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.
Bidwell led UConn-Avery Point to a 41-10 record last season and the finals of the NJCAA Division II World Series. In 29 seasons, Bidwell is 828-327-7, has been a perennial NJCAA playoff contender and sent 21 players to play professional baseball, including Toronto shortstop John McDonald and outfielder Rajai Davis.
He has won numerous Connecticut Small College Conference, NJCAA New England and Northeast District Coach of the Year awards.
This past October, Lynch earned his 1,000th high school victory as a coach at Simsbury. He is 727-53-10 in 29 seasons coaching the Simsbury boys golf team, the most wins for any high school golf coach in America, and 280-102-46 in 23 seasons coaching soccer.
Along the way, Lynch has won eight Division I golf titles and three Class LL championships in soccer.
“Every little thing I get is because of the teams and the players that I’ve had,” Lynch said. “I haven’t put one ball into the back of the net or made one putt. It’s all about the kids.”
Lynch also served as a high school and college basketball referee for 32 years before retiring in 2005 to become a signing commissioner for the central board of referees. He currently assigns basketball referees for 85 schools from the high school to the elementary level. Over 100 of his players have gone on to play in colleges such as UConn, Minnesota, Arkansas, Tennessee, Clemson and Maryland, but Lynch said earning the Gold Key is just as special.
“I was elated when I heard the news,” Lynch said. “It is the equivalent of getting to be with the elite and I don’t myself anywhere near the elite…It is the ultimate honor.”
The state record holder in wins with 528, Roos recently began his 39th season as a high school hockey coach. He began coaching at Fairfield Prep in 1972 and moved to Notre Dame-Fairfield in 1991, entering this season with an overall record of 528-283-18. He has won six state titles and has nine tournament final appearances.
A native of Switzerland, Roos is a part owner of both the Milford Ice Pavilion and Northford Ice Pavilion. He has also been involved in youth hockey programs at both facilities and was recently inducted into the Connecticut State High School Coaches Hall of Fame.
Wallach coached boys soccer at Guilford from 1975-78 and 1981-90, finishing with a record of 220-13-9 – a .944 winning percentage – and seven state and 12 Shoreline Conference titles. He coached at Quinnipiac in 1979 and New Haven in 1980, and also coached the girls soccer teams at North Branford (1991-93), Sacred Heart-Hamden (1994-96) and Guilford (1997-99).
An all-New England goalkeeper at Dean Junior College and an all-American at Springfield College, Wallach also coached girls basketball, wrestling, boys track and field and gymnastics at Guilford. He also initiated the CIAC-sponsored Unified Sports program, which partners athletes with students who have intellectual or physical disabilities.
“It is one of the most significant highlights of my career,” Wallach said. “Working with the challenged has been my motivation.”
The Gold Key Award is the highest sports honor in Connecticut. The Alliance has recognized baseball great Connie Mack, boxing legend Willie Pep and former President George H. W. Bush in recent years.