Mike Walsh and the Trinity Catholic Crusaders have been synonymous with success in the FCIAC boys basketball for the better part of the past three decades.
Tuesday in Trumbull, the Crusaders opened the 2017 calendar year with a milestone, defeating the St. Joseph Cadets, 79-51, to give Walsh his 600th career win. The Crusaders improved to 4-0 with the victory.
Walsh is just the fifth coach in Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference history to reach the 600-victory bar, joining an exclusive group which includes former FCIAC coaches Vito Montelli of St. Joseph, and Charlie Bentley of Harding.
Montelli, who attended Tuesday’s game, is the state’s all-time leader in coaching wins with 878, while Bentley had 655.
Here is the top five, according to GameTimeCt. (Augelli and Walsh are both still active)
Vito Montelli, St. Joseph – 878
Charlie Bentley, Harding – 655
Nick Augelli, Crosby – 647
Tony Falzarano, Putnam/Tourtellotte – 609
Mike Walsh. Trinity Catholic – 600
Walsh took over the program back in 1979, when the school was named Stamford Catholic High School, and during his 38-plus years with the team has racked up 12 championships — six FCIAC and six states.
His Crusaders have appeared in 12 state and 11 FCIAC finals. They last won the FCIAC title in 2008 and last reached the FCIAC final in 2013.
Mike Walsh’s Championships at Stamford/Trinity Catholic HS
FCIAC (6) – 1993, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008
CIAC (6) – 1996 (Class M); 1999 (Class L); 2001 and 2003 (Class M); 2004 (Div. I); and 2011 (Class M).
“I have been blessed with a lot of great players,” Walsh told Scott Ericson of the Stamford Advocate. “I didn’t get to 600 wins because I’m the smartest person in the world. I have had some really great players and I appreciate everything they have given to me and Catholic High. My family, too. They have sacrificed a lot and I thank them. I am really happy to get it.”