On April 13, 1990, the charter members of the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame were announced in the lobby of Utica City Hall. Making that announcement twenty-two years ago was founding Board members Phyllis D. Calogero and Allen Gilberti. It was their vision, dedication, and perseverance that grew the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame into the esteemed institution it has become.
Among the inductees are people who made names for themselves in every sport imaginable. These fine athletes, coaches, officials, administrators, executives, and supporters have achieved fame, fortune, respect and admiration from all over the United States. The Utica area’s athletic heroes have impacted the sports world in every corner of the country and in several parts of the world. The members of the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame have shined bright lights on our area through their tremendous accomplishments on and off of the field of play. All should be proud that their careers began here.
The logo that sits at the top of this page was designed by Allen Gilberti in 1988. The meaning behind its design is simple – the large “U” stands for “Greater Utica” and the flame in the center signifies the glow of posterity. Without a doubt those who have already been inducted and will be inducted in the future will forever be remembered in posterity.
A small sampling of the recognition and adulation the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame inductees have garnered in the various sports they have played or coached include having Hall of Famer Lou Ambers in the International Boxing Hall of Fame; Jerry Walczak and Leonard Maida in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame. Earle Reed is revered in running circles for what he has done with the Utica Boilermaker Road Race. Ted Kroll was a member of three Ryder Cup golf teams. Billy Mills was honored by the National Baseball Congress in 1953 for his contributions to the game of baseball becoming just the fourth person to be so honored. Lou Lazzaro is a member of the Fonda Speedway Hall of Fame, the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame, The New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame, and the Eastern Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame. Ted Schoff is a member of the Mohawk Valley Baseball Hall of Fame. Hank Brown has broadcast several National Baseball Hall of Fame exhibition games and Olympic and International Boxing matches. Dave D’Allesandro is referred to as the man who saved the Boston Marathon.
Other area athletic stars with instant name recognition who began their careers here in the Greater Utica area include Mark Lemke, Ted Lepcio, Dave Cash, Art Mills, Emerson Roser, Hal Schumacher, Andy Van Slyke, Hal White, Charles “Boots” Day, Mike Griffin and George Burns in baseball; Wayne Levi in golf; “Bushy” Graham in boxing; Les Diven and Lloyd Walsh in media; Ian Anderson in hockey; Dennis Gregory in bowling; Laura Bradley in judo; Cedric Oliver, Lawrence Calabrese, Paul Stappenback, Shelly Pennefather and Ron Barr in basketball; Rosario “Russ” Dalia and William Shughnessy in Tennis; and Ben Rizzo and Byron Abraham in football. The list goes on and on!
~ Lou Parrotta, June 3, 2012