Craig Breslow named to County Sports Hall of Fame
The Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame today announced its new class of inductees, naming seven prominent sports figures into its three wings. The Hall of Fame, which is overseen by the Fairfield County Sports Commission, Inc., will honor the newly elected Hall of Famers with an induction ceremony at the Commission’s 10th anniversary Sports Night awards dinner, Monday, Oct. 20, at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. With the seven new inductees, the Hall of Fame has now recognized 65 county sports legends.
For the first time in the 10-year history of the Hall of Fame there was a tie in the voting in one of the wings so an additional seventh inductee will be recognized this year.
The class of 2014 honorees are: Jackie Robinson Professional Wing: Craig Breslow (Trumbull), Julie Chu (Fairfield); James O’Rourke Amateur Wing: Nadine Domond (Bridgeport), the late Mickey Connolly (Norwalk); J. Walter Kennedy Community Service Wing: Efrain “Chico” Chacurian (Bridgeport), the late John “Sharkey” Laureno (Stamford), Marty Roos (Fairfield).
Breslow is currently in his ninth year in the Major Leagues and is one of the top left-handed set-up relievers in baseball.
He was a key member of the 2013 Boston Red Sox World Championship team, pitching in 10 post-season games and winning one in the AL Divisional Series.
After a standout career at Yale where he was team captain, Breslow was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 26th round in 2002. He made his pro debut with the San Diego Padres in 2005.
The Trumbull High graduate, who pitched the school to a Class LL state championship in 1998, also has pitched for Cleveland, Minnesota, Arizona and Oakland. He was second in the American League in appearances by a pitcher in both 2009 (77 games) and 2010 (75 games).
Chu’s 14-year hockey career as a member of the U.S. National team has been filled with major accomplishments and honors.
The Fairfield native, who attended Rosemary Choate during her high school years, is a four-time Olympian and four-time world champion.
She has been one of the leaders of the women’s hockey program and has won thre silver medals and a bronze in the Olympics.
Chu received one of the highest honors a U.S. athlete can receive when she was named by fellow Team USA members to lead the team as flag bearer for the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Games in Socchi.
Chu won the Patty Kazmaier Award in 2007 as the best female collegiate hockey player during an illustrious career at Harvard, where she finished as the NCAA’s all-time points scorer at the time.
Domond was one of the state greatest girls basketball players, scoring 2,300 points in her four-year career at Bridgeport Central High, which is still sixth best all-time in Connecticut.
She was a four-time All-State player and a Parade All American and one of the five players selected for the USA Today All-USA team in 1994.
She led Central to a 27-0 undefeated season and a Class LL state title as a senior in 1994.
Domond played for four years at the University of Iowa, and as the starting point guard led the team in assists and steals as both a junior and senior (96-97, 97-98).
She was the 19th pick of the 1998 WNBA draft as a second rounder for the New York Liberty. She was elected to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.
Connolly is touted by many as the greatest overall athlete to come out of Norwalk, where he was a five-sport high school star with football being his ultimate focus.
He played football at Boston College for legendary coach Frank Leahy and was a key player as a sophomore in BC’s undefeated 1940 national championship football team and played in two bowl games.
He also played hockey and baseball at BC and turned pro briefly in the All-America Football Conference for the Brooklyn Dodgers before an injury curtailed his playing career.
Connolly, who is a member of the Boston College Hall of Fame, then went on to become a successful high school and college football coach and administrator. He passed away in 2006.
Chacurian was a longtime college and amateur team soccer coach and a youth soccer leader throughout the state, as well as being a standout player.
He coached at the collegiate level for 10 years at Southern Connecticut as an assistant and then worked for five years at Yale for both the men’s and women’s programs.
After serving as a men’s assistant for six years (1983-88) at the University of Bridgeport, he became the head women’s coach at the start of that program for 5 years.
Chacurian also managed the nationally-known Vasco da Gama amateur team in Bridgeport from 1974-80.
Chacurian was a legendary player in Argentina before coming to the U.S. to become a U.S. National Team player (1953-54). He is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame (1992), also CT Soccer HOF (1999).
Laureno was a longtime baseball, basketball and football official for over 40 years, as well as a highly successful youth coach in Stamford.
He was one of the founders of Stamford’s Babe Ruth league baseball and led his teams to seven World Series appearances, winning the first three Babe Ruth national titles from 1952-54. His teams won 45 straight games in New England Babe Ruth tourney.
Laureno was inducted into the Babe Ruth League Hall of Fame (1975).
He also coached the Stamford Boys and Girls Club to two state titles in his five years leading that program.
Sharkey, who was also one of the founders of the Shoreline League, the premier softball league in the county, was elected to the CT ASA softball Hall of Fame in 2003. He passed away in 1987.
Roos retired in 2012 after 40 years of coaching with the most victories of any hockey coach in the state with 536.
During his long coaching career he shaped two of the state’s elite programs in Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame of Fairfield.
In 1971 he became the first coach at Prep, where he won 265 games and four state titles in 19 seasons.
Roos spent 21 years at Notre Dame starting in 1991 and helped the Lancers move from Division II to a DI annual competitor, winning a state championship in 1999 and adding another in 2006.
He won a Gold Key in 2011 and is a member of both the CT State HS Coaches (2009) and Notre Dame High HOFs.
The CIAC state hockey tournament is named for Roos.
A total of 15 different towns are represented in the Hall of Fame. The list of previously enshrined FCSHOF inductees follows:
2005-Julius Boros (Fairfield), Kristine Lilly (Wilton), Calvin Murphy (Norwalk), Steve Young (Greenwich)
2006-Bobby Valentine (Stamford), Mo Vaughn (Norwalk)
2007-Mike Gminski (Monroe), Charles Nagy (Fairfield)
2008-Chris Drury (Trumbull), Tim Teufel (Greenwich)
2009-Jennifer Rizzotti (New Fairfield), Charles Smith (Bridgeport)
2010-Garry Cobb (Stamford), John Hirschbeck (Stratford)
2011-John Bagley (Bridgeport), Bennett Salvatore (Stamford)
*Andy Robustelli (Stamford)-selected 2005, inducted 2011
2012-Wes Matthews (Bridgeport), Sue Merz (Greenwich)
2013-James Blake (Fairfield), Mark Hirschbeck (Stratford)
2005-Dorothy Hamill (Riverside), Bruce Jenner (Newtown), Bill Toomey (New Canaan)
2006-Joan Joyce (Stratford), Walter Luckett (Bridgeport)
2007-Jerry Courville, Sr. (Norwalk), Donna Lopiano (Stamford)
2008-Gary Liberatore (New Canaan), Lou Saccone (Bridgeport)
2009-Pete Demmerle (New Canaan), Dick Siderowf (Westport)
2010-Alvin Clinkscales (Bridgeport), Amanda Pape (Stamford)
2011-Joe DeSantis (Fairfield), Ceci Hopp St. Geme (Greenwich)
2012-Ed Finnegan (Stratford), Harold Jensen (Trumbull)
2013-Dennis Paglialunga (New Canaan), Allyson Rioux (Stamford)
J. Walter Kennedy
2005-Dave Bike (Bridgeport), Jerry McDougall (Trumbull)
2006- Ray Barry (Norwalk), Frank Vieira (Bridgeport)
2007-Nick Koules (Stamford), Bruce Webster (Bridgeport)
2008-Ralph King (Norwalk), Tom Penders (Stratford)
2009-Joe Benanto (Shelton), Terry Lowe (Greenwich)
2010-Mickey Lione, Jr. (Stamford), Vito Montelli (Trumbull)
2011-Charlie Bentley (Bridgeport), Albie Loeffler (Westport)
2012-Jim Penders, Sr. (Stratford), David Strong (Monroe)
2013-Don Cook (Fairfield), Earl Lavery (Fairfield)
The Hall of Fame is housed at the University of Connecticut Stamford Campus in downtown Stamford. The Hall of Fame is open 6 days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Fairfield County Sports Commission, Inc. is a 501c (3) non-profit charitable and educational organization that promotes fitness, an active healthy lifestyle and personal development through sports.
The Commission, other than the executive director position, is an all-volunteer group dedicated to creating and supporting programs for fitness awareness education, primarily centered on the 110,000 school age children in the 15 communities it serves.
It’s Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy is the countywide umbrella for all of its programs.
For more information, go to fairfieldcountysports.com.