Giovinazzo honored by Bristol Eastern during ceremony on Friday night

Seventy-five years of coaching, over 940 victories, numerous division championships, two state final appearances, and one state title.

That’s the statistical legacy left by former Bristol Eastern coach Mike Giovinazzo. What current Lancer boys basketball coach Bunty Ray emphasized during a ceremony Friday night to honor “Coach G” went well beyond stats.

“You see this as his accomplishment right here. Decades of players, decades of people that have come to honor him, and if it wasn’t for COVID, we’d have many, many more,” said Ray after inviting down to the court those in attendance in the Thomas M. Monahan Gymnasium who had played and coached with “Coach G”.

The sheer number of those in attendance, including head coach Ryan Raponey and assistant coach Rich Klett of Lewis Mills, Eastern’s opponent Friday night, was impressive. “Coach G”, not one for the limelight, got emotional when surrounded by so many who came out and showed their support.

With those who played and coached with “Coach G” surrounding him, a surprise was waiting for him on the Monahan gym wall.

“In a lifetime, there’s a handful of people who have shaped what this town really is, so we thought it would be a good idea that no matter what, no matter how many games are being played that we have this back here to make sure that coach is always with us,” Ray said before a No. 6 jersey with Giovinazzo’s name was unveiled.

A long round of applause erupted after the jersey was unveiled. Here’s the text of the plaque that was given to “Coach G”:

Coach Mike Giovinazzo dedicated 75 seasons worth of coaching, knowledge, and experience between the baseball and boys basketball programs at Bristol Eastern High School.

He elevated the level of play for both programs and always emphasized scholastic achievement for his student athletes.

“Coach G” amassed over 940 victories between the two sports. Two highlights of his career were appearing in two state title championships and winning the 1986 Class L Championship.

His awards are numerous, including several Coach of the Year honors and in 2015 he took his place in the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Giovinazzo might have been a coach in name but he was just as much a teacher and a mentor. One of the most important aspects of sports for him was that his players developed into young men that succeeded beyond the field and court and made memories and friendships that would last a lifetime.

For his efforts and achievements, the Bristol Eastern athletic community will be forever grateful for the contributions “Coach G” made to the sports programs on King Street and he’ll forever be recognized as a Lancer.

Photo caption: Bristol Eastern coach Mike Giovinazzo goes over strategy with Jake Violette during a game against Tolland on April 20, 2017, at Page Park (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2017 file).