Sandy Doski

In a career that spans over four decades, Sandy Doski credits the sport of volleyball for providing a great community to raise her children Abbey and Jeremy. Her passion for volleyball created lifelong friends and it was during a grass volleyball tournament that she would meet her future husband Gary of thirty-four years. In the Fall of her freshman year at New Milford High School, Sandy found herself trying out for the girls’ volleyball team in part because it did not require a lot of running! Head coach Bill Kraft selected Sandy to the team and together they embraced their pursuit of knowledge and passion for the sport of volleyball.

While attending the Total #1 Volleyball Camp run by future Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame member, Class of 1998 Debbie Chin, Sandy would share her experiences with her high school team. A true coach in the making. In 1980, during Sandy’s senior year,

Northeastern University began the recruiting process and would eventually offer Sandy a scholarship to play volleyball. The opportunity to play at Northeastern University would have a lasting impression upon Sandy. She would over the years commit herself to give back to the volleyball community that changed her life for the better. In 1987, while working in her hometown of New Milford, Sandy was offered the junior varsity coaching position at New Milford High School. She would find herself back on the sidelines with her former high school coach Bill Kraft. A few years later, John MacMillan persuaded her to join him in coaching the junior varsity at New Fairfield High School.

In 1994, the lure of grass volleyball tournaments proved too strong to resist. Sandy and her husband Gary took over running the tournaments where they had originally met. With an infant and a toddler in tow, she would continue to coach at New Fairfield High School. Sandy remarks fondly, “my kids are the true definition of gym rats”. After thirteen years of coaching at New Fairfield High School, Sandy began coaching at Newtown High School where her daughter Abbey attended. Coaching the junior varsity and being an assistant varsity coach to Tom Czaplinski, Sandy would coach her daughter Abbey for four years all the way to a CIAC Class LL State Championship her senior year in 2012. In her attempt to support her son Jeremy, Sandy would retire from coaching and become a volleyball referee. That was in 2012 and eleven years later, she is still climbing those stands with a whistle and her red and yellow cards in her back pocket.

Next on tap for this volleyball enthusiasts would be creating the boys’ volleyball program at Newtown High School in 2015. With thirty athletes trying out, the stage was set. The first season saw the Night Hawks go 3-13, but this would soon change. In the next few years under the coaching of Sandy, the boys’ volleyball team would win two Southwest Conference Championships. Sandy would again team up with her son running the outdoor grass tournaments and coaching at the local club. Partnering with the outdoor grass program she joined her son in raising money for the Nectar Fund, an organization that awards volleyball scholarships.                             

With gratitude Sandy remarks, “volleyball has been the source of many great things in my life, and I could not have done it without the support of so many people over the years. Staying involved in the sport as I got older was a way for me to stay connected to the world that gave me so much joy. I love volleyball and feel blessed to be able to pay it forward”.

Coral Richardson

Coral Richardson began playing volleyball in 1974, her senior year at Bristol Eastern High School. In 1975, she went on to play volleyball at Southern Connecticut State College for

four-years. The Owls won the 1977 New England Volleyball Championships. Coral also played basketball for four-years and softball for one year at SCSC. Upon graduation, she continued to compete in numerous tournaments traveling throughout the Northeast with the New England Yankee Volleyball Association.

In 1990, Coral began to compete in National USA Volleyball tournaments. She played in over fifteen tournaments located throughout the United States and was fortunate enough to bring back medals for over half of those tournaments. For the past twelve-years, Coral has competed in the Huntsman’s World Senior Games in Utah and has been awarded six Gold medals, two Silver medals and two Bronze medals. A highlight in Coral’s senior career was to qualify for the

Senior USA team that traveled to New Zealand to compete in the World Master’s games. Coral continues to perform at a high level achieving numerous victories in the beach and grass volleyball circuit.

During the 1980’s, Coral began coaching volleyball at Bristol Central High School, as well as AAU and USA Juniors Club in Connecticut. A coaching career that spanned over two decades, Coral loved growing the sport of volleyball, until she resigned in 2001. Coaching Track and Field at the high school level for thirteen-years has solidified Coral’s commitment to scholastic athletes. Over the past twenty-years, Coral has been officiating high school, AAU, USA Club and NCAA volleyball matches.  

For the past five-years, Pickle Ball has been a passion for Coral. She has played in several tournaments and won a Gold medal, two Silver medals and two Bronze medals respectively.

Coral is quoted as saying,

“All the sports and teams that I have had the luxury to play on specifically the sport of volleyball helped me grow as a person and athlete and provided me with positive influences in my life. When you love something, it is hard not to strive to do your very best.”

Jeanne Cooper

Jeanne Cooper

Jeanne Cooper is a lifetime sports enthusiast. Playing Volleyball, Field Hockey, Basketball and Softball all four years at North Babylon High School in New York. Captain her senior year on the volleyball team, Jeanne credits her coach Marilyn Cross for instilling in her athlete’s a true sense of sportsmanship and an unwavering competitive fire to “never give up”.

Her collegiate career began at Southern Connecticut State College. Playing volleyball for future Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Famer, Lou Albrecht (Class of 2000) and then managed the team under Joan Barbarich another Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Famer (Class of 2000). Both are experiences that solidified her path of excellence. Following up her collegiate career, Jeanne became the Assistant Volleyball Coach at the University of Bridgeport working along side Cindy Laughlin.

The next 16 years, would find Jeanne at the helm of the Hillhouse High School Girls Volleyball team. Coaching the Bulldogs to numerous District League Titles and CIAC State Tournament appearances. In 1982, Hillhouse reached the State Class M Finals against Branford High School. Capping the season off with a ranking of 3rd in the state.

During her high school coaching career, Jeanne was selected as the Head Coach for the Connecticut East All-Star Team. Furthering her commitment to the sport she was a member of the CIAC Volleyball Committee and served as the CIAC Volleyball Tournament Director. In 2002 she stepped down as the Athletic Director at Hillhouse High School to become the

Director of Health Physical and Athletics for the Hamden Public Schools. After a brief retirement, Jeanne became the Director of Athletics for the Laurelton Hall College Preparatory School for Girls.

Jeanne Cooper’s career in athletics spans over 40 years. Including serving on the Southern Connecticut Conference Executive Committee and the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors Executive Committee. She is also a recipient of the Northeast Women’s Hall of Fame Award, the Robert M Duncanson Meritorious Service Award from the CIAC and recognized of by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association for service of 20 years.

In addition, Jeanne has been awarded the “Pathfinder Award” presented by the National Association of Girls and Women in Sports. She also received from the Women and Families Center of Central Connecticut the prestigious recognition of the “Women in Leadership Award”.

Currently residing in The Villages Florida, Jeanne finds herself playing golf, pickleball and mahjong. She volunteers for a non-profit “Friends of SoZo Kids Inc. assisting children living in poverty in the Ocala National Forest, Board member of the Open Circle MCC church and Captain of the Hacienda Hills Village Cup Team.

Robert Lehr

My only experience as a volleyball coach was in the early 1970s when I started a boys’ volleyball program at Spring Grove High School in Pennsylvania.  I kept 11 players on the team so that I could play.  We practiced every morning at 6:30 A.M.  I still remember girls’ volleyball from the 1950’s when each player was permitted two hits, which meant a player could bump it to herself and then set another player.  Thankfully that soon gave way to power volleyball, and look at the game today; incredibly popular at all levels and throughout the world.  I am recently retired from the CIAC where I was given the opportunity to oversee volleyball.  My wife and I have the good fortune of raising our granddaughter, who was a pretty good ski racer-until she found volleyball.  She played volleyball at Kennedy Middle School and eventually transferred to St. Paul Catholic High School.  Because of the beauty of the game itself as well as my granddaughter Olivia’s participation, I grew to love the game, at all levels.  I tried throughout my years at the CIAC to keep volleyball moving forward and upward, including the maintenance of a good relationship with club volleyball, something that hopefully benefitted both entities.  I hope that in some small way that I gave back something positive to volleyball, because it gave me wonderful professional and personal opportunities and memories.  I am extremely grateful for the honor.

James Borbas

As a result of the 1984 Olympics USA men’s success, Jim’s interest in the sport went from recreational to a more serious focus. He began to play and learn more about the indoor game in the winter, while in the summer playing grass and beach tournaments becoming an avid fan of the AVP.
Jim’s coaching career spans more than 20 years at the high school, club and college levels. In 1995, he attended Volleyball’s 100th Anniversary celebration at Springfield, MA in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four. He was a member of USAV achieving coaching certifications CAP-1 in 1997 at Massachusetts and CAP-II at the USOTC at Colorado Springs in 1999. He was also a member of the AVCA and attended several NCAA Final Fours and coaches’ conventions.

His first coaching opportunity came in 1994 at Crosby High School in Waterbury. After a few years of hard work, the program began to grow and improve. In 1998, he guided his team to the school’s first-ever postseason tournament. As a member of the Naugatuck Valley League Jim proposed, organized, and hosted the first-ever postseason Conference tournament that continues today. In his last season, he led the 2001 Lady Bulldogs to their best record and the school second postseason appearance.

Jim’s USAV Junior Club coaching began with Connecticut Jrs during the 1994-95 winter season where he coached boys for two seasons. He’s only coach boys one other time and that was the Cheshire Rams in the spring of 2002. For the 1996-97 season, Jim transitioned to the girls’ local program. By the winter of 2003, he moved to the travel program as a coach and director. Under his tutelage, the program transitioned from primarily Regional to National with schedules beyond New England and much success for its national teams. In 2006, Jim’s 18U travel team won the New England region championships. His 2008 16U national team was his most memorable. They finished top five in a handful of events and 3rd at East Coast Championships in Pittsburgh. He also won the New England national bid to USAV Junior national championships in Dallas, TX, the first 16-under team from Connecticut to do so. Jim also coached other teams that went to USAV Junior and AAU Nationals. He has coached numerous summer camps and countless private lessons.

In August 2005, Jim joined the staff of the Yale Women’s Volleyball team as an assistant coach for six seasons. He assisted in practice, scouting, travel, and spring training for the Lady Bulldogs. His most memorable season was again, 2008, as the women who came in with him as freshman helped lead the program to an Ivy League Championship and an NCAA first-round victory over Ohio at host Penn State, the first Ivy school to ever accomplish the feat in volleyball.

Jim began officiating in the fall of 2003 where his experience as a player and Coach helped him excel quickly. While at Yale, he officiated boys in the spring and eventually back to the girls in the fall of 2011. In the summer of 2014, Jim was asked to take over as state rules interpreter where he continues in that role. He is a member of the state official’s board and is a consultant to the CIAC girls’ volleyball committee.

As of late, Jim primarily officiates the girls and boys high school Seasons. He is grateful for all his experiences as a coach, official, and as a player.

Elena Lockett

Elena has been an active volleyball player with 33 years’ experience playing both high level beach and indoor volleyball. She is an active coach with 12 years’ experience coaching at the high school and club level. She serves as a camp director and private coach helping to grow the sport locally.

Elena was a 3 year varsity starter at Fitch High School, earning All State Honorable Mention and her team’s choice as Most Valuable Player in 1989. She was a Silver Medalist at Yankee Volleyball Nationals and has earned more than 20 indoor league and beach volleyball championships in New England.

Her record as a Junior Varsity coach at Fitch High School was an impressive 163-21 overall. As an assistant, she was part of 2 Conference Championship teams and the 2008 Class LL State Finalists. Elena also gives her time to young volleyball players in the club system in her area. Her teams have earned 6 Gold Medals and 3 Silver Medals in NERVA Volleyball Tournaments.

Most importantly however is how her peers, specifically two Hall of Fame members, acknowledge and admire her contribution to the sport of volleyball.

“Elena is a true competitor and her love for the game is enduring. I don’t know anyone who has sustained her level of involvement in the sport, competing and coaching over the years. ”

“Elena has been instrumental in the promotion and growth of volleyball in southeastern Connecticut. She demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities and never seeks personal recognition for her efforts.”

Cathy D’Apice

Cathy attended Conard High School in West Hartford, CT, graduating in 1979 with both academic and athletic honors. Cathy played volleyball all four years and was co-captain her senior year, when Conard won their class CCIL division. She was a versatile athlete and was Co-Captain of Conard’s only undefeated women’s basketball team, winning their division and ultimately the State Class L Championship. She also lettered in softball and track. Her nickname was “Ice D’Apice” because she was so cool under pressure. Although fiercely competitive, she would be the first person to flash a smile on the court or give a hand to help a competitor off the floor.

Cathy attended Ithaca College, where she continued her volleyball career playing for Coach Dr. Sara Rich from 1979-1982. She was a four-year starter, and was named Captain her junior and senior years. Selected to New York All-State Women’s Volleyball First Team, Cathy also received the organization’s Most Valuable Player award. In 1983, she was named to the 1983 “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges”. Cathy loved the sport so much that in the off-season she coached and captained her intramural volleyball team. Cathy graduated a Dean’s List student in 1983, earning a BS in Business and Finance. The Ithaca Volleyball program now has an annual award in Cathy’s memory given to “the senior team member who is an outstanding student, team leader, and positive role model on and off the court”.

After graduation, Cathy continued to compete in area USVBA tournaments and was a member of the New London Volleyball Club that won the New England Women’s Open Division Regional Championship in 1988… this, one year after her diagnosis of breast cancer. She was 25 years old. Over the next several years, she continued to play in doubles tournaments along the East Coast, as well as playing in the inaugural Nutmeg State Games in 1989, and again in 1990, where she received the “Athlete of the Year” across all women’s sports at that year’s games. Cathy accomplished all this while undergoing continued treatment for breast cancer.Cathy died a year later, on September 17, 1991, a few days before her 30th birthday.

Beginning in the spring of 1996, the first annual Cathy D’Apice Memorial Volleyball Tournament was held, raising money for CT-based breast cancer research, under the leadership of Volleyball Hall of Fame member, Fran Vandermeer. The tourney featured a mix of collegiate Division I, II, and III women’s teams, along with several club teams. Participants raised over $100,000 in 20 years of play. There is now an annual research grant given in Cathy’s name by the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative.Cathy is loved and missed by so many.

Jerry Mallory


Jerry Mallory was born in Ohio. He played volleyball while he was in the Navy from 1966 to 1986. His Navy team played in many Regional Tournaments.

Jerry also began his career as a referee in 1986 in the volleyball league at the Submarine Base in Groton and continues to officiate there. Shortly after he began, Tony Aretakis suggested to him that he become a high school official. Barbara Startup trained him and he was evaluated at UConn at a pre-season scrimmage. In 1987, he was rated as a state referee and a certified line judge. In 1988, he officiated college matches which were part of the NAGWS – the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports. Jerry remembers their uniform included blue and white striped, double knit shirts that were both uncomfortable and hot! Jerry began officiating boys’ varsity matches at the beginning of boys’ high school volleyball in Connecticut.

In 1988, Jerry also began officiating girls’ high school matches and from 1992 to 1994; he served as the Officials’ Board Vice-Chair. He later officiated high school state tournaments, high school state tournament finals, as well as Division I college tournaments. He remembers marathon volley-ball tournaments at Eastern Connecticut State College when officials would walk in at 9:00 AM and leave at midnight!

From 1988 to 2014, Jerry was the Groton Park and Recreation Adult Volley-ball League Supervisor and head referee and continues to serve as the referee. In addition, from 1989 to 2009 Jerry volunteered as the coordinator / supervisor for Southeastern Connecticut Easter Seals Volleyball Marathon. In addition from 1998 to the present, he is an Executive Board Member-at-Large for the Southern New England Board of Officials.

Jerry has been involved with volleyball for 45 years as a player and official at almost every level of competitive volleyball.

Syd Lillick

Syd’s interest and support of volleyball goes back 25 years to when she worked with Debbie Chin at Hillhouse High School. It was during that tiem that she began working as a volleyball official both at the high schoola nd collegiate levels.  She continued in that role as well as serving as the coordinator of volleyball officials for greater New Haven.

Syd was responsible for scheduling officials for some 35 area schools and was instrumental in training new officials.  Syd also scheduled officials for the CIAC state volleyball tournament.  She tirelessly contributed countless hours to interscholastic volleyball in Connecticut.

Syd is presently an Assistant Principal at Cross Annex High School in New Haven.

Pat Ryan

Pat’s love of the game of volleyball began 30 years ago. He started playing volleyball in 1976, the fall of his senior year in high school in Northampton, MA.  There was no boys’ volleyball team, so in 1975 two boys went out for the girls’ volleyball team.  By his senior year there were actually six boys on the formerly all-girls team.

There were very few opportunities for boys to play volleyball back then and Pat subsequently played club volleyball at UMass/Amherst with his presenter, Steve Geryk.  He played college club volleyball for three years and was named to the All New England team each year and he was selected Player of the Year twice.  After finishing his collegiate club career, Pat started playing with adult teams in New England regional championships (as recently as 2006).  At the US National Championships his teams have placed as high as 3rd (highest ever for a New England team). He was named an Open Division All American four times and was also selected the 30 and over Player of the Year. One of the most memorable highlights of pat’s career was when he played on the USA Select Team at the Pacific Ocean Games in Columbia, South America in 1995 and winning a gold medal.

In 1996 Pat’s friend Steve Geryk convinced him to take the assistant coach position for the Glastonbury High School boys’ team and then to fill in with the girls’ team in the fall of the same year.  That was it… he was hooked on coaching.  In 1999 at the urging of some of his high school players and parents, Pat founded Husky Junior Volleyball Club.  Initially there were only six teams , but it has grown to be the largest USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Club in New England with 30 girls teams and three boys teams.

Pat could not pick just one person who was most influential to his volleyball career. There would be Don Matus (his high school coach) who introduced him to the sport; Dave Castanon (New England regional commissioner for USA Volleyball now) the captain/coach of Pat’s first high level team; and Steve Geryk who brought him into coaching.