Former FCIAC commissioner John Kuczo will be among the inductees into the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame as the Class of 2018 was announced on Wednesday.
Kuczo will be inducted into the J. Walter Kennedy Community Service Wing, alongside his father, the late Paul Kuczo, Sr.
Former Trinity Catholic and UConn basketball star Rashamael Jones and former Weston and Princeton women’s basketball star Claire Beth Tomasiewicz of Weston will enter the Hall of Fame in the James O’Rourke Amateur Wing.
New Canaan’s A.J. Mleczko Griswold, who won a gold medal with the U.S. women’s ice hockey team in Nagano, Japan, in 1998, and Travis Simms of Norwalk, a former welterweight world boxing champion, will enter the Jackie Robinson Professional Wing of the Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame, which is overseen by the Fairfield County Sports Commission, Inc., will honor the newly-elected Hall of Famers with an induction ceremony at the Commission’s 14th annual Sports Night awards dinner, at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 15 at the Stamford Marriott at 6 p.m.
John Kuczo has spent more than a half-century devoted to high school sports as a coach and administrator.
While he was a highly-successful track and field and cross country coach at Rippowam High School in Stamford, his real legacy is his longtime leadership of the county’s premier athletic conference: The FCIAC. He was the organization’s executive secretary and commissioner for 38 years starting in 1978, following a 10-year stint as the league’s secretary and treasurer.
Kuczo was responsible for growing and modernizing the FCIAC, making the conference the envy of the state.
He also found time to be the coordinator of athletics for two of Stamford’s high schools and four middle schools for six years.
Kuczo’s coaching accomplishments were equally impressive as he founded the outdoor track and cross country programs when Rippowam opened in 1961 and later the indoor team. His teams won four state titles and combined 15 league crowns in cross country and outdoor. He has been recognized at the highest of levels including the National Coaches Hall of Fame in 2011, CT High School Coaches HOF (1993) and the CT Sportswriters Alliance Gold Key (2015).
Paul Kuczo, Sr.
Paul Kuczo, Sr. helped shape a generation of young men in Stamford as a coach, mentor, athletic director and community leader.
He began 40 years of continuous service to Stamford High School in 1928 when he became a three-sport coach. His teams over a 30-year span were perennial winners, racking up 881 total wins.
The Black Knights totaled 190 wins and captured four state titles in football; 428 wins and a state title in baseball; and, in 23 years, the basketball teams posted 263 victories.
After retiring from coaching in 1958, Kuczo became the Stamford High’s athletic director for the next 10 years. During that time, he became one of the key visionaries in creating both the FCIAC as one of its founding members and first president, as well as helping to start the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.
His dedication to Fairfield County and state high school sports won him a Sportswriters Alliance Gold Key in 1958 and he was named as one of the initial members of CHSCA HOF in 1977. He also is in the Stamford High School Wall of Fame (2002), but his greatest honor was having the gymnasium at SHS named after him. He passed away in 1970.
Jones had an illustrious basketball career at both Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford and the University of Connecticut, leading the Huskies to their first national championship in his senior season.
As a four-year starting swingman at Trinity, the 6-foot-4 Jones was a three-time all-state selection and led the Crusaders to two FCIAC titles. He was named both the Gatorade state player of the year and top player in New England as a senior in 1995 when he averaged 27 points and 10 rebounds. His 2,301 career points are still the all-time boys’ leader for the city of Stamford and fifth in the state overall.
During his four-year career (1996-99) at UConn, Jones played in 132 games, which was second best all-time when he finished his playing days and now tied for 8th most in school history. The team won three Big East titles during his tenure, and he was named All-Big East Tournament as a junior.
His best season came as a sophomore when he averaged 13 points per game. As co-captain of the 1999 team, he was the key sixth man on the squad that knocked off Duke for the NCAA title.
Jones, who grew up in Port Chester, N.Y., was elected to the UConn Wing of the FC Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
The Hall of Fame is housed at the University of Connecticut Stamford Campus in downtown Stamford and is open six days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.