The sixth annual Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) Hall of Fame ceremony recognized nine deserving individuals who dedicated their lives to youth sports in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The event was held at the Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston, on May 31, and honored individuals who have made significant contributions to CYO as a player, coach, clergy member, coordinator, official, parish representative, athletic director or other member of the community.
The award ceremony followed a Mass in the chapel celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Witold Mroziewski. The evening always features several special awards to recognize those who have dedicated their lives to CYO sports.
American Martyrs, Bayside, won the Kevin Mahoney Sportsmanship Award; Daniel Scarpulla received the Bobby Cummings Memorial Award; and eighth-grader Sophia Elizabeth Leslie from Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy, North Floral Park, won the Carol O’Connell Aim High Scholarship Award through the CYO Essay Contest. She received a $1,000 grant toward her tuition to St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows.
The Msgr. John Brown Memorial CYO Role Model Award was presented to Chris Frazier of St. Rose of Lima, Rockaway Beach, for his commitment and dedication to the mission and values of the CYO.
The following honorees entered the CYO Hall of Fame class of 2019, bringing the total number of Hall of Fame inductees to 67:
When the CYO basketball team at St. Adalbert, Elmhurst, was formed over 40 years ago, Jerry Bologna was a member of the team. He continued playing on the Junior and Senior division teams through 1967.
In addition to playing, he began coaching at the parish and continued through 1983. In 1972, he started the parish’s intramural basketball program. He later served for a few years as the parish’s basketball athletic director.
Upon moving to St. Mary Winfield, Woodside, Bologna continued coaching Novice boys’ basketball through the 2000 season. In 2015, he returned to St. Adalbert to coach. He also spent time as a CYO basketball referee and a member of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO).
Right after being ordained a priest on May 27, 1967, Msgr. John Bracken was named the moderator of the CYO program at St. Francis de Sales, Belle Harbor. The sports program soon became the center of parish life under his direction.
Starting with just five CYO boys’ basketball teams, Msgr. Bracken added girls’ basketball and an intramural in-house program, which allowed all who wished to participate the opportunity to play. The program grew to more than 50 teams per year. Later, baseball, softball, swimming and track were added to the fold.
Msgr. Bracken moved on to St. Teresa of Avila, Crown Heights, and Our Lady Help of Christians, Midwood, where he oversaw the expansion of those CYO programs. He then served as diocesan vicar of Queens and vicar of temporal affairs.
When her seven-year-old daughter, Cassondra, wanted to join cheerleading at St. Stan’s, Maspeth, Lorraine Calandrillo immediately got involved with the parish’s sports association as an assistant cheer coach. She soon took over the program as head coach and then director.
For the next 20 years, St. Stan’s program grew into one of the largest programs of any CYO sport. Four years ago, Calandrillo was instrumental in initiating the CYO Cheerleading Showcase, which has become a spring staple for CYO cheer teams to display their enthusiasm and spirit for their sport.
Sadly, Calandrillo died on Oct. 25, 2018 after being diagnosed with cancer several months earlier. Her memory and impact will be felt at St. Stan’s and the entire CYO cheerleading community for years to come. From now on, the annual showcase will be known as the Lorraine Calandrillo Memorial CYO Cheerleading Showcase.
As his wife, Marie, coached and played CYO basketball and softball at St. Mary Gate of Heaven, Ozone Park, Louis “Big Lou” Elrose was a fixture at the parish as a sports official. He volunteered for the intramural program and in 1984 became a certified IAABO referee.
In 1990, he became a softball umpire. Elrose was a member of the N.Y.C. Board of Officials for both sports. In 35 years, he officiated contests for the CHSAA and PSAL and for local colleges.
As parish athletic representative (PAR) at St. Mary Gate of Heaven, he was able to watch all three of his children play in the parish’s sports program. His kids have followed in his footsteps and have given back to the CYO.
Frank Kirchoff’s involvement with CYO has been a more-than-40-year journey that began at St. Andrew Avellino, Flushing, where in 1978 he rejuvenated the parish’s Saturday morning intramural sports program.
He coached both his daughter and son’s teams, and even after they aged out of the program, he has continued to coach for the past 20 years. He also was a member of the Athletic Associating Board for over 30 years, serving as president for 20 of those years at St. Andrew.
Kirchoff began “Team Masses” at the parish, an ongoing tradition in which CYO athletes wear their sports uniforms as they attend Mass as a team and receive a special blessing from the priest.
Michael LoCascio Sr. has seen and done it all when it comes to CYO. Starting 50 years ago, he played sports for St. Brigid, Wyckoff Heights, and Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Ridgewood. He later coached and served as an official, as well.
For over 30 years, LoCascio has served as PAR at St. Stan’s, Maspeth, where he remains very involved in many facets of parish life.
He’s also coached girls’ basketball in the local GCHSAA. After a stint as an assistant for diocesan powerhouse and his high school alma mater Christ the King H.S., Middle Village, he is now the head varsity coach at St. John’s Prep, Astoria, and recently won this year’s ‘A’ Division diocesan crown.
Following a decorated three-letter sports career at St. Francis Prep, Williamsburg, Phil McBride Sr. initiated sports at several diocesan parishes in the early 1950s through tournaments he ran for the Catholic War Veterans. In 1960, he founded the CYO program at St. Stan’s, Maspeth, and became its athletic director. He oversaw the creation of a soccer program as well as of girls’ basketball and softball teams.
In the 1960s, he helped establish the South West Deanery Athletic Directors to unite those CYO parishes. The group organized All-Star games and free-throw shooting contests. When CYO created the position of PAR in 1967, McBride became the first one at St. Stan’s and was asked to serve on the Bishop’s CYO Council on Athletics.
He later volunteered to coach at St. Ann’s, Flushing, and soon took over the parish’s basketball program. He passed away in 1980 and was inducted posthumously into the CYO Hall of Fame, where he joins his son, 2015 inductee Phil McBride Jr.
Nancy Motto first participated in CYO basketball at St. Barbara, Bushwick, where she won the free-throw shooting contests while in fourth and fifth grades. During her junior year of high school at Christ the King, she moved to Middle Village, where she played CYO basketball at St. Margaret, 1968-1971.
After playing three years of basketball at Molloy College, Rockville Centre, L.I., and embarking on a 32-year career for the Social Security Administration, she still found time to coach both basketball and softball at St. Margaret for over 30 years.
Motto also served as basketball athletic director and softball athletic director at St. Margaret. She was honored in 2011 with the Metro Classic Lifetime Achievement Award for her 31 years as a coach, athletic director and mentor.
At St. Joseph, Astoria, Mary Stanis began her involvement with CYO by playing volleyball in the fifth grade. She later was a member of the first-ever volleyball team at St. Agnes H.S., College Point.
In the early 1980s, she started directing the volleyball program at St. Joseph. For over 30 years, the program has remained strong in displaying the mission and values of CYO.
During that time, Stanis also served as the CYO diocesan program director for volleyball. Volleyball remains her favorite sport, whether it be CYO, CHSAA, beach, travel teams or at the annual family reunion.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.