For most of the 1970s, Stoneham was
considered a hockey town. And when the Fiorillos moved here from East
Boston in the middle of that decade, their only son could not skate.
But he could play basketball.
Mike Fiorillo would grow to be
6’ 4” tall. He did not run particularly fast, could not jump very high,
but he had an amazing set of hands; hands that produced a feathery-soft
shooting touch; hands that would grab every rebound, and later, hands
that would catch any pass thrown to him on the football field.
During his sophomore basketball season, Mike saw his minutes increase as
the season wore on, leading to a late-season, game-high 22-point effort
in a victory over Belmont. It was a preview of things to come as the
Boston Globe named him a “Player to Watch” heading into the next season.
But in the fall of his junior year, instead of practicing his jump shot,
he decided to try out for football, a sport he had never played before
at an organized level. In his second varsity game, Mike scored on
touchdown catches of 56 and 49 yards against Watertown. Suddenly
Stoneham football had something it had not had in years: a legitimate
deep threat on the outside.
In the winter, he lived up to the
promise of the previous basketball season as he was voted team MVP and
named to the Middlesex League All-Star team after averaging 18.3 points
Senior year in football was nothing short of
spectacular: A Middlesex League All-Star at split end, a league-leading
nine touchdown receptions, a 10th touchdown scored on a highlight reel
101-yard interception return against Belmont for which he was named a
Defensive Star of the Week in the Boston Globe, and finally a
2-touchdown reception, Marty Jordan Award-wining performance against
Reading on Thanksgiving Day.
Senior year in basketball saw him
elected team captain, and repeat as team MVP and Middlesex League
All-Star. In spite of facing constant double and triple-teams, he won
the league scoring title, averaging over 25 points per game, including
games of 40 pts, 18 rebounds vs. Woburn, and 44 pts, 24 rebounds vs.
Burlington. He was named to the North squad in the prestigious Agganis
Classic All Star game.
But there was one thing missing:
Victories. Mike never played for a winning team at Stoneham High,
prompting the Globe to run a feature story on him entitled “Frustrated
Superstar,” which spoke of his passion, dedication, and will to win.
The victories came at the next level. Mike played four years at St.
Joseph’s College in Maine on teams that went a combined 91-25. He scored
over 1600 points and in 2002 was named to the St. Joseph’s College
Athletic Hall Of Fame.
And tonight, the circle is complete...