This is the fourth in a multi-part series highlighting the newest members of the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame.
Jo-Ann DiMauro Staves
As a student at New Britain High School from 1962-65 Staves grew up in an era before Title IX and did not have some of the same opportunities as female students now have. This didn’t prevent her from participating in as many sports as she could and making sure she was highly successful at them all.
Staves attended Central Connecticut State University from 1965-69, graduating with a BS degree in education as well as excelling as an athlete. She was a four-year member of the basketball team and was a captain her senior year. She was also a four-year member of the field hockey, volleyball and tennis teams. Staves was a senior captain for volleyball and tennis as well. She was also Association of College Unions New England Regional Champion in singles and doubles 1968 and 1969 and Association of College Unions National tournament singles, doubles third place 1968 and 1969.
Staves participated in bowling from 1966-69 and excelled. She led the Tri-State Bowling League with a first place high average in 1967 and 1968. She was a member of the leader corps as well as participating in and being President of the Girls Sports Association.
Staves was an educator and coach for many years. She spent 18 years at St. Paul High School first as physical education teacher then guidance counselor. She also served as softball, basketball and tennis coach. The next 20 years were as a guidance counselor at New Britain High School where she coached tennis and junior varsity softball. She was a member of the Division of Girls and Women’s Sports Referee for field hockey, basketball and volleyball. After retiring in 2007 she began working on her tennis game and has participated in numerous USTA New England Sectional Championships. Not only did she participate, but won.
Staves was winner of the Lewitt Jewelers Award and the recipient of the Gail Rutz Award in 1969. In 1988, she was inducted into the CCSU Alumni Association Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ryiz was born in New Britain and attended Northend Junior High School. He played football for the Golden Hurricanes and coach Tony Apisso from 1966-68. His attention then turned to golf, which turned out to be a rewarding one. He won the New Britain Rotary High School Golf Championship in 1968. Ryiz was a member of the Stanley Golf Course New England Public Links Team, which won back to back championships in 1969 and 1970.
After a brief stay at Lester Junior College in Massachusetts, he was recruited by coach Lowell Lukas (Hall of Fame 2016) of Central Connecticut State College, and immediately became a part of the most successful collegiate sports programs in New England. During his career at Central, Ryiz won the Plattsburg Invitational, the ECAC Sectional qualifier and finished in the top 20 of the NCAA Division II championships at Taconic CC, Williamstown, Ma. While playing for Central, the Blue Devils won three Connecticut collegiate titles, three ECAC championships and three successive New England collegiate crowns as well as qualified for the NCAA Division II championship. Ryiz’s distinguished career at Central earned him All-American honors in 1972.
He turned professional in 1973 and his impact in the CT PGA didn't take long. He won several sectional tournaments as an assistant professional. He was named CT Section Player of the Year nine times: from 1980-82 and 1984-89. Ryiz qualified for the Greater Hartford Open (now the Travelers Championship) in 1984, 1985 and 1990. He has competed in the 1987 PGA championship, the 2001 United States Senior Open and the 2002 Pga Senior Championship.
Last year, Ryiz was inducted into the CT Section PGA Hall of Fame and is now the ninth golfer to be inducted into the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame. Paul begins his 10th season as PGA Head Professional at Brownson Country Club in Shelton. Ryiz resides in Shelton with his wife Judy. They have three children, Paul Jr., Lindsay and Krystee.
The Hall of Fame induction dinner is scheduled for May 7 at the General Ameglio Ballroom in New Britain. Tickets may be purchased from the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame Committee (P.O. Box 26, New Britain, CT), at Paradise Restaurant on East Street in New Britain, Berlin Spirits on Farmington Ave, the New Britain YMCA, Scotts Flowers on South Main Street, Marzi Florist or by contacting Joe Lombardo at 860-970-6364