Bristol has long enjoyed a rich history in sports. It’s founding fathers ensured that sports would always be an integral part of Bristol’s way of life by donating land for parks and foundations to support them. Since the 1800’s, Bristol’s industries have supported athletic competition and have sponsored many sports teams. As a result, Bristol has been endowed with a rich sports history that has become part of the fabric of our everyday lives. These Industrial leagues, Bristol school leagues, little leagues, church leagues and private clubs are in some way part of our every day lives. In 1997, John Fortunato and Bob Montgomery formed the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame (BSHOF) to honor Bristol’s rich sports history. With John Smith as Executive Director, a Board of Directors was formed and a vision statement was created. That vision statement affirmed its mission.
Since 1997, a number of people who represented the best in Bristol’s sports history have been inducted into the BSHOF. The plaques honoring these individuals are on display at the Dennis N. Malone Aquatic Center on Mix Street in Bristol. The BSHOF is very proud of our partnership in the community. We hope that those who help make all this possible-our advertisers, our membership, the inductees, but especially the citizens of Bristol-are also proud. Without their support, none of this would be possible.
Thanks to public support, the BSHOF sponsors the Scholar/Athlete program. Created by our former Executive Director Jack Hines, this program honors top student-athletes from Bristol’s three high schools for their combined athletic and scholastic achievements. The Joe McGinn Award is presented to an individual that has overcome a significant challenge in their life. The award represents the spirit of Joe McGinn, who lost a lifelong battle with kidney disease.
In a partnership with the Bristol Board of Education and the Bristol Board of Parks and Recreation, the BSHOF co-sponsors the annual Hershey Track and Field event. This event allows all the Bristol grammar school children to compete in track and field events over several days. The winners then compete at the state level and in some cases, earn the right to compete in Pennsylvania at the national level. This has become a much anticipated track and field event for Bristol’s grammar school students. The BSHOF has been active in other annual community activities such as the Bristol Mum Festival, The Children’s Holiday Parade, and the Bristol Library’s Festival of Trees.
In 2003, President Dave Mills initiated the Leadership Council featuring a business leader or sports figure who addresses the subject of leadership. Underclassman from all three high school athletic teams are giving the opportunity to discuss their leadership responsibilities in a round table discussion with educators and BSHOF directors. The inaugural speaker for the Leadership program was Mr. Robert Fiondella, retired CEO of the Phoenix Co. Mr. Fiondella delivered a powerful message that impacted the students. He believed so strongly in the Leadership Program, he decided to fund the three annual events.
The BSHOF also presents a series of motivational speakers that is open to the public. To date, Shea Ralph, former UCONN player, Mr. Bobby Hurley, highly acclaimed coach from St. Anthony High School in N.J., Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun, and Hall of Fame inductee, John Ehrmann, former Baltimore Colts All-Pro Lineman, Paul Pasqualoni former Syracuse and UCONN Head Football coach and legendary coach and ESPN Analyst Lou Holtz delivered their messages to the citizens of Bristol.
Standing (from left): Hal Kilby, Tom Mazzrella, Hank Lodge, Dave Greenleaf, John Colapietro, Chris Cassin.
Seated (from left): Mark Ziogas, Dave Mills, Chris D’Amato, Tom Ragaini, Gail Ericson, Ellie Wilson, Jack Krampitz, Bob Freimuth, Bernie O’Keefe, Bob Montgomery.
Absent: Don Soucy.