Saturday May 21, 2011

The school hosts its first Hall of Fame banquet, inducting ‘Legends’ and all-decade teams.

PITTSFIELD -- The cream of the crop of St. Joseph’s Central High School’s rich football history were honored Friday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel as part of the high school’s inaugural Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Marv Levy, former coach of the four-time AFC champion Buffalo Bills, was the guest speaker.

"It’s a basic message," said Levy in an interview prior to his speech. "Sports should be educational. Learn from them. And it should be fun. Enjoy yourself, and savor your teammates."

Levy, enshrined in Canton, Ohio in 2001, is retired now. He recently completed a novel, "Between the Lies", a mystery-thriller due out in August.

"I can’t say too much about it before it comes out," he said. "But I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I enjoyed writing this."

Following dinner, the "Legends" team was introduced. They included Paul E. Brindle, class of 1956; James M. Clark, Jr., ‘67; John V. Clark, ‘67; Phillip A. Formel Sr., ‘41; Joseph E. Fox, ‘55; Francis E. Koldys, ‘47; William D. Larkin, Sr., ‘43; David M. McNeice, ‘65; current softball coach George J. "Buddy" Pellerin, ‘57; Paul E. Perachi, ‘57; Thomas H. Potter, ‘62; Paul M. Procopio, ‘63; John J. Quinn, Sr., ‘45 and Frank J. Scago, Jr.

The All-Decade team for the 1970s was John L. Barbarotta, ‘77; Peter J Clark, ‘72; Clement A. Ferris, Jr., ‘75 and John J. Quinn, Jr. ‘75. The 1980s team was current football coach Gary A. Bianchi, ‘80; John J. Ferris, ‘81 and Brian J. Traversa, ‘85.

Paul A. Dowd and Marc McNeice of the Class of 1992 and Edward F. Perlak and Frank J. Scago III, both of the Class of 1996, were named to the 1990s All-Decade Squad, while the 2000s team was Nicholas Bianchi, Thomas J. Bowler and Dempsey Quinn from the Class of 2006, Bradley C. Horth, ‘04 and Brodie M. Quinn, ‘09.

The event drew almost 250 alumni and friends of the high school. Although the induction of a "Legends" football team and four All-Decade squads was the focus of the program, the point, according to spokesman John Quinn, "is to raise money to benefit the entire school. This isn’t really an athletic event."

"We’re trying to help our alumni reconnect with St. Joseph’s," said principal Fran Foley. "We want all these folks to realize that St. Joseph’s is alive and well. We’re looking forward to a bright future at St. Joseph’s, but we might need some help getting there."

A preliminary estimate for the amount raised was more than $50,000. But Madeline Phelps, business manager for the Catholic Schools of Pittsfield, said she expected the final amount to be a greater sum.

Phelps said the funds will be used for tuition assistance for students at the school. The combined budget for St. Joseph’s Central High School and St. Mark’s Elementary and Middle School is about $3 million annually, she said.

"We’re pleased with the turnout," said William Jones, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Schools of Pittsfield. The money, he said, will "support families and kids who want this [Catholic] education."

Jones said school officials and supporters hope this will be an annual event. Athletics, he said, would not be the focus of the event every year. Ensuing events will recognize local business leaders, artists and other prominent member in the community.

"We have alumni from all walks of life," he said.