Boots Gaffney Awards
Clarence “Boots” Gaffney served 33 years as a Watertown City Firefighter retiring as captain in 1970. He was also Director of Athletics for 40 years at IHA (Immaculate Heart Academy) and IHC (Immaculate Heart Central) for 40 years before retiring from that position in 1980. During his time at IHA, he coached football, basketball and baseball. His basketball teams captured Northern New York Catholic League titles in 1953, 1954 and 1956.
Mr. Gaffney was a 3-sport athlete at the Manlius Military Academy and graduated in 1936 from Clarkson University where he played football, basketball and baseball. Mr. Gaffney was an inaugural inductee of the Athletic Hall of Fame at Clarkson University
He also played football for the Watertown Red and Black, the local semi-pro team, for 2 years and coached them for 4 years. He was a 1995 inductee to the Red and Black Hall of Fame and a member of the North Country Sports Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2016.
Following his retirement in 1980, the Italian American Civic Association established the Clarence “Boots” Gaffney Award to honor his commitment to the IHA and IHC students. This award since its start is presented to an outstanding male and female graduating student athlete who demonstrates exceptional performance and personal growth. School faculty, designated varsity coaches and the Athletic Director determine the recipients each year. Prior to 1980, Male student athletes from IHC and WHS (Watertown High School) were awarded the William I. Graf award.
Currently, both the Clarence “Boots” Gaffney award and the William I. Graf awards are connected with the North Country Community Foundation, where present day winners now receive a $1000 scholarship with the award.
Boots Gaffney Winners