A pair of coaches who guided their teams to thrilling state championship seasons in perfect fashion will be honored by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.
Newtown football coach Bobby Pattison and Guilford field hockey coach Kitty Palmer will receive the Doc McInerney High School Coach of the Year Award from the CSWA at the 79th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, April 26 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
In his third season as head coach, Pattison led the Nighthawks to their first state football championship since 1992. The 13-7 Class LL championship win over Darien came in dramatic fashion on a 36-yard touchdown pass as time expired, and occurred on Dec. 14, the seventh anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown.
Pattison’s team completed a 13-0 season and finished with an undefeated regular season record for the second straight year. The team proved a stout defensive group, with six shutouts, including two in the postseason, while allowing an average of only 6.5 points per game.
Palmer’s 38th season at the helm of the Indians proved her most successful, as Guilford successfully defended its Class M championship by posting a 23-0 record. The Indians outscored opponents by a 126-13 margin, and ended the year with a 31-game winning streak, dating to Oct. 2018.
The year not only ended on a championship note for Palmer, but also began that way, as her top-seeded Hand girls tennis team won the Class M title by defeating Lauralton Hall 6-1. This gave Palmer the rare distinction of leading two state championship teams at two different schools in two different sports in the same calendar year.
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.
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 Sports Journalism Scholarship, named after a longtime Hartford Courant sportswriter and past CSWA president who died unexpectedly in 2003.