ROSCOE, NY — With an outpouring of gratitude and love, the Roscoe Central School District renamed its gymnasium the “Coach” Fred Ahart Gymnasium in a laudatory dedication ceremony on January 4 attended by legions of supporters including many who hailed from far away and from decades long since past. For the past 45 years, Ahart has devoted his immeasurable energy, love and guidance in mentoring students as a physical education teacher, coach and athletic director.
The Roscoe Board of Education, with the overwhelming support of the community, amended its policy to authorize the renaming of the Blue Devils’ gym for the iconic coach who has touched the lives of so many since his arrival in 1969. Ahart was hired as a physical education teacher after graduating from Ithaca College where he played football, basketball and baseball. Taking on duties immediately as boys basketball coach, athletic director, track coach and also assistant football coach, Ahart began to author the legacy that has made him one of the most recognized and acclaimed figures in New York State high school athletics. On this occasion, a number of speakers came forward to laud the legendary coach and to recount his pronounced influence on them during their playing days and the resonant lessons that have endured long after.
Representing the 1969-79 era was David Rosetti. Rusty and Peter Pomeroy recounted the highlights of the ‘80s which they referred to as “the golden era of Coach’s career.” Four Western Sullivan League basketball titles and two Section Nine titles attest to that description. Matt Csoka and Jason Closs recounted their memories of playing and being mentored by Ahart in the ‘90s. Csoka was a running back on the 1990 squad, a team many have argued was Roscoe’s best football team of all time.
Closs referenced his basketball days. Chris Ballard, Troy Kirchner and Dustin Sullivan shared their memories of the 2000-2009 era, while current seniors Brad Dreher and Liam Fogarty gave the current perspective. Roscoe Superintendent John Evans spoke glowingly as well about Ahart, as did school board vice president Ed Park, who had opened the day with his welcoming remarks.
Former Times Herald Record sportswriter Kevin Witt served as the master of ceremonies. Much of what was said throughout the afternoon alluded to Ahart’s unique and heartfelt way of coaching kids, instilling in them the right ideals, great sportsmanship, perseverance and humility. The details of what each speaker said and the highlights of those eras can be found in the story titled “Dedication Celebration,” on www.sportsinsightsny.com .
Daniel and Paige Clancy, two of Fred and Becky Ahart’s 14 grandchildren, added their voices to the loving outpouring. Evans and Park unveiled the huge sign that said “Coach” Fred Ahart Gymnasium.” “This was a team effort,” Ahart said humbly as he voiced his thanks to his family, friends, players, coaches, the school district and staff, the community, the media and the many people he has worked with across Section IX and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.
Ahart’s impact, not only on the Roscoe School District but also across Section IX and indeed New York State, has enriched the lives of the countless people he has touched. And the good news is, he’s still at it. For an album of photos from the dedication ceremony, visit www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com .