Six distinguished individuals were inducted as the third class of the CAS-CIAC Hall of Honor this evening. The six honorees, Mike Buckley, Beau Doherty, Joe Fontana, Pam Goodpaster, Dave Leete, and Larry McHugh were selected for their exceptional service to the Connecticut Association of Schools – Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Biographies for the inductees as well as the tribute videos shown at the event are available in the “Bios/Videos” tab.
The CAS-CIAC Hall of Honor was established to honor individuals who have made significant long-term contributions to CAS-CIAC in one of seven categories: educational leadership, athletic leadership, friend of education, contribution to education, contribution to athletics, service to education, or service to athletics.
“I should have known early on that I was going to work in education and do my professional service with CAS. As a youngster, I accompanied my mother when she refereed girls’ basketball games around the state and coached her Morse College team. In high school, my friends and I were regularly subject to practice run-throughs of her P.E. lessons. With mom at Mercy, my older sister teaching English at Middletown High School, and an all-state athlete for a father who encouraged my own play and loved attending any and all games, what other choice did I have then to wind up at an organization that supports student activities, athletics, and academics.
Graduation from Portland High School in 1958 was followed by four years at Bowdoin, another four and half in the army, and an M.A.T. at Wesleyan before finally gaining my own classroom and beginning my career in education at Glastonbury High School. In retrospect, I was well prepared by my family, my formal education, and even some of the lessons from OCS at Benning (Do something Lieutenant, even if it’s wrong!) and the JFK Unconventional Warfare School at Bragg.
I love teaching. Even though I only had a high school classroom assignment for three years, I had taught regularly in the service and have managed to keep at least one foot in the classroom ever since. As principal of both Coginchaug Regional High School (1977-1985) and Avon High School (1987-2001), I taught courses to seniors; since retiring and while working at CAS (2001-2016), I’ve taught for a decade in the University of Connecticut Principal Preparation Program (UCAPP). Most principals don’t get their own classroom, but the tradeoff for those who do is enormous. And, truth be told, all principals teach, by the actions they take, the values they assert, and the visions they promote for those in their charge. As a principal, I viewed myself as “first teacher” with my classroom defined by the school community.
My involvement at CAS dates to an appointment to the Student Activities Board of Control in the late 1970’s followed by terms on the High School Board, CIAC Board of Control, and CAS Board of Directors. While the latter honored me with a CAS Citation in 1994, my experience during the thirty-one years CAS supported me as a school leader was that I always took away much more than I gave. The CAS belief that leaders foster collaboration, build trust, and strengthen everyone’s professional capacity summarizes what I gained.
I retired as a principal in 2001 and came to CAS. For the next fifteen years I was privileged to be part of initiatives to expand student activities, reduce bullying, provide executive coaches to leaders of high need schools, organize leadership academies in urban districts, support beginning and career administrators, and certify aspiring administrators. I’m proud of the partnerships formed to move this work forward, particularly the expanded CAS role with the State Department of Education and the now twelve-year relationship with the Neag School of Education and UCAPP. For me, however, the true reward from my CAS years was the honor of working day to day with leaders on the line in schools across the state.
Just as my early family experiences influenced the direction my life took, I’ve been blessed throughout my career by the support, encouragement, and influence of my wife, Mary Ann; children, Kate, Jenn, and Chad; and grandchildren, Tyus, Lena, and Echo.”
Robert “Beau” Doherty, Jr., was born in Taunton, Massachusetts, and lived a good portion of his young life in Dighton, Massachusetts, and Bloomington, Minnesota.
Beau went to Unity College, “America’s Environmental College,” in Maine where he earned a bachelor of science degree in applied sciences with a concentration in wildlife management. In the summer of 1976, while still attending college, Beau was heavily recruited by the administration of Paul A. Dever State School for the Mentally Disabled in Taunton, Massachusetts, to run an outdoor recreation program.
In 1979, Beau was the State Department of Mental Retardation’s first recreation specialist from outside of an institution and was assigned the towns of Seekonk, Middleboro, Taunton, Dighton, Rehoboth, Assonet, Lakeville, Berkeley, and Raynham. In the same year, his supervisors made an arrangement with Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) for him to work one day each week at the state office to develop and implement a plan to train all Special Olympics coaches and create integrated sports opportunities for people with and without intellectual disabilities.
In 1982, Beau was hired as the director of training for SOMA before becoming program director in 1984. In 1986, he went to Special Olympics Connecticut (SOCT) as associate director and in 1993 became its president.
In his work with Special Olympics, Beau has assisted thirty-one states in the U.S. He is probably best known in Special Olympics worldwide as the father of Unified Sports ®. He created and implemented a formal, integrated sports program which pairs people with and without intellectual disabilities on the
same team and sold the idea to Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Mrs. Shriver unveiled the program to the world, aptly naming it Unified Sports®. The program now has 1,200,000 people participating from all over the world.
In Connecticut, Beau oversees twenty-nine staff members that coordinate coaches and officials training with four major games and twenty-seven sports for close to 13,000 athletes and Unified teammates. In 1992, Special Olympics Connecticut was the first U.S. program to partner with a state education association (CAS), which has resulted in a model that has been replicated nationally and internationally through Project Unify and Unified Champion Schools.
Beau’s work in Special Olympics has been recognized by four prominent groups. The Connecticut Sportswriters Association presented him the President’s Award along with former UConn basketball greats Rebecca Lobo and Diana Taurasi. In 2007, he was presented with the Father McGivney Award by the Knights of Columbus. Named after its founder, the award is given to an individual who “throughout his/her life has made significant humanitarian contributions to his/her state, church or country.” In 2014, Beau was presented the Humanitarian Award by Hunger Relief and Development; and, in 2015, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Law Enforcement Torch Run in Connecticut.
Beau lives in Portland, Connecticut, with his wife, Holly, daughter, Julia, and sons, Cole and Jack. His hobbies are nature photography, genealogy, Celtic and Native American history and folklore.
Joe Fontana’s influence on the world of high school sports spanned decades and touched every constituency, from student-athletes to coaches, athletics directors and leadership organizations. He is celebrated as one of the most important figures in the history of Connecticut high school sports.
Joe was a part of the fabric of the town of Southington where he was a teacher, coach and athletic director. After graduating from Trinity College in 1932, he began his tenure as a biology teacher and also assumed the role of baseball, basketball and football coach. He would go on to serve the
Southington school district in some capacity for forty-seven years. Joe coached baseball from 1932- 1961 with a record of 190-23 over the final twelve years; he was the football coach at Southington from 1932-1954 with a record of 139-38-14; and he continued to serve as athletics director until 1979.
His legacy at Southington can still be seen as current student-athletes competing at the Southington Athletic Complex do so on the “Joseph J. Fontana Athletic Fields.”
However, Joe Fontana’s influence extended well beyond those he coached and mentored at Southington High, through his work and leadership with the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA). He was one of a handful of coaches that helped form the coaching leadership organization in 1951, and then was elected as the CHSCA President in 1956. The following year he was appointed as the first executive secretary and would hold that leadership position from 1957 to 1987. He also was a key figure in the formation of the National High School Coaches Association. He was a hugely influential mentor for coaches throughout Connecticut and the nation.
Joe believed strongly in the value of a cooperative relationship between the CHSCA and CAS-CIAC, and worked hard to ensure that the two organizations maintained a mutually beneficial partnership. Along with his longtime friend and fellow CAS-CIAC Hall of Honor inductee Tom Monahan, he served as co-tournament director of the CIAC boys basketball tournament from 1965-1993 and also served as tournament director for the CIAC baseball tournament. He held a position as a consultant for the CIAC Board of Control for decades and his tremendous contributions to CAS-CIAC earned him a prestigious CAS Citation in 1973.
Given Joe’s remarkable career, he not surprisingly earned numerous honors and accolades throughout his life. He received the 1949 Southington UNICO Gold Medal Award; the 1966 State Coaches President’s Award; the 1968 Gold Key Award from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance; and the 1982 Dwight Keith Award, the national coaches association’s highest honor. Joe was inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1978 and, in 1984, the state coaches voted to present their Distinguished Service Award in his name.
Joe was married to his wife Ann for fifty-seven years and the couple had a daughter Joanne Fontana Kini and five grandchildren. Joe Fontana passed away in 1995 at the age of 87, but his incredible legacy of selfless leadership and his impact on athletics and education in Connecticut are recognized with his induction into the CAS-CIAC Hall of Honor.
Pam Goodpaster defines herself first as a teacher. “A teacher who loves learning earns the right and the ability to help others learn.” ― Ruth Beechick. Throughout her distinguished career in education, she inspired, guided, enlightened and motivated students, coaches, teachers and administrators.
She approached every leadership role as a teacher.
As Joel Barlow High School’s athletic administrator, Pam believed in equality and changed the vision for the school’s athletic program, focusing not only on equal access for female and male athletes, but on maintaining a balance between academics and athletics, and on ensuring equal pay for women
and men. She added eight (8) girls and six (6) boys programs bringing the student body participation in athletics to sixty-six percent (66%). During Pam’s 26-year tenure as athletic director, the school won seventy-four (74) league and forty-nine (49) state championships. Pam attributes that extraordinary record to talented athletes, an exceptional staff and a supportive administration. What made her most proud was seeing her vision for a comprehensive educationally-based athletic program come to fruition. Her initiatives – including the captain’s council, the athletic handbook and the code of conduct – aligned the sports program with the school’s mission and set high standards while dealing with critical issues such as academics, drug use, attendance and sportsmanship.
Pam believed that sports was an important conduit for developing a love of learning in her students; and her efforts were always directed at making sure her students grew as learners as well as athletes. Pam fostered that love of learning at both the student level and the adult level. In her quest for continuous learning, she endeavored to teach coaches to help students to prize learning over artificial goals such as wins and losses and the position on their team.
Pam became involved with CIAC and CAAD in 1989, serving on sport committees and in leadership positions. She found her niche when NIAAA offered its first Leadership Training Program in 1996. Pam saw the value of professional development for athletic administrators and attended the national conference from 1992-2007, taking eighteen LTC courses. She became the NIAAA State Coordinator for Leadership Training and was appointed to the national faculty in 2001. Her goal was to bring quality professional development programs to as many athletic administrators as possible in order to better the athletic experience for the coach, student athlete and community.
Pam has won numerous local, state and national awards in EMS (emergency medical services), health, physical education, athletics and administration. This particular award is special to her because CAS/CIAC/CAAD played a key role in developing her vision of sport – to foster the love of sport and honoring the spirit of the whole child.
Dave’s introduction to lacrosse began in 1960 when he took a skills class at Springfield College. After graduation in 1963, Dave coached JV Lacrosse at the Hun School in Princeton, NJ, for four years while also playing attack for the NJ Lacrosse Club. He began officiating in 1970 in New Jersey and worked high school, prep and state tournament games until he moved to Connecticut in 1980. Dave continued to officiate at the high school level as well as enjoy a twenty-year career as a college official. He was fortunate to officiate two NCAA tournament games. He retired as an active official in 2007 but continued as the assignor for the CT Lacrosse Officials Association, a position he has held since 1989.
Lacrosse wasn’t Dave’s only sport. He played three sports at Williamstown High School and was the starting quarterback for three years at Springfield College. At the Hun School, he was a math teacher for seventeen years, boys’ head basketball coach (15 years), head football coach (11 years), and
Athletic Director (11 years) After his move to Connecticut, Dave began teaching math and coaching basketball at Bolton High School. In 1984, he became the athletic director and eventually retired from Bolton High School in 2001.
Dave’s affiliations with CAS/CIAC include president of the Charter Oak Conference (1992-2002); CAAD representative to the CIAC Boys’ Lacrosse Committee (1995-2004); boys’ lacrosse tournament director and assigner (2004-present); and lacrosse representative to the CIAC Officials’ Advisory Board. Dave has been instrumental in the growth of the boys’ lacrosse tournament and in the success it has known for the past thirteen years. He also represents Section I (New England, NY and NJ) on the NFHS Boys’ Lacrosse Rules Committee.
Dave has received numerous honors and awards for his achievements as an athlete, an athletic administrator and an official. He was inducted into the Hun School Athletic Hall of Fame (1998); received the CT Lacrosse Officials Association Joseph J. Oliva Friend of Lacrosse Award (2007); was inducted into the CT Chapter of US Lacrosse Hall of Fame (2011); and received the NIAAA 25 Years of Service Award. When Dave is not working on lacrosse assignments he enjoys spending time with his family – his children and their spouses, Tracy (Jake), Kathy (Eric) and Randy (Sarah); and his grandchildren, Shanise, Stephanie, Christopher, Maya and Molly. He especially enjoys watching his grandchildren participate in sporting events and will travel near and far to see them play!
Larry McHugh’s career has been defined by success and achievement in every venue; and, thankfully for the students of Connecticut, many of those venues have involved education.
A graduate of Southern Connecticut State University his athletics exploits earned him a contract with the New York Titans of the American Football League. Injuries put an end to his professional football career sending him back to Connecticut where he found his new direction as a teacher and coach.
Larry’s career in public education began in Durham where he worked at the high school and also served briefly as a coach in multiple sports at the middle school. He then moved to Xavier High School in Middletown and became the first head coach of its’ football program. This began a highly successful
coaching career where he guided the Falcons to a varsity record of 152-36-6 over twenty years including a then state-record 34-game winning streak and his teams produced a trio of undefeated seasons. The Falcons’ successes earned him Connecticut Coaches Association Coach of the Year honors in 1971 and 1974 and he was recognized as the National Coach of the Year by two organizations in 1973.
His leadership and successes were also not restricted to the playing fields or classrooms. Larry became prominently involved in both the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) and the National High School Coaches Association. His leadership and influence at the state level were exemplified by his role in working with a group of coaches to establish the CIAC Football Championships, a multi-year venture culminating in the first-ever on-field state football title in 1976. His efforts provided postseason opportunities that have benefitted students and the sport of football in Connecticut for decades. He was elected president of both the CHSCA and the National Coaches Association during his career, and his impact on both organizations is reflected in his selection for the Connecticut and National Coaches Halls of Fame.
Larry concluded his coaching career in 1983 but remained a prominent figure in the world of high school athletics, serving as an advisor and contributor for several leadership organizations. Following coaching he moved to the business community, becoming president of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce in 1983. Under his leadership, the organization has achieved unprecedented growth and now has the distinction of being the largest chamber of commerce in Connecticut.
He has since channeled his passion for education towards the higher education system in Connecticut. He served on the Connecticut State University Board of Trustees for more than twenty-five years and then was appointed chairman of the Board of Trustees for the University of Connecticut. With his leadership and efforts, he has been a tireless champion for education at all levels in the state.
His achievements in athletics, education and business have earned him innumerable honors throughout his career. And his induction into the CAS-CIAC Hall of Honor is another acknowledgement of his positive impact on the world of high school sports and education and, by extension, the students, coaches, and schools of our state.