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Longtime CSGA Volunteer Chuck Claffey Elected into National High School Coaches Hall of Fame

(March 18, 2022) – Chuck Claffey began coaching in 1969 at Plant Junior High School in West Hartford. By the time the school closed in 1979 Claffey had coached baseball, basketball, soccer, track, and wrestling. In 1980 Claffey was transferred to Hall High School and took the position of junior varsity boys golf coach. One year later he was promoted to head coach, a position he has held since 1981 with the exception of five years in the mid-1990s when he was the school’s athletic director.

Throughout his coaching career, which also included stints as the head boys basketball coach and assistant football coach at Hall HS, Claffey has had nothing but success. The Unionville resident has coached his basketball and golf teams to conference titles and he has seen a number of his golfers move on to successful college careers while also personally earning a number of awards. The list of awards that Claffey has received include being named the 2012 Coach of the Year in Boys Golf by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA), in 2014 he was honored as the Regional Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA), and this June he will be elected into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2022.
When asked what earning the honor meant Claffey modestly responded, “It means I have been recognized for my contributions to high school golf. It is something that I have found since starting at Hall HS in 1980 that besides playing the game I enjoy teaching kids the game.”
Even now when he has reached the pinnacle of his coaching career his focus is on the student-athletes. While talking about the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame induction ceremony on June 21st in Des Moines, Iowa Claffey expressed doubt about whether or not he would be able to attend because the following night is the All-Star Banquet for the 2021-2022 Connecticut golf season.
Despite all the success Claffey is quick to dismiss the accolades. “It is about the student-athletes. Most of them that come out in golf are really interested but they have varying degrees of experience,” Claffey, a decorated golfer himself, said. “But that is where we step in during their freshman year and try to get them four good years of high school golf.”
CHSCA executive director Joe Canzanella was less measured when speaking about the honor.
“Chuck Claffey has been imminently involved with golf throughout the state for decades. He is the type of the guy who is tireless and he doesn’t stop working. I was a site director last fall for the CIAC Championship at Chippanee Golf Club and he was inside taking scores and he didn’t have to do that. Chuck’s ability to be an advocate and teacher of golf transcends beyond his team. Of course, his team is number one but the kids competing against him are important to him as well.”
Claffey will be one of two coaches from Connecticut inducted into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame in June. Joining Claffey will be longtime Middletown High School track coach Deb Petruzzello.
“Connecticut is a founding member of the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame and we are allowed two inductees every year,” said Canzanella. “And this year their resumes just rose to the top and I think the timing was right for both of them to get in. The cream rises to the top and Chuck and Deb were above and beyond everyone else this year.”
In addition, to coaching the game Claffey, a longtime physical education and health teacher who retired in 2000, has played instrumental roles in junior golf both with the Connecticut State Golf Association and with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC).
Claffey, the 2011 CSGA Volunteer of the Year, was elected as the chairman of the CSGA’s Junior Golf Committee in 2012 and has served in that role for the last decade. During his tenure the Connecticut Junior team has had consistent success – winning the boys division three-times – and growth thanks to the addition of the girls division in 2019.
One year after being elected as the chairman of the Junior Golf Committee, Claffey became the CHSCA Golf chairman and was named to the CIAC Golf Committee, both positions that he still holds.
As another spring rolls around Claffey is once again anxiously awaiting the beginning of the golf season. However, this year will be a little different. His Hall HS team competed during the fall portion of the 2021-2022 high school golf season so for the first time in his career he won’t have a team to coach during the spring. That doesn’t mean there will be ample time to relax. Instead, Claffey will begin volunteering with the CSGA earlier in the season and he will continue his duties as CHSCA Golf Chairman and on the CIAC Golf Committee.
All the while waiting for the fall when he will once again lead his Hall High School team to the first tee for yet another season.

About the Connecticut State Golf Association

The Connecticut State Golf Association functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.