Joanne’s involvement with volleyball began in 1981 at Maloney High School. She palyed four years in one of the premier programs in the state, coached by Hall of Famer Cindy Opalski. Not only did she learn how to better her skills and playing ability but she also learned the intricacies of the game that would server well as a coach. She showed herself to be someone who could lead as evidenced by her selection as captain. A versatile athlete, Joanne played tennis for four years. She was captain and received the Dan Sullivan Scholarship Award her senior year.
After graduation in 1984, Joanne attended CCSU as an Education major. In the Fall of ’85, she became assistant coach of the Lyman Hall girls’ volleyball team. With that one year coaching experience and start her junior year at Central, Joanne applied for the head coaching position at her alma mater. Maloney’s legendary AD Norb Fahey saw something in young Joanne and hired her for the job; and that rest is, as they say, history. She would remain there for 11 seasons, accruing an impressive 201-33 record, continuing the winning tradition establish by her predecessors. During her tenure as coach, Maloney consistently qualified for post season play, winning 8 CCC South league titles and taking 5 trips to the finals of the CIAC Class L State Championships. In 1989 and 1994, Maloney finished as runner-up and they won the state titles in ’87, ’88 and ’92. Joanne has had many of her players recognized for their playing. They have been selected to receive numerous all-league and all-state honors. Many of her players have gone on to play in college. Joanne has been honored for her outstanding achievement in coaching as well. She was selected Connecticut High School Coaches Assoc. Volleyball Coach of the Year in 1995. In 1996 she received that National High School Coaches Assoc .District 1 Volleyball Coach of the Year and she was one of eight finalists for the NHCA coach of the year.
Joanne has excelled in her teaching career as well as her coaching career. She received the Meriden Exemplary Project Achievement Award in 2001; Meriden Project Excel’s Influential Teacher Recognition (1998-05); 1998 Nomination for “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.” In 2008 Joanne was hired as the Supervisor of Language Art (6-12) for the Meriden Public School System.
Joanne said she was most influenced by her grandmother, Freida Burhardt. A strong woman who encouraged Joanne to strive for excellence, a trait she in turn passed on to the young women she has coached.
Ann started playing volleyball as a sophomore at Amity Regional (Amity was a 3-year senior high school) in 1980. With little experience to speak of but a great deal of talent, she tried out and won a spot as a varsity starter, no small feat on one of the top teams in the state. She was a strong side hitter with great passing skills and quickness which made her an effective player in the back row as well as the front. In fact, her combined talent and attitude earned her the team MVP award that year and she helped lead Amity to the Housatonic League title. As a junior, Ann was named team co-captain and helped her team continue its winning ways. Amity won another Housatonic League championship and added a CIAC Class LL State Title. As a junior, Ann was chosen team MVP for a second time and was selected first team All-Housatonic League and All-State. During her senior year it was more of the same. Amity finished the season 19-3 and won a second State Championship. Ann was once again selected team MVP, All-Housatonic League, and All-State. She also played in Team Connecticut on the AAU circuit that year. Ann’s excellence in athletics was not limited to volleyball, she also played basketball and softball at Amity. In basketball she scored more than 1,300 points in three years and in ’83 was selected as a Carnation Women’s Basketball All-American. In softball, Amity won a state title in ’82 and Ann was selected to the All-State team.
After graduating from Amity, Ann attended New Hampshire College. She played four years of Division II basketball with the Penwomen. In ’87, Ann turned her athletic interest to coaching. Her first position was as the head coach of the mane’s volleyball team at Sacred Heart Universtiy where she remained for two seasons. Currently she is coaching at Coginchaug High School in Durham. She is assisting head volleyball coach Clare Matasavage and she has been the head softball coach for four years. Her softball teams have accrued an amazing 19-1 record in post season play, have advanced to the state finals all four years and have won the Class S championship three times.
In 2004, Amity Regional inducted Ann into the Spartan’s Hall of Fame and retired numbers 7 and 20 in her honor and in 2006 she was inducted into the Connecticut High School Softball Hall of Fame.
Kris was introduced to volleyball at St. Joseph High School in 1989. She was the only freshman member on the team that finished 21-1 and won a state championship. She was a three year starter during which time St. Joe’s accrued an amazing 63-2 record. Kris made a large contribution to that success. According to Coach George Green, Kris was the “perfect” player to coach in terms of attitude, coachability, and interaction with her teammates. Her athletic contributions were also undeniable. In her junior year, Kris’ strength and determination helped lead St. Joseph’s to an undefeated 22-0 season, a trip to the CIAC Class M state finals, and ultimately a state title. She was named to the all-area, all-conference and Hartford Courant All-State teams. As a senior, Kris’ accomplishments continued. She was selected captain of her team and led by example on and off the court. She helped St. Joe’s win a 2nd Class M State Championship and another undefeated season (22-0). Kris earned all-area, all-conference and Hartford Courant All-State honors again. She was also named the Connecticut Post Co-Athlete of the Year (with teammate Kristen McCarthy), she was St. Joseph’s CIAC Scholar Athlete, and a McDonald’s Scholar Athlete. Kris played in the Connecticut High School Coaches Senior All-Star game, and in the Connecticut Nutmeg Games. While at St. Joe’s Kris also played basketball and softball for four years. She was all-conference her senior year in both sports.
After graduation, Kris attended the University of Delaware. As a walk-on, she tried out for and made the volleyball team. She was red-shirted that first year and then went on to letter the next for years and earned a full scholarship. Kris’ love of the game continues today. She has played recreational volleyball since she left college. She even went pro. In 2003 Kris made her professional debut with the Washington DC Pro Women’s Volleyball Tour and won $17. She’s played USVBA club ball and in numerous doubles tournaments. In addition to her successes in volleyball, Kris is very proud of her participation in the Washington DC AIDS Ride in 2001. She biked over 300 miles from Raleigh, NC to Washington DC.
Jill was an outstanding and versatile athlete at Westhill. She was a 3-sport standout, earning recognition in volleyball, basketball and softball. A three year starter for Hall of Fame coach Winnie Hamilton, she was an outside hitter her junior and senior years. By her own admission, at 5’6” Jull was not the tallest hitter but she made up for her lack of stature with tremendous power and skill. During her junior year, Westhill started the season without the services of 5 of 6 starters from a 26-0 season and she was the tallest player. With dedication and drive, that team lost only 3 matches. Jill was a big part of that success. She was named the team’s Best Offensive Player and selected to the All-City team. As a senior, Jill was team captain and her leadership and aggressive play was instrumental in bringing Westhill to the CIAC Class LL finals. It would be the team’s only loss that season. Jill was named her team’s MVP for the third time and she was an All-City selection again. She was also selected to the All-County and All-State teams. Jill was also a 3-year starter in basketball at Westhill. She was team captain and All-City her senior year. She was a 4-year start in softball. She was captain, All-City for 2 years and an All-County and All-State selection her senior year. In 1983, Jill received Westhill’s award for Most Athletic Female.
After graduation Jill spent one year at UConn where she played softball. Her sophomore year she transferred to Quinnipiac College where she was instrumental in starting their varsity volleyball program. She was setter for 2 years and was team captain. Jill received a softball scholarship at Quinnipiac and started 3 years at first base. She was team captain and named to the All-ECAC team.
Jill is still actively involved with sports. She was a volunteer volleyball coach at Westhill from 2000-04 and a volunteer coach at Darien High School’s summer volleyball camp. From 1986-89 she played touch football in the North American Women’s Touch Football League. She was quarterback for three years, leading her team to three Super Bowl wins and she was named Super Bowl MVP three times. Jill played fast pitch softball for the Stamford Flames Class A Fast Pitch Travel team from 1980-89, her team taking 5th place at the National Tournament. In 1990 Jill started to play slow pitch softball. She played for 6 years, ending her career after her team won a 2nd national championship. Then in 1996 Jill joined the Stamford Storm Women’s ice hockey team. She has played goalie for 12 years, earning numerous team gold medals and MVP awards in USA and Canadian tournaments. She has been team captain for 19 years.
Sports opportunities for girls were limited when Candy was growing up in Torrington in the early 70’s. She played softball in the park and recreation Pigtail League and in intramural “six on six” basketball games. When volleyball was added as the first girls’ high school sport during her junior year, Candy was given the task of reading the rule book (how prophetic) and helping to organize the team. Torrington soon added girls’ teams in softball and basketball to their athletic program. Candy was a three-sport athlete by her senior year.
After graduating from high school, Candy pursued a degree in Physical Education at SCSC, which, at the time was the premiere state college for women’s sports. It was during her sophomore year at Southern that Candy began officiating volleyball. She officiated in the New Haven area during her collegiate years both at the high school and college level. After graduating from Southern in ’79, Candy accepted a teaching and coaching position at Canton High School and volleyball coaching position at her alma mater, Torrington High. She coached the Torrington varsity volleyball team for two years. She they returned to officiating on a full time basis.
Candy officiated at many of the schools in the northwestern part of the state. She had the privilege of officiating at some of the top schools at the time- Bristol Eastern, Holy Cross, Gilbert, Avon, Lewis Mills, Cheshire, and Naugatuck- and credits many of the coaches at those schools with making her a better official. As a member of the Connecticut Board of Volleyball Officials, Candy became the chairperson of the Board from 1980-92 and then again in ’95. She continues to serve as the scheduling coordinator for 30 schools in the northwestern part of the state, a position she has held since 1980. She has been involved in training and rating new officials, writing the CBVO’s original officials’ manual, and along with Barbara Startup, worked over time with the CIAC in officials’ contract negotiations and the new CAIO.
In 2000, Candy was inducted into the Torrington High School Athletic Hall of Fame and in ’06 she was named Connecticut Athletic Director of the Year by the National Assoc. for Sport and Physical Education. In 2007, she received the Merit Award from the CIAC Girls’ Basketball Committee and in 2008 she was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of fame.
Candy is currently the principal of Northwestern Regional Middle School in Winsted and serves as Selectman in Winsted.
April’s involvement with sports can best be described as long and varied. In the Fall of 1973 she started schools at Foran, Milford’s new high school. A versatile and dedicated athlete, April excelled at every sport she played. While at Foran she was a three sport athlete, her outstanding play and winning attitude earned her letters each year in volleyball, basketball and softball. Although there were no all-star teams for volleyball in the early 70’s, April was a standout for hall of fame coach Edna Fraser and her team. She was a quick and aggressive left-handed hitter suing her height and skill to her advantage. She could power or finesse the ball past her opponents and was a very efficient blocker. In 1975 she was instrumental in helping 5th ranked Foran defeat Sheehan to win the CIAC Class M State Championship. She was also a standout in basketball and softball. She was selected as captain of both teams and as a senior she was selected to the All-State basketball team. She played first base and pitcher for the Diamonds and the Raybestos Robins amateur softball teams.
In 1974, April was introduced to a European sport called team handball in her physical education class. It would prove to be a life-changing event. She liked it so much she joined a club team and at a tournament was asked to try out for the US National team. Competing against women 5 eyars her senior, sixteen year old April was selected as one of the 20 players chosen to represent the United States. Over the next six years, she competed all over the world, including Iceland, Yugoslavia, Norway and Sweden. In 1975 she gave up a trip to Russia so she could compete with her high school team in the CIAC Volleyball Championships. After graduation, April received a basketball scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, no small feat as there were not many scholarships for women’s athletics then. She also played JV and varsity volleyball as a walk-on. In the summer of 1979, April lived and trained at the Olympics Training Center. Then as a result of the ’80 Olympic boycott, she returned to school and finished her degree, receiving a BA in English.
In 1992, April started her family. She has two children, Eric (16) and Emily (13). She is presently teaching social skills as a special education teacher at Foundation High School in Milford. April is still active and plays tennis, sails, rides her bike, plays golf, travels and enjoys outdoor activities with her family. Recently she took up the sports of sailing and crew and looks forward to competing in these sports with her soulmate, Tim Morgan. One of April’s life goals is to land her feet on all seven continents and with her sense of adventure and wonder about the world, we bet she will.