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Scholar Leader Awards

On Thursday, May 2, 2019, the prestigious Scholar-Leader Awards were presented to twenty-eight student-athletes from member schools of the South-West Conference (SWC) during the SWC's Annual Leadership Banquet, held at the Amber Room in Danbury.


These exceptional recipients stood out for their remarkable achievements in both academics and athletics, as well as for their outstanding leadership qualities displayed within their schools and communities.


The Scholar-Leader Award symbolizes the unwavering commitment these students have shown to excel in all aspects of their lives, making them an inspiration to others pursuing similar paths of success.

Unified Sports Leader Awards

On Thursday, May 2, 2019, twenty South-West Conference Unified Sports student-athletes were honored for their leadership and contributions to Unified Sports and Activities at the Conference's Annual Leadership Banquet held at The Amber Room in Danbury.


The SWC Unified Sports One Athlete-One Partner Leadership Awards have been presented since 2016 to students from SWC member schools who have demonstrated commitment, dedication and service to Unified Sports and Activities at their school, in their community and in the South-West Conference.

Outstanding Coach Award

Lisa Hodges - Kolbe Cathedral High School


The South-West Conference is honored to present the “Outstanding Coach Award” to Lisa Hodges of Kolbe Cathedral High School.  The “Outstanding Coach Award” recognizes an individual who has coached a minimum of ten years in the South-West Conference and displayed the highest ideals of sportsmanship, integrity and leadership. 


Throughout her career as a coach, athletic director and school administrator, Lisa Hodges has been committed to providing positive athletic experiences for students. The South-West Conference expresses its deepest gratitude to Lisa Hodges for all that she has done for her school, the SWC and the student-athletes whose lives she has influenced and impacted.  Coach Hodges is an outstanding role model whose teams and student-athletes, win or lose, always conducted themselves with class, honor and dignity.

Hodges is a 1981 graduate of Kolbe Cathedral High School.  She continued her education at Rhode Island College where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting.  She served as Assistant Girl’s Basketball Coach at her high school alma mater from 1998 to 2003 before taking over the reins of the program as head coach in 2003.  During her fifteen years as Head Girl’s Basketball Coach, the Cougars won 283 games and lost 90.  Her teams won five state titles and four league championships.  Although Hodges’ record speaks volumes about her coaching prowess and acumen, she is most proud of the fact that 22 of her former players went on to play basketball at the collegiate level (and two professionally) and every one of those players earned their college degrees.  

In addition to her coaching contributions, Hodges has been an integral part of the SWC in a number of capacities.  She has served as the school’s Athletic Director since 2014 and is currently the Business Manager at Kolbe Cathedral. She presently serves as the Chairperson of the SWC Girl’s Basketball Committee and Chairperson of the SWC Boy’s Volleyball Committee.     

Hodges has been recognized for her coaching success and contributions to the community by a number of athletic and service organizations.  She was the Connecticut Post “Coach of the Year” in 2004 and 2005.  She was the Madison Square Garden (MSG) Tri-State “Coach of the Year” in 2005 and was the USA Today “Connecticut Coach of the Year” in 2014.  In 2016, the CIAC presented its “Merit Award” to Hodges in recognition of her contributions to high school basketball in Connecticut.  She was named the “Woman of the Year” in 2010 by the National Council of Negro Women.  The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity bestowed it’s “Community Leader of the Year” award on Hodges in 2008.

David Johnson Unified Sports Leadership Award

Mark Ferradino -Bethel High School

Mark Ferrandino of Bethel High School was presented the David Johnson Unified Sports Leadership Award at the SWC's Annual Leadership Banquet held at The Amber Room in Danbury on Thursday, May 2, 2019.   This award recognizes a coach from a SWC member school for dedication and commitment to the ideals of the CIAC/Special Olympics Unified Sports Program.  


Ferrandino, who is a Special Education teacher at Bethel High School, started the Bethel Unified Sports Program five years ago.  He has been a tireless advocate for students with special needs within the school district and Bethel community.  The Bethel High School Unified program is run year round by Ferrandino and includes soccer, basketball, track and field, volleyball and softball.


As testament to the success of the Unified Sports Program under Ferrandino’s leadership, Bethel High School was named by ESPN as one of the Top 30 Unified Sports Programs in their Special Olympics Honor Roll for 2018.  School’s that are named to the ESPN Special Olympics Honor Roll are then eligible to be named a Special Olympics Unified Champion School.


Ferrandino received his award from SWC Commissioner Dave Johnson and Bethel High School Principal Chris Troetti.

Norman Winnerman
Sportsmanship Award

New Fairfield High School - Girls Cross Country Team

The Norman Winnerman Sportsmanship Award is presented to a SWC team, SWC student-athlete or SWC coach who has displayed exemplary sportsmanship during the sport season or throughout the course of the present or previous school year.  Nominees for this award shall have demonstrated an extraordinary act or acts of “OUTSTANDING” sportsmanship towards others.  This award honors an individual or a team for an act of good sportsmanship that exceeds the normal and expected standards/levels of good sportsmanship practiced by SWC student-athletes and coaches.


The 2019 recipient of the Norman Winnerman Sportsmanship Award is the New Fairfield High School Girls Cross Country Team.  The South-West Conference recognizes the NFHS Girls Cross Country Team for the good sportsmanship and kindness exhibited towards a competing runner from Stratford High School during the 2018 cross country season.  This award is presented to all the members of the team as a tribute to their sense of caring and consideration towards others.


The Norman Winnerman Sportsmanship Award is named in honor of former Danbury High School Athletic Director and SWC Commissioner Norman Winnerman.  Throughout his professional career as a teacher, coach and athletic administrator, Norm Winnerman exhibited the highest ideals of sportsmanship, integrity and leadership.  This award honors and acknowledges all that Norm Winnerman has done on behalf of the South-West Conference since the league’s inception in 1995.

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