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Ex-McMahon Star Turns to Coaching in Fairfield

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Dwight Vaughn created a lasting legacy as one of the best players in the history of Brien McMahon High School basketball. Now, he’s hoping he can find the right spot to continue teaching the game he loves.

Vaughn coached the Fairfield PAL eighth-grade boys basketball team to an 18-8 record in the Fairfield County Basketball League and a berth in the championship game of the AA bracket. In two years with the team, Vaughn went 28-18 in one of the toughest divisions of the league.

“I love coaching, and I’m starting to have more passion for it,’’ said Vaughn, whose son, Jared, played for him for the past two years. “I’m ready to move to the next level and give it a shot in high school. I’d like to get an opportunity somewhere.”

Vaughn starred at Brien McMahon under coach Ralph King. He made the all-Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference team in 1987. McMahon teammate Rodney Smith joined him on the all-league squad.

Vaughn and Smith led the team on a 31-game league winning streak in 1986-87. The Senators lost in the 1986 state championship game to Hillhouse. The Senators won the league championship in 1986, and lost to Norwalk in the league title game in 1987. Some other key players on those teams included Keith Thompson, an all-league pick in 1986, and Jason Brasher, who went on to become a member of the Eastern Connecticut State University Hall of Fame in basketball.

Vaughn was a key part of it, as much for his terrific play as for his attitude, his coach said. “I really think he could be a good coach at any level he decides to pursue,’’ King said. “He has such a nice personality that it will rub off on the kids. He’ll be nice to the kids, and he’ll get them to play hard. Those are the same characteristics he always had with me.”

Vaughn played for two years at Norwalk Community College and became involved in coaching in Norwalk at the Carver Center and in the Norwalk Biddy Basketball program. When he moved to Fairfield a few years ago, he stopped by his son’s practice and Rich Pasciuto asked him to be his assistant. When Pasciuto moved the next year, Vaughn took over as head coach.

“I love to see the development of the kids,’’ Vaughn said. “When we started with them, they were very athletic kids. Since then, they’ve really learned a lot of the Xs and Os of the game. They’ve become real students of the game.”

Vaughn hopes to help Fairfield build a strong foundation for its youth basketball program. If he is unable to land a high school coaching job, he expects to keep working with boys in the Fairfield PAL program. Basketball has been an important part of his life for more than 30 years. He feels he has much to contribute.

“I think there are some things we can accomplish in Fairfield,’’ Vaughn said. “Norwalk has a good basketball history, and there’s a lot of talent here in Fairfield. I just have a love for the game, and I love to coach it.”

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