This is the third in a multi-part series highlighting the newest members of the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame.
Alton Brooks is a long time resident of New Britain. He is recognized as “Mr. Civil Rights” and affectionately known as “Mr. Brooks” for his dedication and commitment to an improved quality of both the African-American and community in general. He is a man of valor, purpose and gets the job done.
Brooks holds an Associates of Science Degree from Tunxis Community College and is certified in Management Analysis and Review by the United States Civil Service Commission. He also has Advanced Neighborhood Workers Training by Community Process Inc. and received a certificate from the University of Connecticut in social service practice.
Brooks is a longtime member of the Spottswood AME Zion Church. He served as a trustee, pastor’s steward, choir member and in the overall church convention as lay chair. His activities at church include sports committee, gospel choir, men’s choir, as well as budget and finance board. He will always be known as the “John Wooden” of the church basketball league where complied over 22 championship seasons with three of them being undefeated seasons.
Through his program, Brooks helped develop young boys to young men. He taught sportsmanship and humility to his players, always giving a helping hand to others.
His hard work has not gone unnoticed. Brooks has been honored by numerous organizations for his hard work and dedication to his city and church. He has been recognized by the City of New Britain by a having a street named after him, Alton Brooks Way.
Brooks is married to the lovely Ruth Brooks. They continue to be exceptional role models to their family, church and community. To sum it all up for Brooks, we take the title of a familiar hymn.
“Let the work I’ve done speak for me.”
Kevin Urso was one of the best linemen to come out of New Britain. He was an All-CDC selected a defensive and offensive lineman as a junior and senior. He was also honored as a Second-Team All-State offensive lineman and was an Honorable Mention defensive lineman as a senior. Urso was proud to be named captain his senior year along with Vernon Black, John Zettergren and Wayne Arute.
After high school, Kevin had to attend Milford Academy where he was again offered a number of Division I scholarships. Milford’s last game of that season was at UConn with Urso being offered a full scholarship by Huskies head coach Walt Nadzak on the field after the game. Urso accepted and signed, spending the next four years playing offensive and some defensive line. Urso started as an offensive guard for two seasons and was a utility lineman as a sophomore. Knee injuries in high school and knee surgery in college plagued Urso’s career, but he was able to overcome and finish his career at UConn.
After Urso graduated from UConn in 1986, he returned to New Britain and volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club. He began coaching with Salvatore Verdi at New Britain High School in 1986 and 1987. Urso was honored to be able to coach the varsity offensive and defensive lines. While the team’s records were not great, the Hurricanes had a number of good players, including Todd Verdi and Bobby Breau, who Urso was proud to be a part of helping them receive full scholarships to UConn. Urso left football for a while and returned to help Dennis Beatty at the PAL program in 1994 and 1995.
Currently, Urso volunteers at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, helping with varsity offensive and defensive lines.
The New Britain Sports Hall of Fame will have its 23rd annual induction dinner on May 6 at the General Ameglio Society Ballroom located at 13 Beaver St., New Britain. Tickets are on sale for $50 apiece any of the following locations: the New Britain YMCA, Paradise Pizza in New Britain, Lost Art Barber Shop of Newington, Scott's Flowers of New Britain, Berlin Spirits or by reaching Bob Smilnak at (860) 666-6835.