A pair of first-time state championship coaches have been named recipient of the Doc McInerney Coach of the Year Award by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.
John Marinelli, head football coach at Greenwich High School, and Carol Asplund, girls volleyball coach at Joel Barlow High School in Redding, will receive the award, named after Francis “Doc” McInerney, longtime sports editor of the Waterbury Republican who served as Alliance president in 1953.
Marinelli, son of 2018 Gold Key recipient Lou Marinelli, guided the Cardinals to their first Class LL football championship since 2007. Greenwich posted a perfect 13-0 record, with their smallest margin of victory being a 42-14 win over New Canaan, coached by his dad.
In the CIAC playoffs, the Cardinals overwhelmed opponents by a cumulative 133-13 score, including a 34-0 shutout over New Canaan in the finals. For the first time in program history, Greenwich was voted the No. 1 team in Connecticut in the final state poll.
After six runner-up finishes, Asplund led Barlow to an elusive Class L title with one of the most spectacular comebacks in state tournament history. Seeded second, the Falcons trailed undefeated top seed Woodstock Academy 2-0 in the best of five finals at East Haven High School, but won the next two games, 25-13 and 25-19, to set up a race-to-15 fifth set. The Centaurs jumped to a 9-5 lead, but Barlow persevered into overtime, clinching its first championship by a 16-14 score.
Marinelli and Asplund will be honored at the 78th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 3 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
Gold Key Award recipients for 2019 are former college and pro basketball standouts John Bagley and Chris Smith, longtime NFL coach and Super Bowl champion Chris Palmer, St. Thomas More basketball coach Jere Quinn and ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen.
The Gold Key Dinner was inaugurated in 1940, with baseball legend Connie Mack and golf superstar Bobby Jones among the initial recipients. The roster of honorees since then reads like a Who’s Who of Connecticut sports – Julius Boros, Willie Pep, Andy Robustelli, Lindy Remigino, Floyd Little, Joan Joyce, Carmen Cozza, Otto Graham, Calvin Murphy, Joe Morrone, Gordie Howe, Bill Rodgers, Geno Auriemma, Rebecca Lobo, Brian Leetch, Kristine Lilly, Marlon Starling and Dwight Freeney are just a few of the past Gold Key winners. A complete list is available at www.ctsportswriters.com.
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.
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.
Photo credits: Lindsay Perry for the Greenwich Time (Marinelli); courtesy of Chelsea Piers Connecticut (Asplund)