For every successful team, there is an individual who provides that energetic spark, that inspirational smile, that leadership ability. In tonight’s Branford Sports Hall of Fame, 2000 inductee Joan Austin Perrotti exemplifies those traits.
Born in Unidilla Fork, New York, Joan attended Branford schools, and in particular, Branford High School from 1948 to 1951. While there, she was a two sport athlete in field hockey and girls’ basketball. Organized in 1946, the basketball squad provided a stepping stone for other teams to follow and demonstrated skill, sportsmanship, interest and scholastic ability. Joan was also one of the first players on the girls field hockey team and played for coach and fellow Hall of Fame inductee (1990) Virginia Moessmang. Always an active person, Joan, when not taking part in varsity sports, was a member of the Branford High School varsity cheerleading squad and captain in her senior year.
In her sophomore year, Joan was part of the Hornets basketball squad which went undefeated with a record of 5-0-1, defeating Guilford (26-15), St. Mary’s (15-11), Guilford (27-17), St. Mary’s (14-9), Wallingford (32-19), and tied Sacred Heart (21-21).
Following graduation and being voted “Most Popular Female”, “Most Athletic”, and “Best Dancer” in the senior class, tonight’s inductee received a scholarship to Sargent College but declined.
She continued to play sports recreationally for many teams, including the Branford Recreation Senior Girls Basketball Team known as the “Charges”, the Branford Recreation Alumni Basketball team, and the Recreation Department’s Advisory Board’s girls softball team. Joan later coached in the Branford Recreation Department’s Girls Fifth Grade Pigtail Softball League, leading the New Short Beach Team to a girls softball pigtail team championship. Joan was one of the Water Safety Directors at the Walsh Intermediate School Swimming Pool and as a Certified Red Cross Water Safety at Camp Murry Girl Scout Camp.
Joan was employed by Harvey & Lewis Opticians and Neumann & Sons in addition to being on the Branford Board of Recreation and the Branford Board of Education (retired in 1996).
Married to Augustine “Augie” Perrotti since June 20,1953, Joan is the mother to three sons: Stephen, Phillip, and Paul, and grandmother of eight ( two granddaughters, and six grandsons). She is the sister to brothers Billy and Donny Austin, and sisters Jean, Darlene Gentile, and Virginia.