The Connolly Cup was established in 1972 by Bill Connolly and other members of the Riverside Athletic Club. The Award is presented annually to the most outstanding High School Football Player in Western New York. Don McGee of Eden was the first recipient.
The Connolly Cup process follows:
In August of each year, the Connolly Cup Committee forwards applications to each high school football coach in Western New York. It is emphasized that the committee is looking for candidates with outstanding qualities. Throughout the season, coaches contact the committee via email to update committee members on their players. Additional candidates are added as a result of reports from committee members and newspaper articles.
Committee member's assignments are made to insure that each member sees as many candidates as possible. Each week a telephone roundtable is held and that week's top performances are judged, selected and released to the press. The committee meets four times throughout the season to discuss candidates. Video tape sessions are also available for committee member's review.
Each member has their own style of scouting at the games. Some members like to mingle with the crowd; others like to view the game from the sidelines, press box or stands. Candidates are evaluated on all phases of the game. The members consider weather conditions, the opposition, and the strength of the candidate's team. Whether the candidate's team wins or loses is not a factor.
Important factors include sportsmanship, team play, and outstanding abilities.
Immediately following the 10th game of the WNY High School football season, the process to select the top ten finalists begins. The selection of the finalists is an involved process where each committee member reviews all of the season's nominees. Only committee members who have attended a minimum of eight games that included candidate participation, and if necessary, viewed at least 75% of the games videotapes, is eligible to vote.
When the ten finalists have been selected, each eligible committee member places their vote by secret ballot to determine the winner. Winner is selected using an accumulated point total: 1st Place 10 points; 2nd place 7 points, 3rd place 5 points; 4th place 3 points; 5th place 1 point.
The Connolly Cup Trophy is presented to the outstanding WNY high school football player with the highest accumulated point total at the annual banquet and press conference.
Jehuu Caulcrick, Clymer, was nominated 3 years. He won the cup in 2002.
Dean Santorio, Grand Island head coach, was a finalist for the Connolly Cup in 1985.
16 players from the Harvard Cup league were nominated but no player has won the cup.
Players from Lackawanna have won the cup 5 times.
Orchard Park has the most finalists with 20.
Jehuu Caulcrick is the only freshman who was voted as a finalist (1999).
41 players have won the Connolly Cup.
There have been 410 finalists for the award.
87 schools have had finalists for the award.
Jehuu Caulcrick, Clymer, was a finalist in 1999-2001, and won the cup in 2002.
Jon Corto, Orchard Park, former Buffalo Bill, was a finalist for the cup in 2002.
Roberto Amoroso, Gary Battle, and Ken Johnson from Jamestown were finalists in 1982.
Randall Secky, Maple Grove, was a finalist in 1998 and 1999, while his brother Tom was a finalist in 2006 and 2007. His other brother Chris was a finalist in 2008 and 2009.
Bob and Scott McDonnell, Grand Island, were finalists for the cup in 1991.