Kingswood Oxford’s Spring Sports Day has been renamed to honor former Athletic Director Joseph Alissi.
Submitted by Jackie Pisani, Kingswood Oxford School
There are those people who leave a permanent mark on a place, and Joe Alissi, former athletics director at Kingswood Oxford School for 48 years, was such a man.
To honor Alissi and to remember his constant dedication and vision, Head of School Dennis Bisgaard is naming its traditional spring sports day “Joseph Alissi Spring Sports Day.”
Joseph Alissi Spring Sports Day will be held Saturday, April 29, when most sports play home games.
A three-time New England Champion wrestler and an inductee into the Kingswood Oxford School Hall of Fame, Eastern Wrestling Officials Hall of Fame, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the Springfield College Hall of Fame, Alissi understood that the true heart of sports lay not only with success, but with sportsmanship.
A former teacher noted that Alissi demanded integrity and proper behavior from coaches and athletes alike. Under his leadership, Alissi augmented the number of varsity sports offered from nine to 27. As a champion of equity in girls’ sports, Alissi drove the increase in sports offered to girls, extended their practice time and purchased quality uniforms.
Debbie Fiske said, “As the new athletic director, I am reminded daily of the strong foundation that Joe Alissi put in place for Wyvern athletics. He’s a remarkable example of how one person can make a difference in a community.”
Alissi’s life offers us a how-to guide in impacting a community with compassion and care. He made a difference to those lives that he touched with his warmth, naturally buoyant personality, and selflessness. When not spending time with the family who adored him, Joe selflessly took care of others, frequenting nursing homes, hospitals, or rehabilitating patients, giving regular love and attention to every friend who was in need.
Bisgaard said, “He will forever be a part of the KO family. He was a connector that was full of life, and he had a heart of gold.” Bisgaard related how it is fitting to have a spring sports day named after Joe as Joe Alissi Day was a family tradition – in the morning Joe would announce a day off from elementary school so the family could enjoy the day together.
Alissi’s wife, Jo-anne, also worked at Kingswood Oxford for 20 years. She and Alissi raised their family in West Hartford, and most of the family still resides in town. Their children attended the school: Jimmy Alissi ‘85, John Alissi ‘89 and Joey Alissi Cosgriff ‘90.