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Connecticut HS Football Coaching Legend Bill Mignault Dies

Bill Mignault established and made Ledyard High School a football powerhouse in Connecticut.
Bill Mignault established and made Ledyard High School a football powerhouse in Connecticut. Photo Credit: Principal Amanda Fagan

William F. Mignault, a legendary high school football coach in Connecticut, has died at the age of 90.

The Connecticut High School Hall of Famer, who started the football program at Ledyard High School and served as its coach for more than four decades, died on Tuesday, Oct. 1, the school announced.

During his career, Mignault became the winningest coach in Connecticut history with a total of 321 wins while he was at the helm at Ledyard before retiring at the age of 78. He also claimed four state championships, and 10 league championships during his tenure.

“Ledyard High School is sad to announce the passing of an icon: William F. Mignault,” Ledyard athletic director and assistant principal Jim Buonocore, who succeeded Mignault at Ledyard as head coach in 2008, said in a statement on Twitter Wednesday. “He was a hall of fame educator, coach, and administrator. He will be deeply missed by generations of Colonels.

“Once a Colonel, Always Colonel.”

Principal Amanda Fagan added her own tribute, saying, “The man is a legend. Rock hard competitor on the gridiron, but an absolute heart of gold. His retirement was not goodbye, as he continued to attend events at LHS right up to a couple of weeks ago. Fare thee well, Bill Mignault.”

1969 graduate Jim Popp said, “He coach, you hamburger....you finally crossed the goal line on the other side. I hope you hook up with coach Vince Lombardi of Green Bay Packers. I remember how much you admired him. It was an honor being coached by you on the LHS football team from 1965 through 1969. God bless you and your family.”

Mignault was inducted into Ledyard’s inaugural Football Hall of Fame in 2011, Connecticut High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 1991, a Connecticut Sports Writers Alliance Gold Key recipient in 2005. He was also UConn’s Red O’Neill Award recipient and a Region I Coach of the Year.

Mignault served in the Air Force and coached on the sideline with Don Klosterman, who went on to become the general manager of a pair of NFL teams. He got his first head coaching gig at Waterford in 1958 before establishing the program at Ledyard.

Calling hours have been scheduled from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 at the Church & Allen Funeral Service on Sachem Street in Norwich. A mass has been scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 at St. Patrick Cathedral in Norwich.

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