New Haven County Chapter of National Football Foundation to Honor Scholar Athletes, Local Coach
Following a two-year hiatus, the Casey-O'Brien Chapter of the National Football Foundation will once again have a dinner at which graduating seniors from area high schools and private schools will be honored with scholar athlete awards from the chapter. The past two years, the chapter recognized scholar athletes from member schools, but didn't have an awards dinner. This year's dinner will be held at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington on Tuesday. April 26 at 6 p.m.
"We are very pleased to bring back our annual dinner to recognize scholar athletes that played football this past fall for their academic excellence, leadership, and citizenship", said Bill O'Brien, chapter president. "We are pleased to recognize another group of young men before their parents, grandparents, and friends."
Twenty-six scholar athletes and four other award recipients will be honored at the dinner. The scholar athletes who will be recognized for their scholastic achievement, leadership, extra-curricular activities, and excellence in football include seniorsKevin Lee of Branford High School, Branford resident and Hamden Hall student Amari Phillips, Matt Rossi of Daniel Hand High School, Michael Kosiorek of East Haven High School, Eddie Barlage of Guilford High School, and Matt Dodge of North Haven High School.
Branford High School football Head Coach John Limone will receive the Coach of the Year Award at the dinner. Branford won the SCC Tier 3 title and qualified for the Class M State Playoffs with Coach Limone last fall. The Hornets were edged out by eventual champion Killingly, 13-12, in the state semifinals, finishing the year with an overall record of 9-3.
Craig Dolyak of Cheshire will receive the Official Recognition Award. Dolyak is a 35-year football official and a member of the New Haven Football Officials Association.
The Chapter Award of Merit will be presented to former chapter scholar athlete Sean Desai, a Shelton native who won a Class LL state title with the Shelton High School football team in 2001 with three-time chapter Coach of the Year Joe Benanto. Desai has gone on to distinguish himself in the professional football coaching ranks, including a nine-season stint as a defensive coach with the Chicago Bears, serving as defensive coordinator in the 2021 season. He is currently an associate head coach and defensive assistant with the Seattle Seahawks.
This year's Distinguished American Award honoree is George Grande of Hamden. Grande is best known as a play-by-play baseball broadcaster with the Yankees, Cardinals, and most recently with the Cincinnati Reds for the past 17 years. Grande graduated from the University of Southern California, where he played baseball on the school's 1968 NCAA championship team. From 1980 to 2010, he served as Master of Ceremonies at the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York.
For tickets to this year's scholar athlete dinner, contact Donna Limone at 203-481-8375 or at email@example.com.