The Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) of Brooklyn and Queens held its third annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony May 20 at the Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston.
A group of 11 deserving athletes, coaches, athletic directors, parish administrators and officials were honored as the Class of 2016.
“Tonight we honor individuals who have made significant contributions to CYO,” said CYO Director Rob Caldera. “These individuals are not being recognized for games or championships won but for their role in shaping the youth of the diocese.
The following honorees were enshrined for their lifelong dedication to the CYO’s mission of instilling the Catholic values of sports into young athletes:
Carol O’Connell, who died Feb. 12, began coaching softball at St. Patrick, St. Margaret Mary and St. Joseph parishes of Astoria in the 1980s. At St. Margaret Mary, she coached boys’ basketball and became the parish athletic representative.
Her legacy will live on through the CYO’s Carol O’Connell Aim High Scholarship Award, given this year to eighth-grader Anthony Pace of St. Luke’s, who won the 2016 CYO essay contest and a $1,000 scholarship to St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows.
Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, the diocesan vicar for development and pastor of St. Bernard parish, Mill Basin, is active with various diocesan-, community- and city-wide organizations.
As director of the diocesan Office of Parish Giving, he helps coordinate the CYO’s annual Golf Classic, the profits of which fund CYO sports and programs throughout the year.
Msgr. Gigantiello, a lover of the culinary arts, can be seen on NET-TV’s “Breaking Bread,” a series currently in its sixth season.
Lenny Bishop attended Stuyvesant H.S., Manhattan; Bayside H.S.; and Medgar Evers College, Flatbush.
He coached high school football, basketball and baseball as well as baseball and basketball at the CYO level at St. Kevin, Flushing; St. John Vianney, Flushing; and St. Mary’s Winfield in Woodside.
Bishop reached the championship game in all of these sports and coached players who went on to play in the NFL, NBA and MLB. He also worked as an official for basketball, baseball and softball.
Michael Cawley has been a parishioner at St. Kevin, Flushing, for 50 years. When his sons wanted to play baseball, he joined the St. Kevin’s Youth Guild in 2003.
He began coaching and soon became the director of intramural baseball at the parish. He moved on to become the parish’s baseball athletic director and is currently the parish athletic representative.
Cawley played an integral role in helping to revive the baseball and softball programs of the Brooklyn Diocese. He assisted the CYO staff in organizing leagues and has worked tirelessly in maintaining the fields to make sure they are playable for the athletes.
Joe Crimi began his coaching tenure in 1978 for the boys’ intermediate team at St. Pancras, Glendale. He also coached baseball for 10 years at various levels, and was the parish’s basketball athletic director in 2003 and 2004.
In addition to coaching, he served as a CYO basketball referee for over 30 years and is a member of the IAABO Queens Board 119.
Crimi is currently the JV basketball coach at Cathedral Prep and Seminary, Elmhurst. He helped organize the CYO’s annual coaches clinic, which took place at Cathedral last fall.
Harry Connor Jr. is a parishioner at St. Sebastian, Woodside. He played high school baseball at St. Agnes Boys H.S., Manhattan, before he began working at the St. Sebastian Parish Center, where he recently celebrated his 30th year, 14 of which have been as director.
He began as a CYO baseball umpire at the age of 16. He coached baseball at St. Sebastian for 20 years, 1978-1998, in the Rookie and Intermediate divisions. He also coached 20 years of Intermediate and Tyro basketball, 1980-2000.
Connor also served as parish athletic representative for 12 years. He was a member of the St. Sebastian Sports Council and continues to aid the CYO in helping to schedule gym and pool time.
Ray Fortune started in CYO as the four-year-old bat boy for the American Martyrs, Bayside, baseball team coached by his father, while his mother ran the parish’s CYO program.
He played baseball and basketball in the early 1960s. After returning from the Vietnam War, he coached basketball and baseball until 1979.
Following the death of his wife, Fortune played a key role in helping to revive the sports program at American Martyrs in the early 1990s. Enrollment increased from 25 children to over 200 children, and the program continues to thrive today.
Rich Frohnhoefer got involved with CYO when his children were active playing basketball, baseball, volleyball, softball, swimming and soccer at St. Gregory the Great, Bellerose. He became the parish athletic representative in 2002 and served for 13 years.
During his tenure, he always offered the CYO the use of St. Gregory’s facilities. That tradition has continued with the gym serving as a host site for basketball playoff games.
Frohnhoefer currently is an advisor to the St. Gregory Athletic Association board of directors.
Kenny Marchisella was among a group of volunteers who helped begin the CYO softball program at St. Leo, Corona, in the 1970s. He was soon named parish athletic representative, a position he held for four years.
He later coached basketball, baseball and softball at St. Thomas the Apostle, Woodhaven. At the same time, he coached baseball at Christ the King H.S., Middle Village.
After becoming athletic director at St. Thomas in 1992, he also coached softball at both St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows, and Molloy College, Rockville Centre, L.I. He is still active in CYO, helping out the St. Stanislaus, Ozone Park, basketball program.
Donald Grady, who passed away in 1994, was a lifelong parishioner at St. Patrick, Bay Ridge. He attended St. Michael’s H.S., Sunset Park, before earning a hockey scholarship to Seton Hall University.
He started coaching at the parish in 1960 and served as the assistant director for basketball until 1993. In his 30-plus years at the parish, he also coached and led fundraising events
All four of his children have been heavily involved in CYO in their various parishes throughout the diocese.
Morris O. Pasqual Sr., who died in 2014, returned from a stint in the U.S. Navy to settle at St. Clement Pope, Jamaica, where he began helping out with the track team in the early 1960s. He became head coach in 1964 after it appeared the program was about to fold.
He later became the parish athletic representative, overseeing the baseball, basketball and track teams. When his son took over the track program, he continued to help out in many capacities, especially as Novice stick passing coach in the late 1980s.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at email@example.com.