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Welcome to CTSportswriters.org
Home of the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance — Established 1939

Next Meeting - Thursday, April 19
The next meeting for the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance will take place at on Thursday, April 19 at noon at the Pine Loft Pizzeria & Cafe at 1474 Berlin Turnpike, Berlin. For directions, click here.

2012 Gold Key Dinner Tickets Available
Tickets to the 2012 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., can be purchased by contacting either CSWA President George Albano of The (Norwalk) Hour at Truckin114@AOL.com, or Vice President and Dinner Chairman Bob Ehalt of The New Haven Register at Ehalt.B@sbcglobal.net. Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check for $75 to Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT, 06085. For more information on the history of the dinner, visit the Alliance website at ctsportswriters.org.

Vander Veer wins Art McGinley Award

POSTED: February 15 - 9:15 p.m.

Peter Vander Veer, whose career in sports journalism spans more than four decades, has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Art McGinley Award by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.

The award, which honors a current or former member of the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance for his meritorious service to the organization, will be presented at the 71st annual Gold Key Dinner on April 29 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

Vander Veer began his writing career at the now-defunct New Haven Journal-Courier in October 1969, the same year he graduated from the University of New Haven. He was at the Journal-Courier fulltime, covering high school sports and local auto racing, until August 1974.

He returned to his alma mater as the sports information director at New Haven during the 1974-75 school year. In his one year there, Vander Veer’s 1975 UNH Baseball Guide was chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) as the second-best media guide in the nation among Division II-III schools.

A 1964 graduate of Amity Regional High School, Vander Veer returned to covering high school sports at the Groton News, a sister paper of the Norwich Bulletin, and eventually joined the Bulletin sports staff. He remained there until 1978 when he returned to the University of New Haven as a graduate student and as the school’s SID.

Vander Veer resumed his sports writing career as a freelancer for various state newspapers, including the New Haven Register (1984-89), Connecticut Post (1990-2003), Norwich Bulletin (2001-present), Elm City Newspapers (2003-2011), Shoreline Times (2000-2010), and Hersam-Acorn Newspapers (2011-present).

He has also worked in auto racing publicity for Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson International Speedway, Waterford Speedbowl and at Riverside Park Speedway.

In addition, Vander Veer worked for Trackside Magazine (West Springfield, Mass.) from 1990-2003 as a feature writer and columnist, and was a program writer for more than 10 tracks throughout the northeast. He is also a member of the New England Auto Racers and serves on its Hall of Fame selection committee.

Vander Veer first joined the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance in 1971 and has served as past secretary and is currently financial secretary of the organization. He has also been a member of the Gold Key selection committee since 2008.

In addition to Vander Veer’s award, the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance will be presenting Gold Keys to Kristine Lilly, Dave Shea, John Dunham and Mike Walsh. Also, Granby Memorial field hockey coach Sandy Wickman Mason will receive the Doc McInerney High School Coach of the Year Award in a female sport, while Manchester High boys track and field coach Thayer Redman will be honored as the Doc McInerney High School Coach of the Year in a male sport.

Former UConn basketball player Kemba Walker will receive the Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year Award, while former University of New Haven track star Shannon Gagne will be honored as the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year. Former Masuk High quarterback Casey Cochran was selected as the Hal Levy High School Athlete of the Year Award winner, and Dave Balfore will receive the Bob Casey Courage Award. The remaining award winners will be announced in the next two weeks.

Tickets to the 2012 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., can be purchased by contacting either CSWA President George Albano of The (Norwalk) Hour at Truckin114@AOL.com, or Vice President and Dinner Chairman Bob Ehalt of The New Haven Register at Ehalt.B@sbcglobal.net. Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check for $75 to Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT, 06085. For more information on the history of the dinner, visit the Alliance website at ctsportswriters.org.

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Five Individuals to Receive John Wentworth Good Sport Awards

POSTED: February 15 - 9:15 p.m.

Five deserving individuals who have contributed their time to sports in their communities will receive 2012 John Wentworth Good Sport Awards from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.

Given in memory of the longtime sports editor of the New Britain Herald, the CSWA will recognize John Riley, Wayne Potvin, John Commune, Ed Gadomski and Bob Peruzzotti for their voluntary support of community sports and charitable organizations at the 71st annual Gold Key Dinner on April 29 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

John Riley has been a familiar figure on the youth sports scene in the town of Berlin for nearly two decades. He was involved with the Berlin Little League from 1993-98, beginning as a coach in the Tee Ball Division, moving up to the Instructional League, and then becoming a manager and coach in the Minor League division. He also served as the Instructional League supervisor.

Since 1994, Riley has been a fixture with the Berlin Youth Soccer Association, first as a coach in the Instructional Division, then as a head coach in the Junior Boys Division and Junior Girls Division, and later as a head coach in the Travel Division. He also served as treasurer from 1996-99, and has been president of the BYSA since 2000, continuing even after his daughter graduated from the program in 2003.

Riley has also been active on the state level with the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association since 2003. He is currently in his 10th year as the Connecticut Cup Age Group Director, in his sixth year as State Cup Age Group Director, and in his fourth year as CJSA state treasurer.

Bob Peruzzotti has coached a variety of sports at all levels the past 35 years, including the Mystic Little League, Mystic Babe Ruth League, Groton/Mystic Youth Football, Groton Girls Softball, and several parks and recreation league activities.

Now in his 13th year as a member of the Groton Board of Education, Peruzzotti is the assistant softball coach at Fitch High School, where his daughter Kate is the head coach. This past year, he helped raise $550,000 in private funds to improve the baseball field at the high school.

He was also instrumental in getting lights installed at the football field and just recently a new scoreboard for the football field with private donations. In fact, Peruzzotti still holds the sideline chains for home football games. In 2005, he was named the National Football Foundation Man of the Year.

John Commune has had a life-long involvement with Seymour High School athletics and since 1968 has served as the football team’s statistician. The 1969 SHS graduate works every game from the sidelines and also handles the team’s publicity, calling in games to most of the state’s newspapers.

In 2008, Commune’s 40th season with the Wildcats, the football press box at DeBarber Field was dedicated in his honor.

After years of being the official scorer for both Seymour’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams, Commune is currently the clock operator at Ansonia High School for their girls’ and boys’ teams. He also coached slow-pitch softball for many years for the Norwood Athletic Club in Ansonia.

Ed Gadomski has been the commissioner of the Connecticut Tri-State Baseball League since October 2003 and has since done wonders for one of the longest-standing amateur baseball leagues in the state.

Gadomski, a Thomaston native who began playing in the league with the Thomaston Spoilers in 1992, has expanded the league from six to 18 teams since he took over as commissioner. He's responsible for the league's hosting of the AABC Stan Musial State Tournament for the past eight years, and has orchestrated several charity fundraiser games and tournaments in Litchfield County. He also created the Tri-State League's website in 2007.

In addition, Gadomski's relationship with the local press has been instrumental in the league's growth. He even has instituted fines for coaches who do not report results to the press, ensuring full publicity for the league.

Wayne Potvin of Montville has spent the past 25 years raising money and spearheading the success of the Christopher Potvin Baseball Tournament. The popular tournament honors the memory of his son, an outstanding baseball and basketball player who lost his life in January 1987 in an automobile accident on his way to St. Bernard High School, where he was a freshman.

In June 1987, the Potvin family established the Christopher Potvin Scholarship Fund that would award $1,000 scholarships to graduating student-athletes from area high schools. Since then, over 300 scholarships have been awarded to deserving seniors who exemplified Christopher’s engaging spirit and academic and athletic credentials.

Wayne Potvin, a former all-state baseball player in Vermont who played two years of professional baseball, works throughout the year to raise the scholarship money, a good portion of which is a result of cards he mails out. In addition, all proceeds from the baseball tournament go toward scholarships. The tournament began with six teams and has now grown to 30 teams, mostly from Southeastern Connecticut. The 2011 tournament included 13U, 15U, 17U and 19U teams, and culminated with championship games on “Christopher Potvin Day” at Dodd Stadium, where Wayne Potvin awarded 25 $1,000 scholarships in honor of the 25th anniversary.

In addition to the Good Sport Awards, the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance will be presenting Gold Keys to Kristine Lilly, Dave Shea, John Dunham and Mike Walsh. Also, Granby Memorial field hockey coach Sandy Wickman Mason will receive the Doc McInerney High School Coach of the Year Award in a female sport, while Manchester High boys track and field coach Thayer Redman will be honored as the Doc McInerney High School Coach of the Year in a male sport.

Former UConn basketball player Kemba Walker will receive the Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year Award, while former University of New Haven track star Shannon Gagne will be honored as the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year. Former Masuk High quarterback Casey Cochran was selected as the Hal Levy High School Athlete of the Year Award winner, Dave Balfore will receive the Bob Casey Courage Award, and Peter Vander Veer is this year’s recipient of the Art McGinley Award. The final award recipient will be announced next week.

Tickets to the 2012 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., can be purchased by contacting either CSWA President George Albano of The (Norwalk) Hour at Truckin114@AOL.com, or Vice President and Dinner Chairman Bob Ehalt of The New Haven Register at Ehalt.B@sbcglobal.net. Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check for $75 to Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT, 06085. For more information on the history of the dinner, visit the Alliance website at ctsportswriters.org.

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Kemba Walker, Shannon Gagne, Casey Cochran Named Athletes of the Year

POSTED: February 15 - 9:15 p.m.

Kemba Walker, who almost single handedly led the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team on a magical ride to the national championship, and Shannon Gagne, who rode a magical journey herself by capturing five NCAA individual championships in track and field for the University of New Haven, have been selected as the 2011 Athletes of the Year by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.

Walker, now a member of the NBA Charlotte Bobcats, will receive the Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year Award, while Gagne, who also graduated last spring and now lives in Virginia, is the recipient of the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year Award.

In addition, Masuk High School quarterback Casey Cochran has been named the inaugural recipient of the newly-created Hal Levy High School Athlete of the Year Award, named in honor of the late Shore Line Newspapers sports editor and former CSWA president and longtime member.

All three award winners will be honored at the 71st annual Gold Key Dinner on April 29 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

Walker put together one of the most remarkable postseason runs in college basketball history as the junior guard led UConn to 11 straight wins. The first five came in the Big East Tournament where the ninth-seeded Huskies, after losing four of their last five regular-season games, all against conference opponents, became the first school to win five games in five days en route to the title.

Walker, the tourney MVP, set a Big East Tournament record with 130 points in the five games, including 26 against DePaul and 28 versus Georgetown in the first two rounds, and then 24 points, including the game-winning shot as time expired, against top-seed Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals. He followed that up with a 33-point, 12-rebound, five-assist performance in the semis against Syracuse, and then had a game-high 19 points and three steals in the 69-66 championship-game win over Louisville.

He was just getting started, however. Walker sparked UConn to six more consecutive wins in the NCAA tournament, culminating with a a 53-41win over Butler in the finals, in which he had a team-high 16 points and nine rebounds as the Huskies claimed their third national championship. Walker was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four, a week after earning the West Region MOP.

The only Husky to start all 41 games, the Bronx native set a new single-season UConn record with 965 points, averaging 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He was named the Big East Conference Player of the Year, a consensus First-Team All-American, and was a finalist for the College Basketball Player of the Year. He was also the winner of the Bob Cousy Award as the top point guard in the nation.

Walker, who turns 22 in May, entered the NBA Draft in June and was the ninth overall pick in the first round by the Charlotte Bobcats.

While Walker left college after three years, Gagne returned to the University of New Haven for a fifth year in 2010-11 to complete her Master’s degree in Homeland Security after earning her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.

And with a year of eligibility left in both indoor and outdoor track, Gagne competed for a fourth season in both sports. All she did was capture three national titles in indoor track and two more in the outdoor season, making her only the third athlete in Division II history to win five national championships in one year.

A four-year letter winner in track and field at Lyman Hall High School in Wallingford, where she was all-state and all-New England, Gagne made the outdoor track team at UNH as a freshman “walk-on” in the spring of 2007. As a sophomore, she joined the indoor track team and promptly set a new school record in the long jump. That spring, in only her second outdoor season, Gagne established three new UNH marks in the 100 and 200 meter dashes and the long jump.

As a junior, Gagne set four new school records in indoor and three more in outdoor. During the indoor season, she finished seventh in the 200-meter dash at the NCAA Division II National Championships, becoming the first University of New Haven women’s track and field athlete to score points at the national meet and earn All-American honors. She added another All-American honor in outdoor season with a fifth-place finish in the 200m dash at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

She only competed during the indoor season her senior year, but returned the following year while studying for her Master’s and made history, winning the 200 and 400 meters and the long jump at the NCAA Division II women’s indoor championships in Albuquerque, N.M., and adding national titles in the 200 and 400 meters at the NCAA outdoor meet in Turlock, Calif. She finished her illustrious career as a nine-time All-American.

Besides being UNH’s most decorated track athlete in history, Gagne was also recognized, along with UConn’s Maya Moore, as the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year recipients. And in January, Gagne was honored in Indianapolis where she received the prestigious NCAA Top-8 Award, which recognizes only eight collegiate athletes nationwide regardless of gender or division.

Cochran recently completed one of the most successful high school football careers any quarterback from Connecticut every enjoyed, finishing as the state’s career leader in passing yards, completions and touchdown passes.

This past season at Masuk High School, Cochran passed for 3,041 yards and 37 touchdowns while completing 152-of-225 yards (.713). He also rushed for five TDs as he led the Panthers to an 11-1 record and the Class L state semifinals.

That came on the heels of an outstanding junior season in which the all-state QB connected on 200-of-295 pass attempts (.689) for 3,345 yards and 40 touchdowns. He ran for seven more scores as he directed Masuk to a perfect 13-0 record and a state championship. Cochran, the state championship game MVP, was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Connecticut in both 2010 and 2011.

When you factor in the 1,387 yards and nine touchdowns he passed for as a freshman for Class SS state champ New London, and the 2,969 yards and 24 TDs he threw for as a sophomore after transferring to Masuk, Cochran finished his four-year career with 10,741 passing yards and 110 touchdown passes. He completed 650-of-982 attempts (.662), ran for 19 TDs, and led his teams to three league championships, two state crowns, and an overall 40-4 record.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Cochran, who was named the 2010 Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year for Connecticut, will continue his football career at the University of Connecticut.

In addition to Walker, Gagne and Cochran, the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance will be presenting Gold Keys to Kristine Lilly, Dave Shea, John Dunham and Mike Walsh. In addition, Granby Memorial field hockey coach Sandy Wickman Mason will receive the Doc McInerney High School Coach of the Year in a female sport, while Manchester High boys track and field coach Thayer Redman will be honored as the Doc McInerney High School Coach of the Year in a male sport. Other award winners will be announced in the next few weeks.

Tickets to the 2012 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., can be purchased by contacting either CSWA President George Albano of The (Norwalk) Hour at Truckin114@AOL.com, or Vice President and Dinner Chairman Bob Ehalt of The New Haven Register at Ehalt.Bob@sbcglobal.net. Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check to Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT 06085. For more information on the history of the dinner, visit the Alliance web site at ctsportswriters.org.

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Mason, Redman Named Doc McInerney High School Coaches of the Year

POSTED: January 31 - 1:32 a.m.

Sandy Wickman Mason, who led Granby Memorial to its third straight state championship this past fall and sixth state crown overall in her nine years, and Thayer Redman, who guided the Manchester boys track and field team to its first state title since World War II, have been selected as the Doc McInerney High School Coaches of the Year by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.

Mason, who was named as the Coach of the Year in female sports, and Redman, the Coach of the Year recipient in male sports, will be honored at the 71st annual Gold Key Dinner on April 29 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

A 1980 graduate of Granby and a former field hockey player herself, Sandy Wickman Mason coached her alma mater to a 17-1-0 record in 2011, culminating with a thrilling 1-0 double-overtime victory against Lauralton Hall in the Class S state championship game.

That came on the heels of a perfect 19-0-0 season in 2010, which was capped off by a 3-0 win over Haddam-Killingworth in the Class S state title game. In 2009, the Bears beat Lewis Mills 3-1 in the state finals to complete a 16-3-1 campaign.

Granby Memorial has been the state finals five straight years, falling to New Fairfield in 2008 while beating Canton 3-0 in 2007 to finish 18-1-1. In fact, Mason has guided the Bears to the state finals in seven of her nine seasons, winning state titles her first two seasons in 2003 and 2004, while her 2005 team reached the semifinals.

Through nine seasons, Mason has compiled a sparkling record of 141-24-7, reaching double-figures in victories all but one season (2006 when the Bears posted nine wins). She’s also led Granby Memorial to four North Central Connecticut Conference championships (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010), and in 2005 was honored as Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.

Prior to coaching, Mason, who also played at the University of Maine, was a field hockey official for 20 years on the high school and collegiate level, including officiating Division I games. Thayer Redman has been involved with the Manchester High School boys track and field program for nearly two decades, including as head coach since 2000. But in a career filled with memorable moments, the highlight for Redman came last June when he led the Indians to their first state championship since 1944. And they did it in dramatic fashion, edging perennial powerhouse Danbury 75-74.

The Hatters had won six of the previous Class LL titles, but 2011 would be Manchester’s year to finally hoist the championship hardware. It came in a year when almost no one expected it as the Indians were picked to finish as low as fourth in their own league.

The state crown also came in a season when Redman, who has coached a number of high school All-Americans in his career, had none. Instead, he had a number of first-year track athletes who garnered valuable points.

But Redman’s Manchester teams are no strangers to success. Under his guidance, the Indians have finished runner-up in Class LL three times. They’ve also won 10 Central Connecticut Conference championships and have had 10 undefeated regular seasons.

Redman was selected at the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2007, and in 2011 was one of eight finalists for the National High School Coach of the Year in boys track and field. He was initially nominated as Connecticut’s candidate for the award, and then advanced to become the New England region’s candidate at the June awards ceremony in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The successful Manchester coach was an accomplished decathlete and football player in high school at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine, and later played both sports at the University of Maine. He transferred to Arizona State University in hopes of competing on the track team as a walk on, but broke his neck in a diving accident. While that ended his track career as an athlete, his love of the sport inspired him to coaching others.

In addition to Redman and Mason, the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance will be presenting Gold Keys to Kristine Lilly, Dave Shea, John Dunham and Mike Walsh. Other award winners will be announced in the next few weeks.

Tickets to the 2012 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., can be purchased by contacting either CSWA President George Albano of The (Norwalk) Hour at Truckin114@AOL.com, or Vice President and Dinner Chairman Bob Ehalt of The New Haven Register at Ehalt.Bob@sbcglobal.net. Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check to Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT 06085.

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Four To Receive Gold Key In 2012

POSTED: December 25 - 1:32 a.m.

The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance is pleased to announce that four individuals, whose legendary careers left an indelible mark on the state sports scene, will receive the prestigious Gold Key in 2012.

Kristine Lilly, who began her storied soccer career in Wilton and was a member of the United States women’s national team for 24 years, Dave Shea, who has won over 300 games in three different sports at Bacon Academy in Colchester, John Dunham, who has collected over 400 wins in 37 years as coach of the Trinity College hockey team, and Mike Walsh, winner of over 500 games and six state championships at Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford, will be honored at the 71st annual Gold Key Dinner on April 29 at the Aqua Turf Club.

The Gold Key is regarded as one of the highest sports awards in the state, and since 1940 the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance has recognized individuals from the Nutmeg State who have achieved excellence on the youth, high school, college and professional levels. Past recipients of the Gold Key include Connie Mack (1940), Willie Pep (1961), Walt Dropo (1975), George H.W. Bush (1991), Gordie Howe (1992), Geno Auriemma (2001) and Jim Calhoun (2003).

The Class of 2012 recipients will continue that proud and rich tradition.

It seemed as though everywhere Lilly went, winning followed as Wilton High School won two state championships and the University of North Carolina went 4-for-4 in NCAA Championships while she played for the Tar Heels, who retired her No. 15 jersey.

Lilly was only 16 and still in high school when she made her debut with the women’s national team, the first of more than 300 international games she would play in. She participated in five different World Cups, wearing the Red, White and Blue every four years from 1991 through 2007. She also competed in three Olympics, winning gold medals in 1996 and 2004 along with a silver medal in 2000. She more than likely would have played in the 2008 Games as well, but family came first as Lilly gave birth to the first of her two children.

When the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) was formed in 2001, Lilly was a founding member and team captain of the Boston Breakers. She played every minute of all 21 games that inaugural season, leading the league with 11 assists.

Lilly would return to the national team in 2008, playing for two more years until announcing her retirement in December of 2010 after her 352nd cap (international appearance) for Team USA. She retired as the most capped men’s or women’s soccer player in the history of the sport.

She scored 130 goals for her country and 30 more for the professional teams she had played with both here and overseas.

The 77-year-old Shea has been a fixture at Bacon Academy for over five decades. A 1952 graduate of the school, Shea coached boys basketball for 24 seasons (1961-85), is currently in his 18th season as girls basketball coach, and this spring will enter his 25th season as the Bobcats’ baseball coach.

Shea is the only coach in Connecticut state history to have 300 wins as both a boys and girls basketball coach, compiling a sparkling 638-274 combined record entering this season. He is also one of only two coaches that have won both a boys and girls basketball state championship, guiding the boys to the Class S crown in 1981 and the girls to the Class M title in 2009.

In addition, Bacon Academy has won 12 regular-season conference titles and four tournament titles under Shea’s watch while playing in the Charter Oak and Eastern Connecticut conferences.

Shea joined his third “300 Club” in May when the Bacon Academy baseball team beat Stonington 15-5, and he is now 308-209 overall. He has guided the Bobcats to three divisional titles, four state quarterfinals, one semifinal and the 2006 Class M state final.

Shea, who retired from teaching in December 1999, was inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004, and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Dunham built Trinity College into one of the most successful Division III hockey programs in the country. In his 37 years with the school, Dunham’s record of 441-306-34 ranks fifth in Division III history for wins and 20th among coaches in all divisions. At the time of his retirement in 2007, Dunham had more wins at the same school than any other Division III coach.

A former goalie at Brown University, Dunham took over as coach of Trinity’s club hockey team in 1970 and helped the Bantams gain varsity status four years later. He quickly built Trinity into a competitive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) program with two appearances in the NCAA Division III Championships, including a berth in the 2005 NCAA Final Four.

Overall, Dunham has led Trinity to 21 playoff appearances, four ECAC North/South Championships in 1986, ’87, ’88 and ’91, and a NESCAC title in 2003. Dunham was honored as the NESCAC Coach of the Year in 2001, ’03 and ’05, and was a finalist for the American Hockey Coaches Association Division III National Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005.

He also received the Parker-York Award in 2009 from the New England Hockey Writers for his lifelong contribution to New England Hockey, and the 2010 John MacInness Award by the American Hockey Coaches Association.

Walsh has been the architect of one of the most successful high school boys basketball programs in the state at Trinity Catholic. Now in his 33rd season as head coach (and 39th overall) at the small parochial school in Stamford, Walsh entered the 2011-12 season with a career record of 523-242.

The 64-year-old Walsh has led the Crusaders to 11 state finals and won his sixth state championship in March by capturing top honors in Class M. His first state final came in 1995 when, led by Rashamel Jones, Trinity Catholic finished Class M runner-up to New London.

Walsh and the Crusaders returned to the finals the following year and defeated Northwest Catholic for their first state crown. They won their second state championship in 1999, garnering the Class L title, and that began a remarkable run of seven straight trips to state finals, winning four of them.

Walsh has also led Trinity Catholic to 10 FCIAC finals with the Crusaders winning six of those as well. In fact, from 2001-2009, Trinity appeared in eight of the nine FCIAC championship games, won five of them, including a record-tying three straight from 2003-05, and collected nine straight East Division titles.

In addition, Walsh coached Babe Ruth Baseball in both the 13-15 and 16-18 age groups, finally stepping down after his 40th season last summer. During that time, he’s won numerous state titles and has been to 10 World Series as manager of the Stamford all-star team. He also coached in the Springdale Little League for 25 years, winning a state championship in 1990.

Tickets to the 2012 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4:30 p.m., can be purchased by contacting either CSWA President George Albano of The (Norwalk) Hour at Truckin114@aol.com, or Vice President and Dinner Chairman Bob Ehalt of The New Haven Register at ehalt.bob@sbcglobal.net. Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check to Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT 06085.

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Kolinsky Scholarship Golf Tournament Returns

POSTED: December 9 - 5:31 p.m.

The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance will again host the Bo Kolinsky Scholarship Golf Tournament on June 28, 2012 at Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield.

The tournament, which will have a noon shotgun start and a shamble format, is named for the longtime high school sports editor of the Hartford Courant and past president of the Alliance who died Dec. 14, 2003 at the age of 49.

Entry fee of $170 includes a box lunch on the course, buffet dinner, prizes and silent and live auctions. Entry is on a first-come, first-serve basis as the first 132 entries will play the Robert Trent Jones Course and the other entries will play the Gary Player Course. Dinner only is $50.

Entries should include names, handicaps and a contact phone number or email address and sent to: Bruce Berlet, 202 Carriage Drive, Glastonbury, CT 06033. Those wanting to attend only the dinner should send a check to Berlet.

Checks should be made payable to the Bo Kolinsky Scholarship Fund, the tournament beneficiary. The Bo Kolinsky Scholarship is given to a Connecticut high school senior planning to attend a four-year college in pursuit of a career in sports journalism and is renewable. It has already provided $24,000 to eight students, three of whom are still receiving funds.

The new title sponsor of the tournament is Integrated Benefit Partners. Corporate sponsors are Ahead, the Connecticut Section PGA, Connecticut State Golf Association, Connecticut Whale, Elkinson and Sloves, Hartford Courant, May, Bonee and Walsh, SignPro, Travelers and the Travelers Championship.

Anyone wishing to become a sponsor, purchase a tee sign or donate an auction item should click here for appropriate contact information.A title sponsorship of $5,000 includes three foursomes in the tournament, a tee sign, a company spokesperson addressing the players at the pretournament instructions and awards dinner and inclusion in our press releases, the tournament and Gold Key Dinner programs and on the tournament sponsors banner. A corporate sponsorship of $1,300 includes one foursome in the tournament and inclusion in press releases, the tournament and Gold Key Awards programs and tournament sponsors banner. Tee signs are $150.

For an entry form, click here.

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Alliance Offers Kolinsky Journalism Scholarship

POSTED: November 3 - 7:51 p.m.

The Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance is accepting applications for the 2012 Bohdan "Bo" Kolinsky Memorial Journalism Scholarship, which offers financial aid to a Connecticut high school senior entering college to prepare for a career in sports journalism.

The deadline for receipt of applications and all supporting documents is Monday, Feb. 6, 2012.

The scholarship is named for a longtime scholastic sports editor of the Hartford Courant who died in December 2003. This is the ninth year of Kolinsky Scholarship competition.

The 2011 winner was Daniel Sixsmith of Staples High School, Westport, who has entered Fordham University with the objective of a career in sports broadcasting.

A Kolinsky Scholarship winner receives $1,000 for his or her first year of college study. The student's aid can be renewed at higher amounts in subsequent years if he/she meets specified standards of progress. Current aid levels are $1,500 for sophomore year and $2,000 each for junior and senior years. Besides Sixsmith, students at Syracuse University and Boston University are receiving aid this school year.

For application forms and details, please click here.

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Nineteen Individuals, Three Teams Honored At 70th Gold Key Dinner

POSTED: April 18 - 10:53 a.m.

→ To view photos from the event, click here to visit our Facebook page.

Four state coaches were honored with Gold Keys at the 70th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Roger Bidwell, the UConn-Avery Point baseball coach, was honored alongside Simsbury boys golf and boys soccer coach Ed Lynch, Notre Dame-Fairfield boys hockey coach Marty Roos and former Guilford boys soccer coach Bill Wallach.

Several others were honored with awards. Farmington boys soccer coach Steve Waters and Waterford softball coach Elizabeth Walker Sutman were named Doc McInerney coaches of the year, while PGA Tour golfer Ken Green and Bristol Eastern girls soccer goalkeeper Jamie Botteon were honored with the Bob Casey Courage Award and Ken Lipshez of The Valley Press was recognized with the Art McGinley Award.

NASCAR short-track national champion Keith Rocco was the Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year, UConn women's basketball player Maya Moore was the Hank O'Donnell Female Athlete of the Year, and Tom Bohara, Mark and Nancy Cammisa, Vin DiLauro, Don Nielsen, Richard Rothstein and Mike Torres were recognized as John Wentworth Good Sport Award winners. Plus, the Trinity men's squash, Yale women's squash and UConn men's basketball teams were honored as national champions.

Also introduced was Daniel "DJ" Sixsmith, a senior at Staples-Westport who was this year's recipient of the Bo Kolinsky Scholarship.

Read reports from the dinner in The Hartford Courant, The New Haven Register, The Norwich Bulletin and The Simsbury News

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Boyer Promotes Gold Key Dinner on FoxCT

POSTED: April 12 - 2:25 p.m.

Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance president Zac Boyer appeared on FoxCT's weekly sports highlight show, Comcast SportsDesk, to promote the 70th Gold Key Dinner on April 17.

To view the clip, click on the play button below.

 


Golfer Green Participates In Conference Call

POSTED: April 7 - 3:53 p.m.

Ken Green, formerly of the PGA Tour and a Danbury native, spoke to state reporters in advance of the 70th Gold Key Dinner, where Green will be honored with the Bob Casey Courage Award.

To lern more about what Green had to say, read the stories by Tom Yantz of The Hartford Courant, Tom Renner of The Daily Weston and Bruce Berlet on CTGolfer.com.

For more information on the history of the dinner, click here.

Seven To Receive John Wentworth Good Sports Award

POSTED: Feb. 14, 2011 - 1:53 p.m.

The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance is pleased to announce seven honorees will receive the John Wentworth Good Sport Award at the 70th Gold Key dinner in April.

Tom Bohara of Norwich, Mark and Nancy Cammisa of Danbury, Vin DiLauro of West Haven, Don Nielsen of New Haven, Mike Torres of New Britain and Richard Rothstein of Norwich will receive the award, which has been given since 1988 and honors individuals who unselfishly devote their time to the promotion of athletics in their communities.

A brief look at the honorees:

  • By his estimation, Tom Bohara has officiated around 10,000 baseball and softball games throughout Eastern Connecticut. Bohara, 85, has been an umpire in the Norwich area since 1947. In 2010, Bohara’s 63rd year behind the plate, he umpired more games (127) than anyone else on the 80-plus member Eastern Connecticut Board of Approved Baseball Umpires. In 1946, after leaving the armed services, Bohara attended the George Barr Umpiring School in Florida. That school was the first of its kind, taught by the Umpire in Chief of the National League. Bohara has been married to his wife, Lorraine, for 63 years. They have two sons, Tom and Ted.

  • Mark and Nancy Cammisa, from Danbury, have filled numerous leadership roles in amateur wrestling for nearly two decades. Together they developed and have been tournament directors for the Nutmegs series in Connecticut for the past five years. They are also tournament directors for the Nutmeg State Games and for the Connecticut Kids State Championships. Mark is currently the Officials Director for USAWCT, instructing more than 100 officials who range in age from 14 to 18, and was that group’s State Chairperson for more than five years. Nancy has been treasurer for the Danbury Youth Wrestling Association for the past seven years and has been chairperson for the group’s annual golf outing for the past 16 years.

  • Vin DiLauro’s involvement in the West Haven Twilight League goes back over 50 years to when he was a player (1958-60). He currently serves as the League’s president and is involved in the National Amateur Baseball Federation as a second vice-president. The 68-year old New Haven native is the third-generation owner of Columbus Auto Body, a business known throughout the area for its sponsorship of the Columbus Bears softball team which competed nationally during the 1950s and 60s. DiLauro, a West Haven Rotarian, is also a member of both the Gene Casey (New Haven) chapter of the National Football Foundation and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

  • Donald Nielsen, 82, has served the New Haven Gridiron Club since 1979, first as president for four years and then as executive director. The club each year honors current high school stars who are chosen to its Levi Jackson Team and honors stars of the past through its Hall of Fame. It also honors the top college college players in the New Haven area and an outstanding official. In addition, the club awards the Floyd Little Scholarship to a high school player who has shown notable academic improvement and strength of character. Nielsen retired in 1987 as manager of the Meriden data test center of Southern New England Telephone Co., for which he worked almost 40 years. A former hockey, football and baseball player at West Haven High School, he served on active duty in the Korean War era with the Air National Guard. He and his wife of 58 years, Nancy, live in Orange. They have a son and two grandchildren.

  • When the beleaguered New Britain American Legion baseball program perished amidst in-fighting and dubious leadership in 2005, Mike Torres stepped up the next year and pumped in new life with considerable investments of time and his own money. Two years later, he was granted a Greater Hartford Twilight League franchise so the young men of his city could go on playing organized ball. Both teams are known as the Stingers. Torres, the sound engineer for the New Britain Rock Cats, has also opened his home to the team’s Spanish-speaking players to help them adjust to life in New Britain as they pass through.

  • Richard Rothstein, 67, of Norwich, organized and ran the Lefty Grand Finale Softball Tournament, which benefited the Baltic and Norwich Little Leagues, for 28 years. He also served as a coach for 23 years in the Norwich Little League, has been the sound engineer at Central Connecticut State University for over 12 years, and was the sound engineer for the Norwich Navigators and the Hartford Fox Force. Rothstein, who is also a magician, lives in Norwich with his wife, Emily. They have two daughters, Esther and Heidi.

    For more information on the history of the dinner, click here.

  • Lipshez To Be Honored With McGinley Award

    POSTED: Jan. 31, 2011 - 11:25 a.m.

    The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance is pleased to announce that Ken Lipshez of the West Hartford Press has been named the recipient of the 2011 Art McGinley award.

    Lipshez will be honored at the 70th Gold Key Dinner, which will be held April 17 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. The award honors a current or former member of the organization for his meritorious service.

    A member of the Alliance since 1995, Lipshez served as the organization’s president from 2000 through 2003 and has been the treasurer since 2004.

    He began his writing career at the Burlington Post and Bristol Press in 1991 before moving to the New Britain Herald in 1995, where he covered New Britain’s Double A minor league baseball team for the next 16 seasons. Lipshez also covered high school sports and was honored by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association with induction into its Hall of Fame in 2009.

    A 1982 graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, Lipshez worked in minor league baseball for his first six years after graduation, including serving as the general manger of the Glens Falls Tigers of the Eastern League from 1986-88.

    For more information on the history of the dinner, click here.

    Green, Botteon To Receive Courage Award

    POSTED: Jan. 24, 2011 - 12:44 p.m.

    The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance is pleased to announce that Ken Green, who has won five PGA Tour events, and Jamie Botteon, a goalie on the Bristol Eastern girls soccer team, have been selected to receive the Bob Casey Courage Award.

    Both athletes will be honored at the 70th annual Gold Key Dinner, which will be held April 17 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

    Green, 52, from Danbury, is a former player on the PGA Tour who made his Champions Tour debut in 2008. He won five PGA Tour events (the 1985 Buick Open, The International in 1986, the 1988 Canadian Open, the 1988 Greater Milwaukee Open and the 1989 KMart Greater Greensboro Open) and tied for seventh in the 1997 U.S. Open. He twice won the Connecticut Open - in 1985 and 1992.

    While traveling to a Champions Tour event in Meridian, Miss. in June 2009, a tire blew in the recreational vehicle Green was traveling in, causing the vehicle to hit a tree. His brother, William, girlfriend, Jeanne Hodgin and dog, Nip, died in the accident, and Green had his lower right leg amputated as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident. Seven months later, in January 2010, his son, Hunter, was found dead in his dormitory at Southern Methodist University, the result of an accidental drug overdose.

    Green, who now lives in West Palm Beach, Fla., returned to competition last year, participating in three Champions Tour events: the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf tournament in April, where he tied for 26th; the Regions Charity Classic in May, where he tied for 73rd, and the Dick's Sporting Goods Open in June, which he withdrew from due to pain in the leg. He also played in the Connecticut Open at the Country Club of Fairfield in July, where he again withdrew due to pain in his right leg.

    Botteon, 17, was diagnosed in Dec. 2009 with acute myeloid leukemia - the same disease that her brother, Wade, died from five years earlier at 13. She overcame the disease the following spring and regained her spot as the starting goalie at Bristol Eastern, eventually finishing with a school-record 31 shutouts before the Lancers (14-4) lost in the second round of the Class L tournament.

    The Bob Casey Award, named after the former sports editor of the New Haven Register, is given annually to two individuals who have overcome adversity in an exemplary manner.

    For more information on the history of the dinner, click here.

    Waters, Sutman Named Coaches of the Year

    POSTED: Jan. 17, 2011 - 1:37 p.m.

    The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance is pleased to announce that Farmington boys soccer coach Steve Waters and Waterford softball coach Liz Sutman have been named the recipients of the Doc McInerney Coach of the Year award.

    Both coaches will be honored at the 70th annual Gold Key Dinner, which will be held April 17 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

    Waters has coached boys soccer at Farmington for 28 seasons and led the Indians to six state championships. With a career record of 430-68-33, Waters has also led Farmington to the championship game in four other seasons, winning in 1986, 1992, 1996, 2003 and 2008, and 25 conference titles. A three-time National High School Athletic Coaches' Association regional coach of the year, Waters, from Wethersfield, won a championship playing for the Eagles in 1975 and was an all-New England player at the University of Hartford in 1978 and 1979.

    Sutman, the softball coach at Waterford for nine seasons, recently led her team to a 27-0 record and Class L championship in June. The team, the first at Waterford to finish undefeated, scored 199 runs while only allowing seven and defended its 2009 Class L title. Sutman, 179-50 at Waterford, was a pitcher and first baseman at Harvard and played field hockey, basketball and softball at East Lyme.

    Both Waters and Sutman are the first coaches to be honored from their high schools since the award was first distributed in 1975. It recognizes coaches who have recently succeeded in their profession with a nod to overall career achievement. Only one recipient was named until 1993, when a coach of the year in a male sport and and a coach of the year in a female sport were first honored.

    For more information on the history of the dinner, click here.

    Rocco, Moore Named Athletes of the Year

    POSTED: Jan. 9, 2011 - 11:14 a.m.

    The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance is pleased to announce that Keith Rocco, the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion, has been named the Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year, and Maya Moore, a guard/forward on the national champion University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, has been named the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year.

    Both athletes will be honored at the 70th annual Gold Key Dinner, which will be held Sunday, April 17 at 4:30 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

    Rocco, who competes in the SK Modified divisions at Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson International Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl, earned the national championship based on a formula that ranks performances at short tracks across the country. The best 18 finishes for each driver count toward the championship, and Rocco secured the title with his 18th victory in a full field of cars Aug. 14 at the Waterford Speedbowl. He finished with 22 victories in 2010 and also finished in the top five on in 45 races and in the top 10 in 56 races.

    Moore had a team-high 18.9 points per game and 150 assists in 2009-10 for the Huskies, who won their seventh NCAA championship following a 39-0 season. She ranked in the top 12 in the Big East in 10 statistical categories and had 14 double-doubles, and was named the 2010 Final Four Most Outstanding Player and the 2010 State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year.

    Bidwell, Lynch, Roos, Wallach Chosen As 2011 Gold Key Recipients

    POSTED: Dec. 25, 2011 - 10:37 a.m.

    The Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance is pleased to announce that four state athletic figures will receive the Gold Key in 2011.

    UConn-Avery Point baseball coach Roger Bidwell, Simsbury boys golf and boys soccer coach Ed Lynch, Notre Dame-Fairfield boys hockey coach Marty Roos and retired boys soccer coach Bill Wallach will be honored at the 70th annual Gold Key Dinner in April.

    For more information on the recipients' qualifications, as well as the Gold Key dinner, click here.

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