Bill Class came to Huntington High School in 1929 and over the next 34 years established a standard of excellence that continues to this day in the Blue Devil athletic program.
Coach Class retired almost 60 years ago and passed away in August 1984, but he will always be remembered in the community for his work with Huntington’s teenagers.
Huntington High School Class of 2020 member Holly Wright.
A $1,000 scholarship in Coach Class’ honor was presented to Class of 2020 member Holly Wright during the virtual Blue Devil senior athletic awards ceremony. The teenager is headed to SUNY College at Cortland in the fall. She plans to study for a career as a teacher while playing on the college’s women’s lacrosse team.
“Winning the William Class Memorial Scholarship Award means so much to me,” Ms. Wright said. “As I sat with my family watching the virtual presentation and I heard my name, I was so proud and honored to receive this award. It meant even more to me because William Class was my grandpa’s football coach in high school!”
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.
A member of Huntington’s National Honor Society and Art Honor Society chapters, Ms. Wright starred on the Blue Devil field hockey, basketball and lacrosse teams. An award winning artist, she was named a Distinguished Senior for her superb academic record.
“I absolutely loved playing three sports at Huntington during all four years of high school,” Ms. Wright said. “Some of my favorite memories happened on the turf and in the gym. I love the feeling of being a part of something bigger than just yourself. The feeling of being surrounded by teammates and friends who love and support one another. That is what sports have given to me. I believe in pumping my teammates up and letting them know how much I believe in them and us as a team. There is rarely a time when you don’t hear my voice on the field. Whether that be in a pre-game pep talk, half-time pump up or going up and down the field yelling ‘you’re good.’ I want my teammates to know they can achieve great things and that I will always be standing right there next to them.”
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 in order to experience a more well-rounded education and to help develop enhanced school and community spirit.
“It truly was a honor to win this scholarship,” Ms. Wright said.
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 and 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.”
The scholarship includes attractive plaque along with the $1,000 stipend. 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
2020 Holly Wright