Page 16 - CHSCA Fall-Winter Magazine 2020-2021
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the most “big-time” feel to their atmosphere.
Under Corto’s direction, New Britain has also become a staple location annually for CIAC tour- naments in football, basketball, track & field, and soccer under Corto’s direction, enhancing the city’s reputation as a top site for the biggest matchups of the sea- son.
Most importantly, he leads an athletic department that always promotes good sportsmanship and teaches life lessons through sports that student-athletes will carry with them into the classroom and community.
“He wants athletic excellence, but also wants the academic excel- lence and a clean program,” says McDew. “He wants the squeakiest, cleanest programs in the state of Connecticut.”
Fostering family culture for the current and future coaches, student-athletes, and community means taking care of and honoring those who came before him. He is quick to praise those who men-
tored him: John Zinser, Pat McCue, Guy Carbone, Sr., and Joe Reilly, Sr. for whom he played or coached at South Catholic. Dr. Marie Gus- ton (superintendent), Bill Huber (the AD who hired him), Bill Les- inski (the AD for whom he worked and succeeded), Paul Majeski, Paul Salina, and Ken Kezer with whom he worked as football coach in New Britain.
“Huber still is Lenny’s mentor,” says Jakubowski. “He’s 94 years old and lives in a retirement home, and Lenny still goes to see him. He reminds us every year when it’s his birthday, and gets us to send him cards. He still takes care of him and Bill Lesinski. He never forgot where he came from. And that’s what he brought to New Britain.”
New Britain is a tough town, and despite Corto adopting the city as his own and bleeding maroon and gold as much as anyone who grew up there, even the strongest families sometimes butt heads when there is as much passion and pride as there is in NB.
There are those who will always
take their shots. However, with self-deprecating humor and the thick skin from that South End upbringing, he takes the hits and laughs them off.
“Keep swingin’” is one of Cor- to’s classic lines when encouraging coaches and colleagues through tough times. And when the criti- cism that comes inherently in ‘Hard Hittin’ is thrown his way, he follows his own advice and goes about his work of taking care of his family by making decisions based on doing things the right way.
New Britain is also a loyal town, built upon city neighborhoods much like Corto’s Hartford South End. Loyalty in communities like Corto’s, where everybody looks out for everyone, is a two-way street. And from Franklin Ave. to Corbin Ave., Corto has a family who appreciates the traditions he’s helped build and what he’s meant to them. From Mill Street back to Adelaide Street, Corto has many more people who will keep swin- gin’ for the coach who leads their family.
    NHSACA Hall of Fame
Thursday, July 29, 2021
The Great Hall Lincoln, NE
 PAGE 16 • CONNECTICUT COACH • ISSUE 1 – 2020-2021

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