FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Wilton’s Kristine Lilly and Trinity Catholic basketball coach Mike Walsh have been selected as Gold Key winners by the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance. Lilly and Walsh will be honored with two other Gold Key winners at the 71st annual dinner April 29 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
The Gold Key is one of the highest sports awards in the state, and since 1940 the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance has recognized individuals from the Nutmeg State who have achieved excellence on the youth, high school, college and professional levels.
Trinity College hockey coach John Dunham and Dave Shea, who has won more than 300 games in three sports at Bacon Academy in Colchester, will also receive Gold Key awards.
Lilly won two state soccer championships at Wilton High and four national titles at the University of North Carolina. Lilly was only 16 and still in high school when she made her debut with the women’s national team. She participated in five World Cups and three Olympics. She won gold medals in 1996 and 2004 along with a silver medal in 2000.
Lilly retired in December 2010 after her 352nd cap (international appearance) for Team USA. She retired as the most capped men’s or women’s soccer player in the history of the sport.
Walsh is the architect of one of the most successful high school boys basketball programs in the state at Trinity Catholic. Now in his 33rd season as head coach (and 39th overall), Walsh entered the 2011-12 season with a career record of 523-242.
The 64-year-old Walsh has led the Crusaders to 11 state finals and won his sixth state championship in March by capturing top honors in Class M. His first state final came in 1995 when, led by Rashamel Jones, Trinity Catholic finished Class M runner-up to New London.
Walsh has also led Trinity Catholic to 10 league finals, winning six. Walsh coached Babe Ruth Baseball in both the 13-15 and 16-18 age groups, stepping down after his 40th season last summer.
Tickets to the 2012 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4:30 p.m., can be purchased by contacting Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance President George Albano of The Hour at Truckin114@AOL.com or vice president and dinner chairman Bob Ehalt of the New Haven Register at Ehalt.Bob@sbcglobal.net.
For more information on the history of the dinner, visit the Alliance website at ctsportswriters.org.