Duffy Lynch

Title IX – “No one person in the United States shall, on basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”

Duffy credits all her opportunities and successes to the enactment of Title IX in 1972 and Connecticut Volleyball Hall of Fame Inductees, Edna Fraser, Debbie Chin and Betsy Gilmartin, all of whom, without their tireless efforts on behalf of female athletics, evenings such as this would have never been possible.In 1973, Duffy began her career in athletics, playing volleyball, basketball and softball for Edna Fraser at Joseph A. Foran High School in Milford, Connecticut. In 1975, the Lions would win the school’s first athletic State Championship, capturing the CIAC Class M Volleyball title. Captain her senior year; Duffy led the Lions to the state semi-finals, narrowly missing a repeat. The banner, tattered and dusty continues to hang proudly in the Lion’s Den ever reminding future female leaders of when it all began.

The Lion became a Charger in 1977 receiving a scholarship to play volleyball, basketball and softball for Debbie Chin at the University of New Haven. The women’s program built on pride and perseverance would, in later years, become nationally ranked for their athletic excellence. Duffy will proudly state, “Playing for Debbie Chin is my claim to fame”The Charger became a Tiger in 1995, working with Athletic Director Betsy Gilmartin at Mercy HighSchool. Together they created a volleyball tradition of success that continues today.

In Duffy’s first season the Tigers finished 7-11, but in their second season they finished 21-3. The program has never looked back, continuing to compete in the tough Southern Connecticut Conference and the CIAC State Tournament. The Tiger became a Panther this past season as Duffy took over the volleyball program at Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven. A volleyball coaching career that spans 27 years has been highlighted by contributions such as: Deputy Commissioner Special Olympics World Games, one of the original Connecticut Junior Olympics Volleyball club coaches, Senior All-Star Game coach, Senior All-Star Committee member, CIAC Assistant Coach of the Year, and now a Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame member.

A scholarship, “PAT”, was created in memory of Patrick Launder, Duffy’s husband and Mercy’s #1 Fan, to promote Title IX where numerous players have gone on to become successful collegiate athletes, coaches and leaders in their communities. Title IX Lives On!

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.