July 24, 2013
STAMFORD, Conn. - The Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame will induct three former UConn student-athletes on Thursday, Sept. 12, to its University of Connecticut wing, which pays tribute to individuals from the county that went on to stellar careers at the state university. The UConn wing is housed at the UConn Stamford Campus.
Former Husky athletes that will be saluted at the fifth annual UConn Fairfield County Day ceremony at the Stamford campus will be: Alison Hirsch (softball, Stamford), Mike McKay, (men's basketball, Bridgeport) and Jim Penders, Jr. (baseball, Stratford). With the induction of its three newest members, the UConn Wing now has 24 athletes enshrined.
Hirsch played four seasons with the Huskies from 1996-99. She was a standout infielder, primarily as a second baseman. The Stamford High graduate was an All-BIG EAST and All-ECAC selection as a senior. Hirsch is in the UConn career record book in several different categories including sixth in triples (13), ninth in singles (139), ninth in assists (314) and 12th in runs scored (96).
After being an All-State selection and batting .578 her senior year in high school, she was the recipient of the Allyson Rioux Award as the top female student athlete in Stamford. The award is named after Rioux, who was just named as one of the 2013 inductees to the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame.
McKay was a four-year starter for the Huskies from 1979-82. He averaged double figures in each of those seasons, including a career-high 16.7 as a sophomore that led the team. The 6-5 guard/forward also led the team in scoring as a senior at 14.3.
The Harding High graduate concluded his outstanding career with 1,633 points and is 12th on the school's all-time scoring list, after being in the fourth spot when he finished his career. McKay is fourth on the all-time list of games in double figures with 91, tied with Ray Allen. Drafted by the Utah Jazz in the fifth round of the 1982 NBA draft, he played in one NCAA tournament and three NITs.
Penders, who is the father of the current UConn baseball coach, also named Jim, was a co-captain second baseman for the 1965 team that reached the College World Series. Penders, who played three years for the Huskies, scored the winning run against Holy Cross in the '65 New England Championship game played at Fenway Park that sent the Huskies to the field of eight in Omaha. He missed the 1963 season in overcoming a life-threatening beaning and became the first college player to wear a double-ear flapped helmet after suffering a fractured skull when he was struck by a pitch at the left temple.
His younger brother Tom, also a member of the UConn wing and the FC Sports Hall of Fame, was his teammate on the '65 club. Penders was a legendary high school coach with a record of 600-318 in 43 seasons at East Catholic in Manchester, where he won four state championships.
The UConn wing of the Hall of Fame was started in 2007. Here is the list of the previous inductees: 2007 -- Moira & Tara Buckley (Trumbull, women's soccer), Chris Smith (Bridgeport, men's basketball), Brian Usher (Stamford, football); 2008 - Nick Giaquinto (Stratford, football), Paul & Tim Hunter (Westport, men's soccer); 2009 - Rashamel Jones (Stamford, men's basketball), Joe Markus (Trumbull, football), Tom Penders (Stratford, baseball and men's basketball), Rita Williams (Norwalk, women's basketball); 2010 - Mary Schmidt (Stamford, women's swimming), Bob Staak (Darien, men's basketball); 2011 - Donna Fagan (Norwalk, softball), Gregg Hutchings (Ridgefield, men's ice hockey), Sean Mulcahy (Westport, football) and Ken Murphy (Westport, men's soccer).; 2012 - Ryan Equale (Wilton, hockey), Rocco Murano (Greenwich, football), Robert Ross (Norwalk, men's soccer), Christine Vorvis (Fairfield, women's tennis).
The Hall of Fame is open six days a week from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday thru Friday and 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday.
The Fairfield County Sports Commission is a 501c (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote fitness awareness and to educate county residents on the benefits of leading a active, healthy, lifestyle, as well as put a focus on sports as a vehicle for personal development. For more information visit www.fairfieldcountysports.com or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.