Piurek Dies At
94; Longtime High School Coach
John A. "Whitey" Piurek played baseball at Bulkeley High School in Hartford under legendary coach Babe Allen, then became a legend himself.
Piurek, the first baseball coach to win 500 games in Connecticut, died Thursday. He was 94. Piurek was national baseball coach of the year in 1968, and was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Piurek was 525-116-2 as baseball coach at Plainville and West Haven in 1942-81. His 1967 and 1973 West Haven teams won state titles. He also coached football, winning two state titles, and basketball, winning a state title at Plainville in 1943. He received a Gold Key from the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance in 1979.
He graduated from Holy Cross in 1939, played minor league baseball for the Cardinals and Phillies and went on a barnstorming tour with baseball greats such as Joe DiMaggio.
Piurek was athletic director for 17 years at West Haven, was a baseball scout, officiated various sports, helped organize the Connecticut High School Coaches' Association and served as CIAC hockey tournament director.