Betsy J. Gilmartin

Betsy has been involved with volleyball for almost 40 years. She has participated in every possible aspect of the game: officiating, playing, coaching, committee member and administrator. When Betsy attended high school there were few if any opportunities for girls to play scholastic sports. So girls had to look for other places to play and that meant recreational leagues. Being a good athlete who wanted to play, Betsy looked and found her outlet at the Meriden Girls’ Club where she played basketball and softball. In fact, her basketball team won the New England championship one year.

It should come as no surprise that when Betsy arrived at Southern Connecticut State College in 1964 she tried out for every team she could. Possessing excellent athletic ability, a positive attitude and tremendous desire she not only played basketball and softball but she also made the field hockey and track teams in spite of her lack of experience in the sports. Betsy also played on Southern’s first volleyball team in her senior year.

Betsy’s brief college experience in volleyball set her on quite a journey. From 1969- 1972 she continued playing volleyball on the Connecticut Clippers US Volleyball Association team along with other CTWVHF members John Joyce, Debbie Chin and Linda Hamm. The Clippers were very successful and qualified to compete in four national tournaments (Knoxville, Birmingham, Salt Lake City and Honolulu). They were also instrumental in introducing “power volleyball” to our area providing numerous clinics to high school and college players and coaches.

In 1968 that she was hired to teach physical education and coach at North Haven High School. She tried her hand at officiating volleyball for a couple of years and then turned to coaching. She coached the North Haven volleyball team from 1970- 1972. Then in 1979 she served as assistant volleyball coach at Central Connecticut State University. Betsy was hired at Mercy High School in Middletown in 1983, serving as PE teacher, coach and athletic director. In 1984 she returned to coaching starting Mercy’s volleyball program. During her 10 year tenure as coach, Mercy qualified for state tournament play six times and advanced to the semifinals one year.

Betsy also served volleyball in leadership roles other than coaching. From 1987- 1996 she served on the CIAC volleyball committee. She was volleyball chairman of the Connecticut High School Coaches’ Association from 1987- 1993. Betsy is a founder and cochairman of the Senior All-Star game. She has been the chairman of the Southern Connecticut Conference Volleyball Coaches since 1994 and she is a founding member of the Connecticut Scholastic Woman’s Volleyball Hall of Fame.

Posted in 2006, High School Coach, Mercy- Middletown.