Norwich adds to its Sports Hall of Fame

Just thought I’d empty out my reporter’s notebook while wishing for a Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown versus Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving matchup in the NBA finals …

New Hall of Famers

The biggest sports celebration of the year is just around the corner.

For over 50 years, Norwich has celebrated its finest athletes and extraordinary athletic achievements with induction into the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame. This year’s 2024 Hall of Fame Recipients Banquet takes place on Sunday, June 9 at the Holiday Inn in Norwich. There is a social hour at 4 p.m. followed by the awards dinner at 5 p.m.

The Hall of Fame committee - Jim Homiski (President), Cindy Shea (Vice-President), Laura Lonardelli (Treasurer), Matt Hinchey (Secretary) - and its members welcome two legendary coaches, two track stars, and a former major league baseball player into the Norwich Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024: Scott Chaisson, Bruce MacMahon, James Makowicki, Ralph Mills, and Jack Stabach.

Scott Chaisson was a star shortstop at Norwich Free Academy from 1990-1993. Chaisson continued his baseball journey at Eastern Connecticut State University where he played shortstop and also was the team’s closer. In 1998, Chaisson saved five games and earned three wins during the NCAA tournament while helping Eastern win the national championship. He was named a First Team ABCA All-American.

After his junior season, Chaisson was drafted in the fifth round by the Kansas City Royals. He made his major league debut with the Chicago Cubs on September 19, 2001 at the age of 23. Chaisson spent 13 years in professional baseball with seven teams.

James “Buddy” Makowicki was known as “the fellow who wins all of the track meets.” Makowicki ran track and field and cross country at NFA from 1946-1950. In 1949, he set a school and conference record in the mile with a run of 4:36.5.

Makowicki led the Wildcats to three ECC championships. He was awarded the Athletic Council Cup for Outstanding Achievement in Athletics at NFA in 1950.

Ralph Mills, an English and writing teacher at NFA who also worked for many years as a night reporter at the Norwich Bulletin, became the Wildcats cross country coach in 1956. During a 10-year span his teams went 100-17-1, including a 57-0-1 mark over the final five years.

Mills guided NFA to the 1961 New England States Open championship, three State Open titles, and four Class LL championships.

He passed away in 1986 at the age of 61.

Bruce “B.D.” MacMahon was one of Mills’ star runners. MacMahon was a member of NFA’s cross country and track and field teams from 1960-1964. He helped the Wildcats win one New England championship and four State Open titles.

MacMahon went on to coach at New London and Concord (N.H.). He is a founding member of the Mohegan Striders and has run in two Boston Marathons.

Jack Stabach (NFA Class of 1966) is a legendary high school, USA Swimming, and Special Olympics swim coach. He guided the East Lyme High School girls team to 20 straight undefeated ECC swimming and diving championships and two Class M runner up finishes in 2006 and 2007.

He also led the Vikings boys team to 10 ECC titles and a Class MM runner up finish in 2013.

Stabach was awarded the CHSCA Connecticut High School Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2011.

Established in January of 1968 and sponsored by the Thamesville Athletic Club of Norwich, the committee also recognizes those individuals that provide outstanding community service in the realms of developing, coaching and mentoring of athletics by honoring them with the Joseph Kapteina Service Award. This year’s award winners are Tim Krodel and Jody Sheeley.

More: Norwich Free Academy wins ECC softball championship

The Hall of Fame also recognizes a “Sports Person of the Year” to individuals who have recognized athletic achievement and may have contributed in other civic endeavors. The 2024 Sports Person of the Year Recipients are Chris Amy, Chris Delucia, and Hannah Graham.

NFA junior Chris Amy set an ECC record in the shot put with a throw of 60.7.25 at East Lyme High School.
NFA junior Chris Amy set an ECC record in the shot put with a throw of 60.7.25 at East Lyme High School.

The NFA Boys Cross Country Teams from 1961 – 1965 is the recipient of the Legends Team award.

Also, Thamesville Athletic Club recognizes two graduating seniors, one from the Norwich Free Academy and one from the Norwich Technical School who plan to continue their formal education by presenting them with an athletic scholarship. The winners of this year’s Jack Lonardelli Memorial Award and Thamesville AC Scholarship Recipients will be announced at a later time.

Tickets to the Hall of Fame dinner can be purchased online with a payment app through the club’s website Please contact Jim Homiski at 860-710-6676 with any questions. Tickets are $40.00 for adult and $20.00 for children (5-11).

Walter Cup finals

The puck has dropped on the inaugural Professional Women’s Hockey League Finals presented by Scotiabank with PWHL Boston and PWHL Minnesota competing to be the first to hoist The Walter Cup. Boston opened the best-of-five series with a 4-3 win on Sunday night at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell to stay unbeaten through four playoff games and extend their winning streak to six games overall.

“We’re feeling good, we’re really excited,” Boston’s Kelly Babstock said in a press release from the league. “The fans have been absolutely awesome here in Boston. We’re just going to keep going, we’re locked in.”

Minnesota evened the series on Tuesday as Sophie Jaques had two goals and Nicole Hensley made 20 saves in a 3-0 win at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.

Taylor Heise and Michela Cava had a goal and an assist apiece as Minnesota defeated Boston 4-1 in Game 3 at Minnesota's Xcel Energy Center on Friday night.  Minnesota leads the best-of-five series 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday (6 p.m.) at Xcel Energy Center.

More: NFA girls, Griswold boys roll to ECC track titles

Hanks … Foulke?

The final out in Norwich Tech’s thrilling 14-13 victory over O’Brien Tech in the CTC championship softball game Friday afternoon at Albertus Magnus College was a comebacker to Warriors pitcher Autumn Hanks. When Hanks went over and tossed the ball to first baseman Diana Kozererfski … YUP! … I immediately thought of Red Sox pitcher Keith Foulke throwing to Doug Mientkiewicz at first base for the last out in the 2004 World Series.

Of course, we all know that the 2004 World Series was the greatest one of all.


On May 30, 1971, the mighty J. Geils Band performed in the Detroit Rock and Roll Revival at the State Fairgrounds in Detroit, Michigan. The other acts were the Allman Brothers Band with Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter’s White Trash, Boz Scaggs, and Detroit’s own Bob Seger.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Boston’s J. Geils Band always considered Detroit its second home. The band’s blistering house party concerts in the Motor City were legendary. Geils’ live albums 1972’s Full House and 1982’s Showtime were recorded in Detroit’s Cinderella Ballroom and Pine Knob Music Theater, while their iconic live album, 1976’s Blow Your Face Out was recorded at the Boston Garden and Detroit's Cobo Arena.

Jimmy Zanor
Jimmy Zanor

Jimmy Zanor is a sportswriter for the Norwich Bulletin and can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@jzanorNB.

This article originally appeared on The Bulletin: Norwich Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2024 recipients