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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sports > General

Tributes to life-changing mentors

The Fred Ahart coaching tree

Ahart's legacy lives on in the people he inspired

Jan 12, 2021

By Richard A. Ross - reporter/photographer

Fred Ahart with that inimitable smile. He made countless others smile too.
ROSCOE -- One of the rituals of looking back over a year now gone by is to remember those who have passed on during its tenure. Aside from the annual recitation of famous people who departed this earth in 2020 that included such notables as Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Kobe Bryant, John Lewis, Charlie Pride, Chadwick Boseman and countless others too numerous to mention, there were those less famous but equally valuable including the thousands who succumbed to the Coronavirus, other illnesses or various factors which led to the end of their lives. Each one was far more than a statistic, they were, people whose lives mattered greatly to those they touched.
One such remarkable entity who touched countless lives was Roscoe Coach and Athletic Director Fred Ahart whose 50-year coaching tenure at Roscoe impacted so many, not just in the familiar environs of his Blue Devil country, but across the county, section, state and beyond.
Humble, graceful, affirming, dedicated and savvy are just a few of the adjectives people have used to describe Fred whose influence on those he mentored gave rise to a coaching tree that has grown over the years as branches gave rise to other branches spreading far and wide. Over the coming weeks this writer will feature some of those people who are anxious to share the impact on their careers from Coach.

Great thanks and heartfelt appreciation go out to Fred's wife Coach Becky Ahart, who has graciously provided valuable information and pictures for this ongoing tribute including an impressive list of his accomplishments gathered together prior to his induction into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame in Glens Falls.
For each of the coaches featured, it seemed best to let them articulate their thoughts on Fred and his impact on them in their own words.
Forthcoming issues of the Sullivan County Democrat will feature one “branch” of the Ahart tree that thrives and grows as a living memorial to an iconic individual whose life was a continuous, unselfish affirmation and encouragement to legions of people.
This writer once quipped to Coach, that if all the people whose lives he touched and in turn by those who impacted others by dint of his influence, it would require far more than the capacity of Yankee Stadium to host the celebration.
The Democrat is proud and privileged to remember Coach and celebrate his immortal legacy that lives on in the lives he touched.

Fred Ahart led by example
By Christopher Russo,
Monticello Boys Basketball Coach/
Deputy Executive Director of Basketball Coaches Association of New York (BCANY)

I was hired as a Social Studies Teacher by George Will in 1998; little did I know that I was about to meet a man and woman who would change my life. Shortly after I was board approved, I met with Fred Ahart - I knew very little of him as I was from New Jersey and had only been living in NY for two years.
Fred offered me the job of JV Girls Basketball coach and I would work alongside his wife Becky. I was excited for the opportunity to coach and jumped at the chance. Looking back, I really had no idea how incredible this opportunity was. I worked in Roscoe for three years but made life-long friends in Fred, Becky, and Jason Semo.
While at Roscoe, I witnessed first-hand the dedication it took to be a coach. Most young coaches think it's about your win-loss record and championship banners.
What I saw was a man who would dedicate his life to giving kids the opportunity to play sports and they always received his best. The sacrifices both he and Becky have made are immeasurable.
Watching Fred over the years, I learned that it's possible to be a fierce competitor and a compassionate person. I saw him take all the blame and share all the credit. I saw that you can be tough and kind-hearted and that you can win and lose with grace and humility.
I learned that coaching kids is more about developing a relationship with them, teaching them lessons you have learned about life, showing them how to handle wins and losses the right way, and sharing in their joy and success as well as their pain and struggle. I learned that coaching is so much more than Xs and Os and what you can draw on a clipboard. It is about pouring your heart and soul into a program which allows the kids you coach to do the same; it gives them the chance to shine brightly as individuals who are ready to sacrifice their own light for the betterment of their teammates.
Over the last few years, I saw how he never passed up the opportunity to tell a person what they meant to him. He never complained, he just did all he could to make sure he was there for his family and his players. It was remarkable to watch him battle his cancer with the same humility, courage, and competitiveness that made him an incredible husband, father, and coach.
I am so grateful to Fred and Becky for laying the foundation for me to be the coach I am today. A foundation that was made stronger by Dick O'Neill. I have been truly blessed to have them as mentors, but more importantly as friends.
I loved Fred and I know he loved me.
The biggest honor I have had in my coaching career was sharing the Sullivan County Democrat Coach of the Year honors with him.
I do miss him, but I carry him in my heart always.

Ahart's accomplishments
Coaching history
1968- Assistant Football Coach, Newfield Central School, Class D
1968-69 - JV basketball coach Candor Central School, Class D
1969-2020 - Head Varsity Basketball Coach, Roscoe Central School, Class D
1969-1978- Assistant Varsity Football Coach, Roscoe Central School, Class D
1979-2020 - Head Varsity Football Coach, Roscoe Central School, Class D

Basketball Coaching Records/Honors
Overall Record: 484 Wins; Coached in 1,020 games.
Five Western Sullivan League (WSL) Titles: 1984, 1985, (undefeated),1986 (undefeated), 1989, 1998; Four Section 9 Titles (1984, 1986, 1998, 2019); Three New York State Tournaments (1984, 1986, 1998); 23 Section 9 Tournaments; 1 OCIAA Division VI Title; Four 20-plus win seasons; Two 19-win seasons: 1988-89, 1990-91; One 18-win season, 1995-96; 30 consecutive Western Sullivan League wins (including WSL playoff game): February 1984-January 1987; 29 consecutive home wins: December 1983-January 1987.

Awards/Additional honors
2019 Sullivan County Democrat Co-Coach of the Year; 2018-19 BCANY Coach of the Year Class C-D; 2018- NYSHPERD Amazing Person Award for Coaching; 2017 Coach Glen McGinnis Dedication Award by BCANY; 2017 Sullivan County Democrat Boys Basketball Coach of the Year; In 2014 Roscoe Central School Gymnasium Named “Coach Fred Ahart Gymnasium”; 2014 Dr. William Moran Service Award; 2009 New York State Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame; 2009 BCANY Section 9, Class D Boys Basketball Coach of the Year; 1999 Western Sullivan League Service Award for 30 years;1997 BCANY 400 Win Award; 1997 BCANY Coaching Dedication Award for 35+ Years.

Professional Affiliations
2003-2020: Section IX Appeals Committee Chairman; 1980-2020: Section IX Athletic Counsel Member; 1996- 2020: Section IX Representative to NYSPHSAA Boys Basketball Committee; 1996-2020: Section IX Basketball Committee Co-Chair and BCANY Member; 1996-98:Section IX Past President; 1994-96: Section IX President; 1992-94: Section IX 1st Vice President; 1990-92: Section IX 2nd Vice President; 1986- 2020: Section IX Appeals Committee Member; 1975-2020: Section IX Basketball Committee Member; 1975-2000: Western Sullivan League Basketball Chair; 1973-1976: Western Sullivan League President.

Other Accolades
2005-11 - Co-head Varsity Football Coach at Roscoe/Livingston Manor
1999, 1998,1996 - Instructor of Philosophy, Principles and Organization of Athletics in Education at Sullivan County BOCES
February-May 1997 Dean of Students at Roscoe Central School
1997-98 - Instructor of Theory and Techniques in Coaching at Sullivan County BOCES
1992 Basketball Commentator for Cable 6
1990 - Middletown Record Football Coach of the Year
1985 - Western Sullivan League Football Coach of the Year
1983-2007- National Honor Society Faculty Counsel
1980-2000 - Recreation Director at Roscoe Central School
1979-2020 - Head Varsity Football Coach at Roscoe Central School
1975-77 - Member of Rockland Hose Company
1975-76 - Roscoe Kiwanis Club President
1972-2020 - Roscoe Kiwanis Club Member
1969-2008 - Roscoe Central School Teacher's Association
1969-1978 - Assistant Football Coach at Roscoe Central School
1968-69 - Assistant Football Coach at Newfield Central

More Achievements/
Positions held
2019 - NYPHS Golden Apple Award
2018 - NYS Athletic Administrators Association Section IX Athletic Director of the Year
2004 - NYS Athletic Administrators Association 35 Years of Outstanding Service Award
1993 - NYS Athletic Administrators Association Section IX Athletic Director of the Year.
He was an NYS Athletic Administrators Association Member.
2003 - 2020 Section IX Appeals Committee Chairman
2003 - 2020- Section IX Athletic Counsel Member
1996 - 2020- Section IX Representative to NYSPHSAA Boys Basketball Committee
1996 - 2020- Section IX Basketball Committee Co-Chair
1975 - 2020 Section IX Basketball Committee Member
1975-2000 - Western Sullivan League Basketball Chair
1996-98- Section IX Past President
1994-96- Section IX President
1992-94 -Section IX 1st Vice President
1990-92- Section IX 2nd Vice President
1986- 2020- Section IX Appeals Committee Member
1973-1976 - Western Sullivan League President.

Roscoe CSD/Kiwanis Accolades
Roscoe Central School Blue and White Club Award for 30 years of Dedication to Coaching and Guidance of the students at RCS
1999 - Roscoe Kiwanis Club Award for 30 Years of Dedicated Service to School and Community
1997-99 - Dean of Students Roscoe Central School
1983-2007 - National Honor Society Faculty Counsel
1975-77 - Member of Rockland Hose Company
1975-76 - Roscoe Kiwanis Club President
1974-2008 - Recreation Supervisor at Roscoe Central School
1972-2020- Roscoe Kiwanis Club Member
1969-2008 - Roscoe Central School Teacher's Association
1969 - Summer Recreation Supervisor at Candor Central School

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