Talking sports

The third annual Coach Fred Ahart Games

Posted 1/23/24

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — “Respect all, fear none” was one of Coach Fred Ahart’s aphorisms, and today is proudly displayed on apparel offered by the Fred Ahart Foundation in his …

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Talking sports

The third annual Coach Fred Ahart Games


LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — “Respect all, fear none” was one of Coach Fred Ahart’s aphorisms, and today is proudly displayed on apparel offered by the Fred Ahart Foundation in his memory.
On January 12, the Wildcats/Coach Fred Ahart Basketball Tournament kicked off with two varsity boys’ games of hoops. The competition pitted the Liberty Redhawks against the Wildcats of Livingston Manor in the first game (Liberty defeated Manor 42-39). In the second game, it was the Tri-Valley Bears vs. the Bulldogs of Sullivan West (Tri-Valley edged Sullivan West 50-49).
On Saturday, January 13, the teams were back at it. In the consolation game, Liberty edged Manor 74-65, while in the championship contest, Tri-Valley walloped Sullivan West 51-33.
In the title match, the Bears effectively sealed the deal in the first frame as they outshot the opposition 19-3; in the second period, the Bulldogs outpaced Tri-Valley 11-10; the Bears bounced back in the next inning, 11-8; and in the final frame, in was even-up at 11-11.
Sullivan West’s top guns:
Evan Ebera (11 points, including 21 three-pointers); Austin Nystrom (8); Brandon Haass (7); and Jacob Hubert (a three-pointer).
Matt Fanslau (16); Austin Scott (16); Misha Khadakauski (10, including 3 three-pointers); and Josh Fanslau (10).
In the wake of Coach Ahart’s passing in 2020, Coach Rob Gravelle of S.S. Seward Institute and Monticello High School’s Chris Russo—two veteran coaches who for decades were opponents of the Blue Devils of Roscoe, helmed by Ahart—were instrumental in organizing the first annual Coach Fred Ahart Basketball Tournament. It was played for two years at the Home of the Blue Devils, before being relocated this season to the Home of the Wildcats, as the two squads are now merged.
The Coach Fred Ahart Foundation was established by his beloved family to carry on his lifelong mission of supporting students, athletes and anyone in need, “whether it be cleats, a glove, registration for a summer program or something bigger.”
In his introduction to the Saturday’s double-header of hoops, Livingston Manor/Roscoe athletic director David Eggleton painted a portrait of Roscoe’s late coach and athletic director, as expressed by the foundation after his passing.
“Fred Ahart, known affectionally as ‘Coach’ by all who knew him, recognized the value of athletics in cultivating in his students a sense of self-worth, determination and perseverance. He understood its value to teach the high standards he upheld for character development and integrity of the athletes and students in his car, both on and off the field.
“Fred was always ready with words of encouragement, reproach when the occasion warranted, freely giving of his time and energy to the betterment of others… Since his passing, we have come to fully realize the impact Fred had on the lives of those around him.”
In her remarks to the assemblage prior to the tip-off of the championship game, Maryanne Clancy, one of Fred and Becky Ahart’s daughters, said in part, “Dad firmly believed that athletics were the other half of education, and that every student athlete who wanted to compete should have the opportunity to play, and a team to play on.
“He tried to make every player and parent feel as family, not just another player on a team, and believe me when I say that Coach loved all his family,” she continued movingly.
Kelly Mull, another of the Ahart’s daughters, recalled of her father, “He was probably the most humble man I’ve ever met in my life, he didn’t like to take all the credit, and he would pass on the credit to everybody (else) that was involved.
“He had a really special way of bringing everybody together, and my sister Michelle liked to say that when he walked into a room it was like everybody knew him; we couldn’t go anywhere without everybody knowing his name,” she added.
Michelle Ahart-Bosland explained that she always heard from folks that her dad “made people feel known and welcome; whether you were his opponent or a student, he watched on the field and made a point of making personal connections… he really felt sports were a big part of community and life.”
Katie Ahart described the Coach Fred Ahart Foundation as a “way for my father to continue his legacy of bringing everybody together for a common cause, and now the tournaments are in his honor.”
Meanwhile, up in the bleachers, Becky Ahart watched the final two games of the 2024 Coach Fred Ahart Tournament unfold on the hardwood.
Sitting next to her was Sherrie Thomas, a family friend, who said of Becky, “I try to keep her out of trouble.” Moments later, both shared a fond memory of Fred Ahart. He was known for encroaching on the fields of play during games and almost falling off stages at athletic awards ceremonies.
“We watched him pace during games, wondering when he was going to step over that line, or fall off the stage,” Thomas recollected, with Ahart in agreement.
As the tourney drew to a close, Becky Ahart was joined by a few of the old guard from Section IX: Sullivan West’s coach Rick Ellison, and long-serving officials Jerry Davitt and Mike Bernstein.
Oh, the stories they told and the fond memories recalled.
For information about the Fred Ahart Foundation, email or message them on Facebook at The Coach Fred Ahart Foundation.

Coach Fred Ahart games, Becky Ahart, Coach Fred Ahart Foundation, Kelly Mull, Michelle Ahart-Bosland


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