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VPA picks Mount Abe trio for Hall of Fame

MONTPELIER — Three longtime fixtures at Mount Abraham Union High School have been chosen to be among the dozen newest inductees into the Vermont Principals’ Association Hall of Fame.
Coaches Connie LaRose, Jeff Stetson and Mary Stetson are among the 12 student-athletes, coaches, officials, an administrator and a contributor who have been selected for the VPA Hall of Fame’s class of 2018.
The VPA Hall of Fame was organized in 2001 to recognize and preserve the heritage of Vermont high school interscholastic activities, including sports. According to the VPA, members of the hall have distinguished themselves through service, contributions and achievement in programs or activities sponsored by the VPA. They also must exemplify the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and character.
The induction ceremony for the Class of 2018 will be held May 4 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier. The ceremony begins with a 5 p.m. reception, followed by a 6 p.m. banquet and an induction starting at 6:45 p.m.
Banquet tickets are $45, and those interested in attending may contact Delina Benway at the VPA (802) 229-0547 for reservations and information.
According to a VPA press release, LaRose was honored for her more than 400 wins as a varsity girls’ basketball coach, mostly at Mount Abe, but also one year each at Beeman Academy and Bristol High School before moving to Mount Abe. Her Eagle teams have won three Division II titles and reached nine championship games.
LaRose also served as varsity softball coach for eight years apiece for Mount Abe and Middlebury Union, and her teams at each school made one trip to a championship final.
Also, two-dozen years ago LaRose created a feeder program for girls’ basketball with the Valley Magic AAU team, and added a boys’ team when none was available for local students. LaRose has also served as a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader for nearly 40 years.
Jeff Stetson has served as Mount Abe’s varsity baseball coach since 1981, compiling a 318-285 record, directing the Eagles to eight title games, and capturing six D-II crowns.
He also served as an assistant football coach for Mount Abe, where he helped the Eagles win two D-IV state championships. Stetson has also at times coached junior varsity and middle school soccer while also working as a full-time teacher and serving as a co-athletic directors at Mount Abe with his wife, Mary Stetson. Both he and Mary also volunteered for VPA committees.
Mary Stetson has coached varsity field hockey at Mount Abe since 1992, compiled a 223-140-60 record, led the Eagles to 11 title games, and came home with seven crowns. She also has coached middle school softball and assisted with track and field.
As a physical education teacher and coach, she is passionate about sports, but known for sportsmanship. She has created a family with her student-athletes, who mentioned how she helped change lives for the good. She and her husband, Jeff, spent countless hours over many years serving as co-athletic directors at Mount Abe, which covers five Addison County towns.
Also chosen for the hall are Mount Anthony athletic director Tim Brown, Brattleboro student-athlete F. William “Bill” Holiday Jr., Essex track and field coach Joe Gonillo, Lamoille athlete David Kennedy, Danville athlete Dwayne Lynaugh, Arlington athlete Glenn Sherman, Rice all-around contributor John Varricchione, Barre basketball official Gary “Tino” Lavin, and Ludlow soccer official and baseball/softball umpire John Witalec.

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