Congratulations to the
DHS Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Jim Foley Glenn
Gaetano Gary Lucarelli
Bill Pucci Service Award
William "Red" Clynch
We are happy to announce that this years “ Bill Pucci
service award winner is William “ Red “ Clynch was a beloved
figure in Derby and influenced generations of city residents
during his decades of involvement in youth sports.
Red belonged to all the organizations, but he was really
involved in sports. Girls softball was his real passion
“Anybody that ever played for Red would tell you not
only was he a great coach, but he was the greatest guy.”
Born in Derby and nicknamed “Red” at an early age for
his blazing hair and rosy cheeks, Clynch turned his
attention to coaching and mentoring Derby athletes. That
was his passion, along with rooting for the Fighting
Irish of Notre Dame University.
He coached women’s slow pitch softball for almost 25
years. In 2004, he was inducted into the Connecticut
A.S.A. Slow Pitch Hall of Fame.
From a story on the dedication published in the Hartford
“Clynch was one of the pioneers of women’s slow pitch
softball, managing women’s teams for 24 years, mainly
with Healey Motors Subaruettes of Derby, Clynch’s teams
were perennial participants in the state tournament.His
teams won nine Valley Women’s League titles from
1978-1991 and qualified for the Class A state tournament
each season during that time, winning the title in 1982.
They also made four trips to the New England regional
tournament in that span.”
In the summer of 2014 the derby softball field was named
in his honor.The Derby Athletic hall of Fame is very
proud honor “ red “ with this very special award!
Jim Foley '37
As if playing four sports weren’t enough, Jim
Foley lettered in and was elected captain of each one
(football, basketball, baseball and track). During the
spring season, he pitched for the baseball team and competed
in the throwing events in track between innings, usually
finishing either first or second. His school record in the
shot put stood for 30 years. Foley was also a champion
sprinter, winning many 100- and 220-yard dashes, and was an
excellent broad jumper.
In an era long before specialization became
popular, Jim Foley was a living definition of the all-around
athlete. His prowess on the track, the field and the court
(mostly under the guidance of Hall of Fame coach Nuggy Ryan)
helped solidify his status as one of Derby’s all-time
Most long-time Derby
fans, when asked who the best athlete in school history was,
are sure to include Fran Walinski on their short list of
candidates. “Wawa,” as he was known back then, did it all -
and did it well.
Fran was the first Derby
player to earn All-State honors in basketball, averaging 19
points a game and leading the team to the state tournament.
As a star on the gridiron, Wawa scored 7 touchdowns from the
tight end position, including the only two in a hard-fought
13-all tie against rival Seymour. He also had a pivotal punt
block against Sacred Heart, turning the tide and leading the
Raiders to victory.
Walinski was also a
standout for Derby in baseball, leading them in several key
Many have tried to follow in Fran’s footsteps over the
years, but few have had a similar impact on Derby sports.
His all-around excellence has remained the standard for
generations of Red Raider players and fans alike.
Joe Benanto '56
Among other superlatives, Joe Benanto was
voted by his class as most athletic and the guy having done
the most for the school. When you combine the two, you end
up with someone who did quite a bit to advance the fortunes
of Derby’s athletic programs.
Joe was a tremendous scorer for the
basketball team, averaging 21 points a game as a senior. His
total of 428 that year was the school record until fellow
Hall of Famer, Ken Pereiras, came along and broke it in
1971. Benanto was a 3-year starter on the hardwood, and
eclipsed the 30-point mark four times - well before the
3-point line ever existed.
As a four-year star on the diamond, Benanto
excelled on the mound, helping lead Big Red to its first
title, the ‘54 Housy crown. Among Joe’s best moments as a
ballplayer was his dominant no-hit performance against
arch-rival Ansonia. As for doing the most for the school,
pitching a gem like that certainly qualifies.
At 155 pounds, one wouldn’t exactly expect a
guy like Barry McDermott to be a force in the trenches.
McDermott spent his high school career defying - and
redefining - expectations. A two-year starter at center,
Barry was an All-State selection as a senior.
McDermott was also a terror on defense. His
motto was “hit and hate,” and he took every opportunity to
let the opposition know it. In a scrimmage against Stamford
one year, the opposing coach resorted to double-teaming in
an effort to contain Barry. When even that didn’t work, the
coach could do nothing more marvel at what he was watching.
Though he was smaller than most at his position, none could
ever underestimate the size of McDermott’s heart and
determination. Anyone who did, found out the hard way what
“hit and hate” really meant.
Jerry Romano '67
One of the stars who helped put Derby
football back on the map, Jerry Romano was a standout
two-way lineman for Big Red during his 2-time All-State
career. A great pulling guard, Romano was often singled out
by coach Ron Carbone during film sessions as a model of
consistency and excellence.
Romano, along with fellow Hall of Famers
George Budzniak and Tony Passander, put the Derby program on
his back and led the charge toward greatness that made the
Red Raiders a force to be reckoned with for generations to
His presence in the trenches on offense
helped open holes and keep drives alive. On the other side
of the ball, he was part of a tough, hard-hitting defense,
helping to establish a tradition of excellence that would
endure for decades.
Gary Lucarelli '69
As a star runner for the Derby track team,
Gary Lucarelli excelled in the 100, 220 and relay teams.
Winning a majority of his races, Lucarelli sprinted to a Top
3 finish in the State meet in the 100, among the best
performances in school history.
Running was also one of Gary’s specialties on
the gridiron, as well. HIs 1,500 career rushing yards was a
school record for years. As a two-year starter, Lucarelli
led Derby to consecutive
campaigns, winning back-to-back Housy titles along the way.
As one of the captains of the premier Derby
football squad, Glenn Gaetano was a leader on both sides of
the ball, earning Albarella Award honors. As a bruising
linebacker and game-changing running back, Gaetano was a
first-team All-State selection for the State Champion ‘69
Red Raiders. He was a 1000-yard rusher, and often led the
team in tackles on defense.
Part of a senior class that never lost a
football game, Glenn will forever hold a special place in
the hearts and minds of Derby fans, as well as the utmost
respect of any player or coach who went up against him. He
was the prototypical two-way performer, almost like having a
second coach on the field. A quiet leader and hard hitter,
Gaetano set the tone - and everyone else followed.
Anthony Marcucio '99
They say all you have to do is look in the
mirror to see your toughest competition. When your big
brother is a State champion wrestler, however, sibling
rivalry outweighs any personal goals you may have for
yourself. For Anthony Marcucio, becoming part of the first
brother duo to earn induction into the Derby Athletic Hall
of Fame is yet another well-deserved and hard-earned
Marcucio won the Class S title each of his 4
years, and was Top 4 in the State Open three times, winning
the championship as a senior. That year, he also advanced to
the New England finals. His 152 wins and 105 pins are school
records. After graduation, Anthony went on to Trinity and
wrestled on the team there.
Story posted on November 2, 2019
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