By Chris Elsberry
MIDDLETOWN – Before a standing-room only crowd of family, friends and well-wishers, the life of former Sacred Heart University basketball player Chauncey Hardy was celebrated with a memorial service at the Cross Street AME Zion Church.
Hardy, 23, who grew up in Middletown and attended Xavier High School before playing four years of basketball for the Pioneers, was killed in Bucharest, Romania on Oct. 9, just hours after leading his professional CSS Giurgiu to an overtime win. While celebrating the win at a local club, Hardy was punched by an attacker and hit his head on the floor, fracturing his skull.
And while the attacker is in custody in Bucharest awaiting trial and questions abound over whether a fair trail will take place, in Hardy’s hometown, they stood as one and applauded the life of someone who touched every person he met.
“It’s not the quantity of the years, it’s the quality,” said the Rev. Kim L. Cotten, co-pastor of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. “We’re here to celebrate these 23 years. Celebrate Chauncey’s life.”
Hardy played for coach Dave Bike from 2006-10, scoring 1,247 points in his career. Twice, the Pioneers won 18 games and reached the Northeast Conference championship game.
“He was such a great kid. Never had a problem. Always smiling and ready with a joke,” said former teammate and current SHU assistant coach Drew Shubik. “We didn’t really hang out a lot together off the court, but on the court, we were the starting backcourt for two seasons and we won 36 games. We had such a good connection on the court. That’s something I’ll always remember.”
After taking a year off from the game after graduating, Hardy got himself signed by CSS Giurgiu and started to rediscover his love foe the game. He scored 10 points in Giurgiu’s 73-62 season-opening win over Czriova on Oct. 2 and then netted a team-high 22 (along with 9 assists and 6 rebounds) in a 91-86 overtime win over Dinamo Bucharest on Oct. 8, just before the attack took place.
The man who punched Hardy, Ionut Adrian Tanasoaia, surrendered to police on Oct. 10. He is being held for 29 days as he awaits trial. Local news authorities have written that Tanasoaia belong to a local gang in Giurgiu that has alleged criminal ties and is connected with the city’s mayor.
“He touched all of our lives in one way or another,” said former Xavier High principal Bill Garrity.
“Chauncey was Xavier, Chauncey was Middletown, Chauncey was ours,” said Yvette Highsmith Francis, who read the obituary. “Chauncey was all of ours.”
Archive for October, 2011
By Chris Elsberry
Chauncey Hardy’s funeral will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Cross Street A.M.E. Church, 440 West St., Middletown, according to the Biega Funeral Home. Burial will follow at the Pine Grove Cemetary.
UConn cornerback Byron Jones was just named as the Big East Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week.
Jones, from New Britain, picked up a fumble midway in the third quarter and scored the g-ahead touchdown in what would be a 16-10 Huskies win. Jones also had seven tackles as part of a defensive effort that held the Bulls’ offense, which had averaged better than 500 yards per game, to 339 yards and four turnovers.
Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in a 25-16 win against Louisville in the Bearcats’ Big East opener to earn the league’s Offensive Player of the Week award. Pead keyed Cincinnati’s comeback from a 16-7 halftime deficit by breaking free for a 50-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that gave the Bearcats the lead for good. Pead has rushed for 624 yards and eight touchdowns this season and ranks second in the Big East in rushing at 104.0 yards per game.
Rutgers’ CB Brandon Jones was named the Special Teams Player of the Week. Jones helped seal Rutgers’ 21-20 win against Navy when he blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt with 4:43 left in the fourth quarter that would have given the Midshipmen the lead. It was the first blocked kick of the season for Jones and the fourth for Rutgers. Jones also had two tackles and an interception as the Scarlet Knights held Navy to season lows of 20 points and 303 yards.
WEEKLY HONOR ROLL
Derek Wolfe • Sr. • DT • Cincinnati
Had a career-high 11 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries in a 25-16 win against Louisville.
Lyle McCombs • Fr. • RB • Connecticut
Rushed for 130 yards on 32 carries in a 16-10 win against USF.
Khaseem Greene • Jr. • LB • Rutgers
Had a career-high 14 tackles in a 21-20 win against Navy. Helped hold the nation’s leading rushing offense to 204 yards below its average.
Mohamed Sanu • Jr. • WR • Rutgers
Had 10 receptions for 100 yards in a 21-20 win against Navy. Moved into sixth place on the school’s career receptions chart (150).
Ryne Giddins • So. • DE • USF
Had career highs of 11 tackles, two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss with a forced fumble and a pass breakup in a 16-10 loss at Connecticut.
The 2011-12 Fairfield men’s and women’s basketball teams officially kicked off their respective campaigns to try and win the MAAC regular season and tournament titles Friday night with “Red Sea Madness” an event sponsored by the student-run “Stags in the Stands” group. Both sides of Alumni Hall were packed (the back bleachers were not pulled out) as Sydney’s Johnson’s men and Joe Frager’s women ran through some easy drills for about an hour or so.
Here’s some quotes that didn’t make the paper.
(Ready to go?)
“I’m excited … new coach, ready to see what all our players can do together. Italy trip, A-plus for that, I think, now we got the regular season coming up and we’ve been working hard, ready to go.”
(Talk about the Italy trip)
“That was the perfect chemistry trip for us. 10 days, a different country, it was real good for us. Even now, we still talk about the Italy trip and everything we did over there. It was just so much fun and we’ve carried it over here to America.
(How’s Desmond Wade going to help you?)
“He’s like my best friend almost now. He’s going to help me a lot. Handling the ball, he’s another ball-handler, getting me off the ball, get my mind off of always having the ball in my hand, he’s going to help me out 100 percent this year.”
(Looking to be more aggressive?)
“I’m definitely going to the rim a lot more this year. Freshman year I went to the rim a lot and had good production and I want to get back to that. I’m ready to do that.”
(What’s Rakim going to bring to the team?)
“Toughness. When Rakim’s on the court, everyone believes in him 100 percent. We’re going to have a new toughness and he’s going to be another guy we can rely on.
“Keith (Matthews) … he’s out playing on the wing more. He’s not a post player, so he’s out of the post and out on the wing. I think he’ll be a big surprise to everybody.
(How’s the chemistry?)
“We’re tight. A lot of the same guys are back from last year, the new guys are fitting in real well with us, the chemistry is still there. Coach came in and there wasn’t much of a change there, he fit in with us too, it was an easy process.
(How to not get caught up in the hype?)
“It’s exciting but we know that we were picked to win last year too and we were disappointed at the end of the year, so whatever the predictions, we still have to play the games.
“The easy answer is Rakim, he’s a big-time player but I think that Desmond Wade, if he plays well, we’re going to be hard to beat. He’s really versatile at the guard position, he can dribble, shoot, score, pass. If he’s facilitating our offense at a high level, it’s going to be hard to beat us.
(That should really help Derek)
“It will definitely help him, take some pressure off, definitely get him some breaks so he doesn’t have to handle the ball all the time. Any time you can have two guards that handle the ball and are capable of playing both guard positions it makes you very dangerous offensively.
“I’m ready to go. It was a long summer, working with these guys, getting ready and I’m excited to get going.
(You have to be excited)
“It’s tremendous. As you know, we went to Italy and we had fun with that. But we prepared and approached that as pretty much the start of our season and we’re tried to do well there and this is almost a re-start. Obviously, everyone in the country is on the same timeline and there’s just a buzz across the country in preparing for that first practice.
(How did the Italy trip help?)
“I think that those 10 practices, those four games, using the down time to hang out with each other. This group likes each other, but what we have to do is face some adversity, face some really good competition which we’ll see plenty of before we get into league play and just see how we deal with that. But right now, guys are feeling good about the season and hopefully we can carry that all the way to March.
(What kind of team are we going to see?)
“What you should expect is defensively, we’re going to get after people. We want to play full-court defense aggressively, we want to play half-court defense aggressively. I think that we have the personnel where we can share the ball a lot on offense. We feel we have a number of people that can make people pay. And we want people to see us play five-on-five, really sharing the ball and getting good shots. We definitely want to get out in transition if our defense can help us do that and get some stops.
(Who’s going to lead?)
“You have to mention Derek Needham. Derek’s leadership is phenomenal. Obviously, he’s a skill player, he can score, he can drive to the basket. He has to cut down on his turnovers, everyone knows that and he does too, but he’s a natural born leader and a really good player.”
Follow staff writers Chris Elsberry at Fairfield, Rich Elliott and Kevin Duffy at UConn as they provide live updates from Midnight Madness in Connecticut.
On Wednesday morning, I was interviewed by National Public Radio in Hartford regarding the death of former Sacred Heart University men’s basketball player Chauncey Hardy.
Here’s the link to listen …
When Nino Mannino was a student at Sacred Heart University in 2010, he made a video as part of a class assignment. He chose to do a feature on Chauncey Hardy. It’s ironic that at the end, Chauncey speaks about continuing his basketball career overseas in Europe.
Here’s the link to the video:
I wrote this six years ago when coach was elected into the Fairfield County Sports Commission’s Hall of Fame. A good read then and still is today … goodbye coach.
McDougall now standard-bearer for most coaches
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
STAMFORD — In the shadows of the 38th parallel, a young draftee listened as the techniques of the wing T offense were described on a chalkboard.
Jerry McDougall was fascinated.
Now, Tong du Chon, South Korea, doesn’t seem like quite the place to learn, much less get excited about the Xs and Os of football, but in the spring of 1961, that’s just where McDougall caught the coaching bug.
He was a member of the 7th Division, stationed in Korea as part of the post-war peace-keeping force. With the 7th, McDougall played baseball and basketball and, of course, football. In addition, he worked as an assistant football coach. Playing was one thing — that was fun. But learning about the game, understanding it, teaching it, that was special.
One day, Iowa’s legendary football coach Forest Evashewski, who won Rose Bowls with the Hawkeyes in 1956 and 1958, came to Korea to conduct a three-day football clinic. McDougall drank in everything.
“That was when I decided I wanted to get into coaching,” he said. “So I wrote to my (teaching) superiors in Maryland and requested to be released from their contract (he was elementary physical education in Arbutus, Md., before getting drafted) and then wrote to Monsignor John McGough, who was the superintendent of schools for the Diocese (of Bridgeport) at the time, and asked him for a job.”
He got one, working as an assistant baseball coach at Notre Dame High in Fairfield under another pretty good coach, Vito Montelli. That was in the summer of 1961, after he had fulfilled his Army duties. For the next 37 years in football and 44 in baseball, McDougall went on to coach thousands of kids, win hundreds of games and store a million memories. He is a member of the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame, was honored by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association as their coach of the year in both baseball (2003) and football (1993) and, on Monday night at the Westin Hotel, was inducted into the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame in the J. Walter Kennedy Service Wing along with Sacred Heart University men’s basketball coach Dave Bike.
Calvin Murphy, Kristine Lilly, Steve Young and the late Julius Boros were inducted into the Jackie Robinson Professional Wing, while Dorothy Hamill, Bruce Jenner and Bill Toomey were inducted into the James O’Rourke Amateur Wing.
“It’s unbelievable. I’m in awe of just being with all these great athletes,” McDougall said. “It’s quite a group of honorees.”
Well, when you win 470 games, two state championships and nine FCIAC division titles as a baseball coach, and another 265 games and three CIAC crowns as a football coach, you make yourself part of a pretty exclusive list. “I guess sometimes you don’t stop to smell the roses,” he said. “You just keep your nose to the grindstone. To be included with this group, it’s something that you read about but never think you’d be a part of.”
McDougall was born in Bridgeport and grew up in the South End, at the edge of Marina Village, one of 11 children of Helen and Fred McDougall. The fifth of nine boys, the band of brothers usually played stickball from dawn until dusk. His first taste of organized football came from Art Rua, who worked at the Hall Home Settlement on Atlantic Street and founded a youth team called the South End Tigers. He attended Fairfield Prep, learning football from coach, Al “Zeke” Sullivan (he also played baseball and basketball) before transferring to Bassick, again playing all three sports. McDougall went to Arnold College and played three years of basketball and four years of both baseball and football, being named a captain for his junior and senior years by coach Walt Kondratavich.
Still, playing far outweighed coaching until that day in Korea when Evashewski and his staff came for that teaching clinic.
Then, everything changed.
“I was really, I think, extremely interested in the intricacies of the game during his presentation, ” McDougall said. “We did on-the-field stuff and classroom learning and teachings as well, going through drills and learning techniques and everything that it takes to teach the sport.”
The baseball gig with Montelli lasted until the fall of 1961, when Central Catholic in Norwalk was looking to start a football team and, through the Diocese, McDougall got the job. In 1967, he took over as football coach/athletic director at Trumbull, and in 1971, added the job of baseball coach to his resume. He retired from football in 1998 and was going to retire from baseball in 2001 to spend some quality time with his loving wife, Loretta, but sadly, she died from acute leukemia that July. He stayed with baseball until this season, retiring in May.
During those early years, McDougall spent countless hours talking and learning about coaching with some of the state’s top names, including Paul Lane of Staples, Joe Sikorski of New Canaan, John Hagan of Stamford and John Kuzco, who’s now the executive director of the FCIAC.
“I went to the best and tried to learn from the best,” McDougall said. “I was in awe of those coaches.”
And now, hundreds of coaches are in awe of him. Congratulations, Jerry.
Chris Elsberry is a sports columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org