Staples Football Honors Past, Present

“06880” seldom covers sports. There are way too many leagues, teams and games. Besides, newspaper sports sections, and plenty of websites, already do a good job of this.*

But “0688o” is also about people — and “the story behind the story.” So when the Staples High School football team recently named 2 new awards after legendary adults, my ears perked up.

And when I heard who the first honorees were, I knew this was “06880”-worthy.

The Coach Paul Lane Award goes to a senior who displays “the highest levels of positive energy and an unbreakable positive spirit.”

Lane served as head football coach from 1962 to ’86. His teams won the 1975 FCIAC championship and 2 FCIAC titles, and in 1967 ended Stamford Catholic’s 30-game winning streak. After retiring, Lane coached professionally in Italy and England.

Lane also coached Staples track and girls golf — and won a state crown in both. As in football, he led by quiet example.

The recipient of the Paul Lane Award is Adam Petro. A football player since 3rd grade, and last year’s leading receiver, this year he suffered a career-ending ACL injury during preseason practice.

Gridiron Club president Jim Adrian says that Adam “embraced the reality that sometimes life deals you bad breaks, and unlucky consequences beyond your control.” Yet he always encouraged his teammates from the sideline. He “never let the positive energy or pride for his teammates wane.”

Adam Petro, flanked by Paul Lane and his son Skip.

The Dan DeVito Community Citizenship Award is presented to a senior player who consistently exemplifies commitment to the team over self, has strong character and leadership, and benefits the program, school and community.

DeVito — who had a long career with Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department — helped reestablish Staples’ Gridiron Club in 1994, and served as president and chairman for over 20 years.

He helped create the Wreckers Wall of Fame, chaired the Field of Dreams turf field project, and led a long campaign to install lights at Staples. He has also coached youth football, basketball and baseball.

Dylan Curran received the Dan DeVito Award. Despite disabilities, Dylan was an integral part of the Staples football program. Starting freshman year he was on the sidelines at every practice, every bus ride, every game, every team event.

Adrian said, “Dylan’s passion lifted up his teammates.” He always brought “contagious energy to the team.”

Dylan Curran (right) and Staples High School assistant football coach Garret Lederman.

Both awards were presented at the annual banquet, held earlier this month at Giovanni’s in Darien.

*  And I say this as the head coach of the Staples High School boys soccer program, which really deserves tons of publicity.

6 responses to “Staples Football Honors Past, Present

  1. You learn something practically every day reading “06880.” I don’t recall hearing before that Coach Lane had coached professionally in Italy and England. What kinds of teams did he work with there?

    In any case, it’s great that awards have been named in his honor and for Dan DeVito.

    Finally, I see that the banquet was held in Darien—and I know other sports banquets in recent years have been held out of town, in contrast to those that were done back in the day (including in the Staples cafeteria). Is there no venue in Westport that offers competitive prices? Or is there no local venue, period, that can accommodate a large sports team?

    • Speaking for boys soccer, we are a bit too big for the Westport Inn (varsity, reserves and freshman teams, coaches, families and guests). The Inn at Longshore is way too expensive. We have been going to the Norwalk Inn for about a decade (after Merritt 7 ended their outside catering). It is a great space, a very fair price, good food, and they’ve been fantastic to work with.

  2. Thank you very much for recognizing my son Adam . It was hard to watch him not play this season but I was proud of how he participated.
    Thanks to the coachs and Gridiron Club for noticing !!!
    Happy holidays to our wonderful community !!!🎄🕎🎁

  3. Congratulations Dylan and Adam!

  4. Charles Taylor

    Paul was always a Great coach. When He finally got his shot he went to the Top!

  5. Brian H Pettee

    My interactions with Coach Paul Lane mainly related to my work as a chronicler and article stringer of Saturday Staples football games for the Westport News in 1979 and 1980. Coach Lane was always accessible for quotes after a game, wherein one could hear that he was competitive, motivated, diplomatic, kind-hearted, insightful, positive, and never mean to the media, his players, his coaching staff, and the community at large. And if you ever met one of his four kids, they all very obviously reflected similar threads of their parent’s personality and outlook. Hopefully more past players from his football coaching and golf coaching years reach out and comment here in 06880.