James Balzano

Inductees by YearJames Balzano

Jim Balzano is a true scholar athlete. As a student at Branford High School, he won numerous leadership and academic awards including the Student Leadership Award, CABE Student Leadership Award, CT High School Scholar Athlete, Gene Casey New Haven Football Scholar Athlete and the President’s Education Award. He embodies those characteristics which any teacher or coach would love to see in a student.

Following graduation from high school, Jim attended SUNY Plattsburgh where he earned a BA and then attended the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy receiving a master’s degree in international affairs as the first American to graduate from the program. Jim currently works in the family business at RAB Associates as sales and operations manager.

Over the years, Jim has spent countless hours as a volunteer, including working with Habitat for Humanity and lending his services to the Branford American Legion baseball program where he excelled as a player. His true passion, however, was teaching and coaching the youth in both the Dominican Republic and Honduras. Being fluent in Spanish enabled him to connect with his students and players in the Dominican Republic and Honduras in such a way that they did not want him to leave. His passion, integrity and commitment to others serve as an example to not only his peers, but to all of those young people whose lives he has undoubtedly influenced in the most positive of ways.

Jim’s relentless desire to excel propelled him to levels of achievement unsurpassed in the annals of Branford athletics. He was a football and baseball captain of state championship teams in the 2005/2006 academic year. At the time, he was the only such captain in the history of Connecticut sports to have won a football and baseball championship in the same academic year. He was an all-state football player, leading the 2005 team to the state championship over East Lyme, playing with a hairline ankle fracture in the state championship game.

His record in baseball is even more impressive: Branford Little League championship and Sandy Koufax League 14U state championship. It is American Legion baseball, however, where Jimmy Balzano’s legend was made: Game winning home runs, inspirational leader, Connecticut Dream Dozen selection. TEAM and WINNING are synonymous with Jim Balzano. Anyone who has been a teammate of his knows that no one played harder, cared more or supported his teammates more than Jim Balzano. His teams won the Junior American Legion state championship and two Senior American Legion State championships. In 2005 and 2007, the Branford American Legion teams also won the Northeast Regional title and went to the American Legion World Series, coming in third and fifth place respectively. In 2007, Jim was selected to the All- American, American Legion Tournament Team, one of twelve players selected in the country.

Whether at work, in athletic competition or volunteering to help others, Jim Balzano wants those around him to excel. Despite his individual accolades, the TEAM was always most important for Jim, inspiring those around him to be better than they ever thought they could be