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Rusty Dunne )
George Durso )
Kenny Horton )
Michael Laudano )
Jim Oca )
Ashley Redente )
Rashaad Roach )
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The 33rd annual East Haven High School (EHHS) Alumni Association Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on Sunday, Nov. 24 at Seasons in East Haven. Slated for induction are this year’s inductees: Rusty Dunne, George Durso, Kenny Horton, Michael Laudano, Jim Oca, Ashley Redente, and Rashaad Roach. Tickets are $50 and may be obtained by sending a check payable to the EHHS Alumni Association at 247 Bayard Ave., North Haven CT, 06473. No tickets will be sold at the door.
Rusty Dunne (Coach)
Martin “Rusty” Dunne has influenced hundreds of athletes during his distinguished career as a coach. Dunne has served as a head coach of track and field at EHHS since 1993 and was head coach of the Yellowjackets’ football team from 1993 to 2002. Dunne was also an assistant football coach at West Haven High School (2003-’16), the defensive coordinator at Central Connecticut State College (1992-’93), linebackers coach at Yale University (1992), the special teams coordinator and defensive line coach at UConn (1988-’92), the offensive coordinator/positions coach at Southern Connecticut State University (1982-’88), wide receivers/secondary coach at Seymour High School (1980-’81), and wide receivers coach at Milford Academy (1979-’80). He is currently an assistant football coach at the University of New Haven.
Dune has achieved many milestones as a football coach, including coaching eight All-State First Team players, 50-plus All-League players, and 10 national scholar-athletes. He was selected as head coach of the Nutmeg Bowl East Team in 1996 and was head coach for the Connecticut All-Star Team in the Connecticut-Rhode Island All-Star Game in 2001. Dunne sent 24 players on to play college football, including four on full scholarships.
Among his track and field coaching accomplishments, Dunne led the East Haven boys’ track team to division championships in 1999, 2000, and 2002, and guided the girls’ team to division titles in 2007, 2011, 2014, and 2016. He coached 44 All-State First Team athletes, 25 state champions (including eight State Open champions), two New England champions, four All-Americans, and one national champion. Dunne sent 38 athletes to compete at the collegiate level, seven of which were on scholarships.
George Durso (Class of ‘98)
George Durso, Jr., competed in the East Haven Youth Hockey Association, where he won a Division II Bantam state championship in 1994. A four-year defenseman at EHHS, Durso was the hockey team’s leading scorer at that position with 118 points and helped the Yellowjackets make four-straight state final appearances. East Haven won the Division II state title during Durso’s senior year in 1998.
Among his hockey awards and achievements, Durso received East Haven’s Plus-Minus Award in 1996 and was named to both the All-Southern Connecticut Conference Team and the New Haven Register All-Area Team in 1997. That same year, Durso achieved a career-high plus-minus rating of plus-73. As a senior captain in 1998, he earned All-SCC, Register All-Area, and All-State First Team honors. Durso put together a career-best 51-point season with 13 goals and 38 assists in his senior year.
From 1998-’99, George was a starting defenseman for the Connecticut Junior Wolves of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League, helping the squad earn a playoff appearance in its inaugural season as a junior hockey team.
Durso went on to play in 100 Division I college hockey games as a walk-on at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 2003, he attended the minor league hockey training camp for the Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central Hockey League, playing in three preseason games. Durso also served as an assistant coach with the EHHS hockey team from 2003-’04.
Kenny Horton (Class of ‘85)
Kenny Horton was a four-year member of EHHS varsity football team. As a member of the Yellowjackets, Horton earned Honorable Mention recognition for the All-Housatonic League Team.
Horton is an enthusiastic supporter of and a contributor to many youth sports programs, schools, and charitable causes, most notably the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Horton lives in Guilford with his wife Lynn and their three sons: KC, Matty, and Kyle.
Michael Laudano (Class of ‘03)
Michael Laudano started for four seasons as a member of the EHHS boys’ soccer team. During his career, Laudano scored 33 goals and had 22 assists for the Yellowjackets. He was a three-time All-Hammonasset Team selection and was named to both the Register All-Area Team and the All-State Team as a senior.
Michael went on to attend college at Western Connecticut State University, where he played on the men’s soccer team for four years. During that time, the squad won the Little East Conference (LEC) championship and made it to the NCAA tournament twice. In his senior year, Laudano was named to the LEC First Team. He scored 11 goals and had 19 assists in his college career.
Jim Oca (Class of ‘85)
For more than 31 years, James “Jim” Oca has proudly and honorably served the East Haven Fire Department (EHFD), for which he is currently the Senior Battalion Chief in command of Division 1. He is also an EMT and a fire inspector. In 2018, Oca was honored as a Shoreline Hero by the Exchange Club of Branford—one of eight people who was recognized for their service to Branford, East Haven, Guilford, and North Branford. Oca is owner and lead trainer with Oca & Associates, LLC, a safety training company that provides first aid, CPR, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration training primarily within the social services sector.
Oca is a dedicated community volunteer who has been a member of the EHFD Volunteer Company 1 for 34 years. He is member of the East Haven Yellowjacket Athletic Club and was active with the former St. Clare’s Church. Oca is a 13-year volunteer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, an organization that provides free remembrance photography to parents who have suffered the loss of an infant. He served as the board president for the organization from 2016-’18. Oca is also a member of the Porcini International, the Umberto Club of New Haven, the Buoni Amici Club, and the Irish American Community Center.
Ashley Redente (Class of ‘05)
Ashley Palmese Redente was an outstanding athlete at EHHS. As the setter for the volleyball team in 2004, she set school records for most career assists (1,246), assists in a season (785), assists in a match (41), career aces (188), and aces in a season (74). Redente named to the All-SCC Hammonasset Team in 2003 and the All-Oronoque Team in 2004. Also in 2004, Redente was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the Class L State Tournament championship game, while helping the Yellowjackets win the state title. She made the All-State First Team and was named to the Senior All-Star Volleyball Team East that year. Redente received the East Haven’s Sportsmanship Award in 2003 and was recognized as the team’s Most Consistent Player in 2004.
Redente also played shortstop and the outfield for the Yellowjackets’ softball squad. She made the SCC All-Academic Team and also received the Coaches Award from East Haven.
Redente also has a broad range of coaching experience, having served as the head coach of JV volleyball, a varsity indoor track assistant, and a JV softball assistant at the Hopkins School in New Haven. She was also the volleyball coach at Joseph Melillo Middle School from 2005-’06.
Rashaad Roach (Class of ‘01)
Rashaad Roach played three sports at EHHS. He was a three-year starter who lettered for the football team as wide receiver and defensive back, serving as captain during his senior year. In 2000, Roach was named to the All-SCC Hammonasset Team as a wide receiver and made the New Haven Gridiron Club’s Levi Jackson Team at defensive back. Roach was also a three-year starter for the Yellowjackets’ boys’ basketball squad, leading the team as a captain in his junior and senior seasons.
Roach also excelled as a sprinter and a jumper in track and field. He lettered all four years at East Haven and was a captain of the team as both a junior and a senior. Roach was the SCC Hammonasset champion for the 100-meter dash in 1998, the Hammonasset long jump champion in 1999, and earned All-State Honors at the CIAC Decathlon in 2001. During his high school career, he set school records for the 100-meter dash in 1998 and the 400-meter dash in 2001.
Roach went on to Springfield College, where he was a two-year member of the indoor track and field team. He captained the team as a senior and garnered All-New England Honors as part of the 4x100 relay in 2006.
Roach serves as vice president of the James “Nu Nu” Glee Athletic Scholarship Fund that helps senior athletes at EHHS pursue a college degree. The award honors the memory of the late Glee, a former teammate of Roach who is also a member of the EHHS Alumni Association Hall of Fame.
Roach has worked in the Branford Police Department since 2007. He is a field training officer and instructor who has specialized training in defensive tactics and undercover and narcotics investigations. Roach has earned nine unit citations for teamwork exceeding the requirements of police service, as well as Medal of Commendation for effective policework. He obtained the rank of sergeant in 2018 and was promoted to the position of patrol supervisor. Roach is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at the University of New Haven.
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