Richard Melillo - 2002 Inductee
Few people have outstanding careers as a player and as coach. Richard Melillo is one of the selected few that achieved success as both at Fitchburg State College. Melillo was a standout basketball player for the Falcons in the mid 70's before returning for an impressive stint as head basektball coach in the early 80's.
Rich wasted no time breaking into the starting five for the Falcons as a freshman in 1972-73. He started all four years as the Falcons enjoyed their best season to date during the 1973-74 campaign. That year FSC finished 16-9 and contended for the title in the newly formed Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC). Melillo's junior season saw him average 13.8 points per game while shooting 47.6% from the field. He saved his best for last during his senior season in 1975-76. Melillo tallied the second most points in school history at the time with his 40 point performance versus Boston State. He was the team MVP, earned All-MASCAC honors and was nominated for All-New England. When he graduated, his 1,178 career points ranked him fourth all-time in school history. He currently sits in eleven place.
Melillo made the successful transition from player to coach when he returned for a four-year stint on the bench as head coach in 1981. He inherited a 4-22 squad and after two improved seasons, led them to a 14-12 record in 1983-84. The following season will be remembered as one of the greatest in FSC hoop history. The Falcons won a share of its only MASCAC title and narrowly missed a trip to the NCAA Tournament when Westfield State hit a half court shot at the buzzer in the play-in contest. Melillo left FSC following that season and has been at Somerville High School where he is an educator and the head boy's basketball coach.