On Friday, June 17, 2022, Fairfield Prep will welcome five individuals and one championship team into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in a special ceremony with family, friends, teammates and coaches to be held in the Student Life Center. Robert Gerwien '51, Ronald Liptak '55, Brian McGillicuddy '81, Christopher Zingo '90, Robert Harris, and the 1997 Cross Country Team. They will be inducted into the 2022 Fairfield Prep Athletic Hall of Fame.
One year after his lifelong friend and basketball teammate Jack O’Connell ‘51 was inducted into the Fairfield Prep Athletic Hall of Fame, Bob Gerwien takes his rightful place in the AHOF alongside him.
The Bridgeport native was a two-year starter at Prep, a rugged rebounder who averaged 14.2 points per game and was selected to the All-District team. During his time with the Jesuits, they compiled a 34-13 record and upset regional powers Central, Harding and Hillhouse along the way.
Gerwien was selected to Prep’s All-Decade Team (1942-1951) and then accompanied O’Connell to Fairfield University, where he moved right in and started all four seasons. He led the Stags in rebounding and registered 1,062 career points.
Tough and talented, Ron Liptak excelled in both basketball and baseball at Fairfield Prep and is one of the select few athletes who played in both the Little League World Series and the College World Series.
In between, the 6-foot-1 Liptak was a power forward for coach George Bisacca’s Jesuits, leading the team in scoring and rebounding in his junior and senior seasons. The co-captain set a school record with 32 points in the Eastern States Catholic Invitational in Newport, R.I., in 1955.
Liptak was also a standout shortstop, starting all four seasons for Prep coach Ted Seymour and served as captain his senior season. He received a baseball/basketball scholarship to Holy Cross, where he helped the Crusaders to a third-place finish in the 1958 College World Series.
One of Fairfield Prep’s rare three-sport stars, Brian McGillicuddy was both talented and feisty. Whether excelling as a wide receiver and defensive back in football, setting the table as a leadoff hitter in baseball or mixing it up as a point guard on the basketball court, McGillicuddy was always involved.
McGillicuddy was a two-time all-MBIAC selection in football (1979 and 1980), an all-MBIAC choice in baseball (1981) and an honorable mention all-MBIAC pick in basketball (1981).
He went on to have an outstanding collegiate career at UConn, where he led the Huskies in receiving his junior and senior seasons and finished his career as the school’s second all-time leading receiver.
Some athletes get better as they get older and Chris Zingo is a prime example. The hard-hitting all-state linebacker was a defensive stalwart on the 1989 Fairfield Prep Class LL championship team, as well as a USA Today honorable mention All-American. But he attained more success at the collegiate level.
Zingo was a two-time Associated Press Division I-AA All-America linebacker for Cornell and a three-time all-Ivy League selection. He established many school records that still stand. Incredibly, he registered 20 or more tackles in a game 11 times, averaging 17.1 tackles per game in 30 contests. He was inducted into the Cornell Hall of Fame in 2004.
From his arrival as a physical education teacher and freshman football coach in 1973 until his departure as athletic director in 2009, Bob Harris left an indelible mark on the school’s athletic history.
Harris was an assistant coach in both football and baseball, and spent 30 years as the school’s AD, which is a laudable achievement in itself. But his success as the Jesuits’ tennis coach is just as remarkable. Under his guidance, Prep won 10 state championships and 12 Class LL titles between 1986 and 2003.
Harris also mentored a host of all-staters and All-Americans, among them Brad Norton ‘86, Mike Passarrella ‘95, Todd Paul ‘03 and 2019 Prep Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Mike Sprouse ‘92.
The 1997 cross country team was one of the best in Fairfield Prep history. It wound up ranked 16th nationally and featured four all-state harriers. One – freshman Brian McGovern – would go on to become a four-time all-stater and an All-American. The other standouts included senior tri-captain John Thomas and junior Colin Rochford (both two-time all-staters) and senior Jim Koniers, also an all-state selection.
The team boasted an 8-1 dual meet record and captured the SCC championship, the Class LL championship, the State Open and finished second in the New Englands.