CHESHIRE – The CIAC will kick-off a weekend of basketball championships culminating the "Run to the Sun" with the 2018 boys and girls state basketball championships dedication at The Cabaret Theater at the Mohegan Sun on Saturday March 17.
The dedication ceremony on Saturday will begin the weekend of basketball by honoring seven individuals which have made significant contributions to high school basketball in Connecticut, including John Holt (above photo), a member of the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.
John Fidler, longtime educator, coach, athletic director and principal in East Hampton will posthumously be recognized with the CIAC Boys & Girls Basketball Dedication Award. In addition, officials Mark Scozzafava and Bill Vasaturo, coaches Norb Fahey and Kathy Rusch, and contributors John Holt and Linda Wooster will receive the 2018 Merit Awards. The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. in The Cabaret Theater the Mohegan Sun Convention Center and is open to the public and the media.
John Fidler was a beloved figure in East Hampton having served in the school district in a variety of capacities for 27 years. He was standout three-sport athlete and student at South Windsor High School -- where he will be inducted into the South Windsor Sports Hall of Fame in March. He was a special education teacher, coach, athletic director and principal in East Hampton, concluding his impactful career with a 12-year stint as the Principal at East Hampton High School. He was a fixture in the community having coached multiple sports including boys basketball for many years while also assuming the role of AD later in his career and then supporting all student programs in his role as principal. He passed away at age 60 in July of 2017 and CIAC is honoring his exceptional contributions to high school athletics and education and his love and passion for the sport of basketball.
Official Mark Scozzafava is a highly-decorated official and leader in the officiating community in multiple sports. As a member of the IAABO Litchfield Board 7 he has officiated five CIAC girls basketball finals along with a total of seven tournament finals for girls and boys in the Berkshire and Naugatuck Leagues. He has served as President of both the IAABO Board 7 and the IAABO State Board.
Fellow official Bill Vasaturo has been a multi-sport official for more than 30 years working for the Fairfield County IAABO Board 9. He is the current IAABO State Board President and he has been a fixture officiating league tournament and championship games, along with numerous CIAC tournament contests including three finals.
Norb Fahey became the first boys basketball coach at Maloney High school in the late 1950s and held that position for 27 years, compiling a stellar record of 327-225. Among his many coaching achievements was the program's first unbeaten season in 1979-80 along with six total league championships and one CIAC Class L District 1 Championship, and his career earned him induction into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Kathy Rusch won more than 245 games over a 17-year career as girls basketball coach at Windsor Locks and then South Windsor High School. Over 15 years at South Windsor her teams won 68-consecutive conference games along with seven conference titles and reached consecutive CIAC finals. She has been inducted into the Connecticut Women's Basketball, New England Basketball, and South Windsor Halls of Fame.
John Holt has spent his career championing high school sports highlighted by his work as a sports anchor and reporter at WFSB Channel 3. His work has been recognized with seven New England Emmy Awards and seven regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and as co-host of Channel 3's "Friday Night Frenzy" and "Friday Night Football" he brought exceptional coverage to high school sports and athletes. He is the scholarship committee chair for the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance.
Linda Wooster has been a significant contributor to athletics and multiple levels in Connecticut throughout her career. A longtime professor and Associate Director of Athletics at Quinnipiac University she is one of the founders of the CT Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and has worked extensively as a historian to celebrate the achievements of athletes in Connecticut. She is a member of numerous athletics Halls of Fame and was recognized with the CHSCA Joseph J. Fontana Distinguished Service Award for her efforts as an athletics leader.
The dedication ceremony will begin a weekend of tournament action as five boys and four girls basketball finals will be played at Mohegan Sun Arena Saturday and Sunday. The nine games will be played in three sessions beginning Saturday morning with the session and game schedule as follows:
Session 1, Saturday March 17 Game 1: 10 a.m. Game 2: 12:30 p.m. Game 3: 3 p.m.
Session 2, Saturday March 17 Game 1: 6:15 p.m. Game 2: 8:15 p.m.
Session 3, Sunday March 18 Game 1: 10:30 p.m. Game 2: 1 p.m. Game 3: 3:30 p.m. Game 4: 6:30 p.m.