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Gold Key winner Wally Camp of Coginchaug dies at the age of 87

Wally Camp, the long-time basketball coach and athletic director at Coginchaug Regional in Durham, died on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at the age of 87. Camp was awarded a Gold Key by the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance in 1991.

A graduate of West Haven High, Camp went to Southern Connecticut State, where he played basketball. He began his coaching career at Durham High in 1957 and never left. He coached basketball, soccer and baseball at the school, which eventually became Coginchaug when Durham and Middlefield formed a regional school district.

Camp coached boys basketball from 1958 through 1990 and went 508-216. His 1974 team won the Class S championship. He is one of just 15 coaches with more than 500 career victories in boys basketball.

Camp, Xavier and Hale-Ray's Art Kohs, Cromwell's Jake Salafia and Al Towns began the Fundamental Basketball Camp, which functioned during the summer for 25 years for both boys and girls.

Camp also created a booster club to support and enhance high school athletics at Coginchaug. They have contributed in countless ways to every sport that exists. This year, the group, named The Benchwarmers, are celebrating its 50th year.

He earned the respect of his peers, which was achieved by integrity and fairness. He set standards for sportsmanship and lessons for life that will long be remembered and revered. He was extremely grateful for the recognition he received.

Especially significant was being named the National High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2000, the Board of Education greatly honored him by naming the sports facilities the Wally Camp Athletic Complex. In 1985, he was inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

In 2013, Jim Bransfield of the Middletown Press interviewed Camp, former Cromwell coach Jake Salafia and former Xavier coach Art Kohs in a lively story.

Branfield wrote a story about his memories of Camp for the Durham Middlefield News.


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