This morning, Pallacanestro Varese has been the star in CONI Hall of Honor in Rome which hosted the annual ceremony celebrating the entrance of athletes and managers who excelled in their career in the Italia Basket Hall of Fame. Among the attendees there were Giovanni Malagò, President of CONI, Gianni Petrucci, President of Federbasket, and Fernando Marino, President of the Basketball League. Three of the winners of the top basketball award are closely tied to Pallacanestro Varese, namely Antonio “Toto” Bulgheroni, Marino Zanatta, and Fabrizio “Ciccio” Della Fiori.
Bulgheroni used to play with the great Ignis (three championships won in 1964, 1970, and 1971) and then became owner and president of the “white and red” team. He is also the only one in Italy who won the Italian championship as a player and then as the top manager of the club (1999). Bulgheroni won the award “Una vita dedicata al basket”, while Marino Zanatta and Ciccio Della Fiori received the prize for the athlete category for their sport achievements with their respective club teams as well as for their contribution to the success of the National Team.
The very attendance of two former players of Pallacanestro Varese made this special day particularly exciting for Bulgheroni. As a matter of fact, Zanatta played with Toto for four seasons with the Milan team All’Onestà and, later on, he was a manager of Pallacanestro Varese led by Bulgheroni. Curiously enough, Della Fiori was the first player to be hired by the team when, in 1981, Toto became President of Varese as a result of the establishment of the Finanziaria. What made the event even more peculiar was that other two important, old-time former players of the Varese team participated in the award ceremony for the threesome of Pallacanestro Varese, namely the technical assistants Sandro Gamba and Charlie Recalcati.
Pallacanestro Varese is proud of the valuable award obtained by its former members and, together with all its fans, applauds them for this important prize that was given to them at CONI’s sports center in Rome. Now they have joined a host of other athletes and technical assistants from Varese who entered the Hall of Fame before them, including Dino Meneghin and Paolo Vittori (2006), Ottorino Flaborea and Aldo Ossola (2008), Giovanni Gavagnin and Giulio Iellini (2009), Gabriele Vianello and Sauro Bufalini (2011), Franco Bertini (2013). Among the coaches there are Carlo Recalcati (2007) and Valerio Bianchini (2011), while Aldo Albanesi from Busto Arsizio is one of the awarded referees (2007) and Sandro Galleani one of the “meritorious members” (2013).
Other prize-winners from Federbasket were coach Alberto Bucci, Mara Fullin (athletes), Diego Pini (in his memory) and Lello Morbelli, who received the prize during the recent Final Eight of the Italian Cup in Desio.