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James E. Hillhouse High School Athletic History


It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to our second annual James E. Hillhouse Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner.


As one of the oldest public secondary schools in the nation Hillhouse has a rich tradition of excellence.  The origins of the school go back to the Puritan days of 

Davenport, Eaton, Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell.  For the first 200 years, the school was known as the New Haven School.  In 1859, a new school on Orange Street was named after former U.S. Senator, House of Representatives, and Yale Treasurer, James E. Hillhouse.  Forty-nine girls and thirty-five boys entered the school and coined the nickname “The Academics” because of its close association with Yale University.


In 1866, right after the close of the Civil Was, some boys formed a club and began playing a sport that resembled rugby and soccer.  By 1884, Hillhouse students were participating in a number of sports, most notably modern football, a game created by New Haven’s own Walter Camp.  In addition, teams began to participate in baseball, tennis, ice hockey, indoor polo and yacht racing.


By the turn of the century Hillhouse was a state power in football, as well as in a new America sport called basketball that was created by a physical education instructor, Dr. James Naismith, in Springfield, MA.


Over the years, the football teams have won over 558 games and 17 state titles which place them third all-time in the state.


The boys’ and girls’ basketball teams have combined for over 25 state championships which rank them at the top of the record nationally.


In addition, the boys’ and girls’ track teams have combined for over 25 state championships which rank them at the top of the record books nationally.


Hillhouse athletics has also won state titles in baseball, swimming, ice hockey and tennis.


Our athletic tradition is so illustrious and in depth that it will take us three years to induct our first class into our Athletic Hall of Fame.  Tonight’s inductees are standouts from winter sports only.  First class inductees from spring athletics will be honored next year.  Last year we honored our fall athletes.  It is indeed a pleasure to honor these greatest of the great.  These athletes have personified not only athletic achievement, but character, sportsmanship and service to community.  Congratulations to them all.

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