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(National High School Athletic Coaches Association)


Nearly 30 years ago it became apparent to the nation’s high school coaches that they were not being represented as a profession by the various associations with which they were affiliated. During those years in the 50s and 60s, high school coaches and athletic directors from around the nation were invited to annual sessions of the Division of Men’s Athletics (DMA) of the NEA/AAPHER group. Occasionally, special conferences were scheduled for high school coaches in Washington, D.C., but only as an adjunct of the college phuysical educator-dominated DMA.
It became apparent the high school coaches needed recognition and a national direction. This was in 1964. A key group of high school coaches named a steering committee, with instructions to plan another meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in July, 1965.
The Atlanta meeting in 1965 was intense in discussion and design as to the feasibility of organizing the nation’s high school coaches. Thus, the National High School Athletic Coaches Association was formed.

The Primary Goals and Purposes of the NHSACA

  1. To raise the quality and competence of High School Athletic Coaching and administration to the highest level possible through leadership development, educational programs, training sessions and in formative publications.

  2. To promote and publicize high school sports and its five million student/athletes through national, state and local award programs.

  3. To foster amateur sports programs for boys and girls with national-class skills in a variety of sports which provide social, educational, and competitie opportunities for the students.

  4. To promote Drug and Alcohol Prevention among high school students, teacher/coaches and parents in cooperation with the government, law enforcement agencies and educational groups.

When the NHSACA was formed in the 1960s, membership was about 5,000. From then to the present, membership is now more than 60,000 and continuing to rise. The NHSACA is a solid organization dedicated to the enhancement of the coaching profession.

Dwight T. Keith Award

The Dwight T. Keith Award is given to recognize and to honor a person who has made an outstanding contribution to high school interscholastic athletics and/or the high school coaching profession. This award was created expressly to honor persons in a non-coaching role. The recipient may be an active coach, but the work for which he or she is being honored must be of a non-coaching nature.
Dwight Keith was a founding member and guiding light of the National High School Athletic Coaches Association through its early years and served as its Executive Secretary from 1965 to 1973.
Past Connecticut recipients of this award are:

  • 1978: Tom Monahan, Bristol

  • 1982: Joseph J. Fontana, Southington

  • 1986: Larry D. McHugh, Middletown

  • 1996: John Fontana, Southington

  • 2000: Nick Zeoli, Wilton

  • 2008: Gary Makowicki, Norwich Free Academy

  • 2011: Doug Sharples, St. Bernard

Connecticut Hall of Fame Winners


1996: Joseph Fontana

1997: Thomas Monahan, Larry McHugh

1998: Charles Sharos, Frank Crisafi

1999: Jerry McDougall, John Fontana

2000: Jean Hunt, Nick Zeoli

2001: Dan Sullivan, Whitey Piurek

2002: Lindy Remigino, Wally Camp

2003: Frank Robinson, Paul Kuczo

2004: Bob Saulsbury, Joe Folino

2005: Vito Montelli, Dot Johnson

2006: Arlene Salvati, Guy Whitten

2007: Bob Demayo, Ralph King

2008: Jim Penders, James Penders, Sr.

2009: Dave Strong, Irv Black

2010: Ken Kezer, John Hagen

2011: Linda Dirga, John Kuczo

2012: Jack Long, Ed Aston

2013: Bob Cecchini, Cookie Bromage

2014: James Buonocore, Edward Lynch

2015: Laddie Lawrence, Jake Salafia

2016: Tom Malin, Edward McCarthy

2017: Chris Webster, Marty Roos

2018: Gary Makowicki, Louis J. Milardo

2019: Babby Nuhn, Ricky Shook

COTY Winners


John “Whitey” Puirek, West Haven, Baseball


Albert Loeffler, Staples (Westport), Soccer

Donald Bates, Berlin, Golf


Frank Crisafi, East HavenBoys Basketball


John McVicar, Rocky Hll, Special Sports
Lorraine Splain, Old Saybrook, Golf


Joe Folino, Staples (Westport), Golf


John Fontana, Southington, Baseball
Terence Lowe, Greenwich, Swimming


Ralph King, Brien McMahon (Norwalk), Soccer


Winifred Hamilton, Westhill (Stamford), Volleyball


Louis Astorino, Jr. , Hamden, Special Sports


Nick Zeoli, Wilton, Athletic Director
Art Crouse, West Haven, Special Sports


William Baron, East Hartford, Cross Country


Ken Kezer, New Britain, Baseball


Rod Cyr, Wethersfield, Golf
Ed Ferrigno, Windham, Athletic Director


John “Laddie” Lawrence, Staples (Westport), Cross Country
Joe Janush, North Haven, Soccer
Joan Gauthey, Shepaug Valley (Washington), Special Sports


Charles Sharos, South Windsor, Athletic Director
Vito Montelli, St. Joseph (Trumbull), Boys Basketball
Steve Levinthal, Strafford,  Cross Country
Paul Fako, Ridgefield,  Golf
Joe Piazza, Southington,  Softball
Jack Long, Bacon Academy (Colchester), Girls Track


Jerry McDougall, Trumbull, Football
Valerio Moretti, Hamden,  Soccer
Bruce Douglass, Ledyard, Girls Track


Catherine McGuirk, Branford, Special Sports


Rick Osevick, Greenwich, Golf
Jim Dolan, Joel Barlow (Redding), Soccer
Eileen Crompton, Lewis Mills (Burlington),  Softball
John Pouzzner, Northwestern Reg. #7 (Winsted), Tennis


Roger Ratchford, Fairfield Prep, Golf
Dot Johnson, Granby, Special Sports
Jim Penders, East Catholic (Manchester), Baseball
Dan Sullivan, Windsor Locks, Soccer


Guy Whitten, Wilton, Special Sports
Mike Zotta, RHAM, Soccer


Arlene Salvati, Cheshire, Special Sports
Gil LaPointe, Norwich Free Academy, Girls Cross Country


Cookie Bromage, Enfield, Special Sports
Mike Pitruzzello, Cromwell, Soccer
Robert Haddad, Windham, Track


Gil Varjas, New London, Baseball
Jim Solomon, Hall High (West Hartford), Tennis


Bob Demayo, North Haven
Jim Ford, GuilfordBaseball
(B) Cross Country


David Strong, Masuk (Monroe), Girls Basketball
Abe Breslow, Trumbull, Girls Soccer


Jerry McDougall, Trumbull, Baseball
Gary Makowicki, Norwich Free Academy, Girls Track


Bruce Jaffe, Fairfield Prep, Swimming


Robert Lehr, Southington, Athletic Director
Mark Logan, RHAM (Hebron), Girls Track


Ed Aston, Cheshire, Swimming
Gerry Chester, Griswold, Boys Cross Country
Dan Borgmann, New Canaan, Tennis


Joe Tonnelli, Notre Dame, West Haven, Athletic Director
Linda Dirga, Pomperaug, Southbury, Special Sports
John O’Connor, Branford, Swimming


Jim Cotter, Norwich Free Academy, Softball


Ed Lynch, Simbury High School, Golf
Jim Murray, Avon High School, Girls Soccer


Dave Johnson, Bunnell, Athletic Director
Beth Sarnacki, Cromwell, Special Sports
John Blomstann, E.O. Smith, Boys Soccer


Jeff Bramier, Darien, Special Sports


Jim Ford, Guilford, Girls Cross Country


Robert Orgovan, Amity, Boys Cross Country

Steve Filippone, Hand, Football

Steve Waters, Farmington, Boys Soccer               

Theresa Napalitano, Lauralton Hall, Softball

Carl Reichard, East Lyme, Girls Track


Deb Petruzzello, Middletown, Girls Track


Jeff Gee, Wilton, Girls Cross Country

Laurie LaRusso, Darien, Girls Volleyball


Joe Madaffari, Jr., Brien McMahon, Athletic Director


Patrick Risley, Windham, Wrestling

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