Former CR coach Coveleski to join Delaware Sports Hall of Fame

John Coveleski

WILMINGTON — John Coveleski, who made a name for himself as both a boys’ lacrosse and football coach at Caesar Rodney High, is among 10 inductees in this year’s Delaware Sports Hall of Fame class.

He is joined by former Major League baseball player Kevin Mench (St. Mark’s), ex-NHL player Mark Eaton (Dickinson), multi-sport athlete Kristin Mills Caldwell (Caravel), ice dancer Scott Gregory, football coach Butch Simpson (Newark), race-walker Jack Starr, tennis official Lois Huggins, multi-sport coach Vince Filliben (Archmere) and track & field coach Bob Behr (Tower Hill).

The group will be officially inducted at the Hall of Fame’s 42nd annual banquet on May 16 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington.

Coveleski coached Caesar Rodney to success in lacrosse, football and baseball.  In lacrosse, he led the Riders to a 186-45 record and three state championships. His football teams were 138-44-2 over 14 seasons. He coached CR’s baseball teams for eight seasons, going 79-27.

A Rehoboth High grad, Coveleski led the Riders to a 186-45 record and three state titles in boys’ lacrosse while posting a mark of 138-44-2 in 14 football seasons. He also took teams to state championship games in both football and baseball, where he had a record of 79-27 in eight years.

Coveleski was also a successful basketball coach at CR, an offensive coordinator for Delaware State’s football program as well as a lacrosse coach at Dover High. He currently coaches with the Delaware Tech-Terry Campus men’s lacrosse program.

Mench was the first major league right-handed hitter to homer in seven consecutive games. An All-American first baseman at Delaware, he clubbed 98 home runs over eight major-league seasons, most with the Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.

Eaton was the state’s first NHL player. He was a defenseman for 13 years with the Flyers, Nashville, Pittsburgh and the New York Islanders. He set a Nashville record for plus/minus with a +16 rating in 2003-04 and scored four playoff goals in the Penguins’ 2009 Stanley Cup run.

Mills Caldwell was the first Delaware high school girl to score 2,000 points. A pitcher for the Buccaneers’ baseball state champions, she was a member of the first USA Baseball women’s national team and was winning gold medal pitcher in the first Women’s World Cup.

Gregory was a national champion and Olympic skater. With Suzy Semanick, he won U.S. national ice dancing championships in 1987 and 1988 and finished sixth in the 1988 Olympics.

He earlier twice finished second in the nationals and was 10th in the 1984 Olympics.

Simpson coached Newark High to nine football state championships among 14 state championship appearances. He coached the Yellowjackets to 283 victories, second in state history, in his 39 seasons.

Starr has won over 70 national masters titles in race-walking, a sport he took up after he retired from DuPont, with six World Masters gold medals, and 40 national or world records in distances from 3,000 to 40,000 meters. He was the first American over 70 to race-walk 10,000 meters in under an hour.

One of the nation’s most prominent tennis officials, Huggins has officiated at the U.S. Open and Davis Cup, U.S. Pro Indoor and other leading tournaments. She has served as chair of officials for the United States Tennis Association and the Middle States section.

Filliben coached Archmere basketball and baseball for 31 years, retiring in 1985 as the state’s winningest basketball coach with 378 victories. A basketball and baseball star at Drexel, he played for three years in the Pirates’ farm system.

Behr coached Tower Hill track and cross country to dominance for 19 years. His athletes won one-fourth of all Division II state track championships over 17 seasons, and set state records in six events. He helped create competitive women’s track in Delaware, coaching the winning high school and club teams at the 1966 Penn Relays, and four qualifiers for the Olympic trials.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame banquet are available at $65 each from Lorrie Alesi at 302-547-6570, phone or text, or online from www.desports.org, select events and follow prompts.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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