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Elaine Biercevicz Piazza | High School Player | Inducted 2012

As a young girl growing up in the 1950’s, Elaine Biercevicz was baffled by the fact that she and her friends weren’t allowed to play sports like the boys. Her interest in basketball blossomed in her physical education classes, yet in her freshman and sophomore years of high school, Elaine was only allowed to participate in basketball playdays when the boys’ basketball teams were away. In her junior year, she and her teammates recruited a rookie English teacher, Bernice Nicolari, to coach a basketball team for the girls. This proved to be one of the most important experiences of Elaine’s life, since her participation on her high school basketball team opened the door for other athletic experiences. Elaine’s life has revolved around athletics ever since her ambitious days at Shelton High School.

Playing at forward on Shelton High School’s first ever girls’ basketball team in 1962-3, Elaine tallied 371 points in her two year career. For both her junior and senior years, Elaine served as a team captain and was the Most Valuable Player and High Scorer of the team. She went on to attend Southern Connecticut State University on four-year academic scholarships, and graduated in 1968 with a BS in Physical Education. She earned a full graduate fellowship to Springfield College and earned her Masters in Education in 1970. While she was pursuing her education, she was an active member of the Raybestos Brakettes Fast Pitch Softball Team from 1966-1970. They were National Champions and won a Pan American Games Gold Medal for Softball as an Exhibition Event for the first time.

Elaine’s teaching and coaching career began at Seymour High School in 1970, where she initiated the girls’ basketball, softball, and swimming programs. From there she went to Sacred Heart Academy, serving as a teacher, basketball coach and Athletic Director from 1979-1990. In 1978, she initiated the Girls’ Softball program at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven and served as Head Coach for three years. Elaine found her sweet spot when she joined the staff at Lyman Hall High School, where she has worked for 15 years as a Physical Education teacher and Athletic Director. Although she recently retired from her 27 year Athletic Director career, she is still teaching full-time, with an impressive set of skills, including State of Connecticut Teaching certifications in Health, History, Social Studies, Biology, General Science, and Administration.

Elaine has coached in many different programs for basketball, softball, tennis and swimming. She is a USPTR Certified Tennis Instructor and has received Service Awards from The American Red Cross for her work as a Water Safety Instructor. She has been a softball clinician at various camps and has supervised high school summer basketball leagues in the New Haven area. In 1993-4, she coached with the Express Softball 12 and Under Fastpitch Team--the American Softball Association Junior Olympic State and Northeast Regional 12 and Under Champions and the American Fastpitch Association State Champions.

Aside from her talent as a coach and teacher, Elaine has participated in many professional organizations and served on several state committees throughout her career. She has been an active member of various Education Associations, the Connecticut Association of Athletic Administrators and the Connecticut High School Coaches Association. She served as Chairperson of the Athletic Directors of the Southern Connecticut Conference and as Chairperson of the Softball Committee for the same conference. She worked as Chairperson of the Girls’ Basketball Committee, Chairperson of the Girls’ Softball Tournament, and member of the Scheduling Committee for the All Connecticut Conference from 1985-1990. She Co-Founded and Chaired the Hamden Women’s Sports Federation with Linda Wooster in 1994.

Elaine has served in many different positions for the New Haven Tap-Off Club since 1979. She received the Leadership Award from the Club in 2003 and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2005. Elaine was also inducted into the Connecticut American Softball Association Hall of Fame Induction in 2006.

Elaine has committed her life to the growth of women’s athletics, and she has enjoyed watching several of her family members excel in athletics as well, including her brothers, sisters, daughter, son, and nieces. As a physical education teacher and mentor, she continues to make a difference in the lives of young men and women every day.