Kirsten Anderson Rappleyea, Class of 1984, was recognized as one of the most outstanding players in the history of Hand Girls' Basketball playing forward/center from 1981-1984. She still remains the leading scorer in the school history for boys or girls. Her career accolades include all time leading scorer with 1,879 points and all time leading rebounder with 1,031 rebounds. Kirsten led the Hand girl's varsity basketball team to two Shoreline Conference Championships in 1982 and 1983. The team reached the Class L quarterfinals in 1982 (15-9) and 1983 (20-3) and reached the Class L semifinals (19-7) in 1984. She was a member of the varsity team from 1981-1984 and named Captain in 1984 playing Power Forward. Kirsten averaged 33 points per game and 16 rebounds per game and continues to dominate the record book. The Shoreline Times was noted as saying she was "the best player in the state at the conclusion of the 1983-84 season." Kirsten's Daniel Hand High School Individual Achievements and Honors earned are as follows: She was USA Today Honorable Mention All-American (1984), Street and Smith Honorable Mention All-American (1984), National High School Athletic Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-American, Hand Most Valuable Player (1983-1984), New Haven Tap Off Club Scholar Athlete, New Haven Register Athlete of the Week (1984) and Shoreline Athlete of the Year, 2nd place, (1984). Kirsten was named All-State First Team two years in a row (1983, 1984), All Shoreline First Team three years (1982, 1983 and 1984), All County Team two years (1983, 1984), and named to the AAU/Jr. Olympic (16 & Under). She was named First Team All American, averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds per game at the National Tournament in Hammond, Louisiana (Summer 1983). She participated in the 12th Annual Connecticut Shoot-out. Kirsten was a member of the Connecticut New England West AAU/Jr. Olympic Basketball Team (18 & under) which competed in the National Tournament in Clovis, New Mexico in the summer of 1984. In addition to playing basketball, in 1984 Kirsten was designated hitter on the varsity softball team and in 1982 and 1983 ran track participating in the shot put, javelin and 4x100 relay.
After graduation from Daniel Hand, Kirsten received a full athletic scholarship to the University of Virginia UVA. She was on the Atlantic Coast Conference Honor Roll from 1984-1988, and played on ACC regular season championship teams from 1985-1988. Kirsten played Power Forward on a team that competed in the NCAA tournament all four years. She played in every game in her four year career and led the team in field goal percentage sophomore, junior and senior year with 50% or more field goal percentage. Kirsten's Head coach at DHHS, Jim Bombaci, remembers her as "one of the most humble athletes that I have had the absolute pleasure to coach. Kirsten always held her team and her teammates first in her heart and, without exception, constantly first in theirs. She never forgot that she would not have reached her high level of success without them. A great example of this occurred during a particularly hard-fought game that we lost by only one point. Kirsten scored forty nine of the team's points, taking nineteen shots and making eighteen of them. Her first words to her teammates after the game were, "I'm sorry. If I had made that shot, we would have won" - a testimony to her true, selfless and unselfish dedication to her teammates. Today, these girls, now grown women, continue to be great friends, even being Godparents for each other's children." From 1988-1989, after graduating from UVA, Kirsten played professional basketball in Villeurbanne, France for the A.S. Villeurbanne Sports Club, which competed in France, Switzerland and Bulgaria. Kirsten continued with her studies and, in 1993, graduated Cum Laude from Western New England University School of Law in Springfield, Massachusetts. She has held the position of Senior Assistant District Attorney with the Dutchess County District Attorney's Office in Poughkeepsie, NY, since 1994. In 1998, Kirsten was honored with induction into the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
Kirsten has resided the past 19 years in Millbrook, NY with her husband Allan, and children Allan - (15), Grace (14) and Andrew (9).
Please join in congratulating Kirsten Anderson Rappleyea on her induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Bill Barker started as the Varsity Boy's Basketball Coach at Daniel Hand High School for the 1966-67 season, at age 25. Bill continued coaching for eleven seasons and retired for the first time after the 1976-77 season. He returned in the 1980-81 season and continued coaching five more seasons until his retirement after the 1984-85 season. During his time coaching, Bill's teams won 70 percent of their games, earning 244 wins vs. 102 losses. They earned six Shoreline League championships, six-time runner up in the Shoreline championships, won the State Regional Class L championship in 1982-83, made the State Tournament in 14 out of 16 seasons, had six trips to the State Semi-Finals, twice was the State runner up for State Champions, and his DHHS teams were selected for the Savitt Sportsmanship trophy by the New Haven Board of Officials on several occasions. Bill was selected as Coach of the Year by the New Haven Tap-Off Club and the Middletown Press. He was inducted into the East Haven Athletic Hall of Fame. The 1968 Hand yearbook said of Bill Barker, "an excellent young coach and his young team will give Madison something to cheer about for years to come." They certainly did! In just his first eleven years, Hand made it the state semi- finals or finals four times. Coach Barker coached three first team All-Staters during his coaching years and several second team All-Staters. The 1970 yearbook stated, "under the leadership of coaches Barker and Peterson, the basketball team enjoyed its' best season in history compiling a record of 21-1 and reaching the finals of the Class M tournament." Upon first retirement from coaching in 1977, his player Dave Smith said "after eleven years of dedication, persistence and guidance, Bill Barker will be sorely missed but always remembered." Bill Barker will be remembered as an excellent basketball coach but even more as an outstanding human being. Bill Barker's players benefitted from his patience, humility, and interest in their social and academic growth as well as their athletic growth. Coach Barker set an example of high moral character and emphasized a substance free lifestyle for his athletes. He continued to be interested in the lives of his former athletes for decades after their playing days were over. Bill's deep commitment to the youth of our town was recognized in the 1970s when he was nominated for the Madison Jaycees Outstanding Young Man Award. For nearly fifty years, Bill Barker has been a positive role model for young athletes to emulate. Bill Barker's commitment to Madison's youth continues today through Madison Hoop Dreams Basketball Camp (AKA Slamma Jamma) that Coach Bill Barker founded nearly 20 years ago. It has become the most popular basketball day camp in Connecticut. All of the current Hand varsity basketball players attended his camp. In addition, it is the only non-profit Sports Camp in Connecticut to contribute over $10,000 each year to college scholarships and other charities such as sponsoring ten Wounded Warriors this year. Bill stated "I am proud of my teaching and coaching career." A few of his additional achievements are: one of the founders of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at DHHS, one of the founders of the Friends of Madison Youth and serving on their Board for 14 years, being a Deacon at the First Congregational Church, over seeing the most popular basketball day camp in CT that employs 30 people and serves over 500 youth each summer and donates over $10,000 each year to charity, and currently serving as the Vice President of Madison ABC. Coach Bill shared the following sentiments "I want to thank my players and assistant coaches for making my coaching experience a very big part of my life! In addition, my endeavors have always been enhanced by my wife of 52 years, Barbara, who supported my time and devotion to my teams and my teaching career and played a huge part in raising our three daughters, Kim, Robin and Tammy, and our son, Brent, into people of good character and loving, caring adults. My six grand children, Brendan, Mackenzie, Teagan, R.J, Madison, and Tyler continue to bring joy into our lives as we take great pride in their achievements, personal strengths, and good character."
Please join in congratulating "Coach Bill Barker" on his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Jim Bell, class of 1984, was a star athlete in both football and track while at Daniel Hand. He was a successful tailback and sprinter for four years. In 1983, he became Hand's second football All-American and was also the State's Most Valuable Player (MVP) in football in 1983. Bell played on Hand football teams that won the Shoreline League Championships in 1981, 1982, and 1983, and he was named Shoreline Conference Male Athlete of the year. In addition to winning the State Championship title in 1982, Jim was a major contributor for Tiger�s state finalists in 1981 and 1983. As a senior, Jim scored twenty six touchdowns and rushed for a school record 1658. He set a single game rushing record in 1983 when he rushed 242 yards against Xavier. He averaged over nine yards per carry. In his junior year, despite only playing in five games due to an injury, he rushed for over 700 yards and, remarkably, he only fumbled two times in his career. Jim also made it into the National Record Books. He stood third place nationally with sixteen consecutive 100 yard games placing ahead of Herschel Walker in this category. When asked to comment on Jim, Larry Ciotti stated "As a fourth grader in Madison Youth Football, Jim showed innate abilities to make tacklers miss, and it carried through his high school years at Hand. His speed and determination were unmatched by any running back in the East. Because Jim was on a great high school team, and most games were won by halftime, he really played half a season in his senior year, and still set national, state and school records. Jim Bell was the best running back that I have coached." Jim's success continued with his track performance. In one meet, he won first place in the 100 meter record with a time of 10.7, as well as first place in the 200 meter race, 4x100 relay and the javelin. In 1984, Jim held the school record for 100 and 200 meter races. Jim's successes led Hand to the Shoreline League track championship in 1984. Jim earned a football scholarship to Boston College and continued on playing professionally with the San Francisco 49ers. He earned a Super Bowl Ring with the 49ers and played in the World Bowl for the Barcelona Dragons in the World Football League.
Twelve years ago, Jim founded, and created, Foamheads inspired by The Greenbay Packer Cheesehead. This company gave Jim the opportunity to put the fan in the spotlight and create great products that enhance the game experience for all sports. Jim was a busy Seattle advertising executive when Seahawks Radio challenged him to do something special, to welcome a new coach to town. Except this wasn't just any coach, it was future Hall of Famer Mike Holmgren. The same Mike Holmgreen who coached Bell during his NFL days with the San Francisco 49'ers. That would be the 1989 San Francisco 49'ers - Joe Montana - Super Bowl XXIII. Jim had his work cut out for him. How could he create the perfect gift for the man who helped put a Super Bowl ring on his finger? Now, Holmgren was moving from Green Bay, the world-famous home of the Cheesehead. Bell stitched together a tribute--and a not-to gentle jab at all those frigid cheese wearing fans back in Green Bay--the Hawkhead. Bell's new chapeau was an instant hit. Foamheads was born and Jim Bell's been hard at work ever since. Bell started with 56 NCAA teams, and quickly added all 32 NFL franchises, but he wasn't satisfied. Bell wanted to produce a Foamhead for every team on the planet: Green Monsterheads for Fenway, Pistonheads for Detroit, Banana Slugheads for U.C. Santa Cruz. You name it, Foamheads could do it. Bell's longtime friend, and proven entrepreneur, Jeff Richey invested and joined in as managing partner seeing Bell's vision and recognizing that Foamheads was the opportunity of a lifetime. Together Bell and Richey took Foamheads from a small, Seattle start up company to an international manufacturing and distribution powerhouse with offices in Seattle, St. Louis and Hong Kong. And that first little Hawkhead, he's now part of an extended family of over 200 unique designs that have brought the power of foam to just about every sports league in the alphabet including: NFL, CLC, LRG, not to mention the Fox Sports Robots. Soon fans of MLB, CFL, NHL, MLS and Mexican Soccer will all be able bring the foam to the game. Bell and Richey are relentless in their vision for Foamheads. They've pushed it to a place where no sports mascots have gone before: Hollywood. Disney and DreamWorks tapped Foamheads to bring some of their biggest franchises to life. (credit to -foamheads.com)
Jim lives in Sammamish Washington with his two beautiful daughters Makenna (17) and Jensen (14).
Please join in congratulating "Jim Bell" on his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Larry Ciotti began his coaching career at Daniel Hand in their football program and "built a powerhouse." We felt the best way to pay tribute to Larry was to begin by reading the following New Haven Register article, dated November 2012, by Chip Malafronte, Register, Sports Columnist. Larry Ciotti pulled into the parking lot at Daniel Hand in 1970 knowing little about the town of Madison and, frankly, a bit exasperated.
He'd sent out 17 applications for various high school coaching jobs. Hand, which had no football program, would be interview No. 13. "When I pulled in the day of my interview, there were cow fields all around," Ciotti once told the Register's Steve Wilson. "I remember the principal asking me what kind of town I thought this was. Obviously, I said, this is a farming community. And that brought a few laughs. I was living in an apartment in New Haven then with my wife and three kids. What did I know about Madison?" A wealthy town on the Connecticut shoreline, home to doctors, lawyers and businessmen, Madison didn't fit the description of a typical football hotbed, where blue-collar Valley towns, large cities and private Catholic schools are always the teams to beat. Ciotti, just 27 when Hand gave him his big break, would change that perception.
He built a powerhouse, instilling a pride, willingness to compete and insatiable appetite for football that rivals any community in the state. It's a tradition that lives on to this day. To date and over a 42-year history, Hand has won 77 percent of its' games and, as a member of the Southern Connecticut Conference, has done it against some of the best competition in the state. Success came quickly, but was never easy.
Ciotti was a blue-collar guy himself, arriving at Southern Connecticut State from his hometown of Portsmouth, N.H., in the early 1960s and developing into an all-New England center. Upon graduating in 1966, he spent two seasons as an assistant at Bristol Eastern, and two more at North Haven.
He decided to mold Hand's new program after those of two well-established programs, Xavier and Derby. Numbers fluctuated that first season. Hand opened its first pre-season camp with 60 players. "I said to myself, 'Boy, this is going to be an easy job.'" Ciotti said. "But the kids only saw the end result of football on TV. They didn't know what it was all about. The team dwindled to about 23 that first year. So I'm sure some people were not happy with me." Still, Hand would enjoy three undefeated seasons and two state championships before it experienced its first losing season. In 1973, Hand went undefeated.
The CIAC incorporated a state tournament in 1976, and Hand was one of the first official state champions. Their 29-0 win over St. Paul, one of the top-scoring teams in the state, was ground-breaking. The Tigers went undefeated again in 1977. When Ciotti retired after the 1988 season, he'd made seven appearances in the state championship games, winning four titles. His career record was 141-41-2, producing 13 Register All-State picks including players of the year Ken Sweitzer ('78), a star at UCONN, and Jim Bell ('84) and David Thompson ('85), both who went on to play at Boston College. Jim Bell stated "Coach Ciotti had a huge impact on my life on and off the field. He is one of the best coaches and life teachers who ever lived on this planet! He taught us how to strive to be the best we could be with the gifts we were blessed with. He made us all believe that anything is possible if you work hard and never quit! He is, and always will be, the Godfather of TIGER PRIDE!."
Ken Sweitzer also contributed his appreciation by stating "Besides my parents, Larry Ciotti has been the most import adult presence in my life. He guided me in the seventies instilling discipline and work ethic. He came to rescue in the eighties when I needed help and direction. He has always been there for me with no questions asked. Just two years ago, he helped me through some of the toughest choices I've ever had to make. To most people, Larry is one of the greatest football coaches in Connecticut history. To me, Larry is my hero." In addition to football, Larry started the wrestling program at Hand and coached Track and Field for several years. He was also a participant in the Special Olympics in Field events for several years. Ciotti spent five years as athletic director before fulfilling his next wish, coaching at the college level. He joined the staff at Yale in 1991. He was inducted into the Connecticut Coaches Hall of Fame in 1993 and in 2011 was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Walter Camp Football Foundation. Larry Ciotti remains the Assistant Head Football Coach at Yale University. He has also held the position of Director of Football Operations. Larry was part of the Ivy League Championships in 1999 and 2006 and has coached Yale All-Americans Mike McLeod '08. Rob Carr '04, and Rashad Bartholomew '01. As head coach at Daniel Hand High School from 1970 to 1988, the teams earned 4 Connecticut State championships; 3 Runners Up State Championships, 13 Conference Championships and compiled a 141-41-2 record. Larry has been inducted in to the Connecticut High School Coaches Hall of Fame, the Southern Connecticut State University Hall of Fame, and has received the Walter Camp Lifetime Achievement Award, along with Coach of the Year awards on the state and national level. At Yale University, Larry has led the Yale Football team in a bone marrow drive on the campus of Yale each spring. The drive is the largest in the nation, and over the past 5 years, 18 lives have been saved directly from the Yale drive. Larry will be receiving the National Bone Marrow Registry person of the year in Minneapolis this fall.
Larry resides in Madison with his wife Barbara. They have four children: Susan Wivell, Michael Ciotti, Deanna Kelly and Cathryn Ciotti Lynch, and twelve grandchildren.
Please join in congratulating "Larry Ciotti" on his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Vicki Crompton was coach of the Daniel Hand High School Girls' Tennis teams, for eleven years, from 1976-1987. During her years coaching, the teams earned 6 State Championships and 9 Shoreline Championships. In addition to tennis, Vicki coached J.V. Basketball from 1975- 1977 and J.V. Softball from 1978-1982. She was Co-Advisor for the Girls' Athletic Association (G.A.A.). Michele Freund, class of '79 and tennis player, recalls the following fond memories of her coach "As I was thinking back to my high school tennis days and Coach Crompton, I really can't believe it has been 37+ years! With that being said, sometimes it feels like yesterday (well almost!).
What I do remember is Coach was very strong, focused, and tough when she needed to get us on track, but also that we laughed a lot and had fun. She fostered a great team spirit, which isn't always easy to do with "individual" sports. I will never forget that in my senior year she encouraged me to partner with one of my teammates and play doubles in the state championships.
Although I was very hesitant, since I was primarily a singles player, I took her advice and my partner and I went on to win the State Doubles Title that year. Because of Coach Crompton, I will always have that fabulous experience. Thanks Coach Crompton, for all of your support on and off the court. She was my history teacher also, again tough, but somehow fun at the same time." Vicki was a Social Studies teacher for 39 years. Of those 39 years, she taught for 38 years at Daniel Hand, having joined the staff in 1975, until her retirement June of this year. She has served the students, and the school, in many additional capacities including Diversity Club Advisor and ABC Student Advisor.
Please join in congratulating "Vicki Crompton" on her induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Bob "Dunc" Duncanson retired in 1988 from the Madison Public School System, after completing 32 years of service in the field of public education. He began his service to the Town of Madison and its' youth in 1959. "Dunc" is a Clinton, Massachusetts native and earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Springfield College.
He worked at several schools in Massachusetts, and spent a year in Schulerville, New York, before beginning a two-year tour of duty with the U.S. Air Force in France. In 1959, he joined the Physical Education Department at Daniel Hand High School. "Dunc" coached soccer, cross country, basketball, boys' gymnastics, boys' track and girls' golf.
Under his leadership in the 60's, some of the boys soccer teams and the cross country teams were regarded as the best in the school history up to that time. As Athletic Director at Hand, he was responsible for the development of an interscholastic sports program that more than tripled by his retirement year going from seven sports to 24 sports.
He also developed a unique elective program with courses ranging from C.P.R. to rock climbing and cycling. As a result of "Dunc's" leadership, the youth of Madison continue to be afforded the opportunity to participate in physical education and interscholastic programs of the highest quality. "Dunc" extended his energy, and talents, beyond Madison striving to constantly upgrade the scope and quality of high school athletics throughout Connecticut.
Larry Ciotti stated "I owe my career, and a major part of my life, to Bob Duncanson. He believed in me when others did not. He hired me, a 27 year old, without much experience. For that I will always be grateful. "Dunc" is the person responsible for the rich tradition of our athletic program that all of Madison enjoys today.
He, along with his wonderful wife Donna, have been icons in the Madison community." Former Hand gymnastics coach Jane Hesford recalls the encouragement and support received by Bob: "I had been teaching/coaching at another school before coming to Hand, and had been used to the attitude from athletic director, principal and other coaches that it was "all about the boys."
The worst experience I had was in trying to set up a gym-sharing practice schedule with the boys' basketball coach. He told me he would take all the after-school times for his practices and that the girls' gymnastics team would have all evening practices. When I stated that it hardly seemed a fair way to share the gym, and asked why he took all the best practice times, he just looked at me - I can still see him looking at me like I was from Mars - and said "Because we're the boys' basketball team." I discovered that he was backed wholeheartedly by the administration on down.
We all lived with that in those days. Fast forward one year later to when I started coaching the gymnastics team at Hand. Bob had heard I was available, called me up and hired me. He was AD the whole 12 years I was there, and if it weren't for him, we wouldn't have been the team we were. I would say that the reason we were so strong is because "Dunc" said "Yes." Everything I requested, from getting needed equipment, to starting the Recreation feeder program, to offering summer camps, to bringing in guest coaches, to running fundraisers, to approving our booster club, was greeted with the equivalent of "Sure, if it will help the program."
I heard a saying once which always stayed with me: "There are the yes-but-ers, the not-now-ers, and the why-not-ers. Mountains are moved by the why-not-ers." Dunc was a why-not-er. I wish I had let Bob know at the time how much I appreciated him, so he probably never knew.
From my point of view, he was a ground breaker when it came to letting girls have a fair shake. It certainly was a change from my previous situation! Time gives us a perspective that we don't always see at the time events happen, but as I look back, I can so clearly see what his behind-thescenes support did for us. Stuff people don't always know about, but stuff that should be shouted from the rooftops."
His accomplishments and affiliations throughout his career included his roles as Originator and President of the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors, Consultant to the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Board of Control, Chairman of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, President of the Shoreline Athletic Directors Association, Member of the Connecticut High School Coaches Association "Hall of Fame" Committee and Originator of the Shoreline Football Officials Association. In 1980, "Dunc" was recognized with the Lion's Club Community Service award and was selected by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association to receive the Distinguished Service Award for Interscholastic Athletics in Section I of the United States. Additionally, "Dunc" was selected as Athletic Director of the Year in Connecticut by the National Council of Secondary School Athletic Directors. In 1981, he was the recipient of the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors (CAAD) Meritorious Service Award. It is worth noting that every Hall of Fame coach being honored this evening was hired by Bob Duncanson.
At "Dunc's" testimonial retirement dinner in 1988, the following remarks were included in the program from the Madison Public School Staff members, "Bob Duncanson possesses those qualities that his peers presumably strive to attain. The respect and admiration that have accrued to him as teacher, coach, and athletic director have also been given to the Town of Madison for being wise enough to have a man of his caliber on its' public school staff.
In his desire to see the physical education and interscholastic athletic program improve from year to year, "Dunc" gave unstintingly of his time, energy and great abilities. He has earned the thanks of the entire Madison community." Coach Bill Barker shared his sentiments "Bob Duncanson is a family man who made the coaches feel like part of his family. He never seemed to be stressed by the demands of his job. Looking back, it is amazing that he did all the scheduling and other functions without a secretary. Kudos for a career in Madison that established Daniel Hand High School as having one of the best athletic programs in Connecticut."
Former Hand athlete Art Symonds stated "The outstanding leadership of the Athletic Department provided by Bob Duncanson, from 1959-1988, made an immense contribution to the development of the Hand Athletic programs that our student athletes, and the entire Madison community, enjoy today." "Dunc" is a devoted husband, and father, having credited his successful career to the support he received over the years from his wife Donna and their four children, Robin, Beth, Bob and Scott.
Please join in congratulating "Bob Duncanson" on his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Jeff Farmer, Class of 1974, earned the distinction of being selected as the first Hand All-State football player in 1971. He was named to the class B-C team as a safety. Jeff started his Hand football career as a member of the first Hand junior varsity football team, in his freshman season of 1970, the following three years he was a starter on the varsity football team.
He set a school record by intercepting three passes in a game against Old Saybrook. In addition, Jeff was a member of the All-Shoreline team from 1971-1973 and also earned All-State recognition for three years. His teammates selected Jeff as a co-captain in both his junior and senior years. Jeff was listed among the leading scorers in the state his senior year.
In 1973, Jeff led the Hand football team to its' first undefeated season (9-0) as a star quarterback and defensive back. Due to their undefeated season, Hand was a recipient of the Class S Merit Award for excellence in football. Following his senior season, Jeff was chosen to play on the East squad for the Nutmeg Bowl All-Star game. Jeff was also recognized by Who's Who in National High School Athletics in 1973-1974 as a National High School All-American.
Jeff set many school records during his Hand football career. He set the school record for most interceptions in a game (3) vs. Old Saybrook in 1971, most touchdowns in a game (4) vs. Valley Regional in 1973 and best punting average in a game (49.3 yards per punt) vs. Valley Regional in 1973.
Jeff still holds the Hand career record for longest punt return for a touchdown (85 yards vs. Morgan in 1971). Jeff also has the Hand records for most career touchdowns (37), most career rushing touchdowns (34) and most career points (230).
After high school, Jeff earned a full athletic scholarship to Boston College. Larry Ciotti included the following statement: "Jeff spearheaded the leadership needed to start a football program from scratch. His competitiveness and will to win made a huge impression on the players in the early years. As I now look back to 1971, I realize that Jeff's efforts have given the Hand teams that followed a winning standard of measure."
Jeff was also an excellent basketball player and a three year starting forward on the varsity basketball teams in the 1971- 1974 seasons. He was a starting forward on the 1973-74 Hand Shoreline Championship Conference basketball team. The Tiger's continued to the State Championship final game in 1974. Coach Bill Barker stated, "Jeff Farmer was an All-State football player and a very good basketball player.
He is one of the few players to start varsity basketball for three years. He was very strong, focused, aggressive, and dedicated to making every team he played for better. He was a terrific competitor! His rebounding and defense were a big part of our success his senior year. We made it to the state finals and lost by one only point in overtime. His legacy for DHHS basketball is that he set a very high standard for the position of "power forward."
Jeff and his wife Carol reside in Clinton, Connecticut where they have raised their three children. Jeff has been very involved in coaching his children in youth sports. Jeff has owned and operated Poolman Pool and Patio Inc. throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts for the past eighteen years.
Please join in congratulating "Jeff Farmer" on his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Tonight we honor Richard Fasano posthumously. Rich passed away October 22, 2011 after a courageous battle with cancer. He began his teaching career in Madison in 1972 working at Brown Middle School before transferring to Daniel Hand. At Hand, Rich was the proud leader of the Tiger Band for 19 years as well as being District Music Coordinator.
He impacted many young lives and his efforts were recognized in 2007 when he was honored as Teacher of the Year for the Madison School District. Rich was a member of the Army National Guard as well as an Eagle Scout. He was a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and obtained advanced degrees from Southern Connecticut State University and Central Connecticut State University.
John Gage, current Band(s) Director at Daniel Hand, stated "Rich is directly or indirectly responsible for almost all of the teaching success I have had since moving here from Michigan. He hired me to work at Brown in '01, helped get me my job at The Country School in '04, and pushed for me to be his successor at Hand following his retirement in 2010. When Rich believed in someone, as he did in me and countless others he mentored, he worked tirelessly to help them and support them.
He was responsible for making the band what it is today, a huge 220 member powerhouse of a group that has a big sound, a crucial presence at football games with a reputation for being one of the finest and biggest programs in the state. When Rich took over in 1991, the band was good and the band was a decent size. Rich took it to the next level, recruiting kids like never before, beefing up the size, and creating a really exciting halftime show that complimented the excitement that the football team brought every Friday night to the Surf Club.
He was so proud of the band; it was his pride and joy, and it meant so much to him. I always felt as though Rich and the band were one entity. He was so committed to it that it was hard to separate the two. I can't say enough about what a dedicated educator he was, and how his dedication to the band, the music program in general, and the school made the kids' experiences, and consequently the community's experience, better.
Rich would have been retired three years and gone from us almost two and I can honestly say his presence is still talked about, or at least felt, on a daily basis. All of the music teachers in the district, including four who were former students of Rich, owe a huge debt to him even if they never knew him or worked with him. Simply put, the music program in Madison is what it is today because of Richard Fasano."
Please join in honoring the memory of "Rich Fasano" through his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Jennifer Fischer-Mueller, Class of 1981, was a three sport athlete for four years at Hand, participating in field hockey, basketball and softball. She was a four year starter on varsity field hockey and softball and a three year starter on varsity basketball.
In her senior year, Jennifer was named captain of all three varsity teams. Senior year in softball, she batted .383. She was error-free junior year at first base. She scored 1,000 points in basketball and, in her senior year, she "sank the winning shot to end the Wilbur Cross 56 game winning streak," as stated in local papers. Jennifer was the recipient of the following awards and accolades: she was a member of 7 All-Shoreline Conference Teams including field hockey and softball in her sophomore, junior and senior years, as well as basketball in her junior and senior years. Jennifer was All-State two years in field hockey and softball and one year in basketball.
In 1981, Jennifer went over the 1,000 point mark in basketball. A.D. Bob Duncanson stated she was only the second Hand player, boys or girls, to go over the 1,000 point mark. In addition to being name All-State in basketball, she was selected to the All-County team by the New Haven Tap-Off club. Jennifer led the Tigers to the Shoreline championship in her senior year. Jennifer's Head coach, Jim Bombaci included these comments about her "Reliable and clutch, this is how I remember Jennifer Fischer-Mueller.
Before the game even started you knew exactly what you were going to get from Jennifer. When the team needed a rebound, it was Jennifer who was there to secure the carom. When the team needed a defensive play, it was Jennifer who was there to disrupt the offense into a turnover. When the team needed a score, it was Jennifer who was there fighting her way to the hoop or pulling up for a timely jumper. But, most of all, it was Jennifer who was there leading the team by giving everything she had every second of every minute of every period of every game."
In 1981, Jennifer received the following awards: St. Petersburg Florida, Times All-America Girls' Basketball - Honorable Mention, Prep All-America Girls' Sports Team and Prep Academic All-America Team. Jennifer lived in Madison from kindergarten through her graduation from Hand. She now lives in Boston, Massachusetts with her wife, Cathy, and two daughters, Nora (15) and Maya (12). Jennifer works in Brookline, Massachusetts, as Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.
She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1985 and a Master's in Education (M.Ed.) in 1987. Jennifer continued on with her academic aspirations at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, where she earned her Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.)
Her family members include her parents Jodie and John Mueller, her sister - Janice Crampton (DHHS 1979) and Janice's family: husband -Ron (DHHS 1980), and sons, Jack (DHHS 2011) and Phillip (DHHS 2014).
Jennifer was noted highly in local papers, including the Shoreline Times and Journal Courier, as being "possibly the first girl in the state to be named to three All-State Teams in one year."
Please join in congratulating "Jennifer Fischer-Mueller" on her induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Kevin Flynn, class of 1980, was a four-year letterman in soccer and two year letterman in basketball at Daniel Hand High School. In his senior year, 1980, he was captain of both the varsity soccer and basketball teams and earned All-Shoreline and All-State Honors in soccer. Flynn was also the center midfielder for the town of Guilford, in the summer of 1979, helping that team win the McGuire Cup New England Championship. Kevin's coach, Joe Tenczar had the following to say about his former Hand soccer player "As Kevin Flynn's high school soccer coach, it is not hard to describe what made this truly successful CIAC All-State Soccer Player and team captain what he was. Kevin was what I would call an A++ athlete who prescribed to the three D's every successful and great athlete must possess. Desire, Dedication and Determination! These three D's were Kevin's signature of excellence. The driving factors behind what made him the successful soccer player he was in high school as well as in college and later in the professional ranks.
Kevin had a burning passion for his craft and a desire to dominate his sport. He was committed to dedicating himself to the pursuit of excellence through personal sacrifice. Kevin's determination to deal with adversity was a true measure of his character - character that was helped and molded by his father's strong hands, and insight, and his mother's soft and gentle heart! Kevin was a Flynn - as Irish as they get! Kevin was rough, tough, proud, fast-footed, a gifted athlete, team leader, a team-player and friend."
After graduating from Hand, Kevin received a soccer scholarship to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he went on to be a four-year starter and two time captain of the team. In the summer of 1983, Kevin earned a spot on the Olympic Development Team. During the same year, Flynn also was a Silver Medalist at the National Sport Festival in Colorado Springs. In 1984, his senior year at the University of Massachusetts, Kevin was awarded the New England Division I College Player of the Year award which was presented at the New England All-Star Game. Flynn was a starting midfielder in the National Club Championship Game Final's in St. Louis Missouri playing for the Hartford Portuguese.
After college Kevin was drafted and played three years in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). Following his soccer career, Kevin transitioned from pro-athlete to professional sportscaster, host and entertainer. He covered World Cup Soccer for Fox Sports, ESPN and ABC. Flynn's Sports Figure's show on ESPN received the POLK Award for excellence in children's programming.
Flynn then went on to launch his career as a head-lining comedian winning the Boston Comedy Riot in 1988 and began appearing on numerous comedy specials and performing in clubs across the country. He has since added several film and television credits to his name appearing in The Heartbreak Kid with Ben Stiller; Me, Myself and Irene with Jim Carrey; Osmosis Jones with Billy Murray, and Sex and the City.
In 1996, Kevin became the host of The Discovery Channel's Go For It, an extreme outdoor adventure show. The show led Flynn to create his one-man show Around the Kitchen Table, which won the "Best of Fest" at the Boston Comedy Festival and HBO's prestigious U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.
Along with continually performing his stand-up, Kevin is also the co-founder and executive director of the non-profit Nantucket Comedy Festival and "Standup and Learn" -an educational curriculum that builds students self-confidence and self-esteem through standup comedy. Flynn has been a regular guest on FOX News, The Strategy Room and host of Plum TV's Plum Daily Show on Nantucket for which he won an Emmy. He resides in New York City but recently bought a home in Madison.
Please join in congratulating "Kevin Flynn" on his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Jim Guzzio, Class of 1992, was captain of Hand's wresting team and still remains the only two time New England Champion in the history of Daniel Hand High School athletics. Jim was the recipient of the "Outstanding Wrestler Award" for the 1991 State Open Championship Tournament. Jim's accolades include being a two-time Class L State Champion and one time State Open champion. Jim compiled a four year record at DHHS of 135-17.
He was the first and only wrestler to represent Connecticut at the "Pitt Classic" (now called the Dapper Dan Classic) which pits a US All Star Team against a team comprised of Pennsylvania State Champions. He placed second in the country at 130 lbs. at the "NHCSA High School National" Championships. Jim was recognized two years as New Haven Register All Area MVP. Jim's coach, Dave D'Alessio had the following comments: "Jim was an exceptional wrestler for Hand and for the University of Maryland.
As a freshman Jim was one of the better wrestlers in the state. He worked extremely hard and by the time he was a junior had developed himself into one of the best wrestlers ever to come from CT. Jim won the Class L State Championships, The State Open Championships and the New England Championships as a junior. As a senior, he accomplished nearly the same thing, winning the Class L, and the New England's falling in the State Open finals to place second.
As a senior he became the first, and only, CT wrestler to represent the All-National Team in the very prestigious Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic. A week later, Jim ended up taking second place in the High School Nationals. In college, Jim became the first wrestler from Connecticut to earn Division I All-American honors when he reached the national semifinals. He would end up losing that match but eventually earned All-American when he placed fifth in that tournament."
After graduation, Jim continued his wrestling career at the University of Maryland. He was recognized as a 2 time Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Champion and was recognized with the "Outstanding Wrestler Award" at the 1996 Tournament. Jim's awards recognition includes NCAA Division I All- American and Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestler of the year in 1997.
Jim was voted, by the University of Maryland Coaches, as the "University of Maryland Male Athlete of the Year." In 1997 he was named to the ACC's 50th Anniversary Wrestling team.
Jim resides in Charlotte, North Carolina and has a 6 year old daughter named Ella.
Please join in congratulating "Jim Guzzio" on his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Jane Hesford held the position of Girls' Gymnastics Coach at Daniel Hand High School from 1972-1985. Under Jane's leadership, the team achieved ten straight Shoreline Championships from 1973-1982 and held a record of 225 wins and 22 losses.
During her time as Coach, the gymnastics team earned four consecutive State Championships between 1978 and 1981. The team's longest winning streak of 65 meets extended from 1979 through 1982. In 1977, Jane was named the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and, in 1983, she was honored with the National Federation Interscholastic Coaches Association State Distinguished Service Award.
She was also inducted into the Wilton High School Hall of Fame for her contributions as a field hockey athlete and for her contributions as a gymnastics coach. Pam Gerrity Kadamus remembers Jane always inspiring the gymnasts by saying "Get out there and be your best. Giving up is not an option!" Sherry Becker Sweitzer expressed the following statement: "I feel honored to have spent nine years being coached by Mrs. Hesford. Unknowingly, I learned valuable life lessons while competing in a sport I loved.
Mrs. Hesford insisted that hard work, skill repetition and year round training were critical to our success. We were expected to be our best so that our team had depth. She trained us mentally and physically and had high expectations regarding our behavior in and out of the gym. Her consistent drive, insight and knowledge, teaching skills, poise and pride are a few of the attributes which made her a winning coach. Mrs. Hesford is someone I continue to look up to. She is driven and strong. She also exercises at the gym five days a week, when most of us are still sleeping, and can still perform both left and right legged splits! Thank you for all you taught me about perseverance. I think of you often and am grateful for the years we spent together."
In 1985, Jane retired from high school coaching and opened her own private gymnastics school, Gymnastics World in Clinton, which thrived as a successful business for 23 years. Gymnastics World was known for its quality gymnastics teams and known for its reputation as "THE" place for area children to learn gymnastics, swimming, karate and dance. Children began lessons as early as one year old and many area children remember having, or attending, birthday parties there.
Jane is most proud of the amazing space that was created which was "a terrific place for fun but also a quality learning experience." Jane continued ownership of Gymnastics World until her second retirement in 2007. The following sentiments were expressed by Ellen (McMurray) Hartmann, Liz (McMurray) Burleson and Carolyn (McMurray) Henry: "Jane Hesford was a dedicated Girls' Gymnastics coach, not only at the program at DHHS, but also at the youth level for many, many years.
For the years she coached us at Daniel Hand, we knew Coach Hesford would expect us to set goals for ourselves each season, work HARD at every practice and at every meet. She was a strong, energetic and creative coach who motivated us individually, and as a team, to excel. She pushed us to be our best and cheered for us when we accomplished a set goal. She also provided many of us with opportunities to build our leadership, confidence and creativity when working with the girls in her youth programs. We spent MANY hours in the gym during those years, and under Jane's leadership, we created many lifelong friendships and memories.
We also learned about team work, dedication, organization, patience, hard work and rewards, ups and downs, and of course attending to aches and pains. All still important today! We thank Jane Hesford for all her years of dedication to the sport of girls' gymnastics and we thank her for the valuable lessons she taught us in the gym."
Please join in congratulating "Jane Hesford" on her induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Pat McCahill's 22-year tenure as the Head Girls' Lacrosse coach at Daniel Hand High School in Madison was one marked by excellence and the three values that made her teams stand out as winners. Using Coach McCahill's motto of desire, determination, and dedication, the Tigers forged not only Six Southern Connecticut Conference Titles, but also sent players from the program to some of the top universities in the country.
Pat's 221-88-9 record at Hand stands out because early on, for many years, she forged the program's success without a feeder group of girls. Pat's patience and teaching ability as a coach and teacher during her 34 years at DHHS carried her teams as they learned not only how to play lacrosse but also, more importantly, they learned to love the game with all of their hearts.
Pat, a lifelong athlete from Island Park, New York, attended Oceanside High School and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physical Education from Yankton College in South Dakota while her husband Jim served in the United States Air Force. After earning hours toward a degree at Emporia State University in Kansas, Pat traveled back east, and eventually to Madison, as she began her career as a teacher and coach at Hand.
At DHHS, Pat enthusiastically took on many responsibilities, which not only included raising a family, but also teaching and coaching the cheerleading squad, the tennis team, and track and field events for the Tigers for many years. When the Hand Boys' Lacrosse coaches and Hand Lacrosse Boosters, Tony Ingersoll and Harry Whitton, hatched the idea to expand lacrosse at Daniel Hand, Pat McCahill, who had years of experience with the sport and coaching girls became their logical choice for a Head Coach.
Pat dove into her duties and immediately had an impact with her charges. Using her terrific ability to communicate with the young women of Madison - soon Pat attracted many of the school's best athletes to the sport. Under Pat's direction, they learned to play the game and thrived under her direction. Pat used Daniel Hand's tradition of academic and athletic excellence and, under her tutelage, not only did the Hand Girls' Lacrosse Team win, but they won with class!
Pat coached hundreds of girls in this fashion for 22 years during a career that saw her teams notch six Southern Connecticut Conference Titles and 2 CIAC State Semi-Finalist appearances in 2001 and 2007, and her players achieve as well. Pat coached 37 All SCC 1st and 2nd Team recipients, saw 11 of her players become All-State and, smiled with pride as 13 girls were named All-American and 3 girls were named Academic All-American by US Lacrosse.
Along the way, Pat's own family grew at home while her lacrosse family grew at Hand too. Pat saw her players go onto colleges such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Amherst, Union, UConn, Cal-Berkeley and Williams. While she took to coaching younger girls in the Madison Youth Lacrosse Program, Pat spent 10 years, from 1993-2003, coaching girls from other schools around the state as a Lower New England Girls' Team Coach in national tournaments.
Pat was named New Haven Register All-Area Coach of the Year in both 2001 and 2007, CIAC Coach of the Year for the 2005-06 season, 2010 Connecticut Chapter of US Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Yankton College Humanities Hall of Honor in 2012, and coached the CT Select Team at Cup of National Women's World Cup at Annapolis, Maryland. She was named to the CT Chapter US Lacrosse Board of Directors VP for High School Girls. Pat was the recipient of an extensive list of awards and accolades throughout the years.
She will be the first to tell you that her greatest achievement would be "seeing the girls on the team grow as women - and carry their love of lacrosse on to another generation." Blaine Hudson, Class of 1996, included the following comment: "Congratulations to Pat McCahill (or "Cahill" as her players affectionately call her) on being inducted into the Daniel Hand High School Athletics Hall of Fame. What an extraordinary accomplishment and a well-deserved honor. I am honored to have played lacrosse for you, for four years, and to have coached with you for another four years and I'm delighted to share in this celebration with you tonight.
At a time when people move quickly from one job to the next, it is really remarkable that your career as a physical education teacher at Daniel Hand spanned more than 30 years. I am also grateful to you for not only starting the Girls' Lacrosse Program at Hand but for managing a very successful program for over 20 years. In that time, and with your guidance, your players flourished and you compiled an incredibly impressive winning record. However, this record is secondary as you define success not by how many games you won, but by how many players' lives you impacted. On behalf of those players, I want to thank you for your tireless efforts and never-ending dedication, and for teaching us so much about lacrosse and, more importantly, about life. We are forever in your debt." Meghan Bushnell former Hand lacrosse player commented "As Cahill is one of the "Title IX pioneers", she provided the Hand lacrosse team with life skills such as teamwork and perseverance, provided endless guidance, and inspired the team to become successful young female leaders. I am honored to be a DHHS Lacrosse alumni, but more importantly, grateful for the opportunity to play for Cahill and gain a special bond with her. Cahill has helped shape me into the young woman I am today. Congratulations Cahill, your servant leadership and dedication to the sport of lacrosse, is forever imprinted in your former players' lives..."And that"! Pat's players have described their coach in many words.
Yet one word, "FAIR", was the one quoted most when Pat's former players described her, the second word was "Big Heart." They even used Pat's own moniker, "short", or as her teaching friends at Hand affectionately call her, "Shorty", to describe the coach who instilled passion and character in her teams. Yet "short" could never be the long lasting quality of Pat's internal love for her girls and for the people she has known as her friends.
Pat McCahill, the teacher and coach, has committed her life to assisting young people and helping them reach their full potential as hard working, motivated, caring and compassionate men and women. (Credits to Frank Barron 2010). In addition, Pat was inducted into the 2010 Connecticut Chapter of US Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Yankton College Humanities Hall of Honor in 2012.
Please join in congratulating "Pat McCahill" on her induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Andrew McConville, Class of 1995, played center midfield for Hand's Varsity Soccer teams from 1992-1995. He was a starting player from 1993-1995 and captain in his senior year. During his four year career, the team had a 57-4-5 record and, during his senior year as captain, the team record was 12-0-2. The team won the Class L State Championship tournaments in both 1993 and 1995.
In 1995, the team achieved All-SCC Championship honor, was ranked #1 in Connecticut and, additionally, ranked #9 in the United States. In 1994 and 1995 Andrew earned both years: SCC MVP, All-Area, All-State and All New England honors. In 1995 he additionally achieved "1st team All-American honors." Andrew's stats in 1995 included 14 goals and 13 assists, bringing his career stats to 27 goals and 33 assists. Andrew's coach, Bob Faulkner, stated the following: "Simply put, Andrew McConville was the finest soccer player ever to have played soccer at Daniel Hand High school.
Andrew was Hand's first High School Soccer All-American, He is Hand's only Connecticut State Player of the Year and he is the only player ever at Hand to be nominated as National Player of the Year by The National Soccer Coaches Association of America and USA Today Newspaper.
Andrew is a team player; he has always put the team ahead of his own accomplishments. Andrew had a special ability to make other players around him play at a much higher level. His teams were always ranked in the top 10 in the state soccer coaches' poll. In 1993 they ranked the number two soccer team in Connecticut and they achieved a national ranking of 20th in the nation." Upon graduation, Andrew attended Providence College where he made an impact as a 4 year starter from 1996-1999.
Andrew continued a professional soccer career as a team member with the Boston Bulldogs A-League from 2000-2001 and with the Monaghan United Irish Premier League from 2001-2002. Andrew's professional career is an inspiration to all athletes!
He has held the position of Associate Producer at ESPN since 2003. At ESPN, he has worked on two World Cups as well as other sports such as MLB, MLS, golf, college football, and college basketball. In 2010, Andrew was the recipient of an EMMY Award for "Outstanding Live Sports Special" for his coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final Spain vs. Netherlands game.
Andrew is joined by family this evening including his wife Lindsay, his son Finlay (5) and his parents Paul and Clare. Daughter Rory (2) is home with a sitter.
Please join in congratulating "Andrew McConville" on his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Ellen McMurray Hartmann was an outstanding competitor on the Hand gymnastics team from 1977-1981. Ellen played a very significant role in Hand winning the Class M State Championship all four years she was in high school. In addition, Hand won the Shoreline Championship titles from 1977-1981.
The Hand girls' gymnastics team was undefeated in 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons. Ellen was named captain of the gymnastics team at the beginning of her senior season in 1980. In the 1980 Shoreline Times pre-season gymnastics preview, they stated that "Ellen's contribution the last three years has been her consistently high level of performance in meets and her dedication and hard work for the rest of the team.
She is an exciting performer to watch because of her creative approach to routines and the high degree of difficulty of them." For example, during her senior year, Ellen became the first Hand gymnast to score over 9 in an event when she posted a 9.1 on the beam in a meet against Morgan. In shoreline team competition, Ellen placed first All-Around in her sophomore, junior and senior years. She placed second All-Around in her freshman year.
As a result of her strong performance in shoreline competition, she was name to the All-Shoreline team all four years she was in high school. In addition, Ellen was twice named Athlete of the Week during her high school career. Ellen also starred in state competitions as well. She seemed to especially excel on the balance beam, on which she placed first in both her freshman and junior seasons. As a sophomore, she was second All-Around in the Class M state championship meet.
In her junior year, she placed fourth All-Around in the state championship meet. Ellen also performed well in the state individual meets which included gymnasts from schools of all sizes in the state. She placed fifth in floor exercise her junior year and sixth All-Around in her senior year. Coach Jane Hesford stated "Ellen was the kind of athlete that every coach loves to work with. She was extremely talented, and also a hard worker - two characteristics that are not always found in the same person.
She had a great positive attitude, and was a team leader by virtue of her work ethic and personality. From her freshman year right through her senior year, she was a major force on the team. During her high school years we had some meets which were "nail-biters." Ellen usually was one of the last gymnasts to perform, when the outcome of the meet was in the balance.
She was always so steady and dependable, coming through with a high score when we needed it the most....every coach's dream!!"
Please join in congratulating "Ellen McMurray Hartmann" on her induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Tonight we honor Walter "Pop" Polson posthumously. Walter Polson passed away in 1987. He was a teacher, coach, Athletic Director and Principal in Madison from 1926-1968. He was affectionately called "Pop" Polson as he was known to have taught two to three generations of families.
During the years of approximately 1926-1953, he volunteered to coach basketball, baseball, track, soccer, six man football, and possibly other sports. In addition, he played on the Madison town baseball team in the 1930s. During World War II, he served in the military with some of his own students.
In 2003, many of his former students wrote letters and signed petitions in support of naming the new middle school in honor of their former teacher and coach. One letter stated, "Pop Polson would spend his own money to buy basketball shoes or gloves for those who could not afford to buy their own equipment." Another letter writer stated that "long before Little League existed, Pop Polson organized summer baseball games with other shoreline teams and, if you needed a ride, he would pick you up and take you home."
Walter Polson's many years of successful coaching at Hand Consolidated School (located at the Academy School building), and his dedication to Madison's youth, make him worthy of being inducted into the 2013 Daniel Hand High School Athletics Hall of Fame.
Please join in honoring the memory of "Walter Polson" through his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Willie Roze's reputation as an outstanding athlete is legendary. Born in Germany, she starred for the world-famous Raybestos Brakettes Softball team of Stratford, Connecticut for 10 years, earning eight All-American selections.
She was noted for her base running and clutch hitting. Willie was a first team selection in 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1974 and a second team choice in 1968, 1969 and 1973. She played in 10 ASA National Championships and played in the 1974 ISF World Championship held in Stratford, CT. Willie was the fifth leading hitter on the team with a .455 batting average (10-for-22). Winning that World championship, Willie said this was the greatest thrill of her career.
She played three years of professional softball after retiring from amateur softball in 1975. Willie was a five-sport athlete at Hamden High School and a graduate of Southern Connecticut State College (SCSC), where she obtained both her Master's and Bachelor's degrees. She brought incredible athletic talents to her high school and college teams. Although her SCSC playing statistics are not available, Willie was an important part of Southern's basketball teams which twice finished third in the AIAW National Tournament.
Former Southern Coach Louise O'Neal recalled Roze as "the ideal basketball player. She had a feel for the game; she could see the whole court and react accordingly. Roze had incredible stamina, intensity and ability to focus." Roze and her teammates set high standards for future Southern teams.
Willie later became a Physical Education Teacher, and Coach, at Daniel Hand until her retirement in 1999. Between the years 1973-1984, Willie coached softball, basketball and field hockey. As a result of her success coaching the Hand Softball team, Willie was voted the CHSCA Outstanding Coach in 1982 and was inducted into the CT Scholastic and Collegiate Softball Hall of Fame in 1998. Under Willie's coaching leadership, several teams at Hand reached State final and State Semi-final status for basketball and softball. Her softball coaching record was 157-67 and the teams won the Shoreline League championships four years (1974, '78, '79, '80). Her softball team were state tournament semifinalists in 1974 and runners up in the state tournament twice in 1978 (Class M) and 1981 (Class L).
She coached five All-State softball players. Her softball teams never had a losing season and always qualified for the state tournament. Her basketball teams were Shoreline champions in the 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons. Willie coached softball All-State Players such as Jennifer Mueller and Sandi Gavin. Willie's accolades include: induction into the Connecticut Amateur Softball Hall of Fame, induction into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 1985, induction into the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005, and induction into the Hamden High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004 for softball. Jennifer Fischer-Mueller shared the following comments: "I remember sitting with my Dad watching the 1978 MLB World Series. Willie Randolph of the New York Yankees made a spectacular play at 2nd base and threw to 1st for a double play. I yelled to my Dad, "Ms. Roze can do that!" I could proclaim that fact with such confidence because many times I watched Ms. Roze play 2nd base for the women's professional softball team, Connecticut Falcons, and as our high school coach I'd watched her teach Cheryl Jessey that exact play.
Willie was a keen coach of the game; she was precise and patient. She knew all of the mechanics - hitting, running the bases, playing any position on the field, and she could teach it to anybody. It was her strategic prowess that I marveled. I loved watching her give signs to the batters and base runners. My all-time favorite is "the suicide squeeze." No other high school coach would ever give that sign! Willie took those risks because she had confidence in us. She prepared us. As a result we won a lot of softball games. Maybe luck had something to do with it, though the old saying goes, "luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity." Willie prepared us with the mechanics then strategically created the opportunities. This is a lesson I've carried with me far beyond the softball diamond."
Willie has always been interested in sports. She particularly enjoyed witnessing the growth of the sport of basketball, and the development, and tremendous improvement, in the skill level of the players. She has also been impressed with the way Connecticut sports fans have embraced women's basketball. She would advise current young players and coaches to "appreciate the foundation of the sport, and the struggles female athletes before them have overcome, and to give something back to the sport they love."
Please join in congratulating "Willie Roze" on her induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Tonight we honor Harold Strong posthumously. Harold Strong passed away in 1977. He was a philanthropist and one of the most important contributors to athletics in Madison's history. In 1970, seven years before his passing, Harold Strong was the benefactor behind the construction of Strong Field at the Surf Club. The future field would provide a much needed home for the new Hand football program, which had started that year, as well as a field for slow pitch softball and Little League.
As a result of his generous donation, Strong was presented with the book of Golden Deeds by the Madison Exchange Club in 1972. The book of Golden Deeds is a National Exchange Club award that recognizes individuals who make an outstanding community contribution. In receiving this award, Strong stated that before donating for Strong Field, he was looking for something that would be a focal point for the community. Strong later said that he was "delighted with the Madison spirit that has been evidenced not only by the players, band members, and those attending functions at Strong Field, but by the community at large."
As we begin a new academic year, we are reminded of Harold Strong's generosity with the renovation of the newly named Strong Center. The outpouring of support and generosity for this project, provided by the community, is a tribute to Harold Strong and his vision for Strong Field and its enjoyment and use by the community. It is a true testament to how passionate the community is about the impact, and memories, that Harold Strong and Strong Field have brought to multiple generations.
The vision of Strong Center, as stated on the strongcentersurfclub.org website, is to create "a first-quality, state of the art facility that celebrates local life through sports and the arts."
The expansion of this center will provide enjoyment for future generations to come and will remain a special place of pride for the Madison community.
Please join in honoring the memory of "Harold Strong" through his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Ken Sweitzer, Class of 1978, was a four year member of Daniel Hand's football team and was named the high school's first All-American running back in 1977.
He was elected Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the State of Connecticut in 1977 and was a member of Hand's first two State Championships in football in 1976 (11-0) and 1977 (11-0). In his senior year Ken started at Running Back (7.2 yards per carry, 1,331 yards, safety, punter, punt returner and kick off returner.
Ken scored 27 touchdowns in his senior year and 34 touchdowns in his career. He also threw 8 touchdown passes in his career. As a safety, Ken intercepted 7 passes in his senior year alone. Ken played in 28 varsity football games while at Hand with zero losses (28-0) and was named captain in 1977. In his junior year, Ken was named to the All-Shoreline team.
Ken continues to hold the records for most points in a game (36 vs. East Lyme in 1977), most touchdowns in a game (6 vs. East Lyme in 1977), most points in a season (166), and most touchdowns in a season (27). Other records set in his career included: most yards rushing in a season (1331), most rushing touchdowns in a game (5 vs. East Lyme in 1977), most interceptions in a season (7) tied with his brother Scott, best passing percentage in a game (85.7 % vs. East Lyme in 1977), and longest touchdown kickoff return, (82 yards vs. North Branford in 1977).
When asked to comment about Ken, Larry Ciotti stated "Many things about Ken have impressed me, during his playing days, but perhaps the one quality was his ability to win. Besides being the most skilled, of all of my players that I have coached, he managed to instill the traits of winning in his teammates.
During his Hand and UConn years he performed on the field miracles to win games." In addition to football, Ken was a four year starting player on the varsity baseball team, shortstop position, and in his senior year (1978) he was named captain.
Ken also played basketball four years, including two years on varsity, in the forward position. In the 1977-78 season, Ken earned the title of captain for his third sport. As a starting player, his senior year, the Hand basketball team finished with a 12-1 record in Shoreline Conference regular season games. In his senior year, thanks to Ken's steal in the closing minutes in a tight game against Coginchaug, Hand made the Shoreline Conference Tournament finals. Ken continued on to be a four year starting quarterback at UCONN where he earned All ECAC, All New England, and All Yankee Conference Honors at three different positions. Ken was voted Yankee Conference MVP in 1981 and had a free agent tryout with the Dallas Cowboys.
Please join in congratulating "Ken Sweitzer" on his induction into the "first class" of Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Dick Van Deventer, Class of 1970, was a three sport athlete at Hand during the years of 1966- 1970. Dick participated all four years in soccer, basketball and track & field. In soccer, he was a three year starter in the forward position. In both junior and senior years, Dick was team co-captain, earned team co-MVP recognition, received All Shoreline Conference recognition, and was the leading scorer junior year while scoring 21 goals senior year alone. In basketball, Dick was a 6'4" starting Guard/Forward for two years, and member of the team all four years.
He was selected as the most outstanding defensive player on the 1969-70 team, which finished the season with a 21-1 record. In his senior year, Dick was named team co-captain and received the following awards and recognition: All-Shoreline Conference, All-State Honorable Mention, Runner-up State Champion. The 1969-70 team earned the Shoreline Conference Championship.
Dick was also a three year starter, and co-captain of the track team, participating in the long jump, high jump and triple jump events. In his senior year, he qualified for the State Track Meet and set school records in the long jump (21'0"), and triple jump (42'0") - a school record that held up for over 20 years. Dick was selected as Outstanding Male Athlete in 1970 by the Madison Lion's Club.
In the summer of 1971, Dick starred as a pitcher and shortstop for the Shoreline Big League All-Stars team that won the New England Big League Championship. While at Daniel Hand, Dick was class president for three years and a member of the National Honor Society.
Dick continued his studies at Colgate University, earning a B.A. in Economics, and playing varsity soccer from 1970-1973, as well as freshman basketball. He later earned a M.B.A. from Northern Illinois University.
He is currently CEO of Computer Technology Solutions, LP, in Houston, Texas and resides in Bellaire, Texas with his wife, Kathy. They have five children, daughter Katie Casey and husband Kevin, sons Brendan Van Deventer and Will Bailey, and daughter Nancy Michelle Bailey.
Coach Bill Barker said "Dick Van Deventer was a 6'4" shooting guard on the best team to ever play at Daniel Hand High School. His strength was his leadership ability and athleticism. He was an outstanding, defender, rebounder, and passer. Although soccer was his primary sport, when he was playing basketball on a team that went 21-1, you would have considered basketball his main sport.
He played soccer and basketball at Colgate. He also starred in track and was a leading player on his summer baseball team. Dick Van Deventer is like the renaissance man who excels at everything he sets out to do."
Please join in congratulating "Dick Van Deventer" on his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame.
Corey Wielgus, Class of 1977, was a first team All-State guard on the 1976-77 basketball team that completed the season with a 20-4 record and was a Class M semi-finalist. Corey was tri-captain of the team and its leading scorer. He played varsity basketball for three years and was a starting guard on the 1976 Shoreline Championship basketball team.
Corey was named to the Xavier Classic All-Classic team as a junior in December, 1975. In his junior year, Corey was one of the top three scorers on the team and was frequently the leading scorer. Corey was well noted for his exceptional quickness. He was an outstanding defensive player, especially on the full court press.
On offense, he was an excellent passer as well as a scorer. One game against North Branford, in his senior year, highlighted the full range of Corey's skills as a basketball player. In the North Branford game, Corey had 17 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds. Corey's quickness and athleticism enabled him to drive by almost anyone to get a high percentage shot. A
s a result of Corey taking such good shots, he shot a higher percentage than most guards. Corey was also member of Bill Barker's Shoreline Championship cross country team in 1974, and on the varsity soccer team in 1976. Corey's quickness and strength at the left wing position was seen as an important asset to the team by Coach Barros. After high school,
Corey earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Vermont, where he was team captain in his senior year. Coach Bill Barker said, "Corey Wielgus was the best point guard to ever play for Daniel Hand High School.
His speed, quickness, jumping ability, and athleticism enabled him to see the court, find his teammates and make everybody better. His ball handling skills made an opponent's press seem defenseless. His toughness was demonstrated while starting as the point guard at the University of Vermont for four years. During that time he had both shoulders operated on for a torn Rotator Cuff.
He was All-State basketball and he would have made the All-State team for surfing, if there were such an award."
Please join in congratulating "Corey Wielgus" on his induction into the "first class" of the Madison Athletics Hall of Fame