Thanks to many years in the courtroom, Jim Early is
accustomed to having to make a case and present evidence.
His job has been to represent the interests of others,
hoping for a favorable outcome - and it’s high time someone
returned the favor.
I’d like to direct your attention to Exhibit
A, Early’s basketball career at DHS: As a 3-year performer,
and 2-year starter for the Red Raiders, Early led the team
in scoring both junior and senior seasons, averaging 15 and
18 points per game, respectively. Additionally, his totals
were 2nd-highest in the entire Valley both years. For his
career, Jim surpassed the 700-point plateau.
Accolades included All-Valley twice, All-Housy
and team captain in 1963. Early was also named to the New
Haven Area “Wonder Five” squad of scholar-athletes.
Which brings us now to Exhibit B, an
irrefutable collection of evidence to further bolster
Early’s candidacy for induction: For four years, Jim was a
member of the baseball squad, three as a first-teamer, and
TWO as captain. With a keen eye and steady bat, he paced the
Raiders in average both junior and senior years. Not
coincidentally, he was also awarded All-Valley honors each
season. In ‘63, he garnered All-Housy and the New Haven Area
“Wonder Nine” honors, the baseball equivalent to the “Wonder
In summation, I present the following for
consideration: Upon graduation from DHS, Jim Early attended
Hopkins Grammar School for a year, and was their leading
scorer before moving on to excel in baseball at Harvard
University. He was the starting second baseman in his junior
year there. However, he had a serious arm injury them caused
him to miss his senior year and a trip to the College World
With the abundance of evidence presented
before the committee in favor of Mr. Early, I hereby rest my
case for induction into the Derby Athletic Hall of Fame.
Being either a double-digit scorer or
rebounder is hard enough; to do both in the same game is all
the more impressive. AVERAGING a double-double for the whole
year is an amazing feat that very few can even approach. To
do it TWO years in a row is unthinkable – or is it? Chris
Mester succeeded at making the unthinkable a reality.
During his junior year, his stat line was 18
points and 11 rebounds per game. The following year, he led
Big Red to the tournament by again leading the team in
scoring and rebounding, with 22 points and 11 boards per
contest. Mester was - not surprisingly - voted All-Housy and
All-Valley both years. A 54% shooting percentage went a long
way toward securing such prolific numbers. For his career,
he eclipsed the 1,100-point mark, one of the few in DHS
history to achieve that level.
Mester’s superior ability was not limited to
the hardwood. As a standout baseball player, his solid bat
and fielding skills earned him All-Valley honors, and landed
him a spot on the Diamond Housy All-Star team in 1980.
Chris went on to excel at both sports in
college. He was captain of the baseball team at UCONN-Waterbury
and was an All-Conference selection his junior and senior
seasons in basketball (unanimously in 1984), scoring 21
points and averaging 12 rebounds per game. The more things
change, the more they stay the same. Averaging a
double-double at the next level…Unthinkable? Not if your
name is Chris Mester, it’s not.
Jim Garofalo '81
Derby’s football program has had its fair
share of three-year starters over the years, but Jim
Garofalo was one of them.
He is best known for a dominant senior
season. His impressive receiving numbers, combined with his
defensive prowess, led to Garofalo being named to the
All-Valley, All-Housy and All-State squads. He was also an
Honorable Mention All-American, and earned the Sparrow’s
Award at the annual Albarella banquet that year.
Garofalo, a natural leader, was twice voted
captain of the DHS wrestling team. He accumulated a two-year
record of 55-9. Junior year saw him advance to the Class S
finals, where he earned a silver medal in the 185-pound
weight class. The following year, he took it one step
further, winning gold at the Class S meet. His totals of 55
wins and 32 pins were the most over a two-year span in
school history at that time.
Jim also lettered in track and field. His
overall athletic ability was on display year-round. His
leadership and commitment to excellence never had an
Versatility can never be underestimated,
especially when it comes to athletic performance. The skill
set of a multi-dimensional player can be the difference
between winning and losing. In so many ways - and so many
times - Rick Slowik stepped up and became the
difference-maker for Derby, both on the diamond and on the
Rick was a 3-year star pitcher for the
baseball team. Of the team’s 20 victories over that span, he
was the winning pitcher 14 times. More than just an
innings-eater, Slowik racked up eye-popping strikeout
numbers. Junior year, for instance, he fanned 84 in 70
innings pitched, while only surrendering 44 base hits to
opposing batters. The following year was nearly as
impressive as he sat down 71 batters in 79 innings and was
named to the All-Valley team. For his career, Rick struck
out 188 in what’s believed to be a school-record 200
innings. He also went the
distance 15 times, including a 10-inning complete game in
Though Rick saw playing time as a sophomore
running back for the 10-0 ‘72 squad behind fellow Hall of
Famers Tommy Palmieri and John Pagliaro, his real impact on
the football field came the following two seasons. Slowik
and Pags were a formidable 1-2 punch out of the Raider
backfield. Rick rushed the ball for over 500 yards and 8
touchdowns. He also proved to be a reliable target
downfield, catching 8 balls for 93 yards. Among his
highlights for the #1-ranked ‘73 team were a 33-yard TD
scamper vs. Ansonia and a 2-touchdown performance in a win
In 1974, Slowik was voted team captain, and
took his double-threat ability to the next level. As a
runner, he tallied over 700 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.
He also hauled in 5 TD passes and scored on a punt return,
proving just how valuable versatility really is. He again
played a major role in a win over the rival Chargers,
scoring from 62 yards out to seal the 14-0 victory. Rick
also scored 3 times against Branford, and twice each versus
Seymour, Sheehan, East Haven and Lyman Hall.
classic dual-threat offensive option, led Big Red to its
third consecutive Housy title. Individual honors included
first team All-Valley and All-Housy and second team
However, his most impressive accomplishment
was also senior year when he did something that was very
rare at the time as he rushed for 1,000 years in a season.
In fact, Rick was one of the few Derby football players at
the time to achieve the milestone.
His impact on the Derby tradition can never
Early success is not typically easy to come
by. Some, however, have a habit of making things look easier
than they really are. What others don’t always see is the
hard work and endless hours of preparation that help someone
get to that point.
Joe Lizza’s athletic career at DHS offers
multiple examples of how a freshman can not only participate
at the varsity level, but excel above and beyond anyone’s
Lizza played varsity basketball as a
freshman, and was a starter sophomore year. Despite deciding
not to continue playing beyond that point, his abundant
talent was evident from the get-go. Joe also played freshman
football while in grade school, and was elected team captain
his senior year.
It was on the diamond that Lizza’s star
shone the brightest. A four-year starter, Joe teed off on
opposing pitching to the tune of 6 homers as a freshman,
four of which were grand slams, helping lead the Red Raiders
to the 1992 Class S title. He amassed career totals of 15
homers, 60-plus RBI’s and over 80 hits, while surpassing the
.400 mark in batting average twice.
With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why
Lizza succeeded in becoming one of the most decorated
players in Derby baseball history. In addition to earning
All-State status twice, he was also All-Valley all four
years, Class S All-State three times and All-Housy twice.
With a resumé like that, it was just a matter of time before
Joe Lizza would take his rightful place in the DHS Hall of
A basketball referee once said of Dave
Walkinshaw: “That boy comes to play ball.” This statement
was made after Derby defeated Lyman Hall behind Walkinshaw’s
24-point performance - one of several times he eclipsed the
20-point mark during his career.
He also had a game against Cheshire where he
blocked 8 shots and poured in 17 points in a stunning upset
of the perennial Housy powerhouse. Another career highlight
came against Valley rival Seymour when his 26 points led the
Raiders to a rousing comeback victory. Walkinshaw was a
prolific scorer and rebounder and, as a result, was a
unanimous All-Valley selection as a senior. Derby finished
with an impressive 8 wins that year behind Walkinshaw’s
Dave also made All-Valley in football for
the 8-0-1 Red Raiders. His team-leading 10 receiving
touchdowns made him a favorite target of QB Mike Carroll,
and is still one of the best seasons for a Derby wide
receiver. His TD against previously-undefeated East Haven
helped Big Red win a nailbiter, 7-6.
Walkinshaw had three multi-touchdown games,
including 3 against Amity in a blowout win and 2 more
against Thanksgiving rival Shelton.
A talented all-around athlete who starred in
three sports, Walkinshaw was a coach’s dream. He did
everything he could to help the team win. In other words, he
really came to “play ball.”
Karen Marcucio '83
For someone who plays third base, it’s hard
to think of many nicknames better than “Nettles,” unless, of
course, you happen not to be a Yankees fan.
Regardless of personal team allegiance,
Karen Marcucio earned the moniker thanks to her slick
fielding at the hot corner - and it stuck. Marcucio not only
started all four years for the Raiderettes, but was an
All-Valley selection at the position each year.
Her best year was her junior campaign of
1982, when she batted .370 with 28 hits, 19 RBI’s, 23 runs
scored. For her efforts, she was awarded All-Housy and
All-State first-team honors. She followed that up with a
.314 average, 22 hits, 23 runs scored and a .913 fielding
percentage at third as a senior.
In 1983, as a tri-captain of the basketball
team, Karen became the first Derby girls player to be
selected first-team All-Housy. As a standout point guard,
she scored 15 points a game that year, including a pair of
25-point performances and another game with 21. She was the
team’s leading free throw shooter junior and senior year,
and graduated with seven school records under her belt.
Other honors included back-to-back nods by
the New Haven Tap-Off Club’s All-County team, second-team
All-Housy and All-State Class M honorable mention junior
As in softball, Marcucio was a four-year
starter on the court. Unfortunately, her sophomore year
ended suddenly due to injury, and coach Bev Moran was
convinced that it robbed Karen of a shot at a 1,000-point
career - and maybe even more school records. Nonetheless,
her legacy of excellence has stood the test of time.
Andy Walsh '73
When it comes to making a splash, no other
DHS athlete compares to Andy Walsh.
The finest all-around swimmer in school
history had to wait until his junior year for Derby to have
a team, but made the most of the opportunity when it
Walsh dove head first into stardom at the
pool, winning 29 events, and finishing second 4 times in 34
attempts. He lapped the competition at the Housy meet that
year, setting five school records in the process. When all
was said and done, Andy qualified for the State Open and was
named to the All-Housy first team.
As a senior, Walsh led by example as team
captain, performing in a variety of events - anything to
help the team win. At Litchfield that season, Walsh set the
DHS and pool records in the 100-yard freestyle with a time
of 53.8 seconds. By year’s end, he had broken all but two
school records, many of which still stand.
Andy finished 2nd overall in the Class M
200-yard individual medley and 3rd in the 100-yard freestyle
- both the best finishes ever by a Derby swimmer in state
competition. He was also part of Big Red’s first medley
relay team to qualify for the finals.
Although Derby’s swimming program did not
last for the long haul, Andy Walsh’s records and reputation
will. His legacy of greatness is firmly secured by his
induction into the DHS Athletic Hall of Fame.