Derby Athletic Hall of Fame

Congratulations to the DHS Athletic Hall of Fame Seventh Class

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Jim Early '63


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 Five.”

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 at both sports at Harvard University.

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.



Chris Mester '80

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 few have had the distinction of being named All-Valley on both offense and defense in the same season.

Jim Garofalo’s all-around talent made him one of the select few to attain that honor - as a junior.

He followed that up with 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 off-season.




Rick Slowik '75

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 gridiron.

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 1974.

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 over Sheehan.

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. Slowik, the 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 All-State. His impact on the Derby tradition can never be understated.




Joe Lizza '95

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 expectations.

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 Fame.



Dave Walkinshaw '68

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 leadership.

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 year

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 presented itself.

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.






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