Tanneberger Tournament draws Westport alumni

WESTPORT - Westport Central School alumni of all ages will come together this weekend for their own version of March Madness.

The 30th annual Tanneberger Tournament is scheduled for March 21 in the school's gymnasium, and will feature plenty of entertaining basketball action for everyone.

Jim Forcier, a Westport graduate from 1969 and one of the main organizers of the tournament, explained it's one of two fundraisers held each year in honor of Dr. Thomas Tanneberger, another Westport alumnus who died tragically in 1979.

Funds from the basketball tournament and a golf tournament held in the summer go toward a scholarship awarded annually to Westport graduates.

Students are chosen for performing well in both the classroom and their athletics, much in the same way Tanneberger did. After graduating from Westport in 1967, he became a world-class bobsledder and spent time coaching at Westport, while at the same time working as a veterinarian.

The scholarship winner gets $500 per year for four years to help them continue their education, and an alternate receives a one-time $250 stipend. Forcier said more than $50,000 has been given out during the past 30 years.

Forcier said the tournament holds special meaning for him, since he and Tanneberger were best friends growing up.

"It's also special because so many of my classmates show up," he said. "Even the older guys like me still come out and play. It's just a great gathering with a lot of camaraderie."

The tournament features both men's and women's teams comprised of Westport alumni. The teams compete in one full day of fun yet competitive tournament play.

Carol Schwoebel, Tanneberger's younger sister and a 1985 graduate of Westport, said alumni travel from all over the U.S. to be a part of the annual tournament.

"This year, we're asking players to bring their oldest Tanneberger Tournament T-shirt," she said, explaining there may be a special reward involved.

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