On June 4, 2021, Fairfield Prep welcomed five individuals and one championship team into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in a special ceremony with family, friends, teammates and coaches held in the Student Life Center. Rev. Eugene Brissette, S.J., Matt Merullo '83, Jack O'Connell '51, Rob Rotanz '08, Peter Tolk '86 and the 1969 Football Team were inducted into the 2020/21 Fairfield Prep Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Inductees were originally to be honored in 2020, but the ceremony was postponed a year due to the global pandemic. Each inductee was recognized with a tribute video recounting the tremendous athletic accomplishments and contributions. The honorees then accepted their awards and spoke about their Fairfield Prep experience. Prep Teacher/Coach Tom Shea ’73 spoke on behalf of the late Fr. Eugene Brissette, S.J., sharing stories of his impact on the football program. Football Captain David Lincoln ’70 accepted the award on behalf of the 1969 Championship Football team. The evening offered a great opportunity to reminisce about some of Prep's great sports legends and moments. Go Prep!
Fr. Brissette was a teacher and administrator at Prep from 1956 until 1994, and served as chaplain for the football team during the tenure of both AHOF coaches: the late Joe Brosley and the late Earl Lavery.
Matt Merullo was another gifted two-sport star for Fairfield Prep, excelling in football and baseball.
On the gridiron he was a three-time all-state selection as well as an all-MBIAC choice. As one of the key components on Prep’s 1982 Class LL championship team, Merullo caught 34 passes for 630 yards and with Ed Boyle (39 rec./350 yds.) formed arguably the best receiving duo in the state.
Peter Tolk was another of those gifted athletes who made their mark in more than one sport for Fairfield Prep.
As a football player, Tolk was a three-year starter at linebacker, captained the team his senior year and was a named a first team all-conference and all-state choice in his senior season, as well as being named a first-team Bridgeport Post All-Star in 1985.
Fairfield Prep lacrosse took a major step into elite status in Connecticut thanks to the talents of athletes like Rob Rotanz.
The 6-foot-3, 197-pound midfielder was a part of Prep’s first three Class L state championships in 2006-2008. He compiled career marks of 153 goals and 67 assists, including 51 goals and 18 assists in his senior season, when he was named to the Under Armour All-America team. In fact, the Westport native earned All-America recognition in both his junior and senior seasons. He was named to the all-state and conference teams three times and was selected as a Connecticut Super Junior in 2007.
The 1969 football team was the fifth undefeated and untied team in school history and the second 10-0 squad coached by late Prep Athletic Hall of Fame coach Earl Lavery.
“To win takes a complete commitment of mind and body,” Lavery was quoted as saying. “When you don’t have the desire to make that commitment, they don’t call you champ anymore.”
The Fairfield Prep Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 2017 to honor those alumni who achieved excellence and distinguished themselves in Fairfield Prep’s athletic programs while also living Prep’s mission throughout their lives as “Men for Others.” The inductees were selected through a nomination process by the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. View our past inductees here.