STAMFORD — The plaques were side by side, as they should be.
The late Paul Kuczo Sr. was an amazing coach at Stamford High School. But his greatest legacy was as a pioneer and the most fertile mind in the creation of the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference.
His son, John Kuczo, as commissioner, carried the FCIAC forward into the super-conference it is today.
“My dad was my hero. Everyone in Connecticut knew my dad,” John Kuczo said. “My dad was the driving force in the creation of the FCIAC. He was also instrumental in starting the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA). My goal during my life was to try to fill my dad’s shoes.”
On Friday, father and son had their plaques unveiled at the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame, located on the second floor of Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford.
The Kuczos are also together in the FCIAC Hall of Fame, which joined the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame exhibit permanently Friday. Paul Kuczo was among the FCIAC inaugural inductees in 1995. John Kuczo was part of the Class of 1996.
In the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame, the Kuczos are the 2018 inductees into the J. Walter Kennedy Community Service Wing.
“(Former Stamford mayor and former NBA commissioner) J. Walter Kennedy is my godfather,” John Kuczo said. “J. Walter Kennedy was the manager on a number of my dad’s teams at Stamford High School.”
Paul Kuczo coached at Stamford High School from 1928 through 1958 then moved into the athletic director’s job. In a time before soccer and lacrosse, Paul Kuczo was the head coach in football, basketball and baseball.
The gymnasium at SHS is the Paul Kuczo gym for good reason.
“My dad earned a full scholarship to Villanova University where he played football. He played pro football for the Staten Island Steamrollers until bad knees ended his career,” John Kuczo said. “So many kids he coached considered my dad their second father. Players always came over to our house.”
Paul Kuczo would be proud and amazed as the FCIAC grew from 12 to 16 to 19 back to its current 17 schools with John Kuczo (named commissioner 1978, retired in 2016) and Dave Schulz as the league commissioners.
“The FCIAC started for practical reasons,” John Kuczo said. “It was about scheduling games through a central source. Normally, each coach did his own scheduling independently. And it was about putting together a stable cadre of officials to consistently ref our league’s games.”