Gossling Family Gives Back To Trinity In Support Of Football Player Safety
Hartford, Conn. - On September 20, in recognition of his father's involvement in athletics and his medical service to Trinity College football, an agreement to establish The Gossling Family Fund for Football Safety was made to was established in the memory of Harry Gossling by his son Paul Gossling and Trinity College. The income from this endowed fund will be used to purchase equipment, other items, and services that enhance safety for the student-athletes on the football team. The fund, derived from a $100,000 bequest of Marion H. Gossling, will be managed by the head football coach and overseen by Trinity's director of athletics. The gift will also bring the Trinity football program that much closer to its stated goal of financial self-sufficiency.
The Gossling Family and Trinity Football have enjoyed a mutually beneficial bond since Harry Gossling suited up for Head Coach Dan Jessee more than 65 years ago. Ironically, a career-ending injury in his sophomore season was the catalyst that strengthened this relationship many times over. The head of the orthopedic surgery department at Hartford Hospital worked on Harry Gossling's injured knee, inspiring the young Bantam to pursue a career in medicine. He went on to become not only the Head of Orthopedic Surgery at that same Hartford Hospital but also at University of Connecticut Medical Center, while spending several years on the Trinity football sidelines and in the Trinity locker room as the chief provider of medical care for Trinity College athletics.
Harry Gossling served as a mentor for countless young doctors and medical professionals, including Trinity's current team physician Dr. Carl Nissen. "Dr. Gossling, or Goose as we called him, basically started the orthopedic residency program in Hartford, and any of the doctors who were influenced by him would run to the phone to contribute to a story in his memory, says Dr. Nissen. "He guided me through the residency process, and he had a marvelous and effective way of teaching, even during surgery, through his gentle and kind words that made me and so many others better doctors. Dr. Nissen became Trinity football's team physician in 1996, largely due to Dr. Gossling's urging and his high regard for the College and its athletics program, and is honored to hold a position that was once held, in practice if not officially, by his mentor in years prior.
Paul Gossling is a 1974 graduate of Trinity, and his son, Brian, graduated in 2010. Paul Gossling spent much of his childhood immersed in the world of Trinity Bantam football alongside his father, and he always wanted to be like those football players. He was recruited to play soccer at the College, as his high school did not have a football program, and also played baseball for the Bantams as a freshman. Trinity's other legendary football coach, Don Miller, coached freshman baseball in the spring, and offered Paul a chance to play football despite having never played a down in his life. By his senior fall, Paul Gossling was a starter at wingback and wide receiver. He is active in all of Trinity's numerous alumni events, such as its golf outing and its career service program, and is a close friend of current Trinity Head Coach Jeff Devanney, who is carving out his own place in Trinity football lore with a 34-6 record in five seasons.
An all-city football player in Philadelphia, Harry Gossling was accepted to Trinity and received sufficient financial aid to allow him to attend. "He always felt that Trinity gave him a once-in-a lifetime gift that allowed him to earn an exceptional education and later to pursue his career in medicine," said Paul. "The core value that guided my father through his adult life was a duty to give back to others so they could benefit from the same privileges that he had received. He taught myself and my sister, Susan Gossling Walters, that core value which is behind our decision to help endow this important aspect of the Trinity College football program."
For many decades, Paul and Susan's father cared for injured athletes as an orthopedic surgeon, and they truly feel that the safety of the players represents his lifelong passion to the College. They believe their father would not consider this donation a gift to Trinity, but a "thank you" to the College for what he was given.