Leading off today:
Veteran boys soccer coach Jim Huntington
, who led Edmeston to the state Class D championship in 2003 and directed Schenevus to its first sectional victory in 14 seasons this past fall, died from an apparent heart attack Tuesday.
He was 63.
Otsego County Coroner Jim Dow said Huntington was dead on arrival at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, The Daily Star reported. He was stricken at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church.
Huntington coached at Worcester and Cherry Valley-Springfield before arriving at Edmeston in 2001. His third season with the Panthers ended with a 1-0 overtime win vs. Chazy in the 2003 NYSPHSAA finals.
"The first year he came there, none of us knew him, but as soon as he got through the first day of practice, it was like he'd been here four or five years," Brad Belden, who led the 2003 team with 24 goals, told the paper. "Everyone just got closer and closer. To an extent, he was like another dad to all of us."
Said Edmeston AD Mike Clark: "Obviously he was a great soccer coach, but more importantly, he was a great person. His players really liked him and respected him. He was a quality character and a super guy."
Huntington's Schenevus team scored a 1-0 upset of Laurens in the opening round of the 2015 Section 4 Class D tournament for its first playoff win since 2001. The Dragons finished with a 9-8 record.
Saranac Lake's Raymond dies: John Raymond, who coached the Saranac Lake football program to a 164-60-4 record over 25 seasons, died Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 73.
Raymond, inducted into the Saranac Lake sports Hall of Fame in 2008, guided Saranac Lake to the NYSPHSAA Class C final in 1995.
"John was good to the star athletes, but he was even better with the average kid," Mark Farmer, a former player who became head coach in 1999, told The Press-Republican. "He had a unique way of taking average players and getting them to play better than they ever thought they would. And I really think that defined why John was so successful."
Raymond had three stints as coach. His teams accumulated 84 wins between 1970-84 before he stepped down. When his replacement stepped down after one season, Raymond returned to win 46 more games from 1986-91. His third stint ended in 1998 with a loss in the state semifinals, and Raymond went on to become the district superintendent.
Eric Bennett, who became head coach in 2010, played for Raymond in 1989-90.
"He'd call you straight out if something wasn't right or you weren't giving it your best," Bennett said. "But at the same time, he'd put his arm around you and get you where you needed to be."
Coaching departures: The loss to Elmont in the Federation boys Class A semifinals last weekend was the farewell for Telecommunication Arts & Technology coach Chris Weil.
Weil, who coached for 25 seasons, told his team during the season that this would be his final year on the sidelines. His Yellow Jackets responded with the first PSAL championship.
"This was the group that I least really expected to make it this far, but as the season progressed, I knew we had something special," Weil told the Brooklyn Daily.
• Canajoharie football coach Ken Sullivan also has opted to step down after 17 seasons as the head coach and 19 with the program.
"I had the opportunity to see my son Kenny play every game for the last three years and my youngest son A.J. is a sophomore and I saw him run one cross-country meet," Sullivan told The Leader-Herald. "It wasn't the only contributing factor, but it was a big one. I figured I would be able to watch him compete for the next couple of years and then we will go from there."
Sullivan took over a program riding an 18-game losing streak 0-18 streak and won twice in his first season only to have the school drop varsity football the following fall due to low numbers.
"It was a gamble, but it worked out," Sullivan said. "I knew we had good kids coming up through because they did well in the Canajoharie Youth Program and at the modified level, so I knew I had a good core of kids and, more important, I had a good core of parents."