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Celebrating Peter Wallace. Part Two. More Coaches, Fans and Friends.

POSTED February 06, 2017
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Pat Richardson-Torrington baseball head coach

Whenever Pete walking into a gym or on to a field you always knew that he would understand what just happened in whatever game he was covering.  When you were victorious he was able to ask the right questions of the right players and celebrate their accomplishments. 

When you lost, you knew that he would stay consistent and celebrate the accomplishments of the winners.  You also knew that while he would never sugar coat the shortcomings of your team's effort, he was able to pull out some positive that gave everyone the sense that there may be hope for the future. 

Whenever Pete appeared on the scene, players and coaches would smile because they knew there was reporter on the beat that "got it."  He always remembered that he was covering high school athletes and wrote in a manner that was both constructive and caring. 

One of my favorite memories was a night I spent next to him at Fuessenich Park during an American Legion baseball game.  While we watched the baseball game we had an ongoing dialogue about the Vietnam War.  The game flew by as we chatted and somehow, he was able to catch every detail of the game while simultaneously relaying his experience in the war. 

In an era of cut throat journalism, Pete showed his humanity and reminded us what was right and honorable in the sports we engage in. 

Ray Tanguay-Athletic Director at Oliver Wolcott Technical School

Just like everyone else who has heard the news that Peter Wallace was laid off from the Register Citizen Sports Department, I was in disbelief, mourning, sadness, anger, and disappointment, all in one emotion.

I started teaching and coaching at Wolcott Tech in the 1998-1999 school year, and there was a lot of “learning” going on in my head, how to start a teaching career after leaving engineering, and how to adjust from coaching park and rec programs to coaching high school sports.

Through all this change for me, there was a constant foundation in Northwest Connecticut sports, and that was Peter Wallace. He always found a way to make time for all the schools, local sports, and the most important part, the student athletes. He has a great way of communicating with the athletes and made them comfortable, and even more so, made them feel important. To any athlete or coach who has even been interviewed by Peter, they fully understand this.

Having this presence down the street from your school made this even more special. He was a phone call away, and somehow found the time to put a human spin and personal touch on every article he wrote.

It didn’t make a difference if you saw him in your gym or someone else’s gym, the mere presence of Peter brought a smile to your face and made you look forward to tomorrow’s newspaper article and you couldn’t wait to get the mailbox the next morning. You couldn’t wait to go over to Peter and say hello and just talk about the good things happening in life, sports, or the hot topic of the day. He is like walking into your best friend and big brother in the mall, you knew that you were going to have great conversation and time.

He was our local Bo Kolinsky, a former reporter from the Hartford Courant who passed away quite a few years ago.

Both writers had the passion for reporting high school sports with a focus on the most vital part, the kids. They shared a love of athletics and spreading the good word about the importance of sports in kid’s lives. These two reporters motivated me to start writing for a few years back and they are both role models to me and my students.

Peter has the ability to find the good in a win and a loss, and I can remember plenty of my student athletes commenting how “nice that newspaper guy was” and how “he really cares about our school and sports teams.”

The Northwest Corner has lost a legend, mentor, and friend. We also lost an advocate for sports in our area.

I wish Peter much success as he starts his next chapter in life, whatever that may be, retirement, a new writing career or pursuing a new hobby.

I owe Peter a big thank-you for your friendship, mentorship, and for the countless hours you spent putting the Northwest Corner Athletes in the spot light.

If you find your way back to the Wolcott Tech Gym, I would be honored to have you sit the bench with my team and I as a guest coach, anytime, anywhere, anyplace.

Once again, Peter, on behalf of myself and my athletes from Wolcott Tech, thank-you for everything you have done for the past 18 years and we wish you the best of luck in the future.

Marianne Killackey-Freelance Photographer

I feel lucky to have worked the past six and a half year alongside this local “Legend”. Torrington and the surrounding areas are going to miss you, Mr. Wallace.

I will always have fond memories of countless hours along the sidelines and in all kinds of weather. Lots of laughs to say the least.

The Traub Family

Sorry to hear about Peter’s position at the Register. 

Lisa and I would both like to thank Peter for his years of service with the Register and covering Torrington Swimming. 

He was an absolute pleasure to deal with, he was reliable, accurate, truthful, fun and a great writer. 

Over the years, he has written many articles about Torrington Swimming and some of them included our kids Eric, Krista and Matt.  He was gracious enough not only to follow our kids when they were local, but also when they attended college as well. 

I know they enjoyed seeing Peter at the swim meets and had a lot of fun with him especially with the interviews, they’re going to miss him for sure. 

As I look around my office, articles of the kids are spattered about, many of them written by Peter, some even starting to yellow.  At home, all his work has made it into scrap books for the kids, courtesy of Lisa. 

In both cases, it is his writings that have captured special moments in our life and will bring a lifetime of memories to us and our kids. 

Thanks Peter! 

Lisa & Jerry (& Eric, Krista & Matt) Traub.

Sonya Zinke

I worked with Peter at the Register Citizen for more years than I can remember. Covering Litchfield County sports was not just his job but his life. I was fortunate to watch how Peter built relationships with athletes and their families. Writing the daily stories and developing life-long friendships along the way. It was an honor to work alongside Peter and I wish him all my best. The Voluptuous Sonya Zinke.   

Matt DeRienzo

Background: I worked with Peter Wallace as editor of The Register Citizen in 2004, as publisher of the paper from 2008 to 2011, and then as statewide editor for the company that owns it.

On more than one occasion when the company was hit with layoffs, I had conversations with other editors to the effect that if Wallace was ever on a list like that, it would signify the newspaper's final days.

That's because no editor - or businessperson - would purposely choose to part with the hard work, consistency, and loyalty that were Wallace hallmarks. But also, the deep relationships that Wallace developed on the high school sports beat in Litchfield County.

Wallace always excelled at what is now the mantra of the smartest editors and publishers - building a relationship of trust with readers. It's the only thing that will save local journalism, but obviously not if you are cutting newsrooms so severely that you lose someone like Peter Wallace.

David Benson

When I heard the news of Peter losing his position at the Register Citizen I was saddened. When I became the manager and statistician of the Torrington High School baseball team my junior and senior year.

I did not know what to expect, but Peter treated me no different from a player. He asked how I was doing every home game and helped me with scoring. He also asked me for help on occasion when a play was missed. This continued also when I did the same thing for the Torrington Titans. Torrington sports have lost an iconic writer.

Joe Bruno

I met Peter when I did the scorebook for Coach Turina at Torrington High. One of the nicest guys I have ever met. Always professional, polite, and never wrote anything negative about a player.

Enjoyed our nights together doing the games. Wish him all the luck in whatever he decides to do.

Christopher Bunel

As classy a man as you could ever ask to meet. A top-notch journalist, but a better person. I will never forget the immense sense of pride that came with seeing my name in one of his articles.

Thank you, Mr. Wallace!

Pat Fairchild

Peter's coverage of local sports was the only reason I've kept my subscription to the Register Citizen. His coverage of the THS Athletic Hall of Fame was exceptional and I will miss working with him

Austin Pouche’

Peter, you will be missed. I, and others, are very thankful you and your team covered local sports and other stories. You gave everyone attention as if we were pros. So many memories came out of your work.

Brian Hurlock

Peter was an outstanding supporter of Wolcott Tech, always went out of his way to make you feel important, even when was working as an official, thanks for all you your love

Conor Bierfeldt

Terrible, terrible news. The best part about Peter is that he was always around. No matter how big or small the game, you could pretty much count on looking to the gate between the third base dugout and the backstop and see Peter with his notebook, writing down complete chicken scratch while you hoped you did enough to talk to him afterwards. He really made us feel as high schoolers that we were someone. Now that I’ve gotten the opportunity to keep playing, sometimes having to talk to reporters after the game, it never compares to being a 17-year old talking to Peter, knowing he is going to provide you the platform of being in the paper the next day. He made an impact on my family as well, my mom always makes a point to say hi to him when she sees him. It speaks to how much he did for us high school athletes.

John McCarthy

I just wanted to speak on behalf of all of the athletes at THS, in saying that Peter truly made our sports, games, and seasons much more important by following and reporting on our teams. Whether it was a post-game interview or a write up in the paper the next morning with your photo on the front, he made us high school athletes feel bigger than just part of a sports team. He made us feel as a contributing part of our Torrington community. I'm glad I was able to play during a time where Peter Wallace was covering high school sports. 

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