WESTPORT, Conn. Dan Woog credits Albie Loeffler with helping him get into a soccer coaching career. The current Staples coach spoke on Loeffler's behalf Thursday when it was announced that Loeffler, who coached Staples from 1958-1978, was one of six new members heading into the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame.
Loeffler will join Bridgeport's Charlie Bentley in the J. Walter Kennedy Community Service wing. Greenwich's Ceci Hopp St. Geme, an outstanding distance runner, joins former Fairfield University basketball star Joe DeSantis in the Hall's James O'Rourke Amateur Wing. Stamford's Bennett Salvatore and Bridgeport's John Bagley will enter the Jackie Robinson Professional wing. The Hall is run by the Fairfield County Sports Commission. The award winners will be honored at a dinner on Monday, Oct. 17, at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.
Loeffler was a legendary soccer coach at Staples High, but his impact on soccer there and across the country came from more than his role as a coach. Loeffler came to Staples in 1952 and originally coached basketball (12 years), baseball (11 years) and track because the Westport school did not have a soccer team. He founded the program in 1958 and shaped it over his 20 years as head coach into one of the nation's finest.
When he retired in 1978, he had amassed a then national high school record 314 wins and was twice named National Soccer Coach of the Year. Staples won 13 FCIAC titles, including five in a row, and seven state championships, with five of those coming consecutively from 1969-73.
Loeffler was one of the pioneers of soccer, officiating at both the scholastic and collegiate levels for 13 years. He worked five NCAA Division I finals, including the first one, and was part of the referee duo of the first two-man system in college soccer. Loeffler, who passed away at the age of 93 in September 2009, also was involved in writing the national soccer officials handbook. He is a member of the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame as a referee and was one of the inaugural 13 members of the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 1999.
Westport's Dick Siderowf was inducted into the Amateur wing in 2009. Loeffler joins a list that includes Stamford's Mickey Lione, Norwalk's Ray Barry and Sacred Heart University basketball coach Dave Bike in the Community Service wing.
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