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Tuesday, August 14, 2012
New England Roundup: Connecticut

By Roger Brown

New England is home to many excellent high school boys basketball coaches, but none of them can match resumes with Vito Montelli.

ConnecticutMontelli, 80, guided St. Joseph High School in Trumbull to 878 victories during his coaching career, which ended Aug. 8 when he announced his retirement. His 878-329 coaching record includes 11 state titles and the most wins by a New England high school coach.

“The numbers just lined up,” Montelli told the Hartford Courant. “I'm 80 and I coached 50 years at St. Joseph. It was time.

“I'll miss the players, the games -- everything. But retiring is the right call.”

Montelli punctuated his career by guiding St. Joseph to its second consecutive Class LL state championship in March. St. Joseph won the title by beating Hillhouse, 62-54.

Montelli's St. Joseph teams won five Class L championships, two in Class M and two in Class S. St. Joseph is the only Connecticut school to win state championships in four different classes.

Chris Watts, who served as an assistant coach under Montelli for nine seasons, was named as the program's new head coach. Watts graduated from St Joseph in 1987.

Montelli was inducted into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005.

NOTRE DAME'S BROGNA RESIGNS
Notre Dame-Fairfield football coach Rico Brogna resigned last week, six days before Notre Dame was scheduled to begin practicing for the 2012 season.

The school has promoted former associate head coach Dawon Dicks to head coach.

Brogna, who played professional baseball for five major league teams, said heath reasons played a role in his decision to step down.

A release issued by the school said Brogna would remain with Notre Dame as the community outreach director.

“I look forward to helping Notre Dame continue to grow and prosper,” Brogna said in the release. “I have full confidence in coach Dicks and have no doubt he will lead our football program in the right direction.”

Notre Dame finished the 2011 season with a 1-9 record.

LARSON STEPS DOWN
Earlier this summer Jeff Larson resigned as the football coach at New London to accept an assistant principal's job at Classical Magnet in Hartford.

New London had a 29-5 record with three playoff appearances in Larson's three season's as the program's head coach.

MILFORD WINS LEGION TITLE
Milford Post 196 won the American Legion's Northeast Regional by beating Portland, Maine, 9-1, on Monday. The victory earned Milford a berth in the American Legion World Series, which begins Friday in Shelby, N.C.

The Milford roster is made up primarily of Foran High School players, who have spent much of the summer dealing with the loss of their former high school coach, Ken Walker. Walker died of a heart attack in June. He was 60.

Milford, the Connecticut state champion, went 5-0 in the Northeast Regional to improve its record to 30-6. Milford is 12-0 in postseason play.

Milford had a 1.60 ERA and batted .310 in the Northeast Regional.

The American Legion World Series is an eight-team, double-elimination tournament.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been reporting on high school sports throughout New England since 1992.