It was a weekend Jeff Brameier will not soon forget.
The longtime Darien High School boys lacrosse coach and the architect of the Blue Wave dynasty was honored as the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance 2017 Coach of the Year at its 77th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, April 29, at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
The award came 24 hours after Darien’s thrilling 9-7 victory over FCIAC rival New Canaan on Saturday. Receiving the award on Sunday capped off a memorable weekend for Brameier and the DHS program.
“We knew it would be a difficult dinner had our team not been successful yesterday,” Brameier said with a grin shortly after accepting the Doc McInerney Coach of the Year Award from CSWA President Tim Jensen.
The only coach the Blue Wave has had in its 35-year history was recognized by the state’s sports writers after leading his 2017 team to a perfect 23-0 season, a fourth straight FCIAC championship and the fourth state title in a row.
The crowning achievement, however, came when Darien finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country in the Under Armour/Inside Lacrosse national rankings.
“Anytime you’re recognized by the sports writers is a great honor,” Brameier said. “These are people who follow sports, and I’m just proud to have this award and to be the first lacrosse coach to receive it. It speaks to the growth of our sport.”
Saturday’s big win over New Canaan was Brameier’s 582nd career victory, including a 10-0 mark this season, while the Blue Wave extended its winning streak to 64 straight. They’ve since improved to 13-0 and stretched the winning streak to 67.
Which is why Brameier said his award was more of an award for his program and a reflection of the Blue Wave’s success over the years.
“One year does not make a program,” said Brameier, who has led Darien to 16 FCIAC championships and 13 state titles. “Last year was a special year and ended with the pinnacle of lacrosse in the nation. But it was the respect our program earned in prior years that leads up to that.
“The 2005 team that went undefeated set the bar and made us realize it was an attainable bar. Prior to that we were not so sure. The run we’ve been on from 2005 to now is really a testament to the commitment to sports in the town of Darien and the commitment the athletes have to excel.”
Among the nearly 400 in attendance were two and half tables from the Darien lacrosse community, including more than a dozen players from this year’s team.
“Coach Brameier is so deserving of this award,” Andrew Darby, a senior defender and one of this year’s four captains, said. “He works so hard every practice, every day, and he’s always prepared and brings a great attitude. It’s awesome to see him get this award.”
Logan McGovern, another senior captain, echoed his teammate’s thoughts.
“We all appreciate the success coach Brameier has had,” the senior attacker, who recently reached 200 career points, said. “He’s the only coach Darien has ever had, and he built this program singlehandedly. We’re all happy for him. It represents 35 years of him being a great coach.”
McGovern agreed with his coach that the award recognized many years of success by the DHS boys lacrosse program.
But, McGovern quickly added, “we’re happy to be the team to be here when he got the Coach of the Year award.”