Dave Johnson, commissioner of the South West Conference since 2015, will be honored with the Hal Levy High School Achievement Award by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance at the 79th Gold Key Dinner on April 26 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
Johnson began teaching in Stratford in 1979; two years later, he became athletic director at Bunnell High School, a post he held until 2015. In his 37 years at the school, he coached track & field, basketball and cross country, then held numerous officer positions with the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors (CAAD) and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC).
He served the South West Conference in many roles since 1996, prior to assuming the commissioner post five years ago. Among the dozens of accolades he has received are the state Athletic Director of the Year from the Connecticut High School coaches Association in 2010, and the National Athletic Director of the Year from the National High School Athletic Coaches Association in 2011.
Gold Key Award recipients for 2020 are five legendary scholastic coaches: Cookie Bromage (Enfield field hockey), Joe Grippo (Morgan girls volleyball and girls basketball), Lou Milardo (Hale-Ray softball), Ricky Shook (Danbury wrestling) and Angela Tammaro (Greenwich Academy field hockey and lacrosse). Baseball Hall of Fame honoree Claire Smith, 2017 recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, will receive the President’s Award.
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 – Joe Cronin, Julius Boros, Willie Pep, Lindy Remigino, Floyd Little, Joan Joyce, Otto Graham, Calvin Murphy, Gordie Howe, Bill Rodgers, Geno Auriemma, Rebecca Lobo, Brian Leetch, Kristine Lilly, Marlon Starling, Dwight Freeney and ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen 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. Proceeds from the event benefit the Bo Kolinsky Memorial.