University of Bridgeport Set to Induct Five New Members into UB Athletic Hall of Fame
Bridgeport, Conn. – University of
Bridgeport Director of Athletics Jay Moran has announced that five
new members will be inducted into the University of Bridgeport
Athletic Hall of Fame, and Vito Montelli will
receive the inaugural Fran Bacon Award for Lifetime Achievement in
Coaching on Saturday, November 5, 2011.
The members of the University of Bridgeport Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2011 are Efrian “Chico” Chacurian (Coach of Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams) and four standout student-athletes Winston Jones (Men’s Basketball, UB Class of 1994), Norman Taylor (Men’s Basketball, UB Class of 1988), Lilja Valthorsdottir (Women’s Soccer, UB Class of 2006) and Mark Windsor (Baseball, UB Class of 1976).
The 2011 University of Bridgeport Hall of Fame Class will be enshrined and the inaugural Fran Bacon Award for Lifetime in Coaching will be awarded during a ceremony and dinner that will begin with a 6:00 p.m. reception in the Mr. and Mrs. Henry B. duPont Tower Room of UB’s Arnold Bernhard Arts and Humanities Center on the University of Bridgeport campus.
A five-year head coach of the Bridgeport women’s soccer team during the infancy of the program and a longtime men’s soccer assistant coach for the Purple Knights, Efrian “Chico” Chacurian is a legend in soccer circles. Serving as head coach Fran Bacon’s top assistant at UB, Chacurian played a significant role in the success of the men’s program in the late 1980’s. Along with coaching at the University of Bridgeport, Chico has also shared his knowledge of the beautiful game with players at Yale and Southern Connecticut State Universities. Born in Cordoba, Argentina in 1924, Chacurian signed with the famed Racing Club of the Argentine First Division at the age of 15. He came to the United States and played for New York Armenians, Brooklyn Hispano (American Soccer League), New York Swiss (German American Soccer League) and for Bridgeport legendary Vasco da Gama. During 1953-54, Chacurian earned four caps for the United States National Team and faced off against England, Mexico and Haiti.
In 1992 Efrain “Chico Chacurian was enshrined into the US National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, New York. Chacurian is also a member of the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame. Today, Chico stays busy on the pitch by assisting Bridgeport head men’s soccer coach Brian Quinn in putting the Purple Knights through their paces.
From 1990-1994, Winston Jones earned the reputation as a punishing rebounder and a tenacious presence inside the paint for the Bridgeport men’s basketball team. A four-year starter, Jones played an integral role in getting UB to back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championship Games in his freshman and sophomore seasons, as he always stepped up his performances in the big games. As a sophomore, Jones was named the Chevrolet Most Valuable Player of the nationally-televised NCAA title game by scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the loss to Virginia Union. A team leader and two-time team captain, Winston currently ranks number five all-time in career points with 1799.
Hailing from New York City and standing 6’7”, Norman Taylor was a dominant force for the Purple Knights on the hardwood between 1984-88. Taylor had the ability to take over a game and used strength and talent to overpower opposing teams. As a freshman during the 1984-85 season, he was a key component in leading the Purple Knights to a New England Collegiate Conference Championship and an NCAA Regional Appearance. During his junior season, Norman led UB in scoring averaging 22.0 points per game, plus he also averaged 12.1 rebounds per game. Following that stellar 1986-87 campaign, he became only the seventh all-time Bridgeport men’s basketball player to be selected as an NABC All-American. Taylor still ranks second all-time in career points, behind Lambert Shell with an impressive 2,170 and is one of only three Bridgeport players to eclipse the 2,000 career-point plateau. Upon graduation in 1988, Norman starred professionally for the Wollongong Hawks of the National Basketball League of Australia. He still holds the Hawks’ single-game scoring record netting 54 points during the 1990 season.
As a four-year starter under head coach Magnus Nilerud, Lilja Valthorsdottir was a key component in bringing the Purple Knights women’s soccer program into the national spotlight and starting a winning tradition that continues to grow today. During her time in a UB uniform from 2002 – 2005, Valthorsdottir was a four-time All-Conference player, a three-time NSCAA All-Region selection and in 2005, the first UB women’s soccer student-athlete to be honored as an Academic All-American, exemplifying her excellence both in the classroom and on the field. Lilja currently ranks number three all-time for career goals scored (56), assists (25) and total points (137 points). She is the first women’s soccer player to be inducted into the UB Athletic Hall of Fame.
Mark Windsor concluded his UB baseball career as one of the most reliable, consistent and total baseball players in school history. During his four years as the team’s primary catcher, Windsor backstopped the Purple Knights from 1973-76 and played a key role in the success of the Purple Knights, who at the time, played one of the most challenging schedules in the East Region. Over the course of his four years, Mark was one of the leaders in games played, batting average and runs batted in. In addition, Windsor was a defensive force behind the plate, as he threw out 63 percent of runners trying to steal. A testament to his excellence, his head coach Fran Bacon stated, “Mark Windsor could have been the best catcher in all of college baseball at any level during his time at UB.”
The recipient of the inaugural Fran Bacon Award for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching, Vito Montelli was a three-year basketball player at Arnold College from 1950-53, and after the merger of Arnold College and the University of Bridgeport just before his senior year, Vito was asked to direct the UB freshman hoops team which began a storybook career in coaching. Even in his playing days, he was a student of the game who constantly tried to learn every aspect of the game. After leaving UB, Montelli honed his skills as a basketball coach at Notre Dame High School of Bridgeport until 1963. Vito then accepted the head coaching job at Saint Joseph’s High School in Trumbull and has been there ever since as the only head coach the boy’s program has ever known. At St. Joseph’s, Montelli has won 10 Connecticut state crowns and has accumulated a state record 853 career wins. Coach Montelli has also been inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame (2003), the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame (2005), and the Fairfield County Sports Commission Hall of Fame (2010).
The Fran Bacon Award for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching honors the legacy of a man who worked on the sidelines as the head coach of the UB men’s soccer program for 18 seasons from 1969 through 1986 when the team made 10 NCAA Championship appearances and also served as head baseball coach for the Purple Knights from the 1970 season through the 1987 campaign.
The UB Athletic Hall of Fame was formed in 1981, and this year marks the sixth year of a revitalization that began in 2006 after 15 years without a class being inducted. This year’s five inductees bring the total number of members to 75.
For ticket information for the November 5 Hall of Fame awards dinner, contact the UB Athletic Department, (203) 576-4017.
Provided by the University of Bridgeport Sports Information Department.