The 60th anniversary of the Casey-O’Brien New Haven County Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete awards dinner, which was scheduled March 27 was canceled. However, two city residents were named to the roster of 28.
Bill O’Brien president of the New Haven Chapter said, “We are pleased to be honoring another group of outstanding young men for their accomplishments in the classroom, their school and in their community.” Since 1962 the chapter has honored 1257 young men.
In addition two longtime coaches with ties to the area will receive Distinguished American awards. George DeLeone and Chris Palmer, have a combined 100 years of coaching in the college and professional (NFL) ranks. In addition to college DeLeone coached at San Diego, Miami and Cleveland in the NFL. Palmer coached at UConn, New Haven among others as well as in the NFL at New England, Cleveland, Dallas, and the Giants, 49er’s in the NFL. He recently retired as the Athletic Director at UNH.
This year the Chapter Award of Merit will be presented to Abbott Burrell and Scott Burrell from Hamden. “The Burrell’s are members of one of the most successful athletic families in state history”, said O’Brien. Abbott played at Hamden (’86) and at UConn from 1986 to 1989 and has been a college football coach for the past twenty- seven years, most recently at CCSU and Scott was one of the finest high school football players in Connecticut at Hamden before embarking on both basketball and baseball careers. He is now the head basketball coach at SCSU. Both graduated from UConn.
Other award winners include Judge Arthur Hadden, who hails from West Haven, a 30-year football official, who has officiated six state championship games and Cheshire High School coach Don Drust who will receive the Chapter Coach of the Year Award for improving the Rams regular season record of 3-7 in 2018 to 8-2 and qualifying for the Class LL state playoffs this past season. The Sheehan Titans will receive a plaque for winning the Class S championship.
The winners were expected to be honored in a ceremony at a later date.