After 39 seasons at the helm of the Trinity Catholic Boys Basketball program, Mike Walsh has announced his decision to retire from full-time coaching, hoping to spend more time as a full-time grandfather to his eight grandchildren.
The decision was announced in a press release sent out by Trinity Catholic Sunday evening.
Walsh plans to stay involved with the program at Trinity as it transitions to its first new coach since Jimmy Carter was President.
“Trinity has been a large part of my life since I began my coaching career in 1973 as an Assistant Coach in basketball and baseball,” Walsh said. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, and even more so of the many student-athletes who have graduated TCHS and gone on to be successful in life. I look forward to continuing helping that success, not only in the basketball program, but more importantly Trinity Catholic High School.”
Walsh retired with 633 wins, fourth most in state history.
Since taking over as head varsity basketball coach in 1979, Trinity teams under Walsh have won seven CIAC state championships and six FCIAC titles as the Crusaders reached the state final 13 times and the FCIAC championship game 11 times, beginning with Walsh’s first FCIAC title in 1993.
Trinity’s last championship was the Class S title in 2017.
His teams appeared in 8 of 9 FCIAC championship games, winning five, including a record-tying three straight from 2003-05.
“We are privileged to have someone of the caliber of Mike (Walsh) continue on in a role in our distinguished basketball program, and as a school and student ambassador,” Trinity athletic director Bob Robustelli said. “Coach Walsh will be providing vital support to Trinity and the new head coach in matters on and off the court, including devoting his time to helping the school’s basketball student-athletes achieve academic success to enable them to reach their future collegiate and other post-graduation goals.”
Walsh has sent numerous players on to NCAA Division-1 basketball including John Smyth (Princeton), Rashamel Jones (UConn), Earl Johnson (Rutgers-Iona), Torey Thomas (Holy Cross), Dave McClure (Duke), Craig Austrie (UConn) and Schadrac Casimir (Iona, Florida Gulf Coast).
Smyth, who returned as an assistant coach for many years under Walsh, said it is the relationship with his players which will be Walsh’s lasting legacy.
“When people think of Mike (Walsh), their thoughts focus on his winning record and numerous county and state championships.” Smyth said. “The real story is Mike’s interest in his players as persons- the lifelong relationship Mike has with his players, helping them develop into great young men and successful people throughout their lives.”
As testament to their relationship with Walsh, many of his player would routinely return to Trinity, watching games from the baseline.
Tyrell St. John graduated from Trinity in 2015 and said Walsh created a special atmosphere at the school where old players always wanted to come back and support the current players.
“It meant a lot to see those guys all come back,” St. John said in 2016. “I know when I am out of college I’ll be coming back too. Those guys don’t just come back and watch games, they come to practice and help the players playing now. People are just attracted to Coach Walsh. He’s a funny guy and even people that don’t play basketball would always be around him at Trinity.”
Walsh hopes one day, one of the grandchildren he is off to spend time with, ends up playing on the court bearing the family name.
“Perhaps I’ll see my five-year old grandson play basketball and baseball at Trinity one day,” Walsh said. “That would be a blessing.”
The Walsh File
FCIAC final appearances: 12
FCIAC titles: 6
2001-2009: Appeared in 8 of 9 FCIAC championship games, winning five, including a record-tying three straight from 2003-05 and nine straight East Division titles
State final appearances: 13
State championships: 7
1999-2005: 7 straight trips to CIAC championship games (4 wins)
2012: Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance Gold Key recipient