On Sunday, February 16, Words Unlimited held their 74th Annual Sports Banquet Awards at Cranston Country Club in Cranston, RI with a reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Of the awards that will be handed out on Sunday two of the people to be honored have a connection to the Community College of Rhode Island. Equipment Manager Billy Giusti will be honored with the Amby Smith Lifetime Achievement Award and former CCRI Volleyball Head Coach Ray DeAngelis will be honored with the Bill Cawley Lifetime Achievement Award.
Billy Giusti is a fixture in the CCRI athletics department. The only person that has served longer that Giusti in the CCRI Department of Athletics is the Athletic Director Emeritus Vincent A. Cullen. For 41 years, he has served as equipment manager, team driver, concession manager and all-around go-to-guy for the department. Equally important is his underlying role in his interaction with the students. Whether with the students employed in the department or the athletes on the teams he has spent so much time with, Giusti has taken on the role of mentor, counselor and sometimes father figure to many of the students. He is a critical cog in the wheel of CCRI sports.
Giusti is a native of West Warwick and attended West Warwick High school and played Varsity Baseball and Basketball for three years. His prowess at baseball earned him a tryout for the New York Yankees as a middle infielder a team he still supports to this day. He has served his community well as a youth basketball coach. His love for athletics and his community has been a driving force in why he has continued to serve the CCRI Department of athletics for the past 41 years.
In 2004, for his service to the college, Giusti was honored with a CCRI Employee Recognition Award for Technical Services, an honor given to only four college employees each year, based on their area of service. In 2005 at the CCRI Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet the CCRI Department of Athletics awarded Giusti with the Honorary Green Jacket for distinguished and long-time service to the school and Department. In 2015 he was inducted to the West Warwick High School Hall of Fame. In 1979 he was named Man of the Year by his parish’s CYO. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and he enjoys bowling and golfing in his free time. Giusti and his wife Joan live in West Warwick.
Ray DeAngelis was coach for CCRI Lady Knights volleyball for nine seasons, eight as their Head Coach and one as an assistant. DeAngelis had an overall record of 207-98. The Lady Knights performed in record-setting fashion in his final season in the fall of 2008. They finished the season with a 38-6 record which gave them the highest win percentage in CCRI history (86.4%). In addition, the Lady Knights made their first trip to the NJCAA Division II Women’s Volleyball National Championship. Earning that trip to National Championship was no small feat as they would have to defeat their longtime nemesis Genesee Community College which was the team that had halted their dream for four years prior by defeating CCRI.
During his tenure as Head Coach for the Lady Knights DeAngelis coached many players who earned All-Region XXI honors. In addition, he also coached one All-American, Kimiyo Garcia, who earned second team honors in 2006. However, what DeAngelis is most proud of is that none of the players ever received a yellow or red card while he coached. Having no player being disciplined by an official speaks to the quality of student-athletes he recruited and developed while at CCRI.
DeAngelis is a native of Smithfield, RI but now makes his home in Florida with his wife Gerry.