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National Wrestling HOF banquet for CT chapter less than a month away

Six men will be inducted into the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in less than three weeks at Foxwoods.

The seventh induction banquet for the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is less than a month away.

Six outstanding individuals from the state’s wrestling community will be inducted into the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 4 at the MGM Hotel at Foxwoods.

Five of the six men to be recognized are still actively involved in the sport.

Colonel Charles Anderson is the current head coach at Trumbull High School; Patrick Burns and Carmen DelVecchio are active officials; Jason Shaughnessy is the head coach at Fairfield Warde and Dennis Siegmann was an assistant coach at a Florida high school. Only John Bennett, a former coach, official and four-time member of the U.S. Veterans World team is retired from the sport.

Bennett, Burns, DelVecchio, Shaughnessy and Siegmann will receive a Lifetime Achievement award for coaches, officials, or contributors with at least 20 years of service. Anderson is being recognized as an Outstanding American, a former wrestler who is highly successful in his/her profession.

Gene Mills, a 1980 U.S. Olympian, two-time World Cup champion and a two-time NCAA champion, will be a guest speaker. He is attending to honor Burns, a long-time friend.

Tickets are now on sale for $100 each and $45 for children. You can order your tickets online today at https://ct-nwhof.ticketleap.com. Ticket sales will close on Friday, April 26.

Bennett, Burns, DelVecchio, Shaughnessy and Siegmann will receive a Lifetime Achievement award for coaches, officials, or contributors with at least 20 years of service. Anderson is being recognized as an Outstanding American, a former wrestler who is highly successful in his/her profession.

Trumbull High coach Charlie Anderson earned his 300th career win in February.

Charlie Anderson: Colonel Anderson is currently a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard with more than 30 years of service. He has been mobilized three times in support of the Globe War on Terrorism, including a deployment in Afghanistan.

He has been coaching in Connecticut since 1986 when he spent three years as an assistant coach at Southern Connecticut State before becoming an assistant coach at Norwalk High. He took over as head coach at Norwalk from 1991-99 and was the FCIAC Coach of the Year in 1999.

Anderson has had two tours as the head coach in Trumbull in 2007-12 and 2016 to present. He was the assistant coach from 2013-15.

This year, the Eagles went 25-5 and Anderson earned his 300th career win as a head coach. He is 301-86-3. “It is nice but it doesn’t really feel like 300,” he said. His Eagles finished second in Class LL behind Danbury – their best finish in Class LL since finishing second in 2013.

Patrick Burns: Burns has been involved in wrestling in New Milford for years. He helped found the New Milford Wrestling Association and was an assistant coach with New Milford High for 12 years before taking over as head coach in 2002. In four years as the head coach, his teams were 70-11-1, won two Southwest Conference titles and finished second in Class LL and the State Open behind Danbury in 2006.

Burns has been an official since 2011. This season, he was selected to work at the Prep School national championship tournament at Lehigh, the New England high school championships and the National High School Coaches Associations (NSCHA) national championship tournaments in Virginia.

Carmen DelVecchio, left,  gets down to see the action during February’s State Open finals in New Haven.

Carmen DelVecchio: DelVecchio’s wrestling career stretches over 40 years. He was a state champion on Daniel Hand’s first state championship team. DelVecchio wrestled at Springfield College for two years and became a successful coach at Fermi High School in Enfield, leading Fermi to their first and only Class LL state championship (1980) before becoming a nationally-recognized official.

This winter, DelVecchio was selected to work as an official at a variety of tournaments including the Journeymen Classic in Troy, N.Y., the Super 32 tournament in North Carolina, Beast of the East in Delaware, State Open championships, the New England championships in Providence, the New England Middle School championships in New Hampshire and the National High School Coaches Association national championships in Virginia Beach.

Fairfield Warde head coach Jason Shaughnessy (grey jacket behind the banner) became just the tenth wrestling coach in state history with more than 400 career wins. (Photo courtesy Fairfield Warde wrestling)

Jason Shaughnessy: Shaughnessy has helped rebuild wrestling in Fairfield in his tenure as head coach at Fairfield High and then Fairfield Warde, where he has led the Mustangs to three Class L titles and a FCIAC championship in 2010, snapping a 23-year Danbury winning streak. Fairfield Warde has finished second in the Class L or Class LL tournament five times in the last seven years and the Mustangs were third in New England in 2015.

This winter, Shaughnessy became just the tenth coach in state history to earn 400 career victories. The Mustangs went 19-1 with their lone loss at the hands of New England champion Danbury. Warde finished third at the State Open behind Danbury and Xavier.

Shaughnessy, who began coaching at Fairfield High in 1998, has a career record of 404-92.

“I am very proud to have built a program who has been consistently performing at a high level,” he said. “I am fortunate to be a teacher and coach at Fairfield and have the opportunity to run a youth program which can contribute to the success at Warde.”

Dennis Siegmann: Siegmann was a member of the NAIA national championship team at Bloomsburg State. After graduation, he was the head coach at Bristol Borough (Pa.) for three years and Bristol Central for 22 years where he led the Rams to two Class L titles and 11 league championships. In Connecticut, Bristol Central was 348-109-12 under Dennis and he coached three All-Americans, 31 state champions and one New England champion.

He was the chair of the CIAC wrestling committee for 10 years and the tournament director of the New England championships for four years.

Siegmann got back into coach as an assistant wrestling coach at Labette Community College under head coach Joe Renfo in Parsons, Kansas from 2011-13 helping Labette win two NJCAA national championships (2012, 2013). Again with Renfo, he was an assistant coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College for three years (2014-17) helping lead Northeastern Oklahoma to two NJCAA national titles in 2014 and 2016.

Siegmann moved to Sarasota, Florida in May 2017 to help care for his ailing, older brother, Warren. Six months later, his brother’s wife unexpectedly passed away and Siegmann became his brother’s primary caregiver. Last August, Siegmann ran into a collegiate coach from Kansas whose brother – Brian Sebaaly — was the head coach at Riverview High in Sarasota. Riverview was down to eight wrestlers.

“I needed an outlet from caregiving so I volunteered,” Siegmann said. “Brian asked me to be a paid assistant and now we have 18 kids on the team and field a guy in all 14 weight classes. I am enjoying coaching again at the high school level. Although it isn’t Bristol Central, the mascot is the Ram and the colors are maroon and white. I love my family, but wow, caregiving is difficult. I need wrestling.”

John Bennett: Wrestling has been an integral part of Bennett’s life for more than 30 years as a competitor, head coach, assistant coach, volunteer coach, a state tournament director and an official. He was the head coach at St. Bernard’s in Uncasville in 1975, where the Saints finished second at the State Open and in Class M, and in Newington (2011-16). He has been an assistant coach at Windham High, Berlin and Newington. John was a part of four state championship teams at Berlin.

As an athlete, Bennett was a four-time member of the U.S. Veterans World team winning a gold medal in Toronto in 1993 at 68 kilograms (150 pounds). He won three U.S. Veterans championships in 2003-05. Bennett, who lives in Berlin, was an official for 13 years.

All six men will be permanently recognized in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame (Stillwater, Oklahoma) with an embossed name plaque, and each receives a plaque and jacket to commemorate the very special occasion. These six will join 38 other inductees in the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Editor’s note: Gerry deSimas, Jr., is a member of the executive committee of the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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