By Keith Harrington
EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer has been a part of Section II athletics for more than 40 years as a team manager, player, coach, broadcaster and sportswriter.
For more than five decades he has had the honor of observing the area’s most successful high school coaches. This week he is recognizing a group of the most successful male coaches in our little portion of Section II. Narrowing down to a Top 5 seemed like an impossible task at times, he said, because so many of them have been outstanding.
The criteria used to try to provide a little separation between these iconic coaches included wins, championships, longevity, recognition, and special honors. Remember, all of these coaches are worthy of recognition, however you may wish to rank them.
- Cathy Stanilka
Some people may remember that Cathy Stanilka began her career at Hartford Central School and after moving on
to coach at Lake George the legendary mentor went on to record more than 1,000 wins. Stanilka is among the top five all-time winningest girls volleyball coaches in New York state and is also among the top 20 all-time winningest softball coaches. She taught physical education at Lake George for 35 years, six of which she also served as athletic director.
In 40 years at the helm of the Warrior’s volleyball program Stanilka compiled a 673-182 mark. She won one state championship in 2001, made 12 state final fours, captured 26 league titles and won 19 Section II championships, including 15 straight. Stanilka is a member of the NYS Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
In softball, Stanilka led Lake George to 326 wins. Her Warriors captured a state title in 1992 and multiple section and league titles over a 26-year span. She’s also a member of the New York State Sportswriters & Coaches Organization for Girls Sports Hall of Fame,
Stanilka served on NYSPHSAA’s safety committee, volleyball and softball clinic planning committees, the volleyball, basketball and softball state committees, and was on the Section II sportsmanship committee.
- Eileen Troy
Eileen Troy served as athletic director at Greenwich for 32 years, which included stints as the varsity girls basketball coach, varsity softball coach and varsity field hockey coach. Troy was NYSPHSAA president from 2012-14 and girls basketball state chair from 2001-11 while directing the state tournament that time.
Troy coached the Witches softball squad to the 2003 state championship. Under Troy, Greenwich teams captured nine Section II championships and eight Wasaren League titles.
Troy was named Softball Coach of the Year by the Saratogian and Post Star twice, and Basketball Coach of the Year twice by the same outlets. Troy was recognized as NYSSCOGS/NYSSWA Class C Softball Coach of the Year in 2003 and The New York State Basketball Coaches Association Section 2 Girls Basketball Coach of the Year in 1994.
She has been recognized by the state as coach of the year in softball and girls basketball and is in the New York State Softball Hall of Fame, Greenwich High School Hall of Fame and Midland College Warrior Hall of Fame.
- Gretchen Stark
If you attend a Fort Ann softball game you still may see Gretchen Stark in the dugout. Stark still helps out current
coach Jason Humiston with the Cardinals. And why not. Before Stark came to Fort Ann to teach in 1965 there wasn’t even school sports teams for girls, but under her guidance the Cardinals quickly rose to the top. Starks is an icon in the Washington County town.
Starting from scratch, Stark built both the field hockey and softball teams into Adirondack League, Section II and state powers.
In 1997 Stark led the Cardinals’ field hockey team to a 24-0 record and a Class D state title with a 2-0 win over Pierson. Fort Ann won another state field hockey crown in 1994.
In softball Stark led Fort Ann to 493 wins, good for the 10th most wins in New York History. Stark led the Cardinals to their first softball state championship in 1998. Fort Ann was the state runner up in 1984, and reached the semifinals in 1989, 1990, and 1997. From 1986 to 1989 Stark’s Cardinals piled up a record on 54-2.
- Mary Ann Bump
The professional achievements of Warrensburg’s Mary Ann Bump are many.
In softball Bump led the Burghers to five Adirondack League titles, three regional championships and three state finalist appearances.
Her Warrensburg field hockey teams accumulated 15 Adirondack League titles, seven sectional championships and two state finalist appearances.
She was also the Post-Star Field Hockey Coach of the Year in 1992, 2001 and 2007 and Softball Coach of the Year in 1995.
- Peggy Seese
Peggy Seese has been the volleyball coach at Argyle for more than 30 years. She has also had a highly successful run as the softball coach of the Scots.
In 30 years of Argyle volleyball, the Scots have never missed the Section II Tournament since she has coached. The previous time the team made sectionals before her arrival was 1979.
During this time Argyle has won 10 sectional championships, eight trips to the State tournament one state title. She has also amassed more than 500 wins at Argyle.
Seese coached the Scots’ softball program for 11 years, winning multiples sectional titles and orchestrating three regional titles and trips to the state tournament.
In 2018 Seese was inducted into the New York State Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She was named the NYVCA Section 2 Coach of the Year 2016
and NYSPHSAA/National Federation coach of the year 2018.
Seese has been instrumental in the state volleyball tournament being played in Glens Falls.
In the Conversation-Donna Collier (Fort Edward) Sue Huck (North Warren) Deb Ferranti (Hudson Falls) Gail Schaffer (Hudson Falls) Derry Hagadorn (Hadley-Luzerne) Ellen Marcantonio (Hadley-Luzerne) Wendy Harrington (Hartford) Beth Sciurba (Schuylerville) Sandy Adams (Salem) Ann Downes (Warrensburg)