WCSU to hold ‘Hall of Fame’ induction ceremony
Seven individuals to be honored on Oct. 18
DANBURY, CONN. — Honoring the accomplishments of athletes and contributions of coaches and supporters, Western Connecticut State University will hold its 10th Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. Held during Homecoming Week, this year’s ceremony will recognize seven individuals who left their mark on Colonial sports history: soccer players Nicole Corbin ’06, of Clinton, and Tom Crucitti ’69, of Woodbury; women’s basketball players Christin Morgatto ’05, of Danbury, and Tina Shanahan O’Marra ’98’, ’05, of Torrington; football, basketball, baseball and soccer player Joseph Giaquinto ’70, of Bridgeport; softball coach and associate athletic director Alicia O’Brien ’83, ’86, ’95, of Pella, Iowa; and James Krayeske, of Watertown, Western’s first football coach, for support.
The induction ceremony will be at The Amber Room Colonnade, 1 Stacey Road in Danbury. The event will start with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m. The public is invited and tickets are $75. They are available by calling (203) 837-8298 before Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. Congratulatory ads may also be purchased in the program book by calling (203) 837-8298.
This year’s inductees are:
Nicole Corbin. Corbin started coaching youth soccer in her hometown of Clinton shortly after graduating from Western in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Human Relations. In 2009, she moved to Orlando, Fla., and began coaching for Complete Soccer Academy, where she currently coaches a boys travel team. She continues to play soccer regularly in several leagues, including coed indoor and outdoor and pick-up soccer in the Orlando area.
Corbin also works as a physical therapist assistant, having continued her education to obtain her PTA certification after finding inspiration at the rehabilitation department of a nursing home at which she worked after college to return to school. She has a passion for the Spanish language and culture and her Spanish skills have proved useful in the workplace, mission work and in her daily life. Corbin has traveled to multiple countries on four continents for both pleasure and mission work, including two months in China spent teaching English and working alongside churches in Hong Kong.
Tom Crucitti. In 1967, Crucitti was a walk-on, playing right fullback on the men’s soccer team. He was chosen co-captain, playing fullback and right halfback, for the 1968 season, which proved to be the first winning season for the team in many years and resulted in the university’s first post-season tournament play. As center halfback in 1969, Crucitti was again named a co-captain and the team achieved another winning season and post-season play. He scored three goals and had nine assists in two seasons playing in a primarily defensive position. Crucitti credits the late Coach Ted Hines’ “run-all-day-long” approach to the game with the team’s success. “We were not blessed with a lot of raw talent,” Crucitti said, “But we made up for that by running, running, running.”
Crucitti missed the 1970 and ’71 seasons due to the draft but returned for his last year of eligibility as a right halfback when he was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1972. He said a major highlight of his soccer career was the West Point B-team game at West Point. “They must have dressed a couple of platoons, because every time you looked at the sidelines, three or four substitutes poured into the game throughout. We held them to a 4-4 tie.” Crucitti earned a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Western.
Christin Morgatto. Morgatto attended WCSU from 2000 to 2005, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in English and a Master of Science in Education - Instructional Technology. Not only was Morgatto a member of the women’s basketball team as an undergraduate, she served as a captain for three years. Upon her graduation, Morgatto joined the WCSU women’s basketball team coaching staff as an assistant under Coach Kim Rybczyk for four years.
Morgatto is in her fifth season as head coach of the girls’ basketball team at Bethel High School and is an eighth-grade English teacher at Bethel Middle School. She also has played women’s semi-professional tackle football for the past six seasons as a linebacker and defensive end and was named to the Defensive All-American team in 2012. She and husband Gary Peloso had a daughter, Ava Grace, in April 2013.
Tina Shanahan O’Marra. O’Marra had an outstanding career as a two-year captain for women’s basketball coach Jody Rajcula from 1993-97. She held the all-time records in career rebounds (912), rebounds in a game (23) and consecutive free throws made in a season (26). Upon her Hall of Fame induction, O’Marra was fourth on the university’s all-time scoring list with 1,189 points. She is ranked fifth in field goals made (478) and eighth on the all-time list for free-throws made with 233. O’Marra was named to the Little East All Conference First Team for the 1995-96 and1996-97 seasons. A member of two NCAA teams and two ECAC tournament teams, O’Marra was a member of the NCAA Sweet 16 team in 1996-97.
O’Marra received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education – Psychology in 1998 and a Master of Science in Education - Instructional Technology from Western in 2005. Currently a first-grade teacher at Batcheller Elementary School in Winsted, O’Marra has been employed by Winchester Public Schools for 13 years, teaching grades one, two, three and four. In her free time, O’Marra enjoys traveling with her husband, Rob, and children Braden and Annabel, who share her passion for sports. She also enjoys reading and playing volleyball.
Joseph Giaquinto Jr. Giaquinto was an outstanding athlete at Notre Dame High School in Bridgeport, where he played basketball for two years and baseball for four years, batting .373 his senior year and helping Notre Dame win its first MBIAC baseball championship. He enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University, where he intended to play basketball and baseball, but ended up adding football to his credentials at the request of an assistant football coach.
After his sophomore year at Southern, Giaquinto played in the Cape Cod League, batting .347, until he was sidelined by an eye infection. The following spring he enrolled at Western and, despite his intention not to participate in athletics, he was persuaded by then-baseball coach Al Thomas to play baseball. He also participated in basketball; soccer, a sport he had never played before; and football — becoming the only player in Western’s history to participate in four sports. In 1968, Giaquinto joined Jim Dyer in starting a campus movement to field a football team, and in spring 1969, football practice was held for the first time on campus. The following fall, Western had its first football program. As a member of the football team, Giaquinto averaged 100 yards per game rushing and 100 yards per game receiving. He scored the first two touchdowns in Western history and went on to become touchdown leader for the Colonials’ initial season. He was awarded the Century Club Award for averaging more than 200 yards per game rushing and receiving. He also was a baseball team co-captain and tri-captain of the football team.
Giaquinto earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature in 1970 at Western. After graduation, he played for the 1970 National Softball Major Fast Pitch Champion Raybestos Cardinals, also the 1971 New England Champions. From 1972-76, he played Major Fast Pitch Softball for the Crown Budget Braves, Salantri Electric of Long Island and the Poughkeepsie Little Brau House. He also went on to receive a Master of Science in Secondary English, a sixth-year certificate, a law degree, and has completed all but dissertation in an Ed.D. program, garnering academic and jurisprudence awards during his post-graduate studies. He has been employed as an admissions counselor at a private university, a public school teacher, school administrator and public school expulsion officer. His community service includes participation on the boards of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Bridgeport, and the WCSU Foundation and Alumni Association. Giaquinto was inducted into the Greater Bridgeport Athletic Association in 2011.
Alicia O’Brien. O’Brien served as Western’s head softball coach for 17 years. She also held the position of associate director of athletics/senior women’s administrator. During her coaching tenure at WCSU, the softball team went 423-213-3 and made 13 post-season appearances. From 1999 to 2002, the team had four consecutive 30-win seasons, captured three straight conference titles and appeared in four consecutive NCAA Tournaments. In 2002, the softball team ended the season ranked ninth in the country and competed in its first NCAA Div. III College World Series where it captured the NCAA New England Regional Championship and completed the year with a 34-9-1 record. In 2004, O’Brien led the Colonials to a 26-16 overall record and 9-5 finish in the Little East Conference. Crowned LEC Tournament champions, the team earned a seventh bid to the NCAA Tournament. In 2005, Western advanced to the championship game of the Eastern College Athletic Conference New England Championships, finishing the year with a 24-16-1 record — the12th straight season in which the team accrued 20 or more wins.
O’Brien celebrated her 400th career win in March 2006. She was inducted into the Connecticut Softball Hall of Fame as collegiate coach in 2002. In 2008, she was inducted into the Danbury High School Hall of Fame. She is a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and the New England Intercollegiate Coaches Association. O’Brien also is a member of the NCAA Regional All-American Committee, directed the Western Connecticut Softball Camp and served for five years as for the Danbury school system as a Title IX consultant. She earned a B.A. in Anthropology in 1983, and master’s degrees in Community Counseling (1986) and Guidance and Counseling (1995) — all from Western.
James Krayeske. In early 1969, Western Connecticut State College students were clamoring for a football team. By spring, many were participating in workout sessions, leading to approval by the Varsity Governing Board for creation of a team. After advertising the need for a head football coach in July, Krayeske was appointed first head football coach at Western in August 1969. The 31-year-old Krayeske had been head coach at Watertown High School. Upon taking the helm at Western, he hired three assistant coaches. The team had no equipment, equipment room or manager, trainers, team doctor, locker rooms or shower. Practices were held at six different locations, borrowed equipment was kept in cars and players changed into their uniforms in their cars and hallways of academic buildings.
Through the efforts of Krayeske and his coaching staff, the team was able to obtain much-needed equipment and uniforms. After well-attended try-outs in September 1969, Krayeske developed a five-game schedule. Opening the season with a 0-0 tie against Norwalk Community College, Western went on to defeat Stamford-UCONN 44-0 in the team’s second outing. Following a close loss to the University of New Haven and a significant defeat by St. Michael’s, the team closed out the season with a 7-6 victory against SUNY Stony Brook. Under Krayeske’s leadership, the team had amassed an impressive record of 2-2-1 in its fledgling season and set the stage for the future of football at Western.
For more information, call the Office of Alumni Relations at (203) 837-8298.
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.