May 21, 2010
FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame has announced its next class of honorees to be recognized in the Hall of Fame's University of Connecticut wing, which pays tribute to athletes from the county that went on to stellar careers at the state university. The UConn wing is sponsored by People's United Bank, and is housed at the UConn Stamford Campus.
Former Husky athletes to be feted at the UConn Fairfield County Day ceremony, Thursday, June 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the Stamford campus are women's swimmer Mary Schmidt Gibson (Stamford) and men's basketball's Bob Staak (Darien).
Schmidt, a 1978 UConn graduate, only swam for the Huskies for two seasons, but she became one of the program's first to receive national recognition. As a sophomore in 1975-76, she earned two-time All-American status by posting national rankings in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events, breaking the national women's record time in the 50-meters. She was the team's MVP that season and led UConn to a 24th place finish at the 140-team national meet. The Stamford High grad was later honored as one of the first inductees into the UConn Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame. As a high school swimmer, she competed in the 1972 U.S. Olympic trials in the 100-yard freestyle.
Staak, a 6-2 guard/forward, started for three seasons (1968-69, 69-70, 70-71) for the Huskies. The Darien High product averaged 18.1 points per game in his career, tied for sixth best in school history, and finished with 1,288 total points, the fourth-best total in UConn history at the time. Staak is currently 25th on the all-time Husky scoring list, and is one of only 14 players to average better than 20 points per game in a season (20.9 in 70-71).
After his playing career ended, Staak became an assistant to UConn Coach Dee Rowe for two seasons (72-73, 73-74). That launched a highly successful collegiate and pro basketball coaching career, which included six years as head coach at Xavier and four more at Wake Forest. He was also a longtime NBA assistant and is now a scout for the Orlando Magic. Staak was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
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). . The Hall of Fame is open six days a week from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday thru Friday and 9 a.m.-12 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.