Eight new members will enter the prestigious West Haven Hall of Fame Saturday, Nov. 30 at the West Haven Italian-American Club on Chase Lane.
Spanning seven decades, the new inductees bring the total to 134. The 14th class to be honored consists of Bob Raucci, Paula Uscilla, Lindsay Connor, Brian Nugent, Mark Heffernan, Don Fitzgerald, Bob Reilly and Vin Siena Jr.
“It is another outstanding class,” West Haven Hall of Fame dinner chairman Jon Capone said. “There is a wide range of years, from the 1940s to the 2000s.
“This is the first class where we have someone from the 2000 era and actually there are two with Mark Heffernan and Lindsay Connor. We have a lot of years covered. We look forward to another great class.”
Raucci is a 1964 graduate who starred in football, basketball and baseball and was named the West Haven High School Sportsman of the Year in 1964 by the West Haven Fire Department. Raucci also played under two Hall of Fame coaches in William Irons (football) and Whitey Piurek (baseball).
As a three-year member of the football team, Raucci controlled both sides of the ball at quarterback and safety.
Raucci continued his leadership on the basketball court as a three-year member of the team and the starting point guard under Joe Phister. Raucci was named the Savitt Award winner in basketball his senior year.
Senior year was capped in style for Raucci as he helped lead the baseball team to the District League title. Raucci, a shortstop, also played three years on the baseball diamond for Piurek.
Following his career at West Haven, Raucci played in the West Haven Twilight League from 1960-1966 and 1968-1972, finishing with two championships.
The diamond is where you will continue to find Raucci as he has played organized slow pitch softball the last 40 years, recently winning the National Championship for the senior games in Cleveland, Ohio.
Raucci served in the United Sates Army from 1966-1968.
Uscilla was a three-sport star who excelled on each team. Playing soccer, basketball and softball under Hall of Fame coaches, Uscilla left her mark and was named to the all-conference team in each and All-Area for basketball and softball.
On the soccer field, Uscilla was a center midfielder playing under coach Mike Violano. On the softball diamond, Uscilla played shortstop for Frank Biondi and, on the basketball court, she was the point guard under Jim Eagan.
Uscilla, who was the captain on all three teams, earned 11 varsity letters, with the only letter not attained coming in her freshman year because she did not play softball. She was awarded the Kelly Camp Award her senior year.
Uscilla attended the University of New Haven where she was on the dean’s list every semester and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Management. She was named an All-America Scholar Athlete her senior year and was named the captain on both the women’s softball (second base) and soccer (central defender) teams her junior and senior years.
Uscilla was also a second-team All-New England Collegiate Conference selection in soccer and was awarded the University of New Haven Sportsmanship award her junior and senior years.
The Boston University School of Law was next for Uscilla where she concentrated on Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She graduated cum laude from both the University of New Haven and Boston University School of Law.
Uscilla has since gone on to a successful career practicing Law. After spending time at the United States Attorney’s Office as a law clerk and other firms in Stamford, Connecticut and Boston, Massachusetts, Uscilla is now at United Technologies Corporation in Hartford.
Connor is a 2003 graduate who was a three-sport star while at West Haven. Active and leading the way from fall to spring, Connor excelled in volleyball, basketball and softball.
Voted the most athletic female her senior year and a recipient of the Kelly Camp award, Connor was a captain for each team she played on.
On the volleyball court, Connor was the team’s captain her junior and senior years, was named to the All-Southern Connecticut Conference team and was the team most valuable player.
Senior year saw Connor lead the way as the captain on the basketball court and on the softball field. The diamond was where Connor had her best year as she was named to the All-State, All-Area and All-SCC teams.
The awards continued for Connor as she was named the team’s most valuable player, also taking home the Golden Glove and Golden Bat awards.
Bryant University was the next stop for the Westie star and Connor made her presence felt immediately, starting all 43 games as a freshman.
Connor led the team and the Northeast-10 Conference with a .418 batting average while starting all 46 games in her sophomore season. The season also saw her finish with a .461 slugging percentage, leading the Bulldogs with 69 hits and a Northeast-10 Conference First Team selection.
As a junior, Connor again was a ll-Northeast-10 First Team selection with a .350 batting average and 25 stolen bases. Connor finished her collegiate career being named to the All-Regional Team of the NCAA tournament her sophomore, junior and senior years.
Connor is presently an Operations Analyst at Fortress Investment Group in New York City
Nugent is a 1975 graduate who played football and lacrosse. After graduating from West Haven, Nugent went on to play four years at the University of New Haven, where he started at linebacker.
At West Haven, Nugent was three-year starter at linebacker and a member of the 1972 state championship team. He was a tri-captain in 1974, an All-District selection in 1973 and 1974, a Second Team All-State selection in 1973 and a First Team All-State selection in 1974. Nugent was also a recipient of the Coaches Award in 1974.
Nugent was a member of the first West Haven High School lacrosse team, where he started four years at attack and was a tri-captain in 1974.
At the University of New Haven, he led the Chargers in tackles in two seasons, averaging more than 12 per game and was the team’s captain in 1978. Nugent was named to the All-New England Football Conference in 1976, 1977 and 1978, was a UPI All-New England selection in 1978 and was the team’s most valuable player in 1977 and 1978.
The honors continued for Nugent as he was named the UNH Male Athlete of the Year for the 1978-79 academic year, and was the New Haven Gridiron Club Small College Player of The Year in 1977 and 1978. He was named to the University of New Haven Hall of Fame in 1996.
Heffernan is a 2002 graduate who left his mark on the ice for the Westies. A highly-touted goaltender, Heffernan did not disappoint.
Heffernan mastered his craft between the pipes and walked away with three All-State selections, following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He was a Southern Connecticut Conference All-Area selection the same three years and was named the team’s most valuable player after his sophomore and junior years.
During the 1998-99 season, Heffernan was selected to the Team Connecticut Select 15 (year-old) squad as well as the Team New England Select 15 team.
The following year Heffernan was selected to the Team Connecticut Select 16 year-old squad and the Team New England Select 16 team. Heffernan capped the run by being selected to the Team Connecticut Select 17 squad.
As Heffernan moved past West Haven, his hockey success continued. Heffernan played in the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League where he played for the Connecticut Jr. Wolves and was selected to the All-Star team.
Heffernan moved on to the Maritime Junior A Hockey League, playing for the Campbellton Junior Tigers.
Heffernan has since moved on from his playing days and has been a hockey instructor at the Shelton Rinks and was also the assistant hockey coach at St. Joseph High from 2004 to 2007.
Fitzgerald is a 1955 graduate of West Haven High who excelled in soccer, baseball and bowling. A solid performer in each, Fitzgerald was usually the player teammates turned to.
On the soccer field, Fitzgerald was the starting goalkeeper his junior and senior campaigns. Coached by Luke Crowe, Fitzgerald led his team to the state tournament his senior year with eight shutouts and was named to the All-District team.
Fitzgerald was also a four-year member of the baseball team where he played for Hall of Fame coach Whitey Piurek. During his junior and senior years, Fitzgerald was West Haven’s ace, compiling an overall record of 15-2.
In 1959, Fitzgerald pitched in the state championship game that West Haven lost 1-0 to Naugatuck in extra innings. The team finished with an 18-3 record.
When not pitching, Fitzgerald played right field, hitting .320. He was named to the All-District team and was given the Savitt Award.
Fitzgerald was also a three-year member of the West Haven bowling team. Playing at the Woodlawn Bowling Alley, Fitzgerald was a captain along with Bob Tingley.
Fitzgerald went on to play in the West Haven Twilight League from 1954 through 1959 before entering the army. He was a Gold Bat recipient in 1994.
Fitzgerald is a charter member of the New Haven Football Foundation and is on the Board of Directors of the South Hamden Baseball Association. He was given the Good Guy Award from the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce in 1994.
Reilly is a longtime resident of West Haven, where he grew up and currently resides in the West Shore Area.
Reilly attended Colonial Park School where he played soccer and scored the game-winning goal in the 1939 city championship game. Reilly moved on to West Haven High and played soccer and was captain of the hockey team.
Reilly left high school during his senior year to join the Navy, where he served two years in the South Pacific.
After the war, Reilly continued his education getting engineering degrees from both Alfred University and New Haven College. Reilly played baseball in the West Haven Twilight League and is noted for hitting a home run through a barn window in a game against East Haven.
Reilly coached and administered for eight years in the Shore Haven Baseball and West Haven Biddy Basketball leagues. He was president of the West Shore Baseball and Basketball Association. He was also the founder and president of the West Haven Midget Football Association.
A 1982 graduate, Siena was a two-sport star while at West Haven, playing for three Hall of Fame coaches.
A star on the baseball team, Siena played one year for Piurek and his final two years for George Hanchette. On the soccer field, Siena played for Elliot Marnell.
Siena will largely be known for his play on the baseball diamond. Starring for the Westies for three years at shortstop, Siena hit third or fourth in the lineup, continually hit in the .300 range and had a handful of home runs.
Siena was an All-District selection his sophomore and senior years and was selected to the Senior All-Star game his final season. During Siena’s senior campaign, as a captain, his three-run home run helped knock archrival Notre Dame out of the quarterfinal round before the Westies fell to Warde in the semifinals.
Siena was a three-year player for Marnell on the soccer field and was named captain his senior season. Siena was also an All-District selection in soccer.
Siena went on to continue his baseball career at Quinnipiac University where he played four years under legendary coach Dan Gooley.
Moving to third base on the collegiate level, Siena was an All-New England First Team selection following his sophomore and senior campaigns and was the most valuable player his senior year, hitting .397. Siena held the home run record at Quinnipiac for 15 years.
He was the starting third baseman his freshman year before being moved to center field. Siena was named the team’s Most Improved Player in 1983 and the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1985.
Siena was a First Team All-New England selection, First Team All-City selection and a member of the NECC Division II First team.
With Siena on the team, Quinnipiac advanced to the Division II College World Series in 1983. He was inducted into the Quinnipiac College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990 for his outstanding offensive play on the baseball field.
Siena moved on to the West Haven Twilight League where he was a player/manager for 25 years. Playing in the league since 1981, Siena was three-time league most valuable player, leading his team to five championships and three second place finishes.
While also receiving the league Sportsmanship Award, Siena was a Gold Bat recipient ion 2012.
The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. For ticket information, contact Capone at (203) 937-4360, ext. 7142.