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More Award Winners Announced for Gold Key Dinner by CSMA


From left: Vicki Fulkerson, Rand Pecknold, Robert "Jiggs" Cecchini and Ann and Brian Daigle. Photo credits: Fulkerson (Gerry deSimas, Jr., Collinsville Press/CSMA), Pecknold (Quinnipiac University Athletics), Cecchini (Tim Jensen/Patch) and Dagles (Courtesy Brian Dagle Foundation.

Recipients will be honored by the Connecticut Sports Media Alliance at the 81st Gold Key Dinner in October.

SOUTHINGTON, Conn., May 17, 2023 — Four more award recipients have been announced by the Connecticut Sports Media Alliance (CSMA), with the winners to be honored at the 81st annual Gold Key Dinner this fall.


· Hal Levy High School Achievement Award – Robert “Jiggs” Cecchini, retired Suffield High School coach and administrator. Longtime chairman of the CIAC boys basketball committee, he was the driving force behind moving Connecticut’s high school basketball state championships to the Mohegan Sun Arena in 2009. The Jiggs Cecchini Holiday Basketball Challenge, pitting four high school teams from Connecticut against Rhode Island, debuted in 2022.


· Bob Casey Courage Award – Ann and Paul Dagle, East Lyme. After their 19-year-old son took his own life in 2011, they formed the Brian Dagle Foundation, and annually address hundreds of male and female student-athletes about their loss, as well as the importance of mental health, suicide awareness and prevention. They also opened Brian’s Healing Hearts Center for Hope and Healing in Niantic in 2018.


· Bo Kolinsky Special Recognition Award – Rand Pecknold, Quinnipiac University men’s ice hockey coach. For the first time in program history, the Bobcats captured the Division I NCAA championship, upending Minnesota 3-2 in overtime on April 8. Quinnipiac finished with a 34-4-3 record, giving Pecknold 615 victories since taking over behind the bench in 1994.


· Art McGinley Media Award – Vickie Fulkerson, New London Day. She has provided thorough coverage of high school, college and professional sports for more than three decades, and was recently inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She serves on the CSMA Gold Key Award nominating committee and as Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame program biographer.


Gold Key recipients for 2023 are Darien High School volleyball coach Laurie LaRusso, longtime Norwich Free Academy coach and athletic director Gary Makowicki, 1976 Olympian and former distance running world record setter Jan Merrill-Morin, North Branford High School field hockey coach Babby Nuhn and 27-year Major League Baseball umpire Terry Tata. Dr. Leslie Wrixon of Glastonbury, winner of the 1982 Manchester Road Race women’s division while still in high school, will receive the President’s Award.


The honorees will be feted at the Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club in the Plantsville section of Southington. Tickets are $75, and are available by contacting CSMA president Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at 860-394-5091 or tim.jensen@patch.com.


Proceeds support the Bo Kolinsky Memorial Sports Media Scholarship, a $3,000 annual 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.


Winners of the Doc McInerney High School Coaches of the Year, Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year, Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year and John Wentworth Good Sport awards, as well as the Kolinsky scholarship, will be announced in late June.

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