A Veterans Day Football Celebration

Tonight, before Staples High School’s last home game of the season, the Wreckers will honor the 1975 state championship football team. It’s the only undefeated squad in the program’s history.

More than a dozen former players from that legendary team will return, from far and wide. They’ve done plenty since then, in a variety of places and ways.

But today is Veterans Day. So it’s an appropriate time to note the accomplishments of one team member.

Jeff Hill

Jeff Hill

Jeff Hill will be there in spirit only. He’s got a veterans’ event in Texas. As regional vice president of the USO, that’s his priority.

His military record is impressive. After graduating from Staples in 1978, Jeff served the Navy as a Special Operations deep-sea diver. He traveled the world as commanding officer of the USS Grasp.

With the USO, he designed and built over 50 USO locations around the country. He’s a co-creator of Warrior Games — the annual Paralympic event hosted for wounded, ill and injured warriors.

He also created Warrior Week/Patriotic Festival. It provides outdoor recreational activities for 600 wounded, ill and injured veterans, and major entertainment for over 100,000 civilians.

After Hurricane Katrina, he helped establish a USO mobile canteen program.

So it’s fitting that — in addition to honoring the ’75 champs tonight — the football community is collecting donations for the USO.

Staples’ opponent tonight is Darien. The Blue Wave is undefeated.

Inspired by the 1975 team, the Staples Wreckers will no doubt fight like warriors.

A classic photo of the 1975 football team, from the Staples yearbook.

A classic photo of the 1975 football team, from the Staples yearbook.

4 responses to “A Veterans Day Football Celebration

  1. Congrats and happy Veterans Day to Jeff and all who served.that was a great team, I can’t make it but Tim Romano will be escorting their great coach😜

  2. That’s Wayne Wehmhoff above.
    Best of luck tonight — Go Wreckers!

  3. Great memories. My brother Ed played for that team, so I knew many of the players (Bill Lomas, Tom Conroy, Bud MacDonald, Tim Bensey, Tim Rinehard, Rich Eldh, Wayne Wehmhoff, Bob Grune, Randy Grosberg, Steve Quinn, Joe Demattio . . . to name a few) and I went to most every game — inspired by, and aspiring to be, like them. After my brother graduated, and I made the varsity team, Coach Paul Lane let me adopt my brother’s number, “67.” I was proud to wear it. Coaches Paul Lane, Ted Youngling and “Bo” Hickey were great, inspirational coaches.

  4. Hey Dan, would love to fill in Jeff Hill on what we are doing in Westport CT for combat wounded Veterans. it is making a difference in this town. If you have Jeff’s contact info, please pass on mine! thank you a.vengrow@ven2port.com