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Jack O'Connell '51

One of the best play-makers of his era, Jack O’Connell was a three-year basketball starter for coach Fella Gintoff. Owner of a lethal one-handed push shot, the Bridgeport native captained Prep in his senior season, was a first-team all District (Bridgeport, Stratford and Fairfield) selection and finished third among all scoring leaders at 15 points per game. 

The Jesuits went 34-13 in O’Connell’s three varsity seasons (1948-49, 1949-50, 1950-51), including upsets of Central, Harding and Hillhouse when all three were either state and/or New England champions. O’Connell was named to Prep’s All-Decade (1942-1951) Basketball Team.

After graduation, O’Connell played at Fairfield University, where he started in three of his four years and co-captained the Stags his senior season. That year he set school records for field goals and foul shots, shooting 74 percent from the line.

Jack compiled 1,016 career points, averaging 20.6 per game. He and fellow Prep basketball standout Bob Gerwien were dubbed “The Gold Dust Twins” by the local press for their stellar play with the Stags. Both scored more than 1,000 career points.

O’Connell received All-American and All-Metro honorable mention laurels from the New York area sportswriters and coaches, and was one of the first inductees to the Fairfield University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.

A U.S. Army veteran, O’Connell received Outstanding Achievement awards from The Stratford Old Timers Athletic Association and Greater Bridgeport Old Times Athletic Association in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

Jack O'Connell '51 address at Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony