A pioneer in the early days of Chieftain Athletics, Jim Connealy was a three-sport decorated and accomplished athlete at Ponaganset High School. A four-year varsity letterwinner in football, hockey and baseball, Connealy co-captained all three as a senior in 1965.
Connealy was a member of PHS's first football team in 1961 and caught the winning touchdown pass in the Chieftains' first-ever league victory. Given the name "Sticky Fingers" by The Observer, Connealy was an incredible athlete who could, as his nickname indicated, catch any ball thrown to him. He was a leader on defense as well and never left the field on game day, playing both ways on the kickoff and return teams. He was named an All-Western Division selection both on offense and defense in 1965.
On the ice, Connealy captained his team to the 1965 Suburban League Division Championship, beating state and New England champion Cranston East along the way, handing CEHS its only loss of the season. A stalwart defenseman, his skills and toughness saved many a game for PHS, and he made All-Suburban Division as a senior.
On the diamond, Connealy played almost every position throughout his four-year career, excelling as both a catcher and a pitcher as a senior. A truly gifted all-around player, he had a knack for stealing bases and was solid at the plate. For his efforts, Connealy earned yet another accolade as a senior, earning another All-Western Division honor.
A kind but fierce teammate and leader, Connealy was known to be fearless on every field, diamond and ice rink he graced. A truly one-of-a-kind athlete and person, he possessed the heart of a lion, never allowing injury to sideline him. In his four years at Ponaganset, he proved he was the kind of teammate and person you could count on, and he made his teammates better on the field and off.
After graduating from Ponaganset in 1965, Connealy remained a large part of the local community. A member of the Ponaganset Girls' Basketball Association as a volunteer and coach beginning in the early 1980s, he coached the Ponaganset Girls' Basketball All-Star Team and the RI Breakers AAU Team, as well as remaining active as an official and organizing officiating clinics throughout the area. He also coached the Chieftain football team from 1991-94.