The 12th Annual Our Lady Fatima School-Wilton Tyler Ugolyn Basketball Tournament will be held Thursday, Jan. 24 through Friday, Feb. 8. This event honors the memory of Tyler Ugolyn, a 1997 Fatima graduate who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attack.
“We anticipate the tournament will include 46 teams competing in six divisions with over 130 players from 13 schools representing the Dioceses of Bridgeport and Hartford and the Archdiocese of New York” notes Rob Benedetto, Fatima athletic director. “We also have an All Star Game for both boys’ and girls’ varsity teams (seventh and eighth graders). In addition, Fatima will take this opportunity to welcome alumni back to the school to participate in a special Alumni Game to be held on Friday, Feb. 1 at 8:30 p.m. We are also fortunate that Tyler’s parents will take part in this event and will join us on Friday, Feb. 1.”
Fatima honors Tyler’s love of the game each year with this special tournament. After graduating from Fatima, Ugolyn attended Ridgefield High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society. He was a McDonald’s High School All-American Basketball nominee and was ranked as one of the top 250 seniors in the country. He was recruited to play Division 1 basketball at Columbia. While there, Ugolyn founded Columbia Catholic Athletes and ran an inner city basketball league for Harlem youth.
Fatima principal Stanley Steele feels it is appropriate that the basketball tournament should be named in honor of Ugolyn, as the former student always said, “I just love the game.”
“Every aspect of planning and running this tournament is a testament to the love,” Steele says, “from the way the game is played, the way the volunteers give so selflessly, and the feeling you get when you walk into the building as the entire Fatima family is involved. Our school motto is ‘Service above self’ and the tournament is an example of the motto in action.”
The tournament will be held at Our Lady of Fatima School (225 Danbury Rd.). To learn more about the tournament and see a detailed game schedule, visit the school’s website page dedicated to the tournament:
A portion of the funds raised during the tournament will be donated to the Tyler Ugolyn Foundation. Founded after his death, the Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to promoting youth basketball programs and the refurbishment of inner-city basketball courts. Courts have been renovated in Tyler’s memory all across the country in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four, including cities such as San Antonio, Detroit, Indianapolis and Houston.
Coinciding and in conjunction with the Tournament, the Our Lady of Fatima Church Youth Ministry will host its 2nd Annual Sneaker Drive. Youth Ministry be collecting new and used sneakers to be donated to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters charity organization. Three convenient collection sites will be available during the tournament time period: Our Lady of Fatima School, Our Lady of Fatima Church, and the children’s wing of the Wilton Public Library.
“Tyler was an active volunteer for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, too,” explains Mara Fleming of the Youth Ministry. “His talent and brilliance was outmatched only by his generosity and selflessness. I believe he would be so happy that the community he called home is following his example and giving to those in need. Last year we collected 400+ pairs of sneakers and we hope to surpass this number for 2019!”
Our Lady of Fatima School is a Roman Catholic co-educational school offering Pre-Kindergarten 3 through Grade 8. Recognized as a 2009 National Blue Ribbon School, Our Lady of Fatima has a rich history of Catholic education and academic excellence spanning over 56 years. For Open House, tours and admissions information, please contact 203.762.8100 or visit the school’s website.