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ESPN’s Rece Davis Guests at Chamber Breakfast

Davis is primary studio host for ESPN's college football and college basketball, its Saturday college football pregame, halftime and postgame studio coverage and College Football Final.

Welcome to ESPN’s Rece Davis was our featured speaker Monday morning at the monthly breakfast meeting.

Rece joined ESPN in 1995 and serves as primary studio host for ESPN and ESPN2’s coverage of college football and college basketball. He is the host of ESPN’s Saturday college football pregame, halftime and postgame studio coverage and College Football Final with analysts Lou Holtz and Mark May, and the trio calls select ESPN and ESPN2 weekday games. 

Rece also calls the ESPN College Football Primetime game on Thursday nights with Craig James and Jesse Palmer. He is the host of ESPN’s College GameDay basketball road show and calls select college basketball games. 

A regular contributor to SportsCenter and ESPN Radio, Davis has also served on ESPN and ABC’s Triple Crown horse racing coverage and ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage. We have not had a sports broadcaster appear at a breakfast meeting in quite some time and this is a great opportunity to get a glimpse of the inner workings of one of the state’s largest employers: ESPN.

I was honored to be at the Crowne Plaza also on Thursday evening for the annual Middletown Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. There were 12 individual honorees plus one team in the 2012 hall of fame class: retiring Wesleyan University Director of Athletics John Biddiscombe, Salvatore “Chick” Ciccarello, Jeff Gallaher, T.T. Gallaher, Joseph Graham, Richard Gula, Richard Kolenda, Henry Koritkoski, Teresa Opalacz, Sven Robert “Bobby” Peterson, Stacy Viarengo, John Waylock and the 1966 undefeated Middletown High School Tiger football team.

All of these former athletes are great ambassadors of Middletown and true examples of the city’s rich athletic tradition.

I would especially like to recognize Joseph Graham and Richard Gula, both of whom I had the privilege of coaching as Xavier’s head football coach. While Joe and Rich were at Xavier they were great young men; coaching them was very easy because they were such committed student-athletes.

Rich was also the first Xavier running back to be named to an All-State team in 1967. He helped to pave the way for many other talented young men who came through the program.

Joe was a high school All-American and All-State player who went on to a terrific career at the University of Massachusetts.

Teresa Opalacz also deserves special recognition as I have known her since her days at St. Mary’s School. She excelled as a young person in a host of sports—softball, swimming, basketball and rugby—and went on to Holy Cross as a member of its women’s basketball team.  It has been a pleasure seeing her move along in her career and to have had her lead our chamber as chairperson in 2010-11.

This event is made possible each year by the many volunteers and Middletown Sports Hall of Fame President Tom Serra. Thanks to all of these individuals for maintaining and honoring the rich tradition of sport in the city.

Finally, the United Way held its annual meeting last week, which I was happy to attend on Jan. 24; the event was a great success. Congratulations to this year’s award recipients: HOPE Partnership, Community Impact Award; Willard McRae, Community Leadership Award; Herb and Sherry Clark, Tocqueville Society Philanthropy Award; and Linda Ann Morales, Community Service Award.

Kevin Wilhelm and his staff at the United Way continue to do an outstanding job for our region. Also, a congratulations to their board president, Gary Simonsen, and new honorary campaign chair, Gary Gomola. Both of these outstanding men are great leaders and are past chairmen of the chamber.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize Carrie Carella and Phil Ouellette for the grand opening of their gourmet cupcake store: NoRa Cupcake Co. on Main Street, Middletown.

Stop by and you will be really pleased with what the shop has to offer.

Phil has a vision of a transformed North End section of Main Street and this business is a step forward in that direction.

I would like to remind everyone that as of Saturday, as the next stage of construction begins.

The east and westbound travel lanes are now separated as work on the middle section—Stage 2—has begun.  Stage 3, the last stage on the northern side of bridge, is anticipated to begin in mid-May 2012 with overall completion of the project still on schedule for November 2012.

For information, contact Matt Fraulino at (860) 347-6924 or matthew@middlesexchamber.com.

 

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