Agostinucci, Vazquez, Donlin, Plefka to enter New Britain Sports Hall of Fame

Published on Friday, 8 April 2022 11:07
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This is the first in a multi-part series highlighting the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame 2022 inductees

Bill Agostinucci 

Agostinucci is welcomed to the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as an athlete at New Britain High School. Agostinucci participated in football and baseball for three years but his true passion for sports began as a youth playing baseball for the Walicki, Mangan, American Legion baseball teams in town. 

When Agostinucci entered NBHS as a sophomore in 1972, he began a three-year career playing football for Coach Tony Apisso as a tackle. In the spring Agostinucci joined Coach Ken Kezer on the baseball field and was a member of New Britain’s state championship team in 1974. Agostinucci’s leadership and play during his junior year was rewarded by naming him a tri-captain for the 1975 season. Agostinucci continued with his outstanding play as a senior at third base and at the plate batting .407 and leading the Hurricanes to an undefeated season. Agostinucci was named All C.D.C. and was selected to the Connecticut All State Baseball Team. At graduation he received the Fleischer award.

Agostinucci continued to share his passion for baseball by coaching the Falcons in New Britain’s Mangan League and later coaching Berlin Little League. 

Agostinucci graduated from the UConn School of Pharmacy and received his Master’s Degree from Rensselaer. He currently is vice president of Corporate Services at Connecticut Children’s Hospital. 

Luz Vazquez

Vazquez was a three-sport athlete at New Britain High School playing volleyball, basketball and softball from 1975 to 1979. She enrolled at Eastern Connecticut State College and continued her basketball career. After graduation Vazquez had the opportunity to play basketball for the Puerto Rican National Team from 1983 to 1985. 

When Vazquez returned to New Britain she began her 35-year career as a coach and teacher at her alma mater. She has been the assistant girls volleyball coach for 26 years. In 2018 Vazquez received the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year award for her contribution to the sport of volleyball. She also served as girls head basketball coach from 1987-1988. Vazquez returned to coaching basketball in 1995 serving as the girls freshman coach for 10 years. 

Besides her commitment to coaching, Vazquez’s classroom accomplishments are stellar. She is the advisor to the Latin American Club, serves on the National Honors Society and New Britain Scholarship committee and teaches honors and AP Spanish. Vazquez continues to be a mentor, friend, leader and educator to all of the students current and past. 

Jon Plefka

Plefka was a three-sport student-athlete at New Britain High School graduating in 2002. During his high school tenure Plefka played both football and baseball. However, in his senior year he decided to play football. At 6’6” Plefka was an imposing figure at tight end, catching eight touchdowns and totaling 700 yards in offense helping New Britain win a Class LL state championship. Plefka was voted All-Conference, Honorable Mention All-State and All-State Academic. He was offered several football scholarships but his desire was to focus on basketball and baseball.

Plefka led the Hurricanes to the state LL finals in basketball in 2001-2002 resulting in him being named All-Conference and All-State. He averaged a school record 10.8 rebounds per game along with a 20 point scoring average while shooting an impressive 81% from the foul line. Plefka was offered a scholarship to James Madison University.

Plefka was a pitcher and infielder in baseball. He played three seasons pitching in 29 games as a starter and reliever. His state tournament record was 5-3 making it to the state LL semifinals his senior year. He was an All-Conference pitcher. Plefka’s career batting average was .290 and his ERA was 2.71. He was offered a scholarship to Hofstra.

After graduation Plefka attended James Madison, University of Vermont and Santa Fe Community College playing baseball and basketball. It was at Santa Fe when major college basketball coaches took notice of him. Plefka accepted a scholarship to play for legendary Coach Bob Knight at Texas Tech. He was named Big 12 First Team All-Academic and graduated cum laude in 2007. Plefka was drafted in his junior year by the Los Angles Angels to play baseball but choose to stay in school and signed after graduating.

Plefka played rookie baseball for the Angels for one season and continued his career playing independent ball in the US, Canada and South America.

Plefka entered full time baseball coaching and was the head coach for Middletown High School for one season. Plefka joined Post University in 2016 as the woman’s assistant basketball coach and was promoted to head coach the following season.

For the past 11 years Plefka has been a personal skills instructor to athletes of all ages in basketball and baseball. For the 2022 baseball season, Plefka will be the head coach at New Britain High School.

Bob Donlin

Donlin is a proud graduate of New Britain High School Class of 1968 were he began to distinguish himself his freshman year as a two way starter on the football team at tackle. Donlin’s football accomplishments at the end of his junior year earned him First Team All-C.D.C. at defensive end and second team All-C.D.C. at offensive tackle. Donlin’s leadership on the field resulted in him being named a tri captain for the 1967 football season. As a senior he was awarded several conference and state accolades. He was voted First Team All-C.D.C. at offensive and defensive tackle. The New Haven Register honored Donlin as a First Team All-State tackle. He also was the winner of the Conley Award at NBHS as the most valuable player. 

Donlin’s passion for music during his high school years earned him the honor of being named to the Connecticut All-State Band as a clarinet player. 

Donlin was recruited by several colleges to play football and choose to attend the University of Massachusetts. He was the starting tackle on the undefeated freshmen team and moved up to the starting tackle position his second year on the Yankee Conference Champion team. His sophomore year ended with him being named Yankee Conference player of the week against the University of Buffalo and First Team All-Yankee Conference at offensive tackle. 

Donlin repeated his football success his junior year, First Team All-Yankee Conference, three-time UMass offensive player of the week, First Team Associated Press All-New England and First Team All-E.C.A.C. at offensive tackle. 

An early season knee injury in a game against Dartmouth in 1970 ended Donlin’s career at UMass. Donlin graduated that spring with B.S. Degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Management. 

Donlin worked for 38 years in the wine and spirits industry as a sales representative for Allan Goodman before his passing in January 2021. 

The New Britain Sports Hall of Fame 25th annual induction dinner will take place Sunday, May 1 at the Generale Ameglio Ballroom, 13 Beaver Street, New Britain, beginning at 3 p.m. There is a $50 donation per person and tickets can be purchased at Scott’s Flowers, Paradise Restaurant, YMCA New Britain or by calling Bob Smilnak at 860-666-6835 or Joe Lombardo at 860-970-6364. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Friday, 8 April 2022 11:07. Updated: Friday, 8 April 2022 11:09.