Stamford High School Black Knights

 
In 2007, Boyle Stadium celebrated its 70th anniversary. The first baseball game was played on its field in 1937 and the first football game and graduation ceremony took place in 1938. It was named the Michael A. Boyle Stadium in 1942 to honor Stamford High’s longtime coach and athletic director. Boyle’s football coaching record from 1907 to 1938 was 229 wins and 14 ties out of 283 games played, which made for a winning average of .809. This was considered the greatest period of high school football coaching in the country. Stamford High’s Golden Era of football came between 1911 and 1920, when Boyle’s teams racked up a record of 83 wins and 4 losses. In total, Stamford High has won 20 football state championships, as well as a number of state championships in other sports.

Plans for the stadium were first developed in 1933, during the Depression. The project was planned by Town Engineer Llewellyn Bromfield Jr. during the administration of First Selectman John Hanrahan. The architect was Alfonse Vacca. Work began in 1935 under the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) to build the stadium on the site of Bett’s Pond and surrounding swampland. The entire project took several years to complete. The original layout included regulation football and baseball fields, an oval quarter-mile running track with a 220-yard straight-away, pole vaulting and jumping pits, and two stone and concrete stands that resemble an ancient Greek terraced-style stadium, but with Baroque-accented parapets atop the stone walls. One of the significant elements of the stadium is the superior workmanship by local masons of the polygonal-cut, rock-faced granite construction. Seating capacity was listed at the time as 5,924. The cost of the original construction was $400,000, $85,000 of which came from local taxpayers. Plans for a clam-shell bandstand at the north end had to be shelved when federal funding for WPA projects ran out.

The west side, which is typically the home team’s stand, features a shower room, restroom and dressing rooms for both the home and the visiting teams. Storage rooms, a boiler room and an office are also located there. On the east, or visitors’ side, there are public restrooms and storage rooms. In recent years, the football team’s parent booster organization, the Stamford High Gridiron Club, has raised funds to install a weight room, renovate locker rooms and repair the press box. The Friends of Boyle Stadium committee of parents and staff annually raises funds to benefit the stadium by selling commemorative bricks that have been installed along the track near the stadium’s entrance. Recent proceeds from the brick sales have been used for restoration projects and to purchase a scoreboard for the soccer field. Today, the stadium is the site of SHS and regional athletic and marching band competitions, as well as very special SHS graduation ceremonies.

Boyle Stadium Wall of Honor - Est. Oct. 2007 At a ceremony in October 2007 commemorating Boyle Stadium’s 70th anniversary, a Wall of Honor was unveiled to recognize Stamford High School’s state championship teams and individuals who made the greatest contributions to the teams’ success on the Boyle Stadium field.

The ceremony’s first honorees were National Football League Hall of Famer and Player of the Year Andy Robustelli, Black Knights Football Coach John Hagan, and the 1970 and 1971 Black Knights State Football Champions. The teams and the individual honorees had their names enshrined on plaques that were mounted on the west stands. Sixteen players and four coaches from those two teams attended the pre-game reception hosted by the Stamford High Gridiron Club and the special half-time ceremony led by Master of Ceremonies Len Gambino.

Special guests at the ceremony were Robert Bromfield, Genevieve Vacca, Sister Rose Mary Vacca and Evelyn Vacca Simone, all SHS graduates, and their families. Mr. Bromfield’s father, Llewellyn Bromfield Jr., was the senior engineer on Boyle Stadium’s construction, a project he conceived in 1933. Genevieve, Sister Rose Mary and Evelyn are the daughters of Alfonse Vacca, who was the renowned architect of Boyle Stadium.

All the honorees and guests were escorted onto the Boyle Stadium field by the Stamford High cheerleaders and enjoyed a concert by the Stamford High Marching Band. In the coming years, the Stamford High Gridiron Club and the Friends of Stamford High Alumni Association have plans to recognize and honor all of the Stamford High state championship teams that played their home games in Boyle Stadium.

 

Wall of Honor Inductees 

Andy Robustelli
National Football League Player of the Year 1962
National Football League Hall of Fame 1971

John Hagan
Black Knights Football Coach 1960 – 1971
State Champions 1970 & 1971
FCIAC Champions 1970 & 1971
New York Daily News Coach of the Year 1970-71
CT High School Coach of the Year 1970-71
CT High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame 1995
FCIAC Hall of Fame 1998

1970 Black Knights State Football Champions

1971 Black Knights State Football Champions

All State 1970
Bob Augustyn, James Cobb, Bruce Montgomery, Perry Orgera

All State 1971
Jim Brewer, Mickey Haggerty, Rick Lee, Larry Schmidt, Phil Steinberg

In 2006, the newly established Friends of Stamford High Alumni Association approached the City of Stamford through Timothy Beeble, its Director of Community Development, about nominating Boyle Stadium to the Connecticut Register of Historic Places because of its Depression-era history and architecturally significant stonework. The application was put together by Sandra Dennies and Gerry Katz of the Grants Office, with research assistance from Renee Kahn and Nils Kerschus of the Stamford Historic Neighborhood Preservation Program and Marc Lyons and Cherri Sherman, parents of SHS students and members of the Alumni Association. In October 2006, the Connecticut Historic Preservation Council of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism approved the nomination, making Boyle Stadium eligible for grants from its historic restoration fund. In October 2007, the Commission approved the city’s application for $200,000 in state funding. These funds will be matched with $200,000 from the City of Stamford. Restoration work at Boyle Stadium is expected to take place in 2009.

The Friends of Boyle Stadium committee of parents and staff annually raises funds to benefit the stadium by selling commemorative bricks that have been installed along the track near the stadium’s entrance.  Recent proceeds from the brick sales have been used for restoration projects and to purchase a scoreboard for the soccer field. Today, the stadium is the site of SHS and regional athletic and marching band competitions, as well as very special SHS graduation ceremonies.

Stamford High Black Knights