This is the third in a multi-part series highlighting the newest members of the Berlin Athletic Hall of Fame.
Paul Coccomo, 1995
Paul Coccomo graduated from Berlin High School in 1995 where he was a member of both the football and baseball teams.
In football, he was a three-year varsity player and while playing alongside his brother, Mike, dominated along the offensive and defensive lines. Coccomo was a three-time All-Northwest Conference selection and recognized as a CHSCA/Hartford Courant All-State selection and a New Haven Register All-State pick. During his senior year, he was a co-captain and in 1994, received the Coaches Award. He was also a two-time defensive player of the year in both 1993 and 1994. Coccomo was part of the goal-line stop against Middletown at the end of the game that gave Berlin the Nutmeg Conference title with a 7-0 record. He was described by his head coach, Al Pelligrinelli, as one “of the toughest competitors we’ve ever had at Berlin High.” Coccomo went on to become an assistant football coach at Cheney Tech alongside Roger Pulito and Nick Pepe, both of whom had Berlin connections.
During his baseball career at Berlin, Coccomo was an All-Northwest Conference selection in both his junior and senior seasons. He was also an Honorable Mention All-State selection as a junior. Coccomo played all positions in the outfield and as a junior, played in 22 games, batting .380 with 25 RBIs. He ended his high school career with a three-year batting average of .364 and the team won the state championship his senior season. According to his baseball coach, Leo Veleas, “you could count on Paul to play at his best every game. [He] led by example [and] was a no-nonsense, get-it-done individual.” Coccomo participated in the Cuban Goodwill Exchange, traveling with the team to play in Cuba. There was a touching newspaper article about how he gave away his shoes to a Cuban competitor who did not have any.
Coccomo owned his own drilling company for 15 years. He has been working for Aldridge Electrical out of Libertyville, Illinois since 2012 as a construction manager for the Northeast Region in their foundation drilling division.
Nancy DeBlasio, 1998
Nancy DeBlasio graduated from Berlin High School in 1998 where she participated in four sports.
She played softball for four years and was a member of the Northwest Conference All-Academic team all four years, All-Northwest Conference three times, received the Coaches Award twice and CHSCA/Hartford Courant All-State selection two times, being the first Berlin athlete to be named All-State as a freshman. As a junior, DeBlasio did not commit an error in the field during the season, but was charged with two throwing errors. As a senior, she was Berlin softball’s Defensive Player of the Year, team captain and participated in the CHSCA All-Star Game for the East Team.
During her four years of basketball, DeBlasio was a member of the Northwest Conference All-Academic team all four years, All-Northwest Conference three times, Holiday Tournament-Wethersfield All-Tourney team as a junior. As a senior, she was a team captain, received the William A. Gibney Basketball Award and the Greater Hartford Hoop Club Scholar-Athlete Award.
DeBlasio played volleyball during her junior and senior years and both years, was a Northwest Conference All-Academic team selection. As a junior, she received the Aces Award with 86 and the team was the Northwest Conference champion with a record of 19-1. As a senior, DeBlasio won the Aces Award for a second time with 97 and the team repeated as Northwest Conference champion. She went on to participate in the Senior All-Star Game.
DeBlasio also played soccer as a sophomore and was a member of the Northwest Conference All-Academic team as well.
DeBlasio received other awards while at Berlin, including the Physical Education Award, was a member of Who’s Who among American high school students, received the Howard C. Goding Scholar Athlete Award, was a member of the National Honor Society and received the CAS/CIAC Scholar Athlete Award.
After graduating from Berlin, DeBlasio attended and graduated from Lynchburg College in Virginia, where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Societies. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2002 and went on to receive her Master’s Degree in physical education from CCSU in 2006, graduating Summa Cum Laude. DeBlasio has been teaching physical education at Hubbard and Willard Elementary since 2002 and was recognized as Teacher of the Year at Hubbard for the 2016-17 school year.
She has coached basketball and volleyball at Berlin High and volunteer coaches the little league challenger team in town. DeBlasio is an avid softball player, participating in both a women’s league in Middletown and a coed league in Manchester. In 2004, she donated her kidney to her sister Christine.
The Berlin Athletic Hall of Fame induction dinner is scheduled for April 22 at the Aqua Turf, 556 Mulberry St., Plantsville. For ticket information, contact Marie Siegal at (860) 828-1115 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit bhshalloffame.org