TOWN OF UNION (WBNG) - Gary Crooks has officially said goodbye to the dugout and sideline. The longtime Maine-Endwell head baseball coach and football defensive coordinator said it was time.
"He's irreplaceable," Maine-Endwell alum Drew Gallagher said.
"There's absolutely no way we'd be where we are without him," Maine-Endwell head football coach Matt Gallagher added.
All synonymous with Maine-Endwell for 35 years! 35 years that include six state championships. Two on the diamond. Four on the gridiron.
"To reach that goal and watch those kids celebrate," said Crooks. "Pretty gratifying."
But after missing his granddaughter Addison's birthday in Raleigh, North Carolina this past fall, Crooks decided it was finally time to hang it up.
"[Addison] started crying because she wondered where I was," exclaimed Crooks. "Why I wasn't down there with them. I was missing another family gathering."
So after 396 varsity baseball wins, which includes 13 section titles, one STAC championship and a beautiful field in his honor, Crooks leaves behind a lasting impact on the Spartan community.
"I know the kids are going to miss him," said Matt Gallagher. "Our staff is going to miss him. And the entire community is going to miss him."
"I did not find a more intelligent defensive coordinator," Drew Gallagher added.
"That you always have to work hard," said Maine-Endwell junior AJ DeSantis. "For everything. So say you're doing a line drill, always work hard and do your best because reps matter. Same thing in all of life. School, always put your hardest work in and you'll succeed."
So what will Crooks miss most?
"I think just the competition and the relationships," said Crooks. "I hope I tried to do is then treat all those kids as best I could as if they were my family."
Crooks plans on spending a lot more time with family, which includes his wife, Jacki, and his three sons, Justin, Adam and Gannon.