John Starks, ‘Mad Dog’ Russo, Chris Elsberry To Receive Inaugural Stags Service Awards

John Starks, the former Knicks standout, Christopher Russo, the popular SiriusXM Radio personality, and Connecticut Post sports writer Chris Elsberry – all longtime Connecticut residents – will receive the inaugural Stags Service Awards in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the local sports community. The awards are presented by Fairfield University Athletics. The ceremony will take place on Wednesday night, November 19, at the Harbor Club in Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT. The event begins at 6:30 pm.

Tickets for the Stags Service Awards are $80 and include a buffet dinner, a weekend pass to the six Coaches vs. Cancer Classic games, and a donation to the American Cancer Society. For tickets, fans can visit or call the Fairfield University athletic ticket office at (203) 254-4136.

The Stags Service Awards will be part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic which will be hosted by Fairfield University Athletics on November 21-23 at Webster Bank Arena. The Classic will include three men’s basketball doubleheaders, featuring Sam Houston State University, University of South Dakota, Wofford University, and host Fairfield University. The Stags Service Award reception will benefit the American Cancer Society.

“The Stags Service Awards are a way for Fairfield University to recognize individuals in the greater Connecticut area for their work in their communities,” Director of Athletics Gene Doris said. “As a Jesuit institution, Fairfield University emphasizes the importance of making a difference in our community by giving of oneself for the benefit of others. I believe John Starks, Chris Russo, and Chris Elsberry epitomize the essence of the Stags Service Awards.”

A longtime Stamford, CT, resident, Starks played 13 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), most notably with the New York Knicks for eight seasons. He earned a spot in the 1994 All-Star Game, joining Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley as New York’s three representatives. Starks was a member of the Knicks 1994 Eastern Conference Championship team, and was named Sixth Man of the Year in 1997.  He finished his career with over 10,000 points and 3,000 assists and holds the New York Knicks record for most career three pointers. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native founded the John Starks Foundation in 1994, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to high school seniors in the form of academic scholarships. In addition, the Foundation provides community programs focused on furthering the educational, recreational, and career development of children and their families. Each year, the John Starks Foundation awards academic scholarships to students from various Tulsa and New York/Tri-State area high schools. Scholarship recipients are selected based upon financial need, exemplary academic achievement, and a commitment to community service.

Sirius XM Radio’s Russo has called Connecticut home for nearly two decades since 1996. He has provided insight and commentary on college and professional sports for three decades, beginning with his stint in Orlando on WKIS. He worked two years at WMCA in New York before joining WFAN in 1988. Russo teamed up with Mike Francesa to form the exceedingly popular “Mike and the Mad Dog” program in September, 1989. He left WFAN to join Sirius/XM in 2008 where he anchored Mad Dog Unleashed. He also has a show on the MLB Network entitled High Heat which is also simulcast on MLB Network Radio. Russo remains active in the community through his work with youth and local sports programs. He has done work and made appearances for many local charitable organizations and has been honored by several charities for his efforts in making a difference in people’s lives. Chris, his wife Jeanne, and their four children Timothy, Patrick, Colin and Kiera reside in New Canaan.

Elsberry has provided insight to the local, regional, and national sports scene since joining the Bridgeport Post-Telegram/Connecticut Post in 1984. He had covered practically every professional championship game including the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA Championship, and the Stanley Cup. He has wrote about every professional sports team in the region and been a regular at most of the area’s college athletic teams.  But more importantly, Elsberry has championed the cause of so many organizations, helping them reach out to the community through his stories and features. His ability to capture the essence of all that is good in sports, regardless of amateur or professional makes him an invaluable member of the Bridgeport community.

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