Marilyn Mather

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Marilyn began her 4-year volleyball coaching career at the US Coast Guard Academy in 1993.  During that time, her teams compiled a 119-23 match record. They were league champions and undefeated in their three-year membership in the Northeast Women’s Athletic Conference.  In 1995 and ’96, her teams were ranked second in New England and in the top 15 nationally.  They were selected for the NCAA tournament those seasons, and were the first women’s sport team from the Coast Guard to achieve that honor. Marilyn’s players garnered numerous awards while in competition for the Coast Guard.

In 1994, the American Volleyball Coaches Assoc. selected Marilyn as the Regional Coach of the Year.  That same year she was named the New England Women’s Volleyball Assoc.’s Coach of the Year.  In 1995 she was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

After leaving the Coast Guard, Marilyn coached at Albertus Magnus College for four more years and she continues to be involved in volleyball as a high school official.

Marilyn has recently completed work on her Doctoral degree and has accepted a position at Dowling College on Long Island.

 

Kathryn Symonds

Kathy began her outstanding coaching career at Amity High School in 1977 where she coached girls’ volleyball for 14 years.

During her reign her teams captured 12 Housatonic League titles. In CIAC  state tournament competition they had two 5th place finishes, two 3rd place finishes three 2nd place finishes and seven Class L state championships. She had a 93% win-loss record with 258 wins and only 18 losses.

Kathy also coached the Amity boys’ volleyball team for nine seasons, winning five state titles.

She was selected as the Amity High School Coaches Assoc. Coach of the Year in 1981-82, and the Connecticut High School Coaches Assoc. Coach of the Year in 82-83. Kathy was also a 3-time nominee for the National High School Coaches’ Assoc. Coach of the Year for Region I.  Some of Kathy’s other contributions to volleyball include:

  • Member of the CIAC volleyball tournament committee for 8 years;
  • Tournament director for the CIAC volleyball tournament;
  • Site director for the CIAC volleyball tournament;
  • Volleyball chairperson for the CHSCA;
  • Regional director for the CT High School Boys Volleyball League;
  • Coach for the Nutmeg Summer Games;
  • CHSCA All-Star selection committee;
  • President of the Amity Coaches Association;
  • CHSCA Executive Committee (3rd vice president)
  • 15 years as director of the Spartan Volleyball camp.

Kathy coached numerous all-state athletes. She was written up in Sports Illustrated “Faces in the Crowd” in January 8, 1990 and was featured on MSG-TV network in November 1990.

 

Eleanor Lemaire

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Eleanor, a native of Bristol, RI, graduated from Sargent College in 1951 with a BS in Physical Education. She did post graduate work at RI College, NYU, UConn and Columbia University. She began her teaching career in the Simsbury school system.  In 1962 she began a 1 year run as teacher administrator and coach at the University of Bridgport and Arnold College. She finished her professional craeer at the Universtiy of Rhode Island as Senior Associate Director of Athletics prior to retirement in 1992.

During her days in Connecticut, she was a very active volleyball official holding an honorary national rating. After attending the National Institute on Girls Sports in the early ‘60s, she returned to Connecticut where she started conducting volleyball clinics all over the state. Jean Hunt credits Ellie with introcuding the new power volleyball fame to the state and working diligently to educate teachers, coaches and officials to the “modern” technique of the sports as it was being played in California.

Some of her contributions to varous areas of sport included holding offices such as the DGWS officiating coordinator for the east, EAIAW President, AIAW Executive Board, Chair of the RI Board of Officials and the easter district AAHPERD Secretary. She has been inducted into five halls of fame and she has received numerous honors for administration.

Ellie afforded many high school and college women the opportunity to play and compete, but she never had the opportunity herself. In high school and college, no varsity sport for women offered or allowed in the 40’s and 50’s.

 

Brenda A. Reilly

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Brenda received her BA and MA in Physical Education from California State University at Los Angeles. She continued her education receiving her Doctorate in Physical Education from Springfield College.

Brenda played on the Connecticut Clippers USVA team from ’75-’79.  During that span she also worked as a NAGSW volleyball referee.

She was a member of numerous top-level softball teams including the Raybestos Brakettes.

During her tenure at CCSU, Brenda was the associate athletic director, taught Physical Education, and coached volleyball for 8 years, qualifying for the EIAW Regionals 7 times, softball and was the head women’s basketball coach for 25 years. Brenda’s coaching experiences apart from CCSU included:

  • Assistant coach of the 1991 Olympic Sports Festival Women’s basketball team;
  • The Raybestos Brakettes farm team;
  • Pitching coach for the Italian National softball team;
  • Coaching the Connecticut Falcons to two women’s professional world softball championships;
  • Coaching women’s professional softball team against the People’s Republic of China in a seven game series (7-0).

She received numerous awards for her contributions to women’s sports in Connecticut. Some include:

  • 2000 Women’s Basketball Assoc. Jostens-Berenson Service Award;
  • 1994 induction into the VFW New Britain Sports Hall of Fame (first woman)
  • 1992 Nutmeg Games Living Legend Award
  • 1990 Kodak District I Coach of the Year;
  • 1988 Connecticut Sports Writers’ Gold Key Award.

Brenda Reilly was truly an icon in women’s sports in Connecticut.

New York Times Obituary

Nell-Ayn Aloi Lynch

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Nell-Ayn made her mark on Connecticut scholastic volleyball while at Amity Regional High School. She began in 1983 and earned her first varsity letter in 1984.

She was selected a team captain in 1986 and her team captured the Class L state titles in 1983, ’85 and ’86.  She was selected to the CIAC All-State team in ’85 and ’86.  Other honors she received while at Amity included the Amity Athlete of the Month in 1985 and the New Haven Register Athlete of the Week in 1986.

She was awarded a full athletic scholarship for volleyball at the University of Connecticut where she started all four years. She was selected the Big East co-player of the in in 1988 and Nell-Ayn was elected co-captain of the UConn team in 1990.

Nel-Ayn has coached with Debbie Chin at her “No. 1 Total Volleyball Camp”. She returned to Amity in 1992 to assist head volleyball coach Paul Thees. While working with Paul, the team won the ’94 and ’95 Class L state titles. She then moved on to become head coach of the Newtown High School volleyball team in ’96. Her team won the Class L state championship that year.

 

Newtown Bee: Nell-Ayn (Aloi) Lynch, a social studies teacher at the Newtown Middle School, will be inducted

Marsha McNeil

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Marcia began her volleyball experience while at Westhill High School where she not only competed in volleyball, but basketball and track and field as well. She captained all three teams in her senior year. She achieved all-city and all-county honors for volleyball while at Westhill.  She graduated in 1978.

Marcia then moved on and continued her education and volleyball career playing for coach Debbie Chin at the University of New Haven from 1978 through 1982. She was a four-year starter and a co-captain during her senior year.  She continually led the team in kills and blocks. While competing at UNH, her team earned a 118-61 record. During her freshman year, the team qualified for the quarterfinals of the EAIAW tournament. They continued to qualify for the tournament throughout Marcia’s following three seasons.

The University of New Haven inducted Marcia into their Hall of Fame for both volleyball and basketball.

After UNH, Marcia continued her education at the University of Bridgeport where she earned her MS in Education.

Marcia returned to her high school alma mater to coach volleyball, basketball and track and field. Her career record with her volleyball team at Westhill was an impressive 118-91. The team made numerous trips to the CIAC state tournament, many times advancing to the quarterfinals.

She has sat on various committees and has received numerous service awards. She is presently a police officer with the Stratford Police Department.