Ten individuals and three teams will be honored by the Branford Sports Hall of Fame on Friday, November 17, at Woodwinds Restaurant in Branford at its 25th Induction Dinner. Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased by calling Andrea Kenney at the Branford Community House at 203-488-8304.
David Andriole was Branford High School All State swimmer who captained the BHS swim team as a junior and senior. A 1986 graduate of Yale University, Andriole continued recording achievements in the pool as a four year member of the Yale Swim team and as a water polo player. Currently, he is a professional actor and attorney in California.
Burke Asher is a 1959 graduate of BHS who excelled in football and baseball. He was a quarterback on the Hornet’s 1958 undefeated State Champion team and the leading hitter on the 1959 baseball team. Asher is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he played in the Quaker’s football, baseball and wrestling programs. Asher is retired from the business world as Chief Financial Officer of the Remington Gas and Oil Corporation. He lives in Dallas Texas.
The late Vincent Cassella spent his entire adult life supporting sports in Branford as a Little All Star coach, a baseball and softball umpire and 50 year member of the Branford Recreation Board. His leadership in the growth of Branford’s nationally renowned recreation program is his great legacy in Branford.
Margaret “Meg” Clapp Frazier is a 1983 BHS graduate who earned honors as a key player on championship basketball and field hockey teams for the Hornets. The 1987 graduate of Dartmouth College is a career educator who is Academic Dean at Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland.
Kevin Erickson was a 4 year ice hockey player at BHS, establishing a career scoring record or 143 points that still stands today. He was honored with All League and All State designation and served as his team’s captain in his junior and senior years. Erickson served as BHS Assistant Ice Hockey coach for 16 years.
Jean and Jack Kelley had impressive high school and college athletic careers. Dr. Jack Kelley, a highly respected orthopedic surgeon and author of professional articles, has provided volunteer sports medicine service to several local high schools. He played football at Yale for three years as a defensive back graduating in 1981. Jean Kelley, a trained educator, is well-known for her tremendous, volunteer fundraising efforts organizing the yearly Hammerfest Triathlon for the benefit of the Myelin Project raising over $400,000. The Kelleys recently launched “Brian’s Hope”, a charitable foundation whose goal is stopping the progression of adrenoleukodystropy, a disease of the central nervous system.
John Kessler is a 1977 graduate of BHS and was a standout basketball player who served as co-captain for the Hornet’s 1977, 18-2, Housatonic League Champs. A three year basketball letterman at Clark University, Kessler was a main cog in the Cougars 24-3 record during his senior year. Kessler has been involved in the BHS basketball program for more than two decades, serving as a volunteer coach and a major fundraiser.
Robin McColl Axtell is a 1981 graduate of BHS where she was an outstanding field hockey player. She earned All League and All State honors as captain of the Hornet’s 1980 squad. Axtell has been an assistant field hockey coach at Branford for 12 years.
Bill O’Brien has served the Town of Branford and the Greater New Haven area with distinction in a diverse array of organizations and activities. He has been a driving force in the development of the Southern Connecticut Conference, the Water Camp Foundation and the New Haven Football Foundation. O’Brien has raised over $8 million for various organizations, charities and athletic activities in the area. He rose to the rank of senior vice president of Lafayette American Bank and retired after a 42 year career in banking from New Alliance Bank in 2005.
Phil Travasano Jr. is a 1965 Branford High School graduate. A fixture in the line for Hornet football coaches, Dom Cote and Bill Simon, Travasano earned All State honors in his senior year. The Vietnam War veteran, returned to BHS to teach and coach after earning a B.S. degree from Southern Connecticut State University.
The Branford Sports Hall of Fame will also honor three Branford teams that won state championships. The Branford High School ice hockey team, coached by Larry Vieira, won the 1988 Division II State Championship finishing with a 22-2 record. Two St. Mary CYO basketball teams will be recognized for winning state championships. The 1971 and 1972 teams won back to back championships under Coach Jon Brooks. The 1972 team also were New England champions.