PLAINVILLE — Six of the greatest athletes and coaches to have led the Blue Devils to victory over the decades will be inducted into the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame in October.
The goal of the hall and its annual induction ceremony, held Oct. 5 at Nuchie’s Restaurant, is to never let the chronicles of the greatest plays and players be lost to history, said Byron Treado, chairperson of the hall.
He noted players like John Mangan, a 1964 PHS graduate who played on the football team from 1961 through 1963, but whose talent as a lineman was overshadowed by the headline moments of skills players like quarterbacks. He was named the defensive player for 1963 and nominated as an all-star player that year as well. In his parallel career on the track field, he was a part of the 1961 state championship team.
“John was well known for his hard hitting and ability to lead the way on sweeps as a pulling guard. On defense he was a devastating tackler from his position on the line,” said a release from the Hall of Fame introducing each of the 2019 inductees. “John was a gritty, determined, tenacious payer who played with unbridled fury according to his teammates. John also spent 30+ years as a member of the Plainville Volunteer Fire Department and reached the rank of 2nd Assistant Chief giving back to the community that he loved.”
This year’s Distinguished Service Honoree John Bello, a 1964 PHS graduate, played alongside Mangan on the football team, though his achievements extended far beyond his time on the field. He was the Student Council president, earned a spot on the National Honor Society and set a record in 1959 as the youngest eagle scout up until that time, at the age of 12.
After graduating, Bello joined the Navy and served in Vietnam and landed at the National Football League’s marketing and merchandising wing in 1979, where he grew sales from $6 million in annual revenue to over $3 billion after becoming the branch’s president in 1986, according to the Hall of Fame. Though he now splits his time between Arizona and New York, Bello continues to sponsor athletics programs in Plainville and established a scholarship for PHS graduates.
Like many inductees, Harold “Curly” Bartley, a 1962 graduate, made his name playing multiple sports at PHS. In his case he played on the basketball team, where he helped bring the team to the 1961 State Championship and the 1962 state finals, and was a letterman for four state championship track and field teams.
With 173 career wins, 2004 PHS graduate Jesse Cavallaro has the second most victories across the state and was pinned only once in almost 200 matches, according to the release from the Hall of Fame. He accomplished this while playing on the soccer team all four years as a midfielder.
“(Cavallaro) Is considered one of the best wrestlers in Plainville High School Wrestling history and had a very successful Soccer career,” the release said.
RoseMarie Havelevitch Dugas, a 1975 graduate, not only played on three teams - basketball, tennis and volleyball, which she helped found in 1974 - but also earned a half dozen academic awards. Treado said she was a pioneer of women’s sports at a time when the whole state lacked programs for women.
In 22 years of coaching women’s softball at PHS, coach Phil Mannarino never lost a season and had more than 300 wins and prevailed in six league championships.
“That speaks volumes for your ability to motivate, because you don’t get steady talent for 20 years,” Treado said.
Inspired by the tales of the greatest moments in Blue Devils history he heard around the counter at Anthony’s Service Station, Treado, said he hopes those stories can continue inspiring players today and into the future.
“I’d like to believe that the legacy of the honorees in the hall of fame that are outside the auditorium - that when a young athletes walks by those things it’s an inspiration for at least one,” he said.