Longwood Assistant Coach (1969), William Floyd Freshman Coach (1970-1971), Longwood Head Coach XC and Spring Track (1972-1994), Longwood Winter Track (1972-1978), Suffolk Community College (1979), President of the XC Coaches Association (1978-1980 & 1993-1995), XC Section XI Coordinator & Winter Track Section XI Coordinator 1999- present, Spring Track Section XI Coordinator 2001-present.
Toro’s involvement with Suffolk County /Section XI cross-country and track & field started approximately 60 years ago, back in 1962. At that time he was a freshman running for Port Jefferson High School. Since then he’s grown from an athlete into a coach, into section coordinator, and finally into founder of Just-In-Time Racing.
Toro ran cross-country for Port Jefferson High School. One of the premier distance runners in the county at the time, Toro was outdoor county champion in the mile in both 1965 and 1966. He was also the Class “A” County Champion in cross-country those same two years. At the county meet in 1965, Toro set the Sunken Meadow course record of 12:18 for the 2.4-mile course that was run at the time.
As a cross-country coach, Toro led Longwood to 6 League titles and 4 County titles. In 1986, his team placed 2nd at the New York State Championships, but came back to win the State Federation Championship a week later. Longwood won both the New York State title as well the State Federation Team title in 1990. Toro also won another State Federation title while coaching St. Anthony’s in 1998. At one point, over a ten year span, Longwood won 58 consecutive league dual meets. In addition to team success, Toro had two individual state champions, Kevin Krause (Class A - 1987) and Kevin Hogan (Class A - 1990, Fastest time of day).
Toro’s teams also experienced success on the track. Spring track produced many more titles: 15 League and six County Championships (1978, 83, 88, 89, 91, and 92). During the years mentioned, there was only one overall county title awarded by Section XI.
Anthony Toro has more to do with Section XI cross-country and track reaching the incredibly high level of success at the New York State level than any other individual. All athletes, past, present and future, that have competed or will compete for Section XI owe him so much for all of the time and effort that he has contributed to every aspect of the sport. His effect on the sport will not stop with his retirement; it will continue thanks to everything that he established over the last several decades.
Coach Young has spent the last 33 years (86 seasons spread between cross country, winter track, and spring track) at the Girl’s Sachem North High School team. In addition to his work at Sachem North, Coach Young volunteers his time working with the Rolling Thunder Club Special Needs Program. He also is very proud of running with the New York Pioneer Club and the Second Wind Club in masters-level 4x400m relays at the Millrose Games and the Penn Relays.
While coaching at Sachem North, Coach Young’s teams have won 22 League titles and 11 County/Divisions titles. On those teams, Young coached over 150 All-County athletes, 50 County Champions, 14 New York State Champions and more than 50 All-State and All-Federation athletes. There were also sjx National Champions and more than 20 All-American athletes among his 100 plus athletes that qualified for the National Championship Meets. Coach Young has been a big part of Maria Michta’s racewalking career, one that saw her representing the United States in two Olympic Games. For his efforts, Coach Young has been awarded 39 Coach of the Year Awards. Included in that number are six times he was the Overall County Coach of the Year. In 2002 Young received USATF’s - Long Island Track and Fields President’s Award.
Coach Young has helped the Coach’s Association with many tasks over the years. He has been a meet director to our spring invitational and every year he organizes the All-Academic Awards for our athletes. But Coach Young’s most impressive achievement was culturing more of a family rather than simply a team mentality at Sachem North High School. And as anyone would attest, they were always very large families! There were times when three bus loads of athletes would show up to a meet. They were always well organized and the young ladies would know exactly where they needed to be and what to do. The athletes would also be very supportive of their fellow “family” members while they competed. That attitude did not end on the track, it carried over to the community as well. Coach Young’s team would be involved in fundraising events for various causes. They would always support the Sachem community in general. Their caring for each other and those around them seemed to drive the girls to success on the track. Luckily, they had a strong and capable parental figure in Coach Young.
West Hollow JHS Track (1973-1976), Half Hollow Hills West Assistant Coach Winter and Spring Track (1977-1979), West Hollow JHS Cross-Country (1982-1992), Half Hollow Hills East XC (1994-2006), Half Hollow Hills East Head Winter and Spring Track (1979-2018).
Coach Bill Kirwan led teams that accounted for more than 31 championships throughout his years. In cross-country, his teams were league champions in 1994, 99, and 04. Winter track produced a string of 12 consecutive league titles from 1994 to 2005 as well as four prior to that stretch. Hills East was the Small School County Champion in 1998 and a three-time runner-up from 2000 to 2002. In spring track there were eight league titles, including four of the five years between 1996-2000. Hills East was also conference/division champions in 1986, 1995, and 1996.
During his tenure, there were two Individual State Champions; Eric Seely and Godwin Okolie. In 1996, Hills East claimed a 4x200m championship (George Glean, Josh Quansoon, Ken Graff, Royce Makil) and in 2002 they won a 4x100m relay title (Kevin Okolie, Kendall Preston, JJ Carpenter, Eric Seely). Two Indoor Intersectional relay members were also part of gold medal teams for Section XI; (Chad Nadler and Christian Sam). Finally, there were also four athletes that earned All-American status: Eric Seely (Outdoor 200 & 400m), Kevin Okolie (Indoor 200M), Greg Perrier (Outdoor 800m) and Godwin Okolie (WT Triple Jump).
Kirwan ran track for St. Anthony’s High School from 1965-1969. While competing for the Friars, he was CHSAA champion in the 60 yd, 100 yd, and 220yd dash events. In addition, Kirwan was a member of 4 school record-setting relays: 440yd, 880yd, Mile Relay, and Sprint Medley Relay. Some of his favorite experiences were competing at the “old” Madison Square Garden and qualifying for the Championship of America for the Mile Relay at the Penn Relays in 1968. Upon graduation, Kirwan received a track scholarship and went on to run at Manhattan College. He had a successful college career, tying the school record in the 60 yd dash (6.2 HT) and qualifying for the NCAA Division One Indoor Championships. He continued to be an outstanding relay runner and qualified for the Championship of America Sprint Medley relay championships at the Penn Relays. Kirwan helped Manhattan capture team titles in the Metropolitan and IC4A Conferences.
In addition to his coaching achievements, Kirwan was also very active within the Track Coaches Association. He was President of the Suffolk Coaches Association Winter Track from 1990-2003. During this time he was instrumental in getting Section XI to recognize a Large and a Small School County Championship. This greatly benefitted schools with small populations to compete for a title on an even field.
Coach Bob Szymanski started his career in 1969 and is still going strong 52 years later. In that time, he has coached 149 seasons of cross-country, winter and spring track at Center Moriches, Amityville, and Shoreham- Wading River High Schools.
On the open fields of a cross-country course iis where Szymanski's teams shined most. In all, his teams have won over 200 dual meets and won over 50 XC Invitationals. There were 11 straight league championships from 2003- 2013 with 58 consecutive dual meet victories. Even more impressive, there were 9 County Titles in that same 11 year period. Six of those titles came consecutively from 2003 to 2008. In 2007 and 2008, his teams placed first through fifth, scoring a perfect 15 points at the county championships. Before those two years, the feat had never been achieved. Also during that six year span, Shoreham- Wading River won a state title in 2007, finished 2nd twice in 2004 and 2008, and finished 3rd three times the other three years. After two years of placing 2nd at the county championships, Syzmanski’s team came roaring back with three straight county titles in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Symanski’s individual runners also obtained high levels of success. In 1984, Dion Telting won the New York State Class B Cross- Country Champion. There were other stand-out runners: Ryan Hays, Mike Gibney, Bobby Andrews and Ryan Udvadia excelled while the team won all those county titles.
Winter and spring track added more titles to Szymanski’s resume. In winter, his teams added four League titles, two Division titles, and one County championship. Spring accounted for seven League, five Division, and two County titles. During the winter season, there were two state champions: Bill Jividan in 1985 (1000m Run), and Bobby Andrews in 2009 (1600m & 3200m).
Given all his success as a coach, Szymanski was awarded 125 Coach of the Year awards. He was the Newsday Long Island Cross Country Coach of the Year in both 2007 and 2008. Additionally, in 2017 he was awarded Coach of the Year by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. For that last award, coaches in all sports are considered. In 2018, he was inducted into the Emporia State University Hall of Fame and followed that up in 2020 with being named to the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame. Now he is a member of the Suffolk Coaches Hall of Fame.
Szymanski was an accomplished runner in his own right. He ran at West Babylon High School and then for Emporia State University. In 1968, he was captain of the cross-country team that placed 2nd at Nationals, losing by only 4 points. Szymanski is proud of his personal best mile time of 4:10.4, but even more proud of breaking 50 flat in the 440 yd dash.
Szymanski will always be remembered as one of the nicest individuals ever to coach in Section XI by his peers. His coaching stories, of which he has an endless number to share, often would leave a crowd smiling. He not only encourages athletes from other teams, but he tries to motivate other coaches as well. As long as Szymanski keeps coaching, there will be more stories, more smiles, and quite possibly more championships.
Throws Coach at West Point, US Military Academy (1962-1964), Assistant Track Coach for a Goodwill Tour of Central West Africa in spring of 1964, Cross-Country and Track Coach at Port Jefferson High School (1964-2019), presently the Assistant Coach at Mount Sinai HS.
During his 55 years of coaching at Port Jefferson HS, Coach Don Slingerland’s teams had a dual meet record of 436 Wins and 173 Losses. His girls cross-country teams won seven league and county titles. In boys and girls track, his teams won a combined 13 league championships and nine county titles. Slingerland also coached seven All-Americans and a four-time National Race Walk Champion (Lisa Kutzing). For his efforts, Slingerland was awarded 39 Suffolk County Coach of the Year honors.
Slingerland competed at Springfield College and was a co-captain of the track team during his senior year. Also during his senior year, Slingerland won the Junior National AAU Hammer Championship in 1960. Upon graduation, he was given a graduate assistantship, and coached at Springfield while getting his masters degree. During this time, he helped coach Tom Waddell in the throwing events for his decathlon. Waddell ended up placing 6th in the 1968 Olympic Decathlon for Team USA.
Coach Slingerland has demonstrated his love for the sport over the past several decades. He shares his knowledge of the throws with athletes from all districts, not just his own. Some may remember Slingerland during the long State Qualifying Meets driving the hurdles around the track at Port Jefferson to help expedite the meet. What many did not know was that Slingerland was instrumental in designing and overseeing the construction of the Port Jefferson track. His watchful eye caught many mistakes that would have led to a subpar track for our competitions. Instead, the track is fast and the drainage is perfect.
Brentwood Middle School (1967-1969), Brentwood High School Boys (1970-1995), Walt Whitman Boys (1996-2001), Half Hollow Hills Girls (2001-2006), St. Anthony’s Girls (2007), Deer Park Girls (2008), Huntington Boys (2009- Present)
Coach Eli Acosta has dedicated himself to the sport of track and field for an impressive 54 years. In that time, he has coached hundreds of all-league, all-conference, and all-county runners. Twenty four of his young athletes have won indoor state championship titles and 16 came away with outdoor state titles. And last, but not least, about 10 All-American athletes round out the trail of success that has followed Acosta throughout the years.
Many coaches are limited to the number of events that they can instruct. Coach Acosta has been an exception to this: sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers, middle and long distance runners, and throwers have all achieved success with Coach Acosta. He even coached an All-American race walker in the early 1990’s when Section XI still contested the boys' walk.
Looking back over his coaching career, Coach Acosta has been very consistent in his approach to success. He is very detail oriented in his recording of splits during meets and workouts. Acosta asks his athletes to push themselves to their limits and they respond well. After all, their coach sets a good example. Finally, he instills structure and discipline in his athletes.
Years ago, Acosta stepped onto a Section XI bus full of energetic athletes headed to states. He calmly addressed the young men that were a combination of athletes from all over the county. “Gentlemen, let’s remember what we are here for. Do nothing that will embarrass yourself, your coach, or your team”. He sat down and you could hear a pin drop; the tone was set for the rest of the trip.
William Floyd Boys Cross-Country (1969-1990), Port Jefferson Boys & Girls Winter Track (1986-1991), Rocky Point Girls Cross-Country, Winter and Spring Track (1992-2000)
Frank LaBianca has more state cross-country championships than any other coach in Section XI history. His teams won four State Titles (Class “C” titles in 1972, 1973, and Class”A” titles in 1977, 1985). The championship in 1972 was the first state championship by any team in William Floyd history. In addition to winning four state titles, LaBianca’s team won 11 League Championships with a Dual Meet record of 112-14 and 7 County Titles (Five County “C” Championships in a row from 1969-1973, County “A” Champions in 1984 & 1985).
Despite winning four state titles, LaBianca never had an individual state champion. His teams were known for their depth and tight spacing between runners one through five. If you look at the best 5K times from Suffolk County athletes during the time he coached at William Floyd, you will find seven William Floyd athletes listed. LaBianca’s fastest runner from that era was Kraige Schmitt, running the fourth fastest time in 16:00.8. La Bianca also worked with the girls team from Floyd. His best runner while there was Edith Vilardi, who still owns the 20th fastest time run by a Section XI athlete on the 5K course at Sunken Meadow. She is also only one of 96 female athletes to break 19:00 minutes on the course. LaBianca coached the first girls team at William Floyd in 1981. That first year they won a League title and had two All-County runners: Diana Twardzik and Petra Ficken.
After leaving William Floyd, LaBianca coached Port Jefferson Boys track for five years. During that time, his team won an indoor league title in 1990. Then it was on to close out his career with Rocky Point. While at Rocky Point he coached Cheryl Miller and Allison Huffman to outdoor state titles in the 1500m Run.
LaBianca was a very dedicated and hard working coach. He expected a lot from his athletes and they in turn competed with high levels of success. At a coaches meeting, towards the end of his career, LaBianca was asked to share his knowledge of success with a young group of coaches. Instead of talking about training techniques, LaBianca shared his philosophy on how to remain a coach, given the fact that it was so time consuming if you coached all three seasons. He told them that they could never really let on just how much they enjoyed coaching. He said that they needed to complain about the long hours and how hard it is to deal with. He advised that each Saturday morning, they walk out the door, pump their fists and take joy in the fact that they get another chance to spend a glorious day coaching. The truth behind the story was that LaBianca loved to coach. His family and his athletes knew it as well. That is what made him such a good coach. He really enjoyed it, in spite of the complaining.
Mount Sinai Boys Cross Country, Winter Track, and Spring Track (1990-2007)
In the seventeen straight years of coaching all three seasons, Coach Short led his teams to a combined 11 League titles, 8 Conference/Division titles, and 3 County Championships. In addition to his team successes, Coach Short was looked upon by his fellow coaches as a pole vaulting guru. In just 17 years, Short produced 7 New York State Champions and one National Champion in that event. That National Champion, Amy Linnen, was also an Olympic trials qualifier as a high school senior. In all, Coach Short had 7 All-American athletes, six in the pole vault and one in the shot put. For his efforts, he was recognized with 22 Coach of the Year awards.
What made Coach Short stand out to the Suffolk coaching and athlete community was his willingness to share his knowledge of the pole vault. He was willing to have athletes and their coaches from other schools come to learn from him, even if that meant the possibility of another school’s vaulter beating his own. This mentality indirectly carried over in his efforts to make Section XI track and field the best that it could be at the local and state level. His district, Mount Sinai, would host many championship meets and invitationals. Short also served as President of the Coaches Association for many years. While President, he would offer his time to help mentor young coaches on technique and would recognize his peers with “Master Coaches Awards” for outstanding work and effort in the sport. Many of the coaches in this Hall of Fame were honored with this award during his tenure.
Coach Short was always a straight shooter when it came to dealing with coaches and athletes. Some would say he had a “gruff” personality. Underneath that exterior, was a very caring man that made it so very easy to both love and respect him, even when he was being straightforward with you. That is a very difficult line to walk, but Coach Short made it look easy. It is probably why he was such an outstanding “Master Coach” himself.
Cross Country Head Coach (38 seasons- 2 years at Newfield HS, 21 years Centereach HS, 8 years Middle Country School District, 7 years Sedona Red Rock HS), Winter Track Head Coach (32 seasons- 2 years at Newfield, 21 years Centereach, 8 years Middle Country), Spring Track Assistant Coach (32 seasons- 2 years at Newfield, 28 years at Centereach, 2 years Sedona Red Rock HS), and Spring Head Track Coach (21 seasons- 2 years Centereach, 19 and counting at Sedona).
Over the 38 seasons of cross country, Coach Harry Schneider’s teams have a combined 165- 20 record while posting 18 league championships, 10 Division/Conference Championships, and 11 Suffolk County titles. There were 104 individuals that represented his teams at states and there was one New York State Federation Team Championship. At Sedona, there were an additional 7 League Championships, one Conference Champion, and 56 State meet competitors.
Winter track produced 21 League, seven Division, 11 Suffolk County, and three Long Island team titles. There were 85 Individual County Champions, 11 Individual State Champions, and 2 National Champions. In addition, his teams were an incredible 103 - 3 in winter dual meets.
Spring track, as an assistant to Bob Burkley, added another 28 League, 8 Division, 10 Suffolk County Championships. A dual meet record of 189- 4 demonstrated how successful his teams were. During this time, there was a span of 156 straight league dual meet victories (26.5 years), a National record for such a streak. The Burkley/Schneider team produced 182 State Meet competitors in addition to 78 Individual County Champions, 15 State Champions, and 4 National Champions while in New York. In Arizona, as head coach, there were an additional 2 County and 2 State Team Championship titles, 30 Arizona Individual State Champions, and 163 athletes making the trip to states.
In achieving all of the above, Coach Schneider earned 91 Coach of the Year Awards. Some of the major awards bestowed to Coach Schneider include: the 1975 Long Island Athletic Club Service Award, the 1985 New York State Coaches Association Honor Award and the 1985 National Federation Interscholastic Coaches Association Outstanding New York State Coach Award, the 1989 Hugh M. Jenkins Award for Excellence in Community Award, 1990 & 1996 Suffolk County Legislature Service Award - “Say No to Drugs”, 1996 Friendship Games Service Award, and 1999 Suffolk County Track Coaches Association Master Coach Award. In May of 2018, Coach Schneider was inducted to the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame, and now he is a member of the Suffolk County XC & Track Coaches Hall of Fame.
Coach Schneider began his coaching career in 1968, 53 years ago. While most people would probably hang up the stopwatch, Schneider still plans to stay on the field. Schneider always stressed it was important for athletes to develop a passion for the sport throughout his legendary career. Several of his athletes still have a passion for track and field decades after they competed. Many of the athletes Coach Schneider mentored, 71 in total, have gone into coaching themselves. Jason Strom, the Northport Boys Coach, was one of those athletes. He said of his former coach: “I really liked Schneider for coaching the ‘whole team,’ not just the top level kids. Also, I was a big fan of how he mentored us in various aspects of life. He tried to make us understand how to be better people in society, not just better runners. That’s what sticks with me today.” Coach Schneider said in an interview for this hall of fame that “when the kids stop reacting to what we do, I’ll retire.” But for right now, he doesn’t have any plans to do so. Although he did admit, “my wife thinks I should.”
St. Joseph’s High School Brooklyn (1977-1980), North Babylon Boys Assistant Coach (1990-1992), North Babylon Girls Head Coach (1992- 2020)
Coach Jim DiSalvo displayed a love for the sport of track and field and was always very organized, which played a major role in leading his teams to multiple championships. Coach DiSalvo ran track at Valley Stream Central High School. He graduated from New York University, though he did not run in college.
During his tenure at North Babylon, DiSalvo’s teams captured 5- Winter League III titles , 8- Spring League titles, and three Spring Division/County titles. At one point, his team had a 40 consecutive unbeaten dual meet streak outdoors which spanned over more than six years. These achievements resulted in him winning 18 Coach of the Year awards.
DiSalvo’s teams shined when it came to individual and relay success. The bigger the meet, the better the results. His teams had 23 County Champions, 45 All-County athletes, six State Champions, 19 All-State athletes, two National Champions, and six All-Americans. There were also three county records: D’Jai Baker (400mD), Vanessa Stewart (Indoor SP) and the 4x100m Relay. All of these records still stand as of 2020.
A reserved, mild mannered individual, DiSalvo was able to get the most out of his runners because he was a very intense, competitive, and yet, very caring individual. Each year, he would volunteer to ride the County Team bus to the state meet, and not because he liked the loud buses or making sure no athletes escaped the confines of their rooms after hours. DiSalvo did so because he wanted to make sure that his athletes would be ready to succeed the next day on the track. He did not want to leave anything to chance. He was dedicated to his girls and they in turn pushed themselves to achieve. Now that coach is retired, North Babylon and Suffolk County track will surely miss him.
Harborfields Middle School (1965-1968), Harborfields High School Boys Coach (1969), Harborfields HS Boys and Girls Head Coach (1970-1983), Harborfields HS Girls Head Coach (1984-1999), Hauppauge Assistant Coach XC, Head Girls Spring track (2000), Sayville High School Assistant Girls Coach (2001-2019)
During his tenure at Harborfields, Jim Zeitler led teams that won 32 titles. The Harborfields girls won three straight Class A County championships in cross country from 1978-1980, along with four League titles in 1979, 1980, 1984 and 1986. Winter track saw two County titles in 1979 and 1980 and three League titles from 1979 to 1981. Spring track added another County title in 1979 and 10 League titles: 1976,78, 1981 - 1986, 1995, 96. During this time, Harborfields won State Relay titles in the 1977 Outdoor Mile Relay, the 1980 Indoor 4x800m, and the 1982 Indoor 4x800m. Zeitler also coached the Harborfields boys, whose teams captured four cross country league titles (1967, 68, 70, 81), four spring track league titles (1970, 71, 72, 81) and a winter track league title in 1970.
Zeitler joined the staff of the Sayville Girls Cross Country and Track program as an assistant coach to Don MacKenzie in 2001. Together their teams combined to win 17 titles. During the winter they won 3 consecutive Small School County titles from 2004 to 2006, along with 4 league titles (2004, 06, 07, 09). In spring track, Sayville won division titles in 2006 and 2007. They also won 8 league titles (2001, 02, 04, 05,06, 08, 09, 12). Individual state champions included Marta Pardo (2002 Long Jump and 2004 Triple Jump), Kristy Longman (2006 Division 1 and Federation 800m champion).
Given the achievements of Jim Zeitler’s teams, the man rightly belongs in the Hall of Fame. However, his greatest achievement did not occur on the track, but rather in the court of law. In February of 1978, Zeitler led a court case that claimed that not having a girls indoor championship violated the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law, and Title IX, a Department of Health, Education, and Welfare guideline that prohibits sex discrimination in federally subsidized education programs. A federal judge ruled that Suffolk County’s public high school athletic association must permit a girl’s county and state championship track meet. Section XI may have finished in 6th place as a team at states that year, but it has since established itself as one of the strongest sections in the state. That incredible run all started with the man we honor by naming the girl’s indoor relay meet after: Mr. James Zeitler. Thank you, Jim, for going the extra mile.
Winter Track Mamaroneck HS (1979), Spring Track Rye Neck HS (1979), Assistant Centereach Boys Spring Track (1980), Centereach Girls Track (1980-81), Longwood High School Boys Track (1981-Present)
It took Joe Reilly a few years before he found a home, but when he did, the roots he put down were strong and lasting. In his 38 years to date at Longwood, he has accumulated a long list of titles and accomplishments. Team titles were almost a yearly tradition: The Winter and Spring Track teams won 46 League titles, 33 County/Division titles, and a 2010 State Federation championship. From 1994-2021, Longwood’s Spring Track dual meet record was 116-8 with Coach Reilly at the helm. He has coached approximately 150 All-County athletes, 65 All-State athletes, 19 State Champions (7 Individuals + 3 Relays) and 9 All-Americans. For his efforts, Coach Reilly has been awarded 33 County/Division Coach of the Year Awards and 3 Newsday Long Island Coach of the Year Awards. At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, Reilly added one more prestigious award to his resume. He was awarded the National Federation High School Coach of the Year for New York State Boys’ Track and Field.
Reilly was a pole vaulter in high school for Centereach HS and in college for Suffolk Community College and Cortland State. During his time in these programs, he was an All-County, All- State, and All- SUNYAC athlete. At each school, he left the program with the school record in the pole vault.
In 2020, Reilly was inducted into the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame. Because of the Covid Pandemic, the normal induction ceremony was done virtually. This led his fellow coaches and athletes to host an outdoor celebration this past summer to honor his accomplishments. An impressive number of Reilly’s former athletes came back to honor their coach. Equally impressive was how many of them spoke about the manner in which Reilly influenced and changed their lives. They spoke of him as being a father figure and how he went out of his way to help them gain direction in their lives. Reilly always seemed to have teams that competed hard and that were hungry for success. They were often in peak condition at just the right time. The most important aspect of all, however, they always did it with class and dignity. I guess they were just emulating Coach Reilly, because that is what he’s all about.
Cross-Country Shoreham-Wading River (1975-1979), Sachem (1980-2002), WinterTrack: Shoreham- Wading River (1978-1980), Sachem (1981-1984 & 1999-2003) Spring Track: Shoreham-Wading River (1976-1980), Sachem (1981-1998), Miller Place (1999-2004)
Coach Kurt Pasler was a cross country and track coach for some 29 years. During this time his teams experienced much success both in cross country and on the track. Pasler’s teams captured five County Cross Country Championships: Shoreham-Wading River Boys 1977, 1978, 1979 and Sachem Boys 1993 and 1996. At the time, he was the only coach to win county titles at two different Section XI schools. His combined dual meet cross country record was 116-47. Experiencing success is what every coach strives for from one year to the next, but only those who are exceptional at their job inspire the next generation to do the same. In the 2021 cross country and track seasons, four athletes who ran for Pasler were head coaches for county/division championship teams right here in Suffolk County. (James Lever- Eastport South Manor, John Reynolds-East Islip, Dan Schaub-Sachem East, and Vin Ungaro- Bayport Blue Point)
Besides being an excellent coach, Pasler also worked extremely hard to further the sport by holding office for the Suffolk XC & Track Coaches Association. Pasler was simultaneously treasurer and secretary from 1978-2000. As treasurer, he incorporated the association and obtained tax exempt status so that it could run meets and hold all-county dinners. Pasler was instrumental in moving “Winter Track” indoors in the mid-1980’s. And if that wasn’t enough, he acted as statistician for the association for 32 years (1985-2017), a role he continued even after he retired. If you click on the Section XI record board on this website, you will see all of the information that he kept track of as a statistician. Pasler was also meet director of the Suffolk Coaches XC Invitational from 1985 through 2001. Everyone involved in Section XI cross country and track owes this man a large heap of gratitude.
Norm Daniels has been coaching track and field since 1985. He started as the coach of the PAL Pines Youth Track Club. The Academy of St. Joseph’s was his next step. He finally ended up at Brentwood High School where he has been coaching for the last 30 years and counting. In addition to his coaching during the regular school year, Coach Daniels was involved in summer coaching with the Long Island Empire State teams from 1989 to 2010.
During Coach Norm Daniels' coaching tenure, Brentwood Girls Track and Field has always been a force to be reckoned with in the sprints, jumps, and hurdles. He then would combine these athletes to form outstanding relays that placed at the county, state and national levels. In many of those years, it was not just one relay that qualified and placed at states, but two. The 4x100m and 4x400m relays in the spring and the 4x200m and 4x400m relays indoors. Also, it was not always the same four athletes running both relays. The depth on his teams would always shine when the stakes were highest.
Over the span of 35-plus years of coaching, Coach Daniels' athletes have won many county titles and all-county accolades. In addition, his athletes won six Individual State Championships and one National Championship (Tara Livington). There were 14 All-Americans and even one National Catholic Record Holder (Tamyka McCord) in the 500m run. In addition, Daniel’s worked with state champion and All-American Lynette Wigington on long jump and triple jump technique.
Just like with other Hall of Fame coaches, Coach Daniels has won his fair share of Coach of the Year awards. The one he is most proud of was the Long Island Track and Field Coach of the Year Award in 2017.
Coach Daniels is famous for the way he tells stories and engages in good-natured banter during the long hours of waiting for races. He is always capable of making everyone around him smile, coaches and athletes alike. The jokes and stories were always appropriate for everyone to hear. He is a classy man and a true gentleman. He along with his wife, Judy, have made Brentwood track and field one of the most “feared” programs in Section XI and beyond. His athletes are always ready to compete and there is a family vibe that makes them reach down for that something extra in order to obtain success, something no doubt fostered by their coaches.
1960-1964 Oceanside Middle School Soccer (1960-1964), Brentwood Assistant Basketball Coach (1965-1969), Brentwood Boys Soccer Coach (1965-1980). Brentwood Boys Spring Track (1968), Shoreham- Wading River Girls (XC, WT, ST) (1980- Present)
Coach Paul Koretski is now entering his 62nd year of coaching, an amazing feat to say the least. After all of these years, Koretski is still enthusiastic about coaching and striving to lead his teams to championships. It’s a good thing that Koretski was a math teacher during his tenure at Brentwood High School, because the numbers he accumulated are so grand that only someone with a background in arithmetic could add them up: Brentwood JV Soccer 82-29-14, Brentwood Varsity Soccer 83-28-11, Shoreham-Wading River Cross Country 228-46-0, Winter Track 313-33-0, Spring Track 296-27-1. His overall high school record was 1002-163-26.
But the numbers do not end there. Koretski has led his teams to 73 League Titles, 36 Conference/Division Titles, 33 County Titles, and 2 State Titles. 14 individuals and 2 relay teams of his were awarded All-American status. Coach Koretski was voted League, Division, or County Coach of the Year in Suffolk County 144 times. He was also the New York State XC Coach of the Year in 1987 and 2017. In 2004 he was even featured in “Faces in the Crowd” in “Sports Illustrated” for his accomplishments.
You would think that Koretski would not have time to do anything else, but that is far from the truth. He also ran six marathons, founded the Brentwood Soccer Club, organized Youth Summer Track Program runs and meets for 47 years, and was the Girl’s XC and Track Coaches Association President from 1989-2013. Coach Koretski has had an amazing coaching career. In 2020, he was inducted into the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame, and now he is a member of the Suffolk County XC and Track Hall of Fame. Given the math, his inclusion was inevitable.
Sachem High School (1990- 2004), Sachem East High School (2004- Present)
Pete McNeill has been a coach for the Sachem School District for some 30 years. In that time as either a head coach or as an assistant, he has been a part of 55 League titles and 34 County/Division titles between cross-country, winter and spring track. While at the helm, his athletes won eight National Championships, 5 additional All-American titles, and 15 Individual All-State titles.
McNeill ran for Sachem while growing up. During his senior year in 1972, he won the Suffolk County Class “A” Cross Country Championship (13:02 for the Sunken Meadow 2.5 mile course). While competing collegiately for Rutgers University, McNeill suffered many injuries early in his career. He recovered from those injuries and won the New Jersey College Marathon title in 1976. Highlights of his post-collegiate career included wins in the 1981 Long Island Marathon (2:24.49), the 1981 New York City Corporate Challenge, a 3rd place finish in the 1982 Bermuda International 10 mile, and a 10th place finish in the Helsinki Marathon in 1983. His personal best time for a marathon was in Boston (2:17:15) in 1981.
Coaches who worked alongside McNeill often speak about his laser focus and consistent, high level of dedication to his teams and athletes. It was his commitment to making his athletes succeed beyond their own expectations that led to his success. When interviewed via email for this hall of fame biography, he thought it was important to name each of his All-American athletes: 2-time Olympian Maria Michta, Lauren Harris, Shannon Weeks, and Jeanna Composti, Brenda Genuine, Lorraine Horgan, Jenna Monahan, Holly Lindoe, Karen Labaddia, Rachel Paul, Margaret Atwood, and Chelsea Benedict, Shari Mark, Nicole Vickers, Allison Cardlin, Erin Silvering, Jackie Berman, Keri Seher, Laura Greene, Diamond Jackson, Brittney Christiansen, Kelly Maranchuck, Alyssa Genduso, Lisa Luchsinger, Mel Notarstefano, Rachel Ruggiero, and Alex DeCicco.
That act conveys the exact sediment that McNeill conveyed in a 2011 interview after winning one of those titles: "There are certain things I don't pay a heck of a lot of attention to," he admitted. "When coaches retire, they might have a record of such and such. I won the award this year, but I didn't win it. Our staff won it and our kids won it with their performances. Did I have a part in it? Of course, but they made us look good."
Reynolds Hawkins has spent the last 24 years coaching the Amityville Boys Track team. Before that, he spent 6 years coaching cross-country, winter and spring track for the boys team at Bay Shore High School. A very proud Florida A&M University graduate, Hawkins has also worked as a police officer, a substance abuse counselor, and a social worker.
In his 24 years at Amityville, Coach Hawkins and his teams have done their fair share of capturing county titles. In Winter track, there have been 6 league titles and 4 county titles. When the weather heats up, so do his teams. Spring track includes 16 league titles, 13 and divisional/county titles. Hawkins’ spring dual meet record as coach while at Amityville is currently an amazing 148 wins, 16 losses, and 1 tie. His teams have averaged less than one loss per year over 24 years. Running on those teams were 12 Individual State Champions, 3 State Champion Relay teams, and 13 All-American athletes (4 Individual Events and 3 Relay Teams).
Coach Hawkins has received his fair share of accolades over the years for his outstanding coaching. Four times he has been named Suffolk County Coach of the Year Indoors and ten times Suffolk County Coach of the Year for Outdoors. Twice he was named Newsday Coach of the Year for his work in the spring.
As an athlete at Amityville Memorial High School, Hawkins was an instant standout as a freshman. He was the top-ranked miler in the United States and set a New York State Two Mile record that stood for twenty-seven years.
Among fellow coaches, Hawkins has always been known as a stand-up type of person who always handles himself with class and dignity. He treats his athletes with respect and goes out of his way to help them in any way possible. Hawkins works hard to give his runners every opportunity to reach their competitive goals. Whether it was through proper training, good advice, or taking them to big meets, Hawkins helps his students not only with their immediate goals, but their future goals as well. When Coach Hawkins was informed of his induction into the Hall of Fame, he was genuinely taken back by the honor. “This recognition is not only a surprise but also deeply appreciated,” he wrote via email. “It is important to me because of the support of the Amityville community and Suffolk County Sports. [I] have been fortunate and blessed to have some of the most talented and dedicated athletes in New York State from a small school district of 700-800 students. The Amityville district has been 100% supportive of the opportunities of competing nationwide. Those types of exposure have offered many of our athletes full or partial scholarships to colleges and Universities across the country.” A humble response from a man whose work on the track continues.
Port Jefferson Boys Cross Country (1994-2020), Port Jefferson Girls Winter Track (1987-1989), Boys Winter Track (1990-2021), Port Jefferson Boys Spring Track (1987-2021)
In his thirty-plus years of coaching, Coach Rod Cawley has been very successful at keeping the long tradition of Port Jefferson excellence alive on both the track and on the cross-country fields. As a cross-country coach, Cawley’s teams were 142-18 over his tenure, resulting in 18 League championship titles, 6 Division/Conference titles, and 16 County Class titles. While coaching at Port Jefferson, Cawley’s individual runners also experienced success. In 1999, Eric Fleckstein was an overall County Champion and in 2001, Brendan Sullivan was a Footlocker National finalist. Winter track teams recorded 7 League titles and 3 Small School County Championships. James Burke was a standout runner for Cawley, setting county records in the 1000m (2:26.75) and the mile (4:08.48) in his senior year (2015). Spring Track teams under Coach Cawley were 195- 34- 1 in dual meet competition and earned 19 League titles in doing so. They also won 5 County/Division titles during this time. In 2001, “small school” Port Jefferson was crowned Long Island Team Champions by winning an end of the year meet consisting of the top five schools from Nassau County and the top five schools from Suffolk County. Quality prevailed over quantity there. In total, Cawley was named League Coach of the Year 44 times and County Coach of the Year 24 times. And for his Long Island Championship in 2001, he was named Overall County Coach of the Year for his efforts.
While Coach Cawley was busy running his own team, he found time to help to promote track and field overall in Suffolk County. While he was head coach, Port Jefferson High School was the site of the Section XI State Qualifier Meet for 17 years. Being in charge of running a 1000 plus-athlete meet for two days, while coaching your own team is an overwhelming task. Cawley did it with great success and was always a great host to all participants, coaches, and spectators. For a large number of people, the marinated steak sandwiches prepared by PJ Track Parents were an annual delight for purchase after their events or while watching the meet on Friday evening. All the memories of meets at Port Jefferson were very special and will live on for all those who attended. One athlete who returned year after year to the State Qual Meet said it was like going to a game at Yankee Stadium and that being in that atmosphere was special in itself. So, just in case we did not say it enough through the years, thank you Coach Cawley for hosting all those great meets.
Bayport- Blue Point Varsity Cross Country Coach (1974-2015), Bayport- Blue Point Varsity Boys Track Coach ( 1973- 2006 )
Under Coach Roger Kauffman’s tutelage, Bayport-Blue Point established itself as not only a “small school” power house, but as a team that challenged large schools at a very high level despite having a smaller student body to draw from. In cross country, Coach Kauffman guided his teams to 15 league titles, 16 division/conference titles, 14 county titles and two New York State Class titles (1999 & 2000), in addition to six second place and three third place finishes in their class. In 2000, “small school” Bayport-Blue Point placed second at the State Federation Championships. At this meet, there are no size classifications; the top teams from all over the state came together to compete regardless of size. On the track, the Phantoms were league champions eight times, Division/Conference champions five times, and county champions four times while Coach Kauffman was leading the way. Kauffman was awarded Suffolk County Coaches Association Coach of the Year for his work in cross country 23 times (League & County) and 17 times in track and field. In 2006, Coach Kauffman received the New York State Coach of the Year from the New York State Coaches Association.
Kauffman attended Penn State University. As a Nittany Lion, he achieved All-American status in the 35-lb Weight Throw by placing 4th at the Division One NCAA Indoor Championships in 1969. He was also captain of the Penn State track team and graduated in 1970 with school records in the weight throw and the hammer.
Like so many other coaching inductees, Coach Kauffman worked hard and was dedicated to his sport and to the art of teaching (He was named Bayport-Blue Point Teacher of the Year in 1992). He expected the same both on the track and in the classroom from his athletes: tradition and high standings. Those were prevailing themes that repeatedly produced Bayport- Blue Point Track and Cross-Country teams of scholar-athlete status. Since the state instituted team scholar athlete awards, all but one of Kauffman’s teams was awarded this honor. Challenging and motivating athletes to continually better themselves was Coach Kauffman’s goal and his passion. He motivated athletes both on and off the track. Sixteen of Coach’s former athletes have gone on to become varsity coaches in track and field. He is very proud of that number, as he rightly should be.
Coach Steve Borbet is starting his forty-ninth year of coaching this fall. He has coached at the middle school, high school, and even the collegiate level throughout his career. Borbet’s teams have included: Holy Trinity High School Boys (1973-1975), Bay Shore High School Boys and Girls (1975-1986), SUNY Stony Brook Men and Women (1986-1993), Half Hollow Hills Girls (Winter and Spring Track-1993 to 2000), Bay Shore High School Boys/Girls Cross Country (1993-1996), Bay Shore High School Girls XC, WT, and ST - 2000 to Present)
Coach Bobert hasn’t just won almost 90% of his team’s meets, he’s done it over the span of five decades. His coaching record is an amazing 711-83. This includes 114 straight dual meets in winter track. During this span, Borbet’s teams have won 40 Suffolk County Team Championships, 19 Division/Conference Championships, and 79 League Championships. In total he has won 144 Coach of the Year Awards. There are too many to list, but highlights include: 2010 New York State and USATF Region 1 Track Coach of the Year, 2012 NSSF Mike Byrnes Award-National Coach of the Year, 2018-19 New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year, and finally his highest honor, the 2018-2019 National Federation of State High School Associations Coach of the Year.
In addition to those unbelievable numbers, Bobert has coached 35 All-Americans, seven Individual National Champions, seven National Relay Champions, 23 Individual New York State Champions, and six State Relay Championship teams. His athletes broke a National Distance Medley Relay record, four New York State records, two State Meet records, 17 Long Island records, and 36 Suffolk County records. At one point, 2003-2005, his 4x800m relays won three straight National Championships and his team broke 12 minutes in the DMR for six straight years.
As an athlete, Borbet lettered in Cross-Country, Soccer, Basketball, Baseball and Track at Seaford High School. He was captain of the first County Championship Cross Country team in Seaford’s history. That same team went on to place 2nd in the Class B Division of the State XC Championships. Borbet, still to this date, owns the 800m/880yd record at Seaford HS (1:55.9 yds). Upon graduation, he went to Kent State University where he lettered in Cross-Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track. While at Kent, Borbet ran the 800m, and was All-Conference in that event, as well as a member of two school record-setting relays.
This is not Coach Borbet’s first Hall of Fame. In addition to his membership in the Suffolk Coaches Hall, Borbet is a member of the Armory Coaches Hall, the USATF Hall of Fame, and the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame. He even has the Bay Shore High School track named in his honor.
What numbers are Coach Borbet most proud of? The first is three, the number of sons (Jason, Dan & Tim) that he and his wife Kathie raised through all these years of coaching. And the second number is 75, that being the number of his former athletes who have pursued a career in coaching. They all have a big leg up on the competition after having learned under one of the best. Borbet said “I am nearing the end of a wonderful career, it has been very special for me, and if I had to go through life again, I would do the exact same thing I did for the last forty-nine years.” The student athletes of Section XI wouldn’t have it any other way either.