Bill Class came to Huntington in 1929 and over the next 34 years established a standard of excellence that continues to this day in the Blue Devil athletic program. He retired more than a half-century ago and passed away in August 1984, but he will always be remembered in the community for his work at Huntington High School.
A $1,000 scholarship in Coach Class’ honor was presented to senior Morgan Minicozzi at the 51st annual Blue Devil senior athletic awards banquet last week. The teenager is headed to Adelphi University in the fall. She plans to study nursing while playing on the college’s field hockey team.
Legendary Huntington High School coach William Class in 1939.
Coach Class was a giant in teaching and athletics. He developed a modern physical education program at a time when only a handful existed in the country and his teams won numerous county championships in football and baseball. He was convinced that every student should participate in athletics, so they could experience a more well-rounded education and to help develop enhanced school and community spirit.
“I am so honored that I was chosen as this year’s Coach Class scholarship recipient,” Ms. Minicozzi said. “My mouth dropped when I found out I had won it! It proved to me that all my hard work and time that I dedicate both in the classroom and on the field mattered. I am so thankful towards my coaches, family and the school for allowing me to continue playing the sports I love with continuous support. I couldn’t be happier to use the scholarship towards my education in college this coming fall.”
During last week’s awards dinner, Mr. Class’ grandson, Mike Connell, read a short profile of the man who spearheaded the development of Huntington’s sports program as the district’s athletic director and its most widely known coach.
The Class scholarship is awarded annually to a college bound male or female athlete who has participated in multiple varsity sports, demonstrated outstanding athletic achievement, character, leadership and sportsmanship qualities both in the playing arena and the classroom.
Ms. Minicozzi considered Fairleigh Dickinson University, Molloy College, University of Scranton and Stony Brook University before deciding to attend and play field hockey for Adelphi University in Garden City.
“This young woman has excelled in both academics and athletics for the past four years as a student-athlete,” Mr. Connell said. “As a captain of the varsity softball and field hockey teams, she received Unsung Hero, All-Division and All-County recognition along with being a New York State Scholar Athlete. She has been an integral member of these athletic programs and is a true Blue Devil.”
Coach Class comes to Huntington
Coach Class graduated from Cortland State Teachers College in 1927 and came to Huntington two years later. He coached football, basketball and baseball and started the wrestling program in 1937, coaching that team for two seasons. Serving as the athletic director, Mr. Class put together the framework for a modern sports program.
“He won county championships in football in 1946, 1947 and 1948,” Mr. Connell said. “He won seven county championships in baseball from 1929 to 1952.”
In 1954, Mr. Class turned over his coaching duties to his trusted assistants and became the administrative head of physical education and health, special services and transportation, eventually overseeing the construction of a new Huntington High School. He retired from the district in 1963.
At a testimonial dinner held in his honor, high school Principal Robert Cushman said “Coach Class never permitted himself to do less than his best, and he couldn’t tolerate slipshod habits among his boys. Another characteristic was to teach students to play the game and then let them use their own initiative and ingenuity. His methods of training were characterized by refinement, and he never used profanity.”
When asked how athletics had affected his life, Mr. Class responded, “The opportunity to work with young men to improve their ability and knowledge of the game and to instill the desire and drive to be good in their chosen field has been both challenging and rewarding as a life’s work.”
Ms. Minicozzi was presented with an attractive plaque and the $1,000 stipend the scholarship carries. A separate, permanent plaque hangs in the main athletic showcase in the lobby outside Louis D. Giani Gymnasium with the engraved names of all the William Class Memorial Scholarship Award recipients through the years.
William Class Memorial Scholarship Award Recipients
- 1985 Joseph Zirpolo
- 1986 Peter Marshall
- 1987 Justin Carey
- 1988 Tara Mizell
- 1989 Karen Fischer
- 1990 John P. Paci III
- 1991 Brian Shanley
- 1992 Daniel Maier
- 1993 Kristin Detor
- 1994 Brian Bentley
- 1995 Margaret and Jennifer Tietjen
- 1996 Caroline Turner
- 1997 Susan Fiore
- 1998 Dawid Rechul
- 1999 Douglas Logigian
- 2000 Karen Sulinski
- 2001 Donna McCann
- 2002 Meghan Turner
- 2003 Kathryn Lee
- 2004 Kevin Beck
- 2005 Erin Coffey
- 2006 John Lee
- 2007 Jacqueline Bodnar
- 2008 Leslie O’Brien
- 2009 Kerry Hicks
- 2010 Meredith McCourt
- 2011 Sarah Ehrman
- 2012 Alexandra Martinolich
- 2013 Katia DeSimone
- 2014 Lee Reiver
- 2015 Scott Gulizio
- 2016 Thomas Kopstein
- 2017 Ryann Gaffney
- 2018 Samuel Bergman
- 2019 Morgan Minicozzi