Greatest Athlete in Connecticut History Tournament: Bill Toomey vs. Charles Smith

(AP Photo)

It’s summertime, and that means it’s time for another SportzEdge ® Bracket-style, 64-team tournament! Feel the excitement!!!

Last year, we changed the course of modern human civilization with the Coolest NCAA Logo Tournament, which became a national phenomenon along the lines of a presidential election, Caitlyn Jenner’s ESPY speech, or DeAndre Jordan changing his mind about where he wants to play basketball.

This year, we decided to take on a question scholars have been debating since the 1800’s, maybe.

Who is the greatest athlete in Connecticut history?

There are plenty of outstanding candidates, from Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, to four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rogers, to all-time great featherweight boxer Willie Pep.

The athletes we considered must have grown up in Connecticut, and we counted only their prowess on the playing field, so coaches, executives and contributors like Walter Camp were not considered.

JIM CALHOUN REGION

5. Bill Toomey

Trach and Field

New Canaan

The former 1968 ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year won 23 of the 38 decathlons he competed in. One of those decathlon wins was in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

In 1969, Toomey set the world record in the decathlon and received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.

(AP Photo/John Swart)
(AP Photo/John Swart)

12. Charles Smith

NBA power forward: 1988-1997

Bridgeport

Former Big East Player of the Year out of the University of Pittsburgh, where his No. 32 jersey is retired, was the third overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1988 NBA Draft. The 6 foot 10 inch power forward played nine seasons in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, and San Antonio Spurs. Smith was named to the First Team All-Rookie Team in 1989.

He finished his career with 8,170 points (14.4 points per game) and 3,246 rebounds (5.8 rebounds per game).

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