don Lukowski was involved in the tennis circles of New Britain and Newington since the late 1970’s. In 1979, he became the Founder and Chairperson for the Children’s Charities Tennis Classic held in New Britain. It started out at Washington Park with only a few players, but has grown into the largest junior charity tennis events in Connecticut with over 70 players in 2014. The classic has raised over $140,000 to date for various Pediatric Child life and recreation programs at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. He has coached High School Tennis at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in New Britain and currently Newington High School. Between the two schools, his teams have won over 200 matches and has won two conference championships.
Anthony Masciotra Sr. was a graduate of New Britain High School and Central Connecticut State University. He received his Masters Degree from Columbia University. While at NBHS and CCSU, he starred on the football and track teams. He led NBHS to a state indoor track championship, breaking the state indoor record in the long jump with a leap of 21’9”, broke the school record with a jump of 22’5”, and then went on to the New England Meet in Boston and set a new record with a jump of 21’ 9 ½ “. He was considered to be the premier long jumper in New England. He went on to Central where he led the football team in touchdowns scored and rushing yardage. He set a record at Central in the long jump with a jump of 22’5 ½ formerly held by Jimmy Dooman.
Roger Pegolo, who will be a posthumous induction, was born, raised and educated in New Britain. In high school he played football, basketball, ran track and was a member of the Athletic Association. In Roger’s first game as half back on the football team in his senior year, he scored a 63 yard touchdown. In his only season, he ranked second, carrying the ball 50 times in four games totaling 469 yards, averaging 9.4 yards per carry. In his senior year, the basketball team won the state championship. After graduation, he attended Teachers College of Connecticut earning a bachelor’s of science degree. Roger was elected Senior NBHS Class President in 1950 and continued his commitment through 2014.
Robert Tarigo graduated from Clarkstown High School in New York in 1965. He attended Central Connecticut State College from 1965-1969, where he played four years of basketball. In 1970, he was hired by the New Britain School System after coaching at St. Paul’s School in Kensington. In 1973-1980, Robert coached basketball at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in New Britain and won the Class M State Championship in 1978-1979. In 1992, Robert was selected as Teacher of the Year to represent Northend School. In 1998, Robert received the Connecticut Gatorade outstanding Coaches Award in volleyball. In 2000, he represented Connecticut High School Women’s Volleyball as National Coach of the Year Finalist in Michigan. After 35 years of teaching fifth grade at Northend School, he retired in 2005.
Al Viera began his industrial league career at the age of 20. He was just returning from World War II. He and his brother came off the bench for the undefeated New Britain Machine “ENBEES.” He went to work for Fafnir, where he started at third base for their hardball baseball team and forward for their basketball team. In the fall of 1948, Al led the NB Industrial Basketball League in scoring with 263 points. In the years to come, Al spent numerous hours helping younger players understand the philosophy and fundamental skills of baseball, basketball and football. He was an assistant coach for the Walicki League Cardinals and Indians. Al was also an assistant coach for the New Britain Midget Football Giants.
If you are interested in attending the event, tickets are $45 per person and can be purchased at Paradise Pizza, Imperial Trophy, Marzi Florist, YMCA, Berlin Spirits or by calling Lombardo at 860-970-634. Cocktail hour will begin at 3 PM and dinner will begin at 4 p.m.