MONTVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME 2017
View 3rd Annual MHS Athletic HOF Induction Ceremony’s pictures onto our Facebook page.
The Montville High School Athletic Hall of Fame will induct seven former student-athletes and one team into its third class on Friday, May 19th at the Mohegan Sun’s Uncas Ballroom.
- Thomas Amanti (contributor)
- Kevin Crowley (cross country, track coach)
- The 1970 Football Team
- Dennis Vitro (Class of 1971, football, basketball, track)
- Doug Palmer (1977, wrestling)
- Kelly Hawkes (1986, cross country, track)
- Chip Terni (1993, baseball, football, basketball) and
- Will Huntington (2003, football, indoor track, baseball).
Thomas Amanti spent his entire thirty-six year professional career at Montville High School. A New London High School graduate and former 1970 Major League Baseball draft pick, he attended Providence College where he was a four year standout baseball player. Tom became an English and social studies teacher at MHS in 1974. He started the school’s girls basketball program serving as its first head coach. His eight years as head coach was highlighted by the team’s 1982 Eastern Connecticut Conference championship. Tom also coached the varsity baseball team for eight years where his teams qualified for the postseason three times. He was the area’s Coach of the Year in 1985. His 1988 team reached the Class M state quarterfinal round. Tom retired from coaching to pursue administrative positons at MHS. He would serve seven years as the Dean of Students and nine as the school’s principal. During his tenure as principal MHS athletic teams captured twenty-four ECC regular season championships and eight state titles. In 2008, Tom was named Administrator of the Year by the Southeastern Chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. Since his retirement in 2011, Tom has remained active in the community serving as the President of the New London/Windham County Alumni Association of Providence College, the Board of Education Chairman for St. Joseph Elementary School and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Leonard H. Buckley Scholarship Fund.
Kevin Crowley was the architect of one of the most dominant cross country teams in state history. Kevin began his teaching career in the guidance department at Montville High School in 1975. He served as the head girls track coach from 1976-1981 and assistant coach from 1982-1984. It was as a cross country coach that Kevin’s athletes made history. Considered “a coach ahead of his time” Kevin’s teams incorporated both physical and mental training that were unique for high school athletes at that time. He served as head coach of boys cross country from 1979-1983, winning three ECC Championships (1979, 1981, 1982) and one Class M State Championship in 1982. Kevin’s girls teams, which he coached from 1976 to 1983, were even more successful. The team thoroughly dominated locally and statewide winning seven consecutive league titles from 1976-1983 and a state record six consecutive Class M State Championships from 1978-1983. If that was not enough, Kevin’s teams won the three consecutive State Open titles from 1981-1983. Of the twenty-one student-athletes in the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame, Kevin coached four of them: Kim Watt, Kim Hawkes, Mary Bridge and Kelly Hawkes. For his efforts, Kevin has been honored as the 1981 Connecticut High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year in cross country and the 1982 Connecticut Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Cross Country Coach of the Year. Kevin also served the Montville community as he directed the recreation department’s summer running program at Fort Shantok from 1976-1984. In 1984, he would leave Montville to take a position at Norwich Free Academy, where he was an assistant track and cross country coach on twenty-one teams that won state championships. In 2013, Kevin was inducted into the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame. He currently splits time between his home in Norwich and Florida.
The 1970 Montville Indian varsity football team won the school’s very first Eastern Connecticut Conference championship. The season was the culmination of a three year building process by esteemed coach Ed Oliveria. After a winless 1967 season, Coach Oliveria was named head coach and led the team to a 3-7 record in 1968 and a 5-5 record in 1969. The 1970 team’s trademark was its defense. This unit shut out six of its nine opponents and allowed a total of twenty-seven points (an average of three per game) the entire season. Led by Dennis Vitro (All ECC, All Area, All State), Mike Gdula (All ECC, All Area), Gary Strickland (All ECC, All Area), Bill Krause (honorable mention All State), Bob Chabot, Don Sweet (All ECC, All Area, honorable mention All State), Gary Lietkowski (All Area), Bernie Szreders (All ECC, All Area, honorable mention All State) and emotional leader Ralph Calevro, this stout defense went twenty-one consecutive quarters without allowing a point. Offensively the team was led by many of the same defensive players but also senior running backs Wayne Simmons (All ECC, All Area, honorable mention All State), Nick Nicholson and senior end Ralph Gilbert and two heralded underclassman in quarterback Billy O’Hara and running back George Race. Race finished with the third most points in the area scoring a total of nine touchdowns and accumulating eighty total points. The team would finish as the only undefeated football team in the history of the school, beating opponents by an average score of 28.7 to 3 and finishing with an 8-0-1 record. The only blemish was a scoreless tie with Griswold. Key victories included wins over 8-1 Stonington 28-16 and 7-2 Ledyard 12-8.
Members of the team include; Curt Bailey, D. Breton, Rick Breton, Ken Burrows, Calevro, Chabot, Ray Coggeshall, Dan Doviak, Mike Doviak, Steve (Duke) Emilyta, Ed Fialkosky, Gdula, Gilbert, Rich Graley, Charlie Jaskewicz Walter Kornosewicz, Rich Kraft, Krause, Marc Ladd, Ed La Flamme, Lietkowski, Rob Logano, Dan Magalis, Charles Moll, Keith Moore, Wayne Nelson, Nicholson, Charles Novak, O’Hara, Mike Parker, Race, Joe Scott, Mel Scott; Simmons, Andy Stevens, Strickland, Jim Sylvia, Sweet, Szreders, Mike Todd, Vitro, Bruce Waidler, Tom Williams and Rich Zawacki. Coaches were head coach Ed Oliveria, Craig Curtis, Bill Phinney, Kevin Rabbitt, Ken Rawn, Vinnie Ricci, Phil Spring and trainer Len Vavalora.
Anyone in contact with members of the team and their families, are encourage to contact the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame with contact information including that of families of deceased team members.
Forty-five years after his graduation, Dennis Vitro’s name and accomplishments are still revered at Montville High School. As a four year starter and two time captain in football, Dennis enjoyed a decorated career. He was not only a standout linebacker but also an offensive tackle. He was named to the All ECC defensive team twice (1969, 1970) and was the school’s first two time All State selection in any sport. In fact, he is one of only a handful of football players to be named New Haven Register All-State First Team twice. During his junior season, Dennis recorded one hundred and thirty-three tackles including a then school record sixteen in one game versus Ledyard. Dennis’ senior season saw him lead the team to an undefeated season and an ECC Championship. This outstanding linebacker collected one hundred and eight tackles (an average of twelve per game) and sixty assisted tackles in just nine games. After graduation, Dennis spent the next thirty-five years of his life at Electric Boat where he was an active member of the Electric Boat Athletic Club. He retired in 2008 and still lives locally.
Doug Palmer is described by legendary wrestling head coach Art Zeigler as “the most decorated wrestler” during his tenure. Doug’s technical skill and strong work ethic made him into a dominant wrestler in the mid 1970’s. Doug was a two time ECC Champion, winning the 145 pound title in 1976 and the 155 pound title in 1977. While the school’s wrestling program boasts many truly outstanding wrestlers, Doug is still the school’s only three time wrestling state champion. He was a Class M State champion winning the 145 pound title in 1975, repeating in 1976 and moving up to capture the 155 pound title in 1977. He currently resides in Texas.
Kelly Hawkes was a standout cross country and track runner who set records at MHS that still stand thirty years later. In cross country, Kelly earned All ECC and All State honors all four years of her distinguished career. Her cross country teams would win two ECC titles, two Class M State championships and two State Open crowns. On the track, Kelly captured four individual ECC first place finishes (two each in the 1600 and 3200 meters). At the state level, Kelly would receive All State status in the 3000M (twice finishing second and third), 1500M (finishing third), 1600M (finishing third), and 3200M winning the Class M title her senior year. Kelly saved her best for these state meets where she set and maintains school records in the 3000M (10:31.6) and 3200M (11:27.5). A member of the National Honor Society in high school, Kelly matriculated to the University of Connecticut where she was a four year member of the cross country, indoor and outdoor track programs. After earning her BS in Management Information Systems, Kelly has worked for Stamford Public Schools as an Operations Research Analyst and currently works as IT Project Manager at United Healthcare. She resides in Milford, CT.
Chip Terni joins his younger brothers Jeremy (Class of 2015) and Chas (Class of 2016) in the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame. Chip received a total of nine varsity letters in football (2), basketball (3) and baseball (4). He was an All ECC player four times; once in football and three times in baseball.
It was on the baseball diamond where he excelled playing shortstop, he was named All Area twice and Class M All State three times. As captain of the 1993 team, he led the Indians with a .462 batting average as they captured the school’s first baseball ECC division title and ECC Tournament title. For his efforts, he was named the Area Player of the Year by local newspapers. Upon graduation, Chip played collegiately for two years at Manchester Community College where he led the team to the 1994 NJCAA World Series. He was also the starting shortstop for Eastern Tides of the New England Collegiate Baseball League as the team captured the very first NECBL championship. For his efforts, Chip would be named to the NECBL All Star team. Chip, a proud member of the Mohegan Tribe, currently works in a managerial position at the Mohegan Sun. He resides in Montville and has given back to his community as a youth league football, basketball and baseball coach.
Will Huntington was one of the school’s most respected and decorated student-athletes. He lettered three times each in football and baseball and twice in indoor track. He was All ECC five times – twice in baseball and indoor track and once in football. All Area four times – twice each in baseball and football. As a receiver, slot back, and quarterback, he scored fifteen total touchdowns his senior year and was named to the Hartford Courant’s All State Team. On the baseball field, Will was a three year starter in centerfield and was named Class M All State as a senior. During his career he played in sixty-eight games, scoring seventy-five runs (10th all time), collecting sixty-five hits, sixteen doubles (11th all time), thirty-five stolen bases (8th all time), and sporting a career batting average of .330. During his senior season he captained both the football and baseball teams to the state finals. Will was named the Team MVP of the state final football game. The baseball team also won the ECC Medium Division his senior year. Will was selected to play in the CT-Mass All Star Game at Fenway Park. During his senior year, he was selected as the school’s CAS-CIAC Scholar-Athlete, Outstanding Male Varsity Athlete and the Southeastern Connecticut Chapter National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. Upon graduation, Will played baseball at UConn-Avery Point where he led the team to two New England Championships and a trip to the NJCAA World Series in 2004. He currently holds the Avery Point career record with sixty-four stolen bases. He would move on and become a two year starter at the University of Vermont. After graduating from Vermont, Will received his master’s degree and went on to become a CrossFit trainer, a certified strength and conditioning coach, an assistant baseball coach at Dean College. In 2015, he accepted a position as a math teacher and head baseball coach at St. Thomas More School. Will passed away in January of 2016.
MHS Athletic HOF Facebook page
Seated (L-R) Tom Amanti (contributor), Kelly Hawkes Wasserman (’86 cross country, track), Kevin Crowley (coach cross country, track)
Standing (L-R) Doug Palmer (’77 wrestling), Dennis Vitro (’71 football), Chip Terni (’93 baseball, football, basketball), Susan Huntington (for her late son Will Huntington ’03 baseball, football)
The Undefeated 1970 Football Team – inducted as a team. In attendance were;
Seated (L-R) Wayne Nelson, Nick Nicholson, Dolores Calevro (for her late son Ralph Calevro), Tom Williams, Marc Ladd
Standing (L-R) Ralph Gilbert, Rick Mattson, Don Sweet, Dennis Vitro, Gary Strickland, Bernie Szreders, Mike Gdula, Rich Zawacki