Freeney Leads List of 76th Gold Key Recipients

By reports, From | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), December 26, 2016 | Go to article overview

Freeney Leads List of 76th Gold Key Recipients


reports, From, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


Super Bowl champion defensive end Dwight Freeney of the Atlanta Falcons, five-time Olympic archer Butch Johnson, Farmington boys soccer coach Steve Waters and former Cheshire swim coach Ed Aston will be honored at the 76th Gold Key Dinner on April 30 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

The Gold Key is regarded as one of the highest sports awards in the state. Since 1940 the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance has recognized individuals who have achieved excellence on the amateur, high school, collegiate and professional levels.

Past recipients of the Gold Key include: Connie Mack (1940), Willie Pep (1961), Carm Cozza (1975), Bob Skoronski (1975), Larry McHugh (1985) George H.W. Bush (1991), Gordie Howe (1992), Tracy Claxton (1993), Bill Rodgers (1994), Geno Auriemma (2001), Jim Calhoun (2003), Brian Leetch (2009), Amby Burfoot (2014) and Marlon Starling (2016).

The Class of 2017 recipients add to that proud and rich tradition. Together, the four have played a major role in the history of Connecticut sports, and the CSWA is honored to celebrate their achievements.

Tickets to the 76th Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., are $75 and can be purchased by contacting CSWA President Matthew Conyers of The Hartford Courant at 860-874-4166 or mconyers@courant.com or dinner chairman Tim Jensen of Patch Media at tim.jensen@patch.com. Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check to Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT, 06085.

Ed Aston

After 37 years coaching the Cheshire girls swim team and 33 coaching the boys, Ed Aston stepped down in 2011 as one of the most successful swim coaches in state history.

Aston, who went to Croft High in Waterbury and swam for Southern Connecticut State, finished with 824 wins, 43 state championships and a historic dual meet win streak of 281 straight wins.

In 1974, Aston started the boys team. A year later, he also started the girls team. It took him three years to win his first state title in 1977, beating Rippowam of Stamford.

His girls teams won 13 State Open titles and 26 class championships. When he retired, he had a record of 410-19-1 as the girls coach. But his most famous achievement with the Rams was his record dual meet record. From 1986 to 2011, Cheshire had won a national record 281 straight dual meets. It is the second longest streak by any high school girls athletic team behind Amherst (New York) girls volleyball, which had 292 straight.

His boys team won the State Open championship in 1992 and 18 championships.

In 2013, Aston was inducted into the National Federation of State High Schools Hall of Fame.

Aston started as a basketball player in high school, but switched to swimming his sophomore year.

Dwight Freeney

In 15-seasons in the NFL, Dwight Freeney has left a memorable impression.

Freeney, who was born in Hartford and played high school football at Bloomfield, is a seven-time Pro Bowler, a three-time First Team All-Pro selection and a Super Bowl champion.

After finishing his senior season at Syracuse, Freeney was selected with the 11th pick in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He spent the next 11 seasons with the Colts, playing in 163 games. Freeney was the NFL sacks leader in 2004 with 16 and was the AFC defensive player of the year in 2005. From 2002 to 2012, Freeney had 107.5 sacks with Indianapolis. Freeney helped lead the Colts to their first Super Bowl title in Indianapolis, recovering a fumble in the championship victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. After leaving the Colts in 2012, Freeney has played for the San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons. He has played in 13 games for the Falcons this season and has three sacks.

In his 15 year career in the NFL, Freeney has played in 207 games and started in 157. He has 122.5 sacks, 328 tackles and has forced 47 fumbles. …

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