Six individuals who have unselfishly devoted their time and energy to the promotion of athletics in their communities have been named recipients of the John Wentworth Good Sport Award by the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance.
Ed DiPersio of Meriden, Dave Farr of Windsor Locks, Maryellen Holden of Forestville, Don "Grog" Lombardo of Middletown, Mike Madera of West Haven and Paul Majeski of New Britain and Waterford are the 2018 honorees. The award is named in honor of John Wentworth, former sports editor of The New Britain Herald who specialized in writing about local sports figures.
DiPersio, 65, has blended his passion for baseball with his connections at every level of the sport to help Connecticut's amateur players match up with college programs that are suitable academically as well as athletically. He created the Connecticut High School Baseball All-Star program 26 years ago. Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollack, New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey and former Red Sox southpaw Craig Breslow are among the hundreds whom DiPersio has helped advance with no interest in personal profit.
Farr coached every level of baseball in Windsor Locks, from Little League through senior league, Babe Ruth, American Legion and high school, beginning in 1965. He has experienced success at all stops, including an American Legion league championship in 1981. His passion for baseball led to his role as an administrator in American Legion baseball for over 25 years. He was State Director for seven years, state treasurer for 10 years, and has been responsible for the umpires in the state tournament for over 25 years. He was honored with the first American Legion Baseball Committee Leadership award.
Holden has been a Little League volunteer in central Connecticut for nearly 30 years, including the past 20 years as District Administrator or Assistant District Administrator for District 5. She had a 15-year stint as secretary/treasurer of the State of CT Little League District Administrators. Among her many accolades has been induction into the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame in 2013, and in 2014, she was the first female recipient of the Peter J. McGovern Distinguished Service Award from Little League International.
Lombardo has been an assistant coach with the Middletown American Legion baseball team for most of the last 40 years. He is the hitting and bench coach and has also served as a volunteer assistant softball coach for Mercy High softball and was an assistant at the University of Hartford. He is a lifelong resident of Middletown and played baseball at Woodrow Wilson High and for the Middletown Collegians summer baseball program.
Madera is currently serving as president of the Walter Camp Football Foundation after completing two terms as its vice president. He's been a committee member and chairman of the prestigious New Haven-based group for 20 years. A native of West Haven, he is a board member on both the West Haven Little League and the West Haven Youth Hockey Association and a participant in the West Haven High School Athletic Hall of Fame's yearly selections. He's a contributor and editor of his own website, entitled "Westie Blue." Recently Madera was honored with a Gold Bat for Community Service by the West Haven Twilight League.
Majeski's name is synonymous with New Britain High School sports. A 38-year physical education teacher at the school, he was an assistant football coach for two decades. Since 1968, he has performed numerous duties for the Golden Hurricanes sports programs, including basketball scorekeeper, timekeeper, ticket seller and public address announcer. He and his wife currently live in Waterford, but he remains devoted to New Britain athletics.
The six will be honored at the 77th annual Gold Key Dinner at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Gold Key Award recipients will be PGA golf professional Dennis Coscina, former Granby Memorial High School field hockey coach Dot Johnson, New Canaan High School football coach Lou Marinelli, newly-retired UConn women's soccer coach Len Tsantiris and Olympic ice hockey gold medalist Gretchen Ulion-Silverman.
Tickets to the Gold Key Dinner are $75 apiece, and may be reserved by contacting CSWA President Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-394-5091, or Vice President Rich Gregory of the Danbury News-Times at email@example.com or 203-705-8625.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Bo Kolinsky Journalism Scholarship, named after a longtime Hartford Courant sportswriter and past CSWA president who died unexpectedly in 2003.