Cole Pillion in action for Huntington. (Darin Reed photo.)

Cole Pillion Captures Boys’ Lax Founder’s Award

Cole Pillion in action for Huntington. (Darin Reed photo.)

August 26 , 2020

No one has been prouder to wear a Blue Devil boys’ lacrosse uniform than Cole Pillion. The Huntington High School Class of 2020 member always gave his teammates his best effort on any given day. The teenager is this year’s recipient of the Donald A. Loughlin Founder’s Award.

An exceptional soccer goalie and distance runner, too, Mr. Pillion really shined in Huntington’s athletic program. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t have done to help his teammates. He has simply loved being a Blue Devil.

Mr. Pillion plans to study economics at Oberlin College in Ohio. He’d like to play on the soccer and lacrosse teams there and has spoken to the coaches in both sports.

 Cole Pillion captured the Donald A. Loughlin Founder's Award.
Cole Pillion captured the Donald A. Loughlin Founder's Award.

Finding the right balance between hard work, interactions with classmates and having fun has been the key to Mr. Pillion’s success. Named a Distinguished Senior in recognition of his outstanding academic record, he was inducted into the National Honor Society, English Honor Society and Social Studies Honor Society.

The Donald A. Loughlin Founder’s Award is presented annually to the senior “who exemplifies the traditions of Huntington lacrosse,” in honor of the man who started the Blue Devil program 65 years ago.

Mr. Pillion was announced as this year’s recipient during the 52nd annual Blue Devil senior athletic awards ceremony, which was held via a virtual format this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The teenager was given an attractive plaque and a $200 award stipend.

Mr. Loughlin created and developed the Blue Devil lacrosse program in 1955. He left Huntington in 1968 to become the founding principal of Rush-Henrietta’s Sperry High School in suburban Rochester. He returned to Huntington High School on Homecoming Day in 2009 to participate in the Class of 1959’s 50th reunion weekend. He served as the class faculty advisor 61 years ago. He passed away on March 18, 2018.

Mr. Loughlin established the Donald A. Loughlin Founders Award a dozen years ago and donated more than $4,000 to Huntington UFSD to fund it. “I am very grateful to have had opportunities as a teacher, administrator and lacrosse coach in the Huntington School District,” he wrote in a letter to the district which outlined his financial contribution and the parameters of the new award.

Born in Brooklyn in 1926, Donald Alexander Loughlin began his Huntington teaching career on September 3, 1952. His path to the district was a winding one. A 1941 junior high “graduate” of Belmont Boulevard School in Elmont and a 1944 graduate of Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, Mr. Loughlin worked his first “free” summer for Bell Labs in New York City as a messenger before finding himself embroiled in World War II in September of that year, serving in the U.S. Navy and rising to the rank of 3rd class fire controlman in the South Pacific theater.

The future Blue Devil lax founder served two years in the Navy, participating in the liberation of the Philippines along with the bloody invasion of Okinawa. Once discharged, Mr. Loughlin enrolled at Adelphi University, became active in the student government and joined the lacrosse team, a squad he eventually captained. He was also president of the Adelphi Athletic Association.

After graduating from Adelphi with a Bachelor of Science degree, Mr. Loughlin worked as assistant to the president of Micro-Lite in New York City. He was later employed as a cost accountant for Standard Brands in Manhattan, a post he held until he began his teaching career.

Just when Mr. Loughlin probably thought military service was forever in his past, he was recalled to active duty in June 1951 during the Korean War and served six months in Europe before a final discharge. Following a student teaching stint at Sewanhaka High School, he applied for a job in Huntington on April 12, 1952.

Huntington UFSD saw something it liked in the strapping 6-foot, 165 lb. military vet and former college athlete and he was hired to work as a business teacher at Robert L. Simpson High School, as Huntington High School was then known. The school was located on Main Street at the site of the current town hall.

Founded Lax Program in 1950s

Mr. Loughlin became a central figure in Huntington, first creating a lacrosse club with sticks and balls made available to students for use before and after school and during lunch periods and then launching an interscholastic team in 1955. He also served as vice president of the Long Island-Metropolitan Lacrosse Association. He was the Blue Devil head coach until 1959.

During his time in Huntington, Mr. Loughlin also did a stint as president of the Adelphi College Alumni Association, was appointed as alumni representative to the Adelphi Board of Trustees and was president of the Suffolk County Business Teachers Association.

After earning the respect of students, staff and the Huntington community, Mr. Loughlin was identified as holding the basic skills of leadership and organization needed for a successful career as a school administrator. With the opening of the new Huntington High School in late November 1958, the school board decided to create a second assistant principal position to handle the influx of about 400 freshmen added to the high school building.

When Mr. Loughlin was hired to fill the new administrative post, it forced him to give up his coaching position. His responsibilities included the areas of discipline, pupil activities, school budgets, attendance and new teacher orientation. The new position also required him to step down as director of the district’s adult education program.

Named Principal in Rochester Area

The value of education was something Mr. Loughlin held dear, as he earned a master’s degree at Columbia University’s School of Business on June 1, 1954. By February 1960, he had completed another 30 graduate credits at Columbia.

During his time in Huntington, Mr. Loughlin married, became a father of two children and settled down in Northport. His career here ended at the same time Robert Cushman’s 18-year tenure as high school principal came to a close. Mr. Loughlin submitted a letter of resignation to Mr. Cushman, asking for it to become effective July 15, 1968 so he could assume his new duties as principal of Rush-Henrietta’s brand new Sperry High School.

Donald A. Loughlin Founders Award

2020 Cole Pillion

2019 Patrick Durand

2018 Alex LaBella

2017 Garrett Moya

2016 Dan Brown

2015 Timothy Mattiace

2014 Christian Jamison

2013 Connor McCartney

2012 Daniel Plant

2011 William Coffey

2010 Andrew Sheerin

2009 Mark Salerno

Cole Pillion at Oberlin College in Ohio.
Cole Pillion at Oberlin College in Ohio.
Don Loughlin in 1958.
Don Loughlin in 1958.