Class of 2007
Al Malizia’s coaching career spanned twenty two years from 1979-2000 and during that time he has established quite a resume. It started when he became the head coach of Stamford Catholic High School (aka Trinity Catholic). Al brought his enthusiasm, dedication and winning attitude to his players. This is evident in his teams’ success. In 1981 Stamford Catholic qualified for the CIAC State Tournament. Just two years later they not only qualified for the tournament, they reached the finals and they won. This was to be repeated for the next two years- Al’s teams won three consecutive state championships: 1983, 1984, 1985. Also during that ’85 season Stamford Catholic was FCIAC League and Tournament Champion and posted a perfect 23-0 record. In 1988 Al once again brought his team to the state tournament and another appearance in the finals and another victory. Winning four state championships is quite an accomplishment in a coaching career. The Connecticut High School Coaches Association apparently agreed because that year Al was selected as a Coach of the Year- Outstanding Coach of Volleyball.
Throughout his 22 year career Al’s teams made 16 consecutive FCIAC playoff appearances; 17 consecutive CIAC State Tournament appearances (4 of which were in the finals); and he compiled a .640 career win percentage, 274 wins and 154 losses. He had just 5 losing seasons in his career. Many outstanding athletes played volleyball for Al and he had numerous players named to All-FCIAC and All-State teams. Many of these student athletes went on to play on the collegiate level on scholarship for schools such as Georgetown, Boston College, UConn and Holy Cross.
In 2004 Al Received the Stamford Old Timers Athletic Association Award in memory of “Mickey” Leone.
Tamu (Cooper) Santos was born and raised in New Haven. She entered Hillhouse High School in 1989 and played volleyball for four years. Her senior year she was named co-captain of the team. Tamu was selected to be on the All-District team and received the Hillhouse Intimidator Award. Also that year, Hillhouse qualified for the CIAC state tournament, but was eliminated in a 5 set match against Hand High School.
Tamu also participated in basketball, track and softball at Hillhouse. She received the New Haven Register Defensive player of the year award her senior year and was a Register Athlete of the Week. She also led the team to the semifinals in the Class L state championship. Tamu was a member of the state championship Class LL track team her senior year competing in the high jump. She graduated with honors in 1993 and received a full athletic scholarship to Temple University. Tamu was captain of Temple’s team her junior and senior years. An All-American volleyball player, she ranked as high as number two in the nation in hitting efficiency her junior year. As a junior, she also tried out for the Olympic volleyball team making it to the final cut. During her senior year she led Temple to win their first Atlantic Ten Championship. She also led them to their first NCAA tournament appearance.
Upon graduation from Temple in 1998 with a B.A. in Speech, Language and Hearing, Tamu turned pro in volleyball and played all over Europe. The tour competed in Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. While competing, Tamu pursued a certificationin Sign Language studies. Upon returning to the US she played a season of basketball for the Community College of Philadelphia. There she was selected Most Valuable Player of the Wattignies Volleyball Club in Lille, France. She ranked in the Top five in hitting for the Professional “A” French League. At the end of the season, she signed to return, but later was forced to forfeit and end her professional career due to a knee injury. Tamu has coached at Bob Bertucci Volleyball Camps and clinics since 1996 for ages 5 to adult. In 2004 she ran her own camp for Career High School girls’ volleyball team. Most recently, Tamu played in the EBA (Eastern Basketball Alliance) semi pro league for two seasons (2004-5).
In March 2007 Tamu was inducted into the HIllhouse High School Hall of Fame.
She has worked as a speech therapist for the past seven years and is currently pursuing a Masters level certification in the field. In 2001 Tamu married Ngloa Santos. They have a son, Namumba, and a daughter, Nzinga.
Pat’s love of the game of volleyball began 30 years ago. He started playing volleyball in 1976, the fall of his senior year in high school in Northampton, MA. There was no boys’ volleyball team, so in 1975 two boys went out for the girls’ volleyball team. By his senior year there were actually six boys on the formerly all-girls team.
There were very few opportunities for boys to play volleyball back then and Pat subsequently played club volleyball at UMass/Amherst with his presenter, Steve Geryk. He played college club volleyball for three years and was named to the All New England team each year and he was selected Player of the Year twice. After finishing his collegiate club career, Pat started playing with adult teams in New England regional championships (as recently as 2006). At the US National Championships his teams have placed as high as 3rd (highest ever for a New England team). He was named an Open Division All American four times and was also selected the 30 and over Player of the Year. One of the most memorable highlights of pat’s career was when he played on the USA Select Team at the Pacific Ocean Games in Columbia, South America in 1995 and winning a gold medal.
In 1996 Pat’s friend Steve Geryk convinced him to take the assistant coach position for the Glastonbury High School boys’ team and then to fill in with the girls’ team in the fall of the same year. That was it… he was hooked on coaching. In 1999 at the urging of some of his high school players and parents, Pat founded Husky Junior Volleyball Club. Initially there were only six teams , but it has grown to be the largest USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Club in New England with 30 girls teams and three boys teams.
Pat could not pick just one person who was most influential to his volleyball career. There would be Don Matus (his high school coach) who introduced him to the sport; Dave Castanon (New England regional commissioner for USA Volleyball now) the captain/coach of Pat’s first high level team; and Steve Geryk who brought him into coaching.
Katie Nichols Henry
Growing up in mystic, Connecticut, with a big push from her father Art, Kim followed the footsteps of her older sister Kate. Kim had the opportunity to jump into the sport at a younger age and participate in several volleyball junior programs and elite camps. Like big sis, Kim found her strengths as a setter. During her high school years at Fitch, Kim was three sport letter winner but always favored volleyball. She was the starting setter during her career at Fitch putting strong stats on the board for both assists and aces. In 1990, her senior year, Kim led the team as captain and setter throughout the season, and into a final match as a high school player. Coached by Mark Sullivan, the 1990 team participated in their first ever state final championship. Although they took a tough loss, Kim demonstrated her love for the sport and team, and along with co-captain Anna Hauptmann, was named to the 1st team Allstate. She also led her team that year in assists, aces and was named Most Valuable Player. Her high school accomplishments earned her both academic and athletic scholarships to several colleges and Kim ultimately attended Springfield College.
Springfield competed at the Div. II level, part of a strong NE-10 Conference. The highlight of her freshman year was the match between Springfield and ECSU where she got to compete against her big Sister Kate and their dad was overjoyed to see them both play. Soon she found her leadership spot as a setter and was named captain both junior and senior year. In 1993, her junior year, Kim had 1,127 assists, led the team with 69 aces, was named to the Tom Hay all-tournament team, as well as MVP of the Tom Hay tournament. In 1994, her senior year, the team had strong performances throughout the season. Once again, Kim led the team with 1185 assists. For her career, Kim had 3033 total assists putting her third for career assists at Springfield. Her other achievements senior year include: East Stroudsburg all tourney team, NE10 Conference team All-Star, MVP of the Northeast Conference tournament, AVCA Division II Northeast region All-Star team, Division II national playoff participant, NE 10 Player of the Week, Springfield College Maroon Club Athlete of the Week, the CDC scholar athlete and the District 1 Academic All American.
Her first year of college, Kim took on the position of head coach for the Western New England men’s volleyball team as a newly developed program. After her first year, she relocated for work to her current residence on Cape Cod where she then played with her sister Kate in doubles beach volleyball tournaments for several years.
Today, Kim resides in Sandwich, with her husband Mike, also an athlete from Springfield College to whom she has been married for the past 21 years. They are raising two beautiful girls, Sydney and Sammi who already like to pepper mom on the beaches of the cape and are quite the little athletes themselves. Kim still follows volleyball closely enjoying watching the Olympic indoor and beach teams, her alma maters, and most recently her niece Allie who played for the past four years at Eastern Connecticut State following in her mom Kate’s footsteps.
Julie Bradley has been involved in athletics for most of her life, as a participant, coach, teacher, and official. She attended Southern Connecticut State College from 1962-66 and play some volleyball there. After graduation she started teaching Physical Education first in North Haven (66-68), then Willimantic (68-70) and then at East Connecticut State University from 1970-74. Julie’s girls came along in ’74 and ’76 so she took time off to “mother”. When she returned to the field she worked at the Williams School in New London where she taught, coached and was assistant athletic director for 17 years. She taught for a total of 25 years, grades K-college until retiring in 2005. Julie has coached track and field, basketball, field hockey and softball.
Julie got involved with officiating volleyball in the early ‘70s. Under the tutelage of her mentors Barbara Startup and Tony Aretakis she has become a much sought after official. She is called on to work high school games during regular season and tournament play. Julie has also been called on to help train new officials on many occasions. After retiring from coaching and teaching, Julie got re-certified to officiate volleyball and is back doing high school and recreational matches. Although much has changed since she left the game in the 80’s, she loves every minute of officiating and finds it very challenging and rewarding. In addition to volleyball, she has also officiated softball, soccer, basketball and field hockey.
Julie is still an active athlete, participating and competing on the state and national levels in basketball, racquetball, badminton and track and field. She has participated in three National Senior Olympics. She won silver in the 1500m in 2001, silver in basketball and badminton singles and a bronze in badminton doubles in 2005. This July she competed in the 2007 games and won a silver medal in the 60-64 badminton doubles and placed fourth in the badminton singles and 5th in 3-on-3 basketball.
Julie has been married to her high school sweetheart Barry for 41 years; they have two married daughter Keebyn and Kyndra and two granddaughters Annabelle and Jorja.
Bethany Collins Irwin
Bethany attended Branford High School from 1980-84 and left a legacy that is remarkable. She was an academic and athletic standout excelling in volleyball, basketball and softball. Though only a freshman, she found herself pressed into service on the varsity due to injuries to other players, and she helped Branford reach the state quarterfinals. Her sophomore year she became a starter and started to break school records. During that season, 11th ranked Branford defeated #1 seed Foran High School in a major upset to win the CIAC Class M State Championship. This was Branford’s first ever state title in a girls’ team sport. In her junior year Bethany participated in the US Junior Olympic Volleyball Championships. That year Branford won its first Housatonic League Championship and captured its second straight championship finishing with a perfect 21-0 season. Always a dominating force in the front row, Bethany showed her versatility by setting a school record for digs from the back row. Her coach Toni Cartisano said of her “there have been tall volleyball players in the state before bury few have been as quick for their size and I’m not sure anyone tall has master every aspect of the game as she has.” In her senior year Bethany was selected co-captain and with her poise and leadership she helped her younger teammates in a tough final stretch. Branford captured its third state championship with a 3-0 sweep in the finals. Bethany also collected numerous individual awards. She was a three time All-State selection, three times Most Valuable Player, and a three time All-Housatonic League selection. Her stats and school records include most successful blocks (137); highest kink average (93%); most passes and highest average (1619/87%); most unreturned hits (632); most digs attempted (303 of 445/68%). She also received Branford’s Sportsmanship, Leadership and Dedication award.
Bethany had a great basketball career. She helped Branford to two 20-0 seasons and two consecutive CIAC Class L Championships (’83, ’84). She was an All-State selection in both her junior and senior years and as a senior she was also chosen as a Converse All-American and a Parade All-American.
Sought after by no less than 200 schools, Bethany chose to attend Penn State University. She also played basketball and earned a degree in Education. Her athletic accomplishments continued. She scored over 1,000 points (1,186), was top 10 rebounder (857) and atop 10 blocked shots (92). After graduation, she taught fifth grade and coached girls’ basketball in Bellafonte, PA for three years. She then went back to the Penn St. community and a new high school girls’ team; she has been there 14 years.
Bethany married Rob Irwin in ’95 and her family includes stepchildren Kate, Kristen, Robbie and their young offspring Parick and Kyla. Bethany is a member of the New England, Branford and Connecticut Basketball Halls of Fame.