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Five championship coaches selected to receive Gold Key award in 2020

Former players for Granby Memorial field hockey coach Dot Johnson cheer for her during the 2018 Gold Key banquet in Southington. Johnson was one of five Gold Key recipients from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.

Five championship coaches will be honored next spring with one of the most prestigious awards in Connecticut sports with the Gold Key award from the Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance.

Former Enfield High field hockey coach Cookie Bromage, former Morgan School girls volleyball and girls basketball coach Joe Grippo, former Hale Ray softball coach Lou Milardo, former Greenwich Academy field hockey and girls lacrosse coach Angela Tammaro will be honored along with current Danbury High wrestling coach Ricky Shook.

The 2020 Gold Key dinner will be Sunday, April 26, at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Tickets are $75 and available by contacting CSWA president Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at 860-394-5091 or tim.jensen@patch.com.

Regarded as the highest sports award in the state, the Gold Key has been presented to more than 200 men and women including baseball manager Connie Mack (1940), boxer Willie Pep (1961), Walt Dropo (1975), President George H.W. Bush (1991), NHL legend Gordie Howe (1992), Hall of Fame basketball coaches Geno Auriemma (2001) and Jim Calhoun (2003) and U.S. women’s soccer star Kristine Lilly (2012).

Proceeds support the Bo Kolinsky Memorial Sports Journalism Scholarship, a $3,000 award named in memory of the noted high school sports editor of the Hartford Courant and past CSWA president, who passed away in 2003 at age 49.

Cookie Bromage: She started the field hockey program at Enfield High School in 1967, and retired prior to the 2019 campaign after 52 seasons. Her teams won five Class M state championships in 1983, 1984, 1992, 1993 and 1994. She has been inducted eight times into Halls of Fame, and on Sept. 23, 2019, the turf playing surface at Enfield was dedicated as Cookie Bromage Field.

Joe Grippo: He coached girls volleyball at Morgan High School in Clinton for 33 seasons and girls basketball for 35 years, becoming the only coach in state history to win more than 600 games in two girls’ sports. His teams captured 12 Class S volleyball championships, including seven straight from 1992-98, and two Class S basketball titles in 1996 and 2000.

Lou Milardo: He spent 31 years as softball coach at Hale-Ray High School in Moodus from 1976 to 2006, retiring as the state’s all-time victory leader for a softball coach with 533 (since surpassed by Gold Key recipient Judy Deeb of East Lyme in 2013). The Noises posted a .782 winning percentage during his tenure, and won four Class S state titles in 1993, 2000, 2001 and 2004. He has been inducted into three Halls of Fame, including the Connecticut Scholastic and Collegiate Softball Hall of Fame.

Ricky Shook: After 11 seasons as an assistant coach for the Hatters, he took over the head coaching reins in November 1999 and has led his teams to unparalleled levels. Through the 2018-19 season, Danbury has compiled a record of 364-24, a .938 winning percentage, and captured 16 Class LL championships, 15 State Open titles and two New England championships. In 2013, he was inducted into the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Angela Tammaro: She was athletic director and coach at Greenwich Academy for nearly a half-century, reaching the 700-victory plateau in both field hockey and lacrosse. She had 747 wins and an .883 winning percentage in 49 field hockey campaigns, and 700 victories and an .898 winning percentage in lacrosse. Also won 200 games in 24 seasons of basketball, finishing with a combined coaching total of 1,647 wins and 63 New England and league championships.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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