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Tuesday, July 2, 2019: Iroquois baseball coach says JV parents doomed him

   Leading off today: We'll never know the full story because administrators always play the "we can't discuss personnel matters" card, but the Iroquois school district has a predictable public relations problem today.

   It's the PR problem you're bound to face when you fire a 77-year-old coach -- and a respected local sports figure shows up in a wheelchair three weeks after a heart attack to voice support for that coach.

   The coach in question is Marv Matteson, who has book more than 1,000 victories over 53 years of directing baseball, basketball and cross country at Kenmore East and Iroquois. He intended to retire after the next school year, but Iroquois made that a moot point by deciding not to reappoint Matteson as baseball coach.

   Iroquois was 17-6 last season, winning its eighth division title in 18 seasons under Matteson and capturing its second Section 6 Class A-2 championship in four years.

   Matteson believes he was done in by the parents of two JV players who were upset over the players' not being included in the team's annual spring training trip to Florida and the possibility that they would not make the varsity team next season.

   "There was a vendetta set against me and my assistant, Jim Snyder," Matteson told The Buffalo News. "They had vowed to get us fired. Apparently now, if a parent or two goes after you, the school won't back you. But we did nothing wrong."

   Matteson's dismissal also hastens a retirement decision for Snyder after 49 years at Iroquois. Snyder hired Matteson while working as the AD from 2000-04.

   Among those speaking in support of Matteson at a Monday school board meeting was veteran women's college basket- ball coach Sal Buscaglia, whose grandson played for the Iroquois JVs this spring.

   "I just got out of the hospital. I barely got out alive. And my family told me I shouldn't be going to this meeting and getting all worked up," Buscaglia said Tuesday. "But that's how strongly I felt about Marv and his JV coach, Jim Snyder.

   "They are men of integrity and excellent coaches. Just quality people and they had a great rapport with the kids. I told the school board and the superintendent it would be tragic for them not to continue coaching. Not just tragic for


Marv, but tragic for these JV players who won't get to have him as their coach now."

   More coaching news: Sixth-year Rye girls basketball coach Dennis Hurlie has stepped down after a pair of Section

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1 championships over of the past four years and has also resigned as girls lacrosse coach.

   Coming attraction: Marc Bloom, who's been covering the cross country scene for as long as I can remember, will debut his 10th book next month, and his topic is a good one. Bloom's "Amazing Racers" is a study of the Fayetteville-Manlius dynasty built by Bill Aris. has begun running excerpts from the book, starting with Bloom's recollection of Van Cortlandt Park on Oct. 9, 2004, the day the F-M boys astonished observers by pitching a perfect score in their race at the Manhattan Invitational.

   Writes Bloom:

   "It was then that some new and powerful force was unleashed that seemed impossible to pin down. The coach, Bill Aris, referred to 'Stotan,' an old idea wrought new. Stotan, said Aris, was a way to live and act and think, a way to elevate running not so much with more miles or speed but, first, with more beliefs: that the young person growing up could be different, stronger; one with grace and humility, one who submerges the self in favor of the community. That is, the team."
   Legendary coach dies: Bob Rosmarino, a hard-driving hall of fame football coach in Chicago, Rochester and Andover, Mass., died Thursday at the age of 85.

   After making his reputation in Chicago, Rosmarino coached Aquinas to a 41-13-1 record from 1965-71, a timeframe during which the one-time national football power made a transition from a regional schedule to local competition.

   After interviewing for the coaching job at Rochester Institute of Technology -- Tom Coughlin ended up getting the job -- Rosmarino headed to Massachusetts, where he built the bulk of his 177-120-12 record. He was 97-58-5 at Greater Lawrence Tech before a heart condition forced him to retire during the 1999 season.

   "He was always a larger-than-life figure, like Vince Lombardi," said Jason Nardella, who played for Rosmarino in Massachusetts. "He was so intimidating. He's the kind of guy you didn't want to let down."

   Nardella recalled a story that epitomized the coach's no-nonsense approach.

   "I remembered being a freshman, getting my butt handed to me after a carry, laying there on the field like I was dying," he said. "Coach said, 'You got the wind knocked out of you. You're not going to die, kid. Now get up and get back in.'

   "As a junior, I scored a touchdown and was all full of myself, celebrating with the guys, and he comes over to me and says, 'You had the ball in the wrong hand,'"

   College plans: Saratoga junior basketball star Dolly Cairns has committed to the University of Rhode Island.

   Cairns was second-team all-state in Class AA this past season.

   The Rams will be coached next season by Tammi Reiss, who completed her playing career at Eldred in 1988 as the state's career scoring leader in girls basketball with 2,871 points. Reiss arrived this spring after spending the last four years as an assistant coach at Syracuse.

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