/seasons/2012/contrib/20120816pyfr5s

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.

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
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at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
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Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
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at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
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at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
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at Union 28, Hobart 23
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at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
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at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
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at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
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at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
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SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
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Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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at Amherst 21, Wesleyan 17
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at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
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Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
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Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
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at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
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Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
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at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Albion 31, Alma 28
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at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
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Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
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Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
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Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
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at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
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Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
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at FDU-Florham 49, Wilkes 31
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Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
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at St. Lawrence 36, Rochester 14
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RPI 30, at Alfred 15
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at Curry 46, Nichols 16
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at Salisbury 42, Southern Virginia 0
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Ferrum 27, at Brevard 24
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Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
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at Susquehanna 21, Ursinus 14
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Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
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at Trine 50, Hope 14
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Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
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Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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at Franklin and Marshall 56, Dickinson 0
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Tufts 21, at Williams 13
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
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at Norwich 24, Maine Maritime 22
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
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John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
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at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
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Mount St. Joseph 71, at Anderson 27
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UW-Whitewater 20, at UW-River Falls 7
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Kean 26, at TCNJ 3
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at LaGrange 59, Greensboro 10
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at Worcester State 45, Mass-Dartmouth 40
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Muhlenberg 40, at McDaniel 13
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Western New England 45, at Becker 0
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at Maryville (Tenn.) 35, Methodist 14
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Adrian 36, at Kalamazoo 22
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Denison 31, at Ohio Wesleyan 20
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at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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at Benedictine 43, Olivet 37
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Birmingham-Southern 31, at Austin 24
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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at UW-Stout 23, UW-Stevens Point 17
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Eureka 37, at MacMurray 20
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at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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Nebraska Wesleyan 14, at Buena Vista 13
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Lakeland 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 0
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at Aurora 28, Rockford 21
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at Concordia-Chicago 37, Concordia (Wis.) 17
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at St. Olaf 29, Carleton 26
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at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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Final
Westminster (Mo.) 24, at Greenville 14
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at Loras 44, Coe 38
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Monmouth 61, at Cornell 10
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Wheaton (Ill.) 56, at North Park 0
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Northwestern (Minn.) 30, at Martin Luther 14
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Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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Final
at Lake Forest 70, Grinnell 6
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at Millikin 56, Carroll 35
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at Macalester 47, Ripon 31
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at St. Norbert 38, Lawrence 6
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St. Scholastica 49, at Crown 21
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at Iowa Wesleyan 24, Minnesota-Morris 17
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UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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at WPI 41, Merchant Marine 7
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at Centre 42, Rhodes 35
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Final
Hanover 49, at Earlham 14
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at Chicago 55, Beloit 12
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UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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Final - OT
at Dubuque 28, Simpson 27
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at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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at East Texas Baptist 68, Louisiana College 35
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at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
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Final
Western Connecticut 27, at Bridgewater State 20
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Chapman 38, at La Verne 21
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Pacific 17, at Lewis and Clark 7
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Pacific Lutheran 27, at Willamette 14
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at Whitworth 38, Puget Sound 23
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Redlands 42, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 25
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at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
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Sul Ross State 52, at Howard Payne 15
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at Castleton 17, Dean 14
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N.C. Wesleyan 21, at Averett 15
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at Otterbein 37, Baldwin Wallace 29
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Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
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Carnegie Mellon 42, at Thiel 10
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at Illinois College 23, Knox 13
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at Cal Lutheran 60, Whittier 34
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Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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Final
St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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Final
at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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Final
Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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Final
UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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Final
at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
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Final
at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
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Final
Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
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