The following eleven (11) distinguished athletes, coaches, officials and administrators were inducted into the Rhode Island Interscholastic League High School Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2007.
After graduating from East Providence High School in 1969, Luis Carvalho went on to share his athletic talents with a new generation of athletes. Before retiring his soccer cleats and turning his attention to high school athletics however, Carvalho made a name for himself at the University of Rhode Island. There he captained the Rams soccer team for two years, was a three-time Letter Winner and All-Conference pick. In 1999 he was inducted into the URI Hall of Fame. His accomplishments continued after graduation as he transitioned from player to coach. He settled in 1977 back at his alma mater, East Providence High School. Though he grew up playing soccer, an opportunity to coach volleyball proved to be Carvalho’s calling. After 24 years of coaching girl’s volleyball he led teams to nine League Championships, 15 Divisional Championships and has earned 10 Coach of the Year awards from the RI Volleyball Coaches Association. In addition, he led the Barrington High School girls soccer team to two consecutive State Championships from 1985-1986. Carvalho has said that he challenged himself to teach high school athletes the discipline of being a team member and the importance of making a commitment. Having led East Providence High School volleyball teams to 450 wins, Luis Carvalho has certainly met his challenge.
Amelio “Emo” DiNitto
Amelio “Emo” DiNitto exemplifies the phrase role model. As a teacher, coach and administrator at Warwick High School since 1967 he works closely with students on college preparation, is a significant counselor to all of his athletes, and is a leader in his community. As important are his own achievements as a football player at Boston University. There he quarterbacked and led his team to notable victories over Holy Cross in 1957 (1st time in 15 years) and Boston College in 1959 (only win since 1934). He was honored with the Senior Achievement Award of New England in 1960 and was more recently named to the Providence Gridiron Club Hall of Fame. After graduating Boston University, DiNitto was named head football coach of Warwick High School and led the team to their 1st championship in 1963. He continues his work at Warwick today as Supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Athletics.
Thomas Eccleston Jr.
As a 1932 Brown University graduate, Thomas Eccleston, Jr., went on to serve as teacher, principal and superintendent within the Burrillville school district. Throughout these years (1934-1956) he was Burrillville High School’s baseball, football and hockey coach. In his nine seasons, the baseball team won six Western Division titles and three State titles. The football team totaled 149 wins under his leadership. During his coaching career, he was recognized with the Frank Lanning Award for outstanding contribution to Rhode Island Interscholastic Sports. His 1950 baseball team was the first team to go undefeated in the Interscholastic League’s history. In 1956 he transitioned from high school coach to head hockey coach at Providence College. It was there during the 1963-1964 hockey season, he led Providence College to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Ice Hockey Championship. This achievement gained the Friars a berth in the NCAA Final Four Championship and earned Coach Eccleston the honor of being selected as the NCAA Hockey Coach of the Year. He is best remembered as an articulate motivator who conveyed to his players that he had each’s best interest at heart. To his credit, 38 of his former players have become coaches at the high school, college, Olympic and National Hockey League level.
John William Henry
Nicknamed the “Rabbit” by local sports writers, John William Henry’s speed, athleticism and leadership left a lasting mark on the State of Rhode Island. During his four years at Aldrich High School, Henry was involved in a plethora of sports teams. He was a 12 letter-winner, and during his junior and senior year was selected to play on the varsity teams for five separate sports teams: football, indoor track, outdoor track, baseball, and basketball. He received All-State honors in football for his play in the backfield and All-State honors in outdoor track with a record time of 10.2 seconds in the 100 yard dash (a Rhode Island High School track record for 15 years). Upon graduating Aldrich in 1948, Henry went on to attend Massanutten Military Academy where he competed in both football and baseball. In fall of 1949, and until his untimely death in November 1950, Jack Henry played football for the Norwood Red Eagles, a semi-pro football team which was part of the Colonial Football League. He is remembered by his family as being a young man who led his team not only with countless team victories, but by leading them with class. He was captain of both Aldrich High School football and track team, and lived by his own philosophy that high school sports were about teamwork, dedication, and honor.
As a teacher, sports-writer, and referee, Richard Lee has been an influential member of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League. His achievements in athletics began at LaSalle Academy where he excelled in track and cross country. Throughout college Lee’s involvement in athletics grew. Upon graduation, he turned to journalism and earned a position as part of the Providence Journal staff. During his 33 years at the Journal, he pushed for greater coverage of female athletics and encouraged awareness in sports and the Interscholastic League. His love for sports led him to umpire high school varsity baseball for 50 seasons, as well the achievement of becoming the first male field hockey referee in Rhode Island. Lee has been known to say, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Rhode Island Interscholastic League.” As a pioneer for women’s equality in athletics as well as an advocate for fair play on the field, Lee has left his own mark on the Interscholastic League.
Playing both football and baseball at LaSalle Academy from 1952-1956, Donato Mezzanotte (Coach Mezz) excelled not only as a hard-nosed player, but as an outstanding leader and team player. These characteristics would later serve him well as a college and professional athlete as well as a coach. After earning All-State honors in baseball at LaSalle, Don went on to play at Providence College where his .455 batting average earned him not only an All-Time Friar record, but also recognition as best in the United States. Following graduation he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants and played Minor-League ball for the Fresno Giants. It wasn’t long before he returned to Rhode Island and established himself as one of the most successful coach’s in the State of Rhode Island. After being named head baseball coach at Pilgrim High School in 1963, Don went on to lead his teams to five State Championships including three consecutive baseball titles between 1972 and 1974. In addition, his teams won 12 Divisional titles and earned a playoff spot 14 out of the 16 years. He also served as an assistant football coach at Pilgrim from 1963-1978. His coaching career continued to flourish as he left Pilgrim and returned to Providence College as head baseball coach. In 11 seasons at PC, his teams made his the winningest baseball team in PC history. Both his players and opponents say it best, “Success equals- Pitching, defense, clutch hitting, and Coach Mezz.”
Theresa Moore paved the way for women athletes in the state of Rhode Island. She grew up in East Providence participating in a variety of sports programs. But, it was outdoor track that brought her the most success. In the Spring of 1982, she won the 100 and 200 meter titles in outdoor track at the State Meet. She also added a State title in the long jump and anchored the East Providence sprint relay team to a championship. After accumulating 10 State Championships, she graduated East Providence High School as valedictorian and went on to Harvard where she earned All-Ivy track honors, captained the indoor and outdoor teams in her Senior year, and also graduated cum laude in 1986. She stayed involved with the sports world, first working on the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games for Coca-Cola and then working for the company on several of their global sports properties including World Cup, NASCAR and the NBA. She then moved on to ESPN as an executive in the Sales and Business Affairs groups. Currently, she is the President and Founder of her own media production company called T-Time Productions based in New York City. In addition, she is involved with a number of charitable projects including serving on the Board of Directors of the New York Opportunity Network (NYON) which provides educational and career opportunities for less-privileged children in the New York area.
Cynthia Tallmadge Jacobson
Cindy Tallmadge Jacobson first made her mark on the State of Rhode Island when competing for Toll Gate High School from 1977-1981. As a gymnast she worked endless hours perfecting her routines, and rightfully earned first team All- State four times, as well as being named the number one gymnast in Rhode Island three of her four years. In addition to competing in gymnastics, she worked tirelessly as a hurdler on the track team. In 1981 Cindy graduated Toll Gate and went on to the Air Force Academy where she captained the Gymnastics team, and served her country. Her coaches remember her competitive spirit and drive to accomplish her proposed goals. It was her work ethic and team spirit that gained her high school success and national recognition at the US Air Force Academy. She continues to stay involved with athletics as a Pilate’s instructor and personal trainer.
Gloria Patterson has coached in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League for the past 25 years. She has been a role model and mentor to her student-athletes and demonstrates what positive impact teachers can have on students. She has taught and coached under the philosophy that athletic programs are an extension of the classroom and measures her own success in relation to how her students progress. Patterson earned most of her education in Mississippi and after graduating from Jackson State College in 1970 she moved to Rhode Island and coached intramural athletics in the Providence Recreation League. Patterson became a member of the Hope High School faculty and was given her first head coaching position in 1980 with the girl’s basketball team. Under her direction the team won five Divisional Championships and one State Championship. She became head volleyball coach in 1987 bringing her team to two Divisional Championships and one City of Providence title. Her own personal accomplishments include being honored with the Hope High School Service Award in 1990 and being named Rhode Island Interscholastic League Female Coach in 1997. Patterson also finds time to serve on the Executive Board of the Rhode Island Volleyball Coaches Association as well as the Director of Division III Volleyball of Rhode Island.
A graduate of Woonsocket High School, Bryant College, and the Graduate School of Savings Banking held at Brown University, Irving Scott went on to be Assistant Vice President and Comptroller at Eastland Bank until his retirement in 1992. Along with his success in the business world, came success through officiating high school sports. Scott’s contributions to the Interscholastic League go beyond simply officiating football, JV basketball, and softball. It is not only a strong love for the game of football, but his passion to watch high school level athletes grow and learn by playing sports. His devotion to high school sports is due mainly to his belief that high school football encompasses everything pure about sport. As a referee for 40 years, he lives for watching kids give 100 percent with no one paying them to do it. Other notable accomplishments include being inducted into the RI Football Coaches Hall of Fame, The Gridiron Club Hall of Fame, and being honored by the National Football Foundation. He was also a former Director of the RI Chapter for Cystic Fibrosis and a member of the Woonsocket Rotary where he served as President in 1982.
After graduating the University of Rhode Island in 1974, Victoria Tefft returned to her high school alma mater, South Kingstown, determined to advance the athletic opportunities for women. During her career at South Kingstown she coached four different sports, Girl’s and Boy’s Volleyball, Field Hockey, and Girl’s Basketball. Along with leading those teams to numerous seasons of post-season play, she played a significant role in developing programs that benefited the Interscholastic League. She founded and managed the Girl’s Athletic Scholarship Fund in 1984, developed and supervised the annual All-School Co-Ed Volleyball Tournament from 1984 until her retirement in 2002. For ten years Coach Tefft was a member of the North Kingstown Drug Abuse Task Force and from 1991-2002 founded and supervised the “Color Blind” Cultural Awareness Group. Coach Tefft promoted the development of well-rounded team members rather than a high-scoring player. She worked endlessly throughout her coaching career to provide special needs youth with equal opportunities to athletics.