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First Most Improved Player
First Most Improved Player award given at Comp
CHICOPEE- Sports are an integral part of any community, teaching life lessons, bringing people together, and generally providing a common thread in peoples lives. Chicopee is a town rich in its sporting legacy, especially at the high school level. With the importance that high school sports play in the local community, it is nice to see when the community gives a little back to the programs that have meant so much. Such was the case on Sunday, when Carol Campbell, President and owner of the Chicopee Industrial Contractors, provided a $100 savings bond to be awarded to the ‘most improved’ player at the Comp football banquet, in her father, local football legend Vic Fusia’s name.
The award, the first in what will be an annual event, was awarded to junior tight end Mike Wilson. After incurring an injury early in the year, Wilson wasn’t expected to be walking anytime soon, let alone playing football, but play he did, and he was inspirational source to all of his teammates. It was this kind of dedication that demonstrated the Vic Fusia spirit, and merited the award.
“It’s important that they (the recipient) love the game of football,” said Campbell of the selection process. “They must also put a strong emphasis on academics and family. They need to lead a full life.”
The name associated with this award is prestige enough for any who receives it. Vic Fusia’s accomplishments on the grid iron are the stuff of local legend. He had a very dynamic career in the coaching business after his graduation from Manhattan College, serving as the head coach at Umass as well as coaching at Pitt and Brown. Fusia also spent some time as a scout for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. He is the all time winningest coach at Umass and is a member of their Hall of Fame, and the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame amongst his numerous accolades. His name is definitely a prestigious one to associate with this award.
The decision to start the award was an easy one for Campbell. There is already a scholarship in Fusia’s name at Umass, and when Comp football fundraisers contacted Campbell, this seemed like the right thing to do.
“I just wanted to help out,” said Campbell. “An award in my father’s name was an easy decision.”
The establishment of this award provides one more goal for student-athletes to aim for in the future and also pays tribute to a football great. This is the kind of community involvement that makes Chicopee sports so special. It is the spirit of Vic Fusia, and an honor to be chosen. Congratulations to Mike Wilson.