There are legends in all kinds of sports.
Here in the Ocean State, Warwick residents have for years been in the sports spotlight in one form or another.
Few families though, if any, have made their mark like Warwick’s Gilmartin family, especially when it comes to officiating football games.
The Gilmartins have two rather rare claims.
The first one surfaced last week at the Quonset ‘O’ Club in North Kingstown during the Providence Gridiron Club’s 41st annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Edward “Ted” Gilmartin III followed in the footsteps of his grandfather Ted Gilmartin and father – also named Ted Gilmartin – by being inducted into the Providence Gridiron Club’s Hall of Fame with five other prominent Rhode Islanders, all of whom have made names for themselves through the game of football at the high school level.
The Gilmartins, people like PGC President Dick Fossa, who is also the head football coach at Narragansett High School, told an overflow induction dinner crowd last week, “have always ranked among this state’s top football referees.”
James W. “Jim” Norman, the former long-time sports information director at URI who also broadcast Ram’s football and basketball games for upwards of 30 years and has written more than 1,000 biographies about the PGC’s elite football club, said the Gilmartins are the only family in the state to have three generations of family members enter the prestigious Hall of Fame.
“They also represent three generations of football officials,” Norman said during his introduction and induction speech.
The latest Gilmartin is a bank executive who played football at Hendricken under the legendary Hawks’ former head coach Ed “Duke” Fracassa.
Gilmartin received all-division honors in football and was a standout baseball player for the Hawks, starring for the former and late head coach and athletic director Ray Pepin. Gilmartin played first base and was the Hawks’ valuable leadoff batter.
He seemed destined to have a promising college career, however, injuries took their toll and that’s when he opted to follow the family trail of officiating high school football games.
Gilmartin began officiating in 1981 and has been doing Rhode Island Interscholastic League games for 31 years. He also officiated ECAC (Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) games for 15 years. He has also officiated six RIIL Super Bowl games and has been a high school basketball referee since 1984.
Gerry Caito, who was born in Providence and now lives in Warwick, was also one of the six people inducted in the PGC’s Hall of Fame.
Caito, who is regarded as one of this state’s all-time great running backs and starred for the Mount Pleasant Kilties under Hall of Fame coaches Irv Nelson and Sparky Reardon, joins two brothers – Tom and Phil Caito – in the PGC’s Hall.
He was a teacher-coach for 44 years and his induction marked another historic PGC mark, as the Caitos became the first trio of brothers to ever enter the prestigious Hall of Fame. In high school, he was All-State in football and standout in track, and he went on to play at URI.
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame with the Class of 2011 were Joe Schwab of Wakefield for officiating, Steve Jutras, Mike Traficante and Joe Almonte (posthumously), all of Cranston.