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Large mural painted on gym wall in honor of late coach David D’Alessio

A large mural in honor of the late Hand High wrestling coach David D’Alessio has been painted on a wall at the Walter C. Polston Middle School gym in Madison – the home gym for the Hand program.

The mural is 20 feet tall and 80 feet long and features a male and female student with their backs to the gym floor looking at a massive tiger, who stares straight onto the gym floor, according to Shoreline

D’Alessio, who worked with the Hand High wrestling program for more than 30 years, died on March 8, 2020. D’Alessio was the Tigers’ head coach for 20 years (1988-98, 2003-10, 2020) and led his teams to 10 conference championships and the 1995 Class M state championship.

D’Alessio, 56, taught science in Madison town schools for 29 years and coached wrestling in Madison for 33 years. His Hand teams won 319 dual meets in his career. He was an assistant coach for a season at Morgan in 1999, helping the Huskies win their only state championship.

D’Alessio’s wife, Diane, was pleased with the mural. “Everyone can enjoy it,” she told Shoreline “It’s for everyone. I know it’s for Dave, but it’s a tiger and we’re tigers.” Hand High’s mascot is a tiger.

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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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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