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 were on display at the Dennis N. Malone Aquatic Center on Mix Street in Bristol. Unfortunately, we ran out of space and they are only on display on our website. 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.
Each year BSHOF awards $9,000 in Scholarships to six deseving students, two from each of the three high schools.
To augment thesse scholarships, the BSHOF runs a Golf Tournament.
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.
Sanding (from left): Reinhard Walker, Tom Mazzarella, Mark Ziogas, Hank Lodge, John Colapietro, Gail Ericson, Chris Cassin, Dave Greenleaf and Chris D’Amato.
Seated (from left): Sarah Larson, Bob Kalat, Ellie Wilson, Tom Monahan, Don Soucy, Jack Krampitz, Bob Freimuth, and Tom Ragaini.
Absent: Hal Kilby. Bob Montgomery and Dave Mills.