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Norm Cummings

To say the bond between New Milford High School sports and native son Norm Cummings has been long-lasting and impactful might be an understatement.  For a lifetime of dedication to bringing awareness of Green Wave sports to the school and town, Norm takes his place as an inductee in the NMHS Athletic Hall of Fame.


Experiences attending Green Wave sports events captured Norm’s imagination in his early childhood, and that link strengthened a few years later while competing on NMHS’s inaugural golf team.


After his college years, serendipity brought Norm back to the Green Wave realm in his job first as sports editor of The New Milford Times, then with The Greater New Milford Spectrum, both weekly newspapers. From 1974 through his retirement from journalism in 2015, he was the principal writer and photographer documenting the athletic highs and lows, peaks and valleys of NMHS interscholastic sports.


Throughout the years, Norm kept very much in mind a concept he’d first discussed with fellow AHOF inductee George Doring back in the 1970s to create an athletic hall of fame for NMHS.  After George’s passing in 2006, Norm researched about 100 years of Green Wave sports and gathered a knowledgeable and dedicated AHOF board.


By the 2020s, he had led his fellow board members through multiple memorable induction banquets, resulting in 51 individual inductees and the induction of the New England championship 2003 and 2004 Green Wave boys’ cross country teams.


All of that evolved from Norm’s vivid memories as a youth watching Green Wave baseball games at Young’s Field, track and cross country meets centered on the cramped athletic field behind the old high school on East Street, and basketball games played in the school’s gym/auditorium/cafeteria.


By the time he arrived at NMHS in the fall of 1963, Norm’s own athletic pursuits were very much focused on golf. Thanks to the efforts of fellow AHOF inductee Joseph Wiser, the longtime Green Wave athletic director, a golf team was formed by Norm’s sophomore year.


Not many opponents could be found for the Green Wave in the spring of 1965. However, in 1966, Norm and his teammates played a busy Western Connecticut Conference schedule, plus home-and-away matches with Litchfield. It took little time for Norm to establish himself as one of the area’s better players.


Starting his senior season, Norm lost two close 18-hole matches, including a 2 & 1 decision to Ridgefield’s touted Kevin Morris at Silver Spring Golf Club. Morris was to go on to play collegiate golf at the University of Florida before beginning a career as a top playing club professional in New York State.


Norm then strung together 10 straight wins and capped the campaign by sharing medalist laurels in the WCC tournament at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton. In the process, he led the Green Wave to the team tournament title. That victory marked the first championship won by Green Wave golfers.


Overall, Norm’s high school individual record was 17-3, while the golf team was 14-6.


Following Norm’s college years, he landed the job as sports editor and photographer at the New Milford Times, responsible for covering all athletics at NMHS (as well as neighboring Shepaug Valley High School), plus adult and youth programs and pretty much anything else that moved in the sports realm.


Taking the reins from his brother, Art Cummings, who’d ably covered NMHS sports for several years, Norm quickly felt a passion for his craft, reporting weekly on each sports team, during an era when the Green Wave sports program was rapidly expanding.  The growth of the town and the impact of Title IX resulted in the development of multiple new NMHS interscholastic teams in the 1970s. From the time Norm began his New Milford Times sports coverage, through the early 2000s, the roster of NMHS’ varsity teams had more than doubled.


While some sports programs struggled for success over the years, many of the Green Wave teams were perennial powers in their respective sports, contending for and often capturing league championships and frequently vying for state honors.


Over a 41-year period from 1974 through his 2015 retirement, whether for home competitions or on the road, Norm usually was on hand for the big games, meets or matches, and along the way benefited by gaining countless friendships with Green Wave coaches and athletes.


Of his 50 fellow individual AHOF inductees at the time of his own induction, Norm had written about, photographed and otherwise covered all five of the inducted coaches and 36 of the 45 inducted athletes.


Of the school’s 21 state championships (as well as state open and New England titles) earned by Green Wave teams, 13 were captured during Norm’s tenure. More than a dozen other teams were state runnersup.


Perhaps more noteworthy than deserved attention paid the Green Wave’s elite teams, Norm was known for offering a balance of boys’ and girls’ sports coverage. He gave the typically less publicized sports and those teams struggling for success their fair share of the headlines and photographs.


In the process, Norm’s efforts helped promote Greater New Milford area awareness of Green Wave athletics, and its countless teen athletes, and elevated the importance of interscholastic sports amongst the school’s educational priorities.


Retirement from newspaper journalism in 2015 scarcely concluded Norm’s activities on behalf of the Green Wave sports world.


In his role as the AHOF’s president, from its formative days through the time of his own induction, Norm shepherded the organization from a concept into a reality, one that now holds an important place of honor in perpetuity for its inductees at the high school.

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