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Saturday, March 10, 2018: Former Liverpool, SU star Gedney dies

   Leading off today: Former NFL tight end Chris Gedney died Friday at the age of 47, Syracuse University announced in a statement.

   No cause of death was immediately disclosed.

   Gedney was a football and basketball standout for Liverpool. As a senior, he was first-team all-state in football and 10th-team all-state in basketball. He went on to be a consensus All-American for Syracuse in 1992 and then had an NFL career with the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals. He made 83 catches for 914 yards and eight touchdowns in parts of six seasons from 1993-2000.

   "We are shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of Chris Gedney," Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement. "Chris was a wonderful co-worker, a friend to all and deeply loyal to Syracuse University and our community."

   Gedney was named to Syracuse's all-century team in 2002.

   Gedney was promoted to senior associate athletic director for major gifts at the university in 2011 and served as a radio analyst on Syracuse games.

   N-W three-sporter mourned: An estimated 500 people braved blowing snow Friday night to attend a remembrance in honor of Michael Ziegler, a member of the Niagara-Wheatfield football, wrestling and lacrosse teams who died Wednesday.

   He was 18. Funeral services will be held Monday morning.

   Settlement details: Former Garden City baseball coach Rich Smith agreed to drop his federal age-discrimination lawsuit against the school district in exchange for $24,000, according to a document obtained by Newsday.

   Smith, 75, agreed to not pursue another job in the district.

   Smith had filed suit in March 2017 and named the district, then-superintendent Robert Feirsen and athletic director Dawn Cerrone as defendants. He alleged that his annual contract as baseball coach was not renewed following the 2016 school year because of his age.

   Smith had been the varsity coach at Garden City for 44 years and a coach at the school since 1967.

   Smith's record of 667-386-18 makes him Long Island's second-winningest coach behind Levittown Division's Doug Robins (695).


   More baseball: Chris Michie has taken over as the baseball coach at Suffern after Ron Gamma retired after 33 years in charge and 44 years in all with the program.

   Michie was Gamma's assistant for 27 years.

   The Mounties finished 15-7 last spring to capture Gamma's 13th league championship with the team not knowing Gamma had already decided to retire.

   Gamma finished with a career record of 522-257.

    • Thousand Islands will not field a varsity team this spring due to low numbers in the junior and senior classes, AD Shayne Robbins said. The school notified the Frontier League last month.

   Coach Scott LaLonde said that this year's pitching staff would have been comprised of freshmen and eighth-graders, which added to safety concerns.

   The Vikings were 13-7 last season and reached the Section 3 Class C championship game for the first time since 2005. But they did so while finishing with just 10 players and no JV program to support the varsity.

   The school will field junior varsity and modified teams this year.

   Thousand Islands also won't field a girls lacrosse team for the second straight year after launching the program in 2016.

   Tough spot for officials: I'd meant to acknowledge this blog item earlier in the week because the subject does come up fairly regularly around this time of year.

   Greg Brownell of The Post-Star pointed out that the NYSPHSAA basketball tournaments used to employ "mixed" officiated crews at this stage of the season. That changed awhile ago for budgetary reasons, so the refs now come from the host section.

   As Brownell points out, there are no issues with the integrity of the officials. The actual problem is that there do seem to be differences in the way things are called from region to region. "Anybody who's watched basketball around the state knows that a foul in one area isn't necessarily a foul in another," he wrote.

   The composition of the crew admittedly rarely makes a difference, but we should be long past the point where the extra cost matters.

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