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Thursday, July 18, 2019: Stepanovsky steps down as Vestal coach

   Leading off today: Bill Stepanovsky of nine-time defending Section 4 champion Vestal is stepping away from his role as girls soccer coach and will handle the junior varsity this fall as protege Gina Baldwin takes over the varsity.

   It's been a great run," he said. "I'm going to miss it a lot."

   Stepanovsky's teams specialized in smothering defense. In a 19-year career at Union-Endicott and Vestal, his teams won 17 sectional titles and 10 league championships. His teams were 293-37-27 with 256 shutouts. His 2009 team at U-E shut out 18 consecutive opponents to open the season.

   "Keeping the slates clean, not letting them score, all those shutouts, that became something the kids really got invested in -- don't let them score, don't let them score and they were proud of that," he said.

   Stepanovsky will still be visible at varsity contests. He's been a soccer referee for 45 years, a basketball official for 43 and a girls lacrosse official for 21. He'll continue in those roles as well as Section 4's coordinator for girls soccer, a post he's held for 19 seasons.

   Baldwin, a physical education teacher at Vestal, played for Stepanovsky at U-E from 2006-09.

   "He is so extremely knowledgeable about the game," she said. "The way he explained the game to us, I learned so much about game management from that man."

   Arrest in fatal hit-and-run: Police made an arrest Sunday shortly after a hit-and-run accident claimed the life of Kings Park teacher and coach Michael McDermott.

   McDermott, 37, was jogging early Sunday afternoon when he was struck by a driver who fled. Authorities said the driver, Keith Clancy, 32, was pulled over by a police officer about half an hour later and taken into custody. Clancy was arraigned Monday in First District Court in Central Islip on charges of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Court records show he was being held on $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash.

   McDermott coached JV baseball at Kings Park and taught middle-school physical education.

   In a statement posted on the district's website Sunday night, Superintendent Timothy T. Eagen announced McDermott's death to the community.

   "Mr. McDermott was a wonderful man, talented teacher/coach, and beloved member of our staff, and this news will be shocking to all that knew him," Eagen said.

   Big honor for Flatley: Tom Flatley, wildly successful in stints at Sewanhaka and Garden City as well as a former coach of the U.S. men's team, was named a recipient of U.S. Lacrosse's Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday.

   Flatley won a Long Island championship at Sewanhaka in 1981 and went 114-18 in seven seasons there. He also spent a combined 30 seasons as the JV coach at Sewanhaka and Garden City, including a 300-29-1 record in 22 seasons with the Trojans junior varsity.

   Flatley was also the head coach of the 1982 U.S. men's team that won gold at the World Lacrosse Championships. He was the general manager of the U19 team from 1988-2008, during which time the team went 36-0 with six world titles.

   He also was one of Long Island's top football coaches, posting 264 wins in 30 seasons at Garden City.


   Football merger proceeding: The Mount Morris and Geneseo school boards have given the OK for a combined football team this fall. The plan still requires the approval from Section 5.

   Mount Morris had paired with Perry the past four seasons. The Livingston County News reported sources indicated that all merged sports teams between Perry and Mount Morris will cease.

   Geneseo has struggled with roster sizes in recent

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seasons and is a combined 10-20 since 2015. Tim Dolgos retired after 11 seasons and will be replaced as coach by Kory Wright.

   Cancer diagnosis: All-state basketball player Amanda Zeno of Fallsburg was diagnosed last week with acute myloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells that is regarded as treatable.

   Zeno pushed herself to play through sickness recently in an AAU game in Louisville, winding up in a hospital in Kentucky afterward. She has been undergoing chemotherapy at Westchester Medical Center since Saturday.

   "Everything has moved really fast," said Zeno, a 12th-team all-state pick last season as a junior.

   Ohio dispute heading to court: The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 5-2 this week that Hamilton County Common Pleas Court should hear the lawsuit filed by Catholic schools in southwest Ohio challenging new classification rules approved by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

   Roger Bacon High School and the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed filed suit last year after a rule took effect in 2017. The league won a temporary restraining order in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court last year while Judge Robert Ruehlman considered the case. The state Supreme Court initially granted the OHSAA's request for a stay of the temporary restraining order.

   "Despite the OHSAA's attempt to silence them, Roger Bacon and the GCL Co-Ed schools are excited to finally have their day in court and look forward to further advocating for their students before Judge Ruehlman," said Terry Coates, attorney for the school and the league.

   At the heart of the issue is a formula assigning a numeric value to every player on a roster factoring in school size, residence and a student's secondary school history. The point total for the team determines which division a team will play in during the postseason.

   Idaho school scuttles nickname: Teton High in Driggs, Idaho, is dropping its Redskins mascot following a 4-1 vote by the school board. The Redskins nickname has been in use at the school since 1929.

   The vote followed four hours of contentious public debate Tuesday. Students wearing shirts adorned with "Save Our Redskins" walked out of the gym immediately after the vote.

   Two of Idaho's largest Native American tribes supported the drive to change the name, which will cost the district approximately $30,000.

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