Ten standout athletes, two coaches, a championship team and a contributor were inducted into the St. Mary’s Varsity Club on Oct. 14 in the Tony Conigliaro ’62 Gymnasium at the school. The ceremony had originally been scheduled for May 1, 2020, but was postponed twice due to the pandemic.
The 2020 Varsity Club inductees are: Kathy Coughlin Aylward ’69, Kerry D’Amico DiCiaccio ’88, Gerard Driscoll ’64, Gerard Festa ’03, Tim Fila ’88, Christen Hart ’08, Erin McAndrews ’10, William J. McNamee ’58, Amanda Webster ’09, Courtney Winters ’10, the 1969 boys cross country team, late boys basketball coach Vin Olivo, baseball coach Jim Tgettis and assistant athletic director Joe Farrell.
Aylward was a four-year varsity basketball player for coach Sister Ellen Newell at a time when there were limited opportunities in girls sports. She was voted best female athlete in her class.
D’iCiaccio was a three-sport standout (soccer, basketball, softball) who earned Catholic Central League MVP honors in basketball and softball. As a pitcher, she won 40 games in her softball career and hit .696 her senior year. She went on to a standout career at Fitchburg State.
Driscoll, a three-sport standout, was named MVP of the baseball and hockey teams in 1964. He was also one of the top 15 high school golfers in the state. As a senior, he won the Student-Athlete Award. Driscoll coached golf at St. Mary’s, Lynn Tech and Salem State University, where he led the Vikings to the NCAA Div. 3 nationals four times.
Festa, who transferred to St. Mary’s as a junior, was an all-scholastic football player and hockey star who rushed for 1,974 yards and led Eastern Mass. in scoring in 2002. He went on to play football at Endicott College.
Fila, one of the best pitchers ever at St. Mary’s, was a workhorse who helped lead the Spartans to state championships in 1987 and 1988. The southpaw went 26-2 in his career and earned 21 wins in a 43-game unbeaten streak. He was captain of the undefeated (25-0) 1988 team, going 11-0 with 138 strikeouts and eight walks.
Hart scored 200 points (68 goals, 132 assists) and helped lead the girls hockey team to state championships in 2005 and 2008. A four-time league all-star and two-time all-scholastic, she played at the University of Southern Maine.
McAndrews won five state championships and was a five-time all-star in hockey and softball, starting her St. Mary’s career as an eighth-grader. In hockey, she helped the Spartans win 77 straight games and three state titles (2008-09-10). A dominant softball player, she hit over .500 in her career, leading the Spartans to state championships in 2009 and 2010. She played at Suffolk University, where she was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a junior.
McNamee was a Boston Herald All-Star in baseball in 1958 and an All-Catholic selection, Daily Item and Lynn Telegram All-Star in 1957 and ’58. He was also an All-Star basketball player at St. Mary’s. McNamee signed with the St. Louis Cardinals organization after graduating and played seven years of minor league baseball.
Perhaps the best girls soccer player ever to take the pitch for St. Mary’s, Webster is the program’s all-time leading scorer with 156 points (102 goals, 54 assists). She was a two-time league MVP, all-scholastic and all-New England selection. She was the first St. Mary’s girls soccer player to earn a Div. 1 scholarship, playing at Santa Clara University and graduating from Providence College.
Winters scored 234 points (125 goals, 109 assists) for girls hockey teams that won 77 straight games and three state titles (2008-09-10). She was league MVP and all-scholastic as a senior. She went on to a standout career at Saint Anselm, where she was named a Div. 3 All-America.
The 1969 boys cross country team, under coach Joe Abelon, finished third in the state and third in New England. The Spartans won 36 straights dual meets from 1967-69, led by Joe Crowley, who placed ninth in the 1969 N.E. meet.
Olivo, a 1949 St. Mary’s graduate, coached the boys basketball team from 1978-82. He restored a championship culture to a program that had not had a winning season in 17 years when he took over. His St. Mary’s teams went 63-27 and won an Eastern Mass. championship (in a year in which there was no state final played due to Proposition 2½).
A member of the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Tgettis coached the Spartans to back-to-back state championships and a 43-game unbeaten streak in 1987 and 1988. His 1983 team won the Eastern Mass. championship in a year in which there was no state championship game.
If you have been to a St. Mary’s sporting event the last quarter-century, there is a very good chance you saw Farrell. A valuable member of Athletic Director Jeff Newhall’s staff, Farrell serves as site manager for football, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball games, doing the behind-the-scenes work that has helped the St. Mary’s athletic program win 27 state championships since 1987.