Stamford athletic director Chris Passmano said he owes the majority of his career to Norwalk athletic director Doug Marchetti.
Marchetti gave Passamano his first coaching job and while at Norwalk, and Passamano learned how to be an athletic director by watching Marchetti conduct his business.
It is fitting that both the Norwalk and Stamford athletic departments are getting honored by Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference with the Michaels Achievement Cup Award in the same year.
“I am not shy in saying Doug is my mentor. I have my career because of Doug. He taught me how to be an AD,” Passamano said. “I love the guy and anytime I can share anything with him it’s special. Anytime your name is associated with Doug Marchetti, you feel like you are doing something right.”
Marchetti said he is proud of what Passamano has accomplished at Stamford, and to be recognized alongside him.
“I am thrilled for Chris and the Stamford program,” Marchetti said. “Chris worked closely with me at Norwalk, and has done a great job at Stamford with the programs he has put in. There are some fabulous ADs on that list getting this award and it is an honor to be among them.”
The CIAC announced last week that 16 high schools earned the Michaels Achievement Cup Award for the 2019-20 academic year.
Along with Norwalk and Stamford, the schools receiving the award are Amity, Barlow, Bethel, Bloomfield, Brookfield, Granby Memorial, Ledyard, Lyme-Old Lyme, Simsbury, Suffield, Woodstock Academy, Westbrook, Weston and Wolcott Tech.
Schools submit applications for the award based on their sportsmanship, community service and participation in the CIAC’s Class Act program.
“The Michaels Cup Committee recognized these exemplary athletics programs for their willingness to subscribe to the Class Act Sportsmanship standards, empowering students to take an active role in their school climate and their continued support for community service,” the CIAC’s announcement said. “These 16 schools have made sportsmanship a priority in their district.”
Stamford is getting the award for the first time because of its “Pink Out” and “Stamford Strong” campaigns.
“It’s a big deal. We have high expectations for our students and we are proud to represent the school and the city with this award,” Passamano said. “My thing has been about adjusting the culture, making it more community-based and team-based. This fits in with what we are trying to do. It runs through sports, but it encompasses the whole school.”
Norwalk was recognized for the work of the Bear Pack student section which participates in community service projects including a campus cleanup, an annual charity dodgeball game and their own “Pink Out” and breast cancer awareness initiatives.
“This is a kid-driven award,” Marchetti said. “They have to follow through with anything we propose. The Bear Pack have been incredible and embraced everything we’ve done at the school. They are so much more than a cheering section, they are a valuable part of the community. They have helped shift the overall culture at the school.”
It is also the first time Norwalk has won the award.
The schools will be recognized at a virtual Sportsmanship Conference on Feb. 10.
Schools can opt into the CIAC’s Class Act Schools initiative, “striving to follow an established set of guidelines for behavior at sporting events, and creating a student-led group to monitor and address sportsmanship concerns within the school.”