Page 33 - CHSCA.Issue 1 2019-2020
P. 33

Claffey Swings into 38th Season at Hall
 By Paul Rosano
Growing up and later while start- ing a teaching career, Chuck Claffey had several notable role models. Among them were legendary football coaches Bob McKee at Conard High and Frank Robinson at Hall High, both in West Hartford.
Coming out of Conard High, Claffey had loved playing football for McKee and had an interest in physical education and sports.
“I had to make a decision at some point in my life of which way I wanted to go,” Claffey said. “I just enjoyed phys ed, enjoyed the classes more than the academic side, and at that time Springfield (College) was still one of better schools to get to and graduate from.”
He graduated from Springfield in 1966 and with the help of McKee landed a job at Smalley School in New Britain teaching physical education, where he stayed for three years.
“Smalley (K-6) never had phys ed when I started there,” Claffey said “The kids were fantastic, they just ate it up. I look back on that as a very good three years of teaching. The elemen- tary schools kids were so eager and hungry, full of enthusiasm and effort.”
During those three years he also coached football as an assistant to McKee at Conard. From Smalley he went on to Plant Junior High in West
Chuck Claffey
Hartford, where he spent 10 years coaching everything from soccer to baseball, wrestling, track and more. Fi- nally, in 1979 he started teaching and coaching at Hall High.
He coached boys basketball for 13 years (1980-92) and golf also begin- ning in 1980. He has remained the head golf coach to the present day with the exception of a five-year stretch when he was Athletic Manager for Hall (1993-97).
Claffey said he had an excep- tional basketball team in 1982, during which the team won the Central Con- necticut Interscholastic League title with a group he had coached three years at Plant. So, he wound up coaching them for six years.
“Just to watch them grow, develop into a championship team. It was such a great group of kids and they were so close together,” Claffey said. “Prob- ably most rewarding year I had coach- ing.”
In 2015 he was also named Ju- nior Golf Chairman by the Connecticut State Golf Association, and he is chair- man of the CHSCA golf committee and golf liaison for the Central Connecticut Conference.
He was named the CHSCA boys golf Coach of the Year in 2011 and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Region 1 Coach of the Year in 2013, which made him a finalist for National Coach of the Year in 2014.
In fact, golf has been his mainstay as he enters his 38th season coaching it at Hall. He has won some league titles with his teams but that’s not the most important thing for Claffey.
“Watching the kids improve,” he said. “Watching them come in at one level, even at golf, some of them come in with no experience, some have some and some have a lot. To see them come in and just improve over four years. I just had a class graduate of six seniors, five of which played four years togeth- er. That was nice to see. To see the kids improve, enjoy the game. They’re all in college now. Not playing golf but they’re in college.”
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