August 16, 2012

Freshmen Sean Coverdill and Ken Vollaro follow family tradition at Western New England

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Western New England's football team started pre-season drills on Sunday, August 12, with approximately 150 players reporting to campus, including a pair of local freshmen who have strong family ties to the Golden Bears program.

Sean Coverdill (left) and Ken Vollaro, both from Somers, Connecticut, certainly know the history of the program better than most, if not all, of their classmates since both of their fathers proudly wore the Blue and Gold during their undergraduate days.

Sean's father Rich Coverdill and Ken's dad Rich Vollaro were teammates for three years and were members of the final club season in 1980 and first NCAA Division III team in 1981. Rich Coverdill also served as a team captain in both 1982 and 1983.

Hank Bazan picture
Hank Bazan - The Father of WNE Football
The family connection gets even better since Ken's late grandfather Hank Bazan started the football program at Western New England in 1970. A popular Professor of Business at the school and former UConn standout, Bazan coached the club team for nine seasons compiling a 37-35-3 record. He also was the National Club Sports Association (NCSA) Coach-of-the-Year in 1974.


In addition, Ken's mother Mary Vollaro was a swimming standout for the Golden Bears after her father (Hank Bazan) started the program. She used to keep the stats for her father at the games. Mary is now in her 16th year as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Western New England. Ken's uncle Stan Bazan played football for four years (1983-86) for the Golden Bears.

The biggest supporter, though, is Ken's grandmother Josephine Bazan who continues to attend games each fall and who is by general consensus the family's most avid spectator.

"I have shared articles with Ken so he can appreciate the history of the program," said Mrs. Bazan. "I also gave him a jacket that was worn by Hank and his players that had the original logo on it. When I think about that, it brings a tear to my eye because I know how proud Hank would be to watch his grandson play at Western New England."

Rich Vollaro and Rich Coverdill know the feeling just as well.

The two former standouts played on the same side of the offensive line for three years (Vollaro at tackle and Coverdill at guard). Now, they are anxiously looking forward to sitting in the stands and watching their sons in action.

"It's exciting knowing that Ken will be carrying on his family tradition playing football on the team his grandfather helped start as well as coach in the beginning," said Vollaro. "I'm glad that Ken will have the opportunity to develop lifelong friendships and learn some intangible life lessons only taught on the football field."

Rich Coverill echoed his former teammate's thoughts.

"Our family and Sean are very excited as he starts his journey as a Golden Bear. Initially, Sean considered other schools and received acceptance, but after learning more about Western New England's excellent curriculum, support system, reputation, and seeing the great program Coach Keith Emery and his staff have developed, his choice to attend WNE was very clear," stated Coverdill.

Ken and Sean are among 95 Western New England freshmen getting their first taste of college football.  It's the largest first-year group ever to report to pre-season drills in school history.

Both enjoyed tremendous high school careers at Ellington/Somers who went undefeated at 10-0 during the regular season (and winning the Pequot-Uncas Division title) before dropping a 32-26 overtime decision against Wolcott in the Connecticut State playoffs.

Vollaro, who played on the offensive and defensive lines, received an honorable mention on both the Hartford Courant and New Haven Register All-State Teams. The 6'3", 240-lb. performer also was a two-time wrestling champion and lacrosse performer who finished with nine varsity letters. His twin brother Doug will attend Lehigh this fall on a wrestling scholarship.

"This is a win-win situation for me because not only will I be able to play football, but also get a great education as well," said Vollaro who is considering Accounting or Marketing as a possible major. "Overall, I'm extremely happy to play college football and follow in the steps of my father and grandfather. I'm looking forward to the season and all the new experiences that college has to offer."

Coverdill, who is 6-2 and weighs 225 pounds, was a defensive lineman who gained First-Team All-Conference honors. He also qualified for the State Track & Field meet in the shot put and served as a team captain in both football and track/field. Coverdill's brothers Brendan and Alex also play high school football for the Knights.

"I'm excited by the opportunities that Western New England offers, both in the classroom as well as on the football field. I look forward to the challenges that await and am ready to put forth my best effort in achieving success," said Coverdill who plans to major in Accounting.

Both players know they will have to continue to improve in order to see playing time for the Golden Bears who are coming off a school-record 10-2 showing and the program's first-ever New England Football Conference (NEFC) title and NCAA Division III Championship appearance in 2011.

Western New England coach Keith Emery likes what he sees so far with his two recruits. "It's nice having both Ken and Sean at Western New England. They are talented players who could contribute early to our program," said Emery.

Western New England has an ambitious schedule this fall, which includes a 10-game varsity slate along with six junior varsity contests. The Golden Bears open their season at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, September 1, at Norwich in Northfield, Vermont.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
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7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
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7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
Video Live Stats Audio
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Belhaven at Millsaps
Video Live Stats
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
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7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
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7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
Video Audio
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
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Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Endicott at Framingham State
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12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
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12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
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12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
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12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
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12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
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12:00 PM
Sewanee at Kenyon
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12:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
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1:00 PM
King's at Moravian
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1:00 PM
Kean at Christopher Newport
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Catholic
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
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1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
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1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
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1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
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1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
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1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
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1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
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1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
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1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
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1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
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1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
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1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
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1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
The Apprentice School at Methodist
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
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1:30 PM
RPI at Norwich
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1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
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1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
Video Audio
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
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1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
Audio
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
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2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
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2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
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2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
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2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
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2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
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2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
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2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
Audio
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
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2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
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2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
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2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
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2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
Video
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
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2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
Video Audio Audio
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
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2:30 PM
Lawrence at Presentation
4:00 PM
McPherson at Nebraska Wesleyan
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4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
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4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
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5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
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6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
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6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
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6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
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6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
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6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
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7:00 PM
Denison at Marietta
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7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
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7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
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7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
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7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
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7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
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7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
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7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
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7:30 PM
Hanover at Centre
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8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
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8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
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8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
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8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
8:30 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
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Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
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Sep. 2: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
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7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
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1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
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2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
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2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
Video
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
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2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
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4:00 PM
UW-Platteville at George Fox
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
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6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
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6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
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7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
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7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
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7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
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7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
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