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Five Connecticut Sporting Legends Named Gold Key Recipients

SOUTHINGTON, Conn., April 19, 2022 — Five legendary figures will be honored this fall with one of the most prestigious awards in Connecticut sports, as 2022 recipients of the Gold Key Award from the Connecticut Sports Media Alliance (CSMA).

The honorees are longtime Stonington High School tennis coach George Crouse, UConn women’s basketball associate head coach Chris Dailey, 1990 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Rob Dibble, 2021 College Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Tom Penders and past PGA of America president Suzy Whaley. They will be feted at the 80th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022 at the Aqua Turf Club in the Plantsville section of Southington.

Tickets for the Gold Key Dinner are $75, and are available by contacting CSMA president Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at 860-394-5091 or Proceeds support the Bo Kolinsky Memorial Sports Media Scholarship, a $3,000 award named in memory of the noted high school sports editor of the Hartford Courant and past CSMA president, who passed away in 2003 at age 49.

Here is a brief look at the Class of 2022:

GEORGE CROUSE – 1960 graduate of Stonington High School coached boys tennis from 1974 to 2000, and girls tennis from 1987 to the present. Entering this season, he had a combined record of 828-221, for a .789 winning percentage. Girls team has played in 10 Class S championship matches since 2002. First Connecticut girls tennis coach to win National High School Coach of the Year honors in 2019. Tennis courts at the school were named in his honor in 2016.

CHRIS DAILEY – Started as UConn assistant women’s basketball coach in 1985; promoted to associate head coach in 1988. The Huskies have won 11 national championships, 25 conference regular season titles and 24 conference tournament crowns. Inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

ROB DIBBLE — Southington High School graduate was drafted in the first round by the Cincinnati Reds in 1983, and made MLB debut in 1988. Co-Most Valuable Player of the 1990 National League Championship Series, hurling five scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts. World Series champion in 1990, National League All-Star in 1990 and 1991.

TOM PENDERS — Stratford native played both basketball and baseball at UConn, competing in both the NCAA tournament and the College World Series. He coached college basketball from 1971 through 2010, winning 649 and guiding the University of Texas to the Elite Eight in 1990. He was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.

SUZY WHALEY — Former Farmington resident won 2002 Connecticut Section PGA championship, qualifying to play in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open. In 2014, she became the first female officer in the PGA as secretary, and in 2018, she became the first woman to serve as PGA of America president. Inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 2021.

Photo credits

Banquet crowd: Gerry deSimas, Jr./Collinsville Press/Connecticut Sports Media Alliance

George Crouse: Courtesy of Crouse family

Chris Dailey: Courtesy of UConn Athletics

Rob Dibble: Getty Images

Tom Penders: Courtesy of Penders family

Suzy Whaley: Tim Jensen/Patch


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