The Charger Blog

Alumnus Wins Emmy for Work on NFL Films Project

Vail Grafton ’15 credits his time at the University of New Haven with preparing him for his career in television and sports. Above all, though, he says his favorite memory as a Charger was meeting Brooke (Fisher) Grafton ’14, who is now his wife.

September 2, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image from the Grafton's wedding.
Many of Vail and Brooke Grafton’s friends from their time as students attended their wedding.

When Vail Grafton ’15 was a student at the University of New Haven, he cohosted a sports radio show, an opportunity that united his passions for sports and media and prepared him for a career in sports media.

As a communication major, Grafton and classmate Dave Puglisi ’15, hosted V n’ D Sports, and Grafton became interested in a career that married television and sports. He credits the experience, as well as his faculty mentors, with giving him the tools he needed to succeed.

Most recently, as an associate producer for an NFL Films project called “NFL 100 Greatest” in honor of the National Football League’s 100th season, he produced 60-90 second pieces for each show using footage from the NFL Films archives. He recently won an Emmy award for his work on the project.

“I was very happy and very proud,” said Grafton, who also worked as a production assistant at ESPN for three years before moving to New Jersey and beginning his work with NFL Films. “Some of the players and the moments captured in the footage went as far back as the beginning of the NFL, so it was pretty cool to dig up old footage and bring it to the present. It was special.”

Vail at WNHU
Vail Grafton at WNHU, the University’s award-winning radio station.

A former member of the University’s football team, Grafton still keeps in touch with his former teammates and coaches. A four-year member of the team’s defense, he was part of two NCAA tournament teams.

Above all, Grafton says his fondest memory of his time as a Charger was meeting Brooke (Fisher) Grafton ’14 as a first-year student at orientation. Nearly 10 years after they first met, they were married in a ceremony that included many of the close friends they met as students at the University, and they recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary.

Vail and Brooke Grafton in Chargers football jerseys
Brooke and Vail Grafton show their Charger pride.

Brooke earned a degree in psychology, then pursued a master’s degree in elementary education. A member of the University’s softball team, she is grateful for the opportunities she had as a Charger.

“What I enjoyed most about being on the team was competing at a high level,” she said. “What stood out to me most about the University was the diversity of the student body. I really enjoyed being in an environment where people from all over the country and the world were together without judgment.”

Now a registered behavior technician at Cinnaminson High School in Cinnaminson, NJ, Brooke is also the head softball coach. She and Vail now live in her hometown of Sicklerville, New Jersey, and they often return to their alma mater for events such as Homecoming. Her younger sister, Morgan Fisher ’24, is now following in her footsteps. A first-year student majoring in criminal justice at the University, she also is a member of the University’s softball team.

“This is very exciting for me, and I can’t wait to watch her excel as a Charger and fall in love with the University just like I did,” said Brooke. “I am so proud to call myself an alumna of the University of New Haven, and I will always be proud to call myself a Charger.”

Brooke during a softball game
Brooke Fisher Grafton was a member of the University’s softball team.

Vail is also excited that they now have another Charger in their family, and they are thrilled to soon be seeing their family grow. He and Brooke are expecting their first child, a son, in January.

“The memories and brotherhood I formed as a Charger were special, along with being a part of a talented team,” he said. “The friendships I made for life are even better, and the school spirit at the University of New Haven is second to none. Brooke and I love the University, and we are very proud alumni.”