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Wednesday, November 22 News

Marinelli to receive Gold Key award

A pair of outstanding athletes and three remarkable coaches have been selected to receive the prestigious Gold Key Award by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.

PGA golf professional Dennis Coscina, retired Granby Memorial High School field hockey coach Dot Johnson, New Canaan High School football coach Lou Marinelli, UConn women’s soccer coach Len Tsantiris and Olympic ice hockey gold medalist Gretchen Ulion-Silverman will comprise the Class of 2018, which will be honored at the 77th annual Gold Key Dinner at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington on Sunday, April 29, 2018.

The Gold Key Dinner was inaugurated in 1940, with baseball legend Connie Mack and golf superstar Bobby Jones among the initial recipients. The roster of honorees since then reads like a Who’s Who of Connecticut sports - Joe Cronin, Julius Boros, Willie Pep, Andy Robustelli, Lindy Remigino, Floyd Little, Joan Joyce, Carmen Cozza, Otto Graham, Calvin Murphy, Joe Morrone, Gordie Howe, Bill Rodgers, Tony DiCicco, Geno Auriemma, Rebecca Lobo, Brian Leetch, Kristine Lilly, Marlon Starling and Dwight Freeney are just a few of the past Gold Key winners. A complete list is available at www.ctsportswriters.com.

Tickets to the Gold Key Dinner are $75 apiece, and may be reserved by contacting CSWA President Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at tim.jensen@patch.com or 860-394-5091, or Vice President Rich Gregory of the Danbury News-Times at rgregory@newstimes.com or 203-705-8625.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Bo Kolinsky Journalism Scholarship, named after a longtime Hartford Courant sportswriter and past CSWA president who died unexpectedly in 2003.

Lou Marinelli, who became the state’s all-time winningest high school football coach in September, is in his 39th season coaching high school football, and New Canaan’s 42-7 win over Danbury on Sept. 15 was his record-breaking 332nd career win. He had entered the 2017 season tied with former West Haven coach Ed McCarthy, a 2014 Gold Key recipient, for the most wins by a Connecticut high school football coach.

As of Oct. 22, Marinelli’s overall record is 335-102-7, a .762 winning percentage.

His first 19 victories came in New York state, where he went 4-4 in his one and only season at Mamaroneck High School in 1977, followed by a 15-3-1 mark in two seasons at Yorktown High.

Marinelli arrived in New Canaan in 1981, inheriting a team that had struggled through three straight winless seasons, going 0-25-2 during that time. He promptly led the Rams to a 4-5 mark in his first season.

That would turn out to be his only losing season in New Canaan. In fact, in only his second season, Marinelli guided the Rams to an 8-2 record and the 1982 Class L-II state championship.

He would win 11 more state crowns, adding titles in 1993, 2001, 2002, four in a row from 2006-2009 and another four straight from 2013-2016. He has led the Rams to 12 straight CIAC state playoff berths, reaching the state final on 10 occasions. His current record at New Canaan is 315-95-6.

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Under Marinelli, New Canaan has also won five FCIAC championships, and he has been named FCIAC Coach of the Year six times. He was also named the Walter Camp Football Foundation Connecticut Coach of the Year (2008), the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year (2002) and the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance ‘Doc’ McInerney Coach of the Year in 2008.

Marinelli, a National Coach of the Year finalist in 2007 and 2010, was inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009.

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