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Displaying items by tag: Rich Johns
Rich Johns: Coaching Students Through Life
Rich Johns to be Inducted to SUNY Adirondack’s Trailblazer Society
SARATOGA COUNTY — SUNY Adirondack will induct five members to the Trailblazer Society, a new distinguished alumni program for the college on September 28 during Homecoming Weekend. Rich Johns of Saratoga Springs will be one of the first five to be honored. The path to success for many alumni began at Adirondack Community College. For the college, humble beginnings in 1961 in Hudson Falls led to a new campus in 1967 in Queensbury and a new name, SUNY Adirondack, in 2010. With the idea that paths unfold with twists and turns and that in life, success is derived from taking risks or changing direction, we have established SUNY Adirondack Trailblazers to celebrate the lives and careers of our distinguished alumni. A college lives through its alumni. Their success contributes to the college’s success and reputation. We seek to recognize outstanding alumni who provide an inspirational impact to our students from their accomplishments and service to their professions and communities. By honoring our former students, we hope to inspire today’s students to strive for both personal and professional success. The college’s Distinguished Faculty evaluated and selected the inaugural class from a competitive pool of nominations. Induction Information: Rich Johns, a native of South Glens Falls, began his academic career at ACC in 1968 and transferred to the State University of New York at Potsdam, where he graduated in 1972 where he received The Minerva Award, their highest award given to an alumnus. Johns taught elementary and middle school, and he coached tennis at Saratoga Springs High School for 38 years. Under his guidance, Saratoga won 17 League Titles, nine Sectional Team Titles and holds the Section II record for Class AA with 85 consecutive wins and a record of 107– 2 during that period. He has won numerous awards as a coach, an Excellence in Teaching Award by the SUNY Albany Chapter of The National Society of Leadership and Success in 2015 and 2016 and has been inducted into the SUNY Adirondack and SUNY Potsdam Halls of Fame as well as the Saratoga Springs School District and the South Glens Falls Athletic and Community Pride Hall of Fame. Rich was humbled recently by being included in the 2018 Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame by receiving the John Cahill Community Contributor Award. Following his passion of personal character development, Johns started a “pay it forward” mission called Act With Respect Always. His charitable foundation has grown into a national model of all students and athletes to follow. The Trailblazer Networking Luncheon will be held on Sept. 28 in the Northwest Bay Center in Adirondack Hall. Registration will begin at noon, with the lunch and program starting at 12:30 p.m. Seating is limited. To reserve a spot, email foundation@
sunyacc.edu or call 518-743-2243. Other Inductees: Sarah Ghent, ‘80 Dennis Harris ‘96 Steve Harmon ‘76 Brett Lange ‘91.
Four New Hall of Famers
SARATOGA COUNTY — At 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 at the Hilton Hotel in Troy, the Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame will be inducting 15 people into the basketball hall of fame. Four of the inductees are local to the Saratoga Springs area: Tim DeGregory, Carl Luciano, Dan Tallman, and Rich Johns.
Rich Johns, a long-time educator and coach at Saratoga Springs Central School District, is receiving the John Cahill Community Service Award.
“I’m honored by the induction. I’m looking forward to it. Johnny Cahill was one of the top referees in the country for years. I got the call and I sent a letter to a buddy of mine and I said, ‘I’m getting in, but not for my basketball skills,’” Johns laughed.
“I’m honored by it, community service has always meant so much to me, but to do it in this arena with so many athletes and coaches, what an honor,” Johns said.
Tim DeGregory, a former local player from Saratoga Central Catholic, now working in the IT industry, had a very successful basketball career via Spa Catholic and RPI.
“I had a pretty successful career at Spa Catholic playing basketball. I had very good seasons my junior and senior year. I went on to RPI where I played on the varsity team four years and was the leading scorer my junior and senior year of college. When I graduated, I was second on the all time scoring list,” DeGregory said, explaining some of his basketball accomplishments.
DeGregory and his wife, Brenda, have three children in the Saratoga Springs Central School District; Mira, Abby, and Andy.
“Mostly I want to thank my parents and brothers as well as various coaches, like Bob King at Spa Catholic, coach Griffin at RPI, and those that helped me along the way,” DeGregory said.
Dan Tallman is a former local player, playing at Saratoga Springs Central School District and Skidmore College.
“I was at a Spa Catholic game when Rene LeRoux had mentioned that they were going to put me in next year’s class, 2019, and then I got a call a few months later that a gentleman who was supposed to be inducted this year could no longer make it due to health reasons. So, they wanted to know if I wanted to get inducted this year,” Tallman explained.
Tallman played basketball his entire life; he was a center in high school, a forward in college, a threespot at the semi-pro level. He was also voted MVP his senior year at Saratoga Springs High School.
“My moms age is 82 and life has no guarantees. Mom would be very happy to see that, this is a proud moment for her. Without her, none of this is possible. She’s the best,” Tallman said of his mother, Mary Verns Tallman.
During college, Tallman attended Utica College his first year, then SUNY Adirondack for his sophomore year, “it’s still the best basketball year ACC ever had,” he explained.
He went back to Utica for his junior year and then finished his college career at Skidmore College under Damian Fantauzzi, his high school coach.
“He is actually the man who got me impassioned to play the game, he was my idol. I looked up to him and his word was gospel. I wanted to be just like coach,” Tallman said of Fantauzzi.
Carl Luciano has been refereeing for the last 25 years and still has plans to continue.
“I had done a Division III National Championship game back in 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia and I think Rene LeRoux was there for that and I think he’s gone to a lot of local games so throughout the years he’s seen me referee a lot of high profile games. I’ve been very fortunate to work a lot of high profile games and I’ve done a pretty good job on them. I haven’t been on ESPN for the wrong reasons,” Luciano laughed.
Luciano has been teaching second grade at Division Street School for the last 20 years and is an alumnus of Ballston Spa High School.
“It’s a great honor. Some of my former mentors are in there so it’s nice to be recognized even though I’m still currently a ref. Hopefully I still have a few years left. There are a lot of fellow referees that are just as good as me. I don’t think I’m better than any of them, I just think I’m fortunate enough to work a lot of the games that I’ve done. It takes a good person to be a referee,” Luciano said.
Saratoga Springs Little League
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Friday, April 27, Saratoga Springs Little League (SSLL) celebrated their opening day. SSLL is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that offers baseball to ages four to thirteen who live in or go to school in Saratoga Springs, games are played at West Side Recreation. The organization also has Saratoga Stars Youth Travel Baseball, competing at a higher level and playing teams across the Capital Region.
“Through proper guidance and exemplary leadership, the Saratoga Springs Little League program assists youth in developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being. By espousing the virtues of character, courage and loyalty, the Little League Baseball® program is designed to develop superior citizens rather than stellar athletes,” said the official SSLL statement.
“These are memories that we will all cherish... I am pleased that you too will enjoy watching your children learn baseball and grow as part of our Little League family," said Derek Legall, longterm SSLL president.
Athlete of the Week: Brian Hart
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Brian Hart, a senior at Saratoga Springs High School, is a star baseball and basketball player. He will be attending Marist College on a baseball scholarship in fall 2018. He has played on the varsity team for both sports for the last three years.
“Basically, my dad just put a bat in my hand when I was a young kid and I played little league. I’ve enjoyed playing baseball all these years,” Hart said, explaining how he became involved with baseball.
He started with Saratoga National Little League and then did the Saratoga Stampede travel team during middle school and high school. Hart’s senior basketball season was a success.
“We had a really good basketball season this year. All the kids on that team are the kids I’ve been playing with my whole life, so just being able to play with them again this year was really fun,” he said.
Hart says he enjoys baseball and basketball the same amount, but he recognizes that he’s better at baseball.
In his free time, Hart studies, works out, and hangs out with his friends, which consists of mostly the baseball team.
“We have a lot of seniors on this team that I’ve been playing with for a long time, we’ve all made it a goal to win a state championship. We have high expectations for this team and we’re looking to have a good season this year. I try to be a leader for the team and if any of the underclassmen need help they can ask me and I’ll help them out,” Hart stated.
Every March, the team goes to Vero Beach, FL for spring training.
“It’s an advantage for us because other teams in the area don’t have the privilege to go to Florida and play games, so we use it to our advantage when we come back here,” he said.
Hart has worked out with several major league teams: the Brewers, the Red Sox, the Rangers, and the Padres.
“It [working with those teams] was a blessing and it just shows that all of my hard work has paid off. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and if good things come of it, that’s just great,” he said.
He isn’t sure about going pro just yet. In college, he is thinking about majoring in either math, finance, or business.
Hart’s favorite baseball team is the Yankees and his favorite player is Aaron Judge, “because he’s an outfielder and a power hitter” like him.
Hart feels supported on and off the field. His cites his parents, Pam and John, as his biggest supporters.
“Athletically though, definitely my dad is my biggest supporter. He’s done a lot for me, he’s my backbone with sports, he’s helped me practice. He’s just done a lot,” Hart explained.
On the field, Hart gets along with his whole team and all of his coaches.
“My coaches are great. I get along with them. [Cuthbertson] is really easy going, he’s not the type of coach that will yell at you. He has the expectation that we’re going to work hard and get the job done. That just makes everything easier and takes the pressure off everyone,” Hart said.
Blue Streaks Hall of Fame Inducts Seven New Members
SARATOGA SPRINGS – This year, the Blue Streaks Hall of Fame has inducted seven new members. The Class of 2017 includes five athletes and two coaches, all of which have made great strides for the Blue Streaks in the past.
The Blue Streaks Hall of Fame was “established to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding athletes, coaches, administrators, and supporters,” said the official statement.
A committee composed of current and former coaches; high school administrators, community members and current and retired athletic directors review the nominations and select the nominees. A trophy case in the lobby of the blue gym holds plaques in honor of the Hall of Fame members.
This year the inductees were:
Jen Dryer (Pennell)
Dryer graduated in 1994 and participated in soccer, basketball, softball, and lacrosse. She played varsity soccer and varsity basketball as an eighth grader; she was named Suburban Council First Team All-Star multiple times for soccer, basketball, and lacrosse; she was part of Section II Division 1 Championship Lacrosse Team in 1991 and 1992; named First Team Saratoga Dream Team for basketball; finished basketball career with 1523 points, 325 assists, 348 steals, and 228 rebounds.
In college, Dryer attended West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1994-1998 on a full scholarship for Division 2 basketball program where she started as a point guard for all four years and her overall career included 775 points, 460 assists, 206 steals, and 297 rebounds.
“She may be the best ever all-around athlete to go through Saratoga Springs,” said Coach Rich Johns, Saratoga Springs tennis coach for 38 years.
Guglielmo was a longtime assistant coach from 1971 – 2011 and coached many different sports in the district, such as; freshmen football in 1971, varsity football from 1972-2010, JV wrestling from 1971-1974, varsity lacrosse from 1988-1993, JV lacrosse from 1994-2003 and in 2005, modified lacrosse from 2009-2011. During his 40 years of coaching football, he and his team had many accomplishments including 15 league championships, 22 sectional playoffs, 5 sectional runner-ups, and 5 championships. With his assistance, the lacrosse and wrestling teams also won multiple league and sectional championships.
Kuenzel graduated in the class of 2002, where he participated in football, indoor and outdoor track and field. His accomplishments include: team captain for football in 2001 and track and field captain in 2002; named Section II All-Star Captain and Offensive Team Player of the Year for football in 2001; school record holder for the shot put since 2002; three-time NYS Meet Qualifier in discus (2001), shot put (indoor, 2002), shot put (outdoor, 2002); received the Clayton Chubb Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year Award and the NYS Sports Foundation Scholar Athlete Award in 2002; part of Suburban Council Boys Track and Field Championship Team; Yaddo Medal Award winner.
In college, at SUNY Geneseo, Kuenzel served as co-captain of the men’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams; NCAA SUNYAC Conference Sportsmanship Award Winner; 2006 Geneseo Male Contribution and Leadership Award; holds current Geneseo school record for indoor and outdoor shot put and discus; five-time SUNY Geneseo Student Athlete of the Week; one-time ECAC Field Athlete of the Week.
After graduating from SUNY Geneseo, Kuenzel went on to coach at the college level and teach middle school mathematics.
"This is a great honor and I am very humbled to be in the company of amazing athletes," Kuenzel said of his induction.
43 – A.jpg Moore with his Biddy Basketball team. Photo provided.
Moore, who passed away in 2011, graduated from Saratoga Springs in 1970 and was dedicated to the youth in Saratoga Springs for over 43 years. He began his career as a camp counselor for the cities recreation department. At only 16-years-old, under the guiding eyes of the late Bennie Fasulo, Moore coached the All Star Frogs in Biddy Basketball. He also coached the Pop Warner football program, Little League baseball, a women’s softball league, Skidmore College softball and Saratoga Catholic Central High School football and baseball.
“I saw a man and a coach who had an attractive personality that motivated kids to learn basketball. It went as far as parents asking for their kids to be on my dad’s team,” said Moore’s son, Landon Moore, III.
“He just had a way with kids that made them want to play and motivate them. He helped kids understand teamwork, respect, and character, all fundamental things that are entailed in the game of basketball and they received that under my dads’ leadership at an early age and moving forward, they took those same core values into life. At an early age, my dad presented things to his players that parents couldn’t and he motivated them in a different way,” Moore continued.
Moore’s wife, Amy, was there to accept the award on his behalf; their daughter Phoebe and her husband Jim Hayes also came from South Carolina for the induction. Hayes played on Moore’s Biddy Basketball team when he was nine, long before he was his son-in-law.
“It was beautiful,” Amy Moore said of the ceremony.
Smith graduated in 2010, she participated in indoor and outdoor track and field. Her accomplishments include: first in Section II history for the 100-meter hurdles; second in Section II history for the 100-meter dash; eleventh in Section II history for the long jump; State and Federation Champion in the 100-meter hurdles.
Smith attended the University of Connecticut and competed in indoor and outdoor track; she finished fourth in the outdoor track 100-meter hurdles at the Big East Championships and at the American Athletic Conference Championships in 2014; finished third in the indoor track 60-meter hurdles at the American Athletic Conference Championships and eighth in the ECAC Championships in 2013-2014; finished first in the indoor track 60-meter hurdles at the New England Championships in 2012-2013 with a meet record of 8.47.
Maureen Van Neste (Wickerham)
43 – B.jpg Van Neste and her son at the induction ceremony. Photo provided.
Van Neste graduated in 1994, she participated in basketball and outdoor track and field. Her accomplishments include: participated in varsity outdoor track and field for six years; 1993 NYSPHSAA discus state champion and 1994 NYSPHSAA discus runner-up; Section II Champion in the shot put and discus in 1994; Suburban Council Champion in the shot put and discus in 1994; co-captain of the varsity basketball team during the 1993-1994 season.
After graduating high school, Van Neste attended Syracuse University where she participated in indoor and outdoor track and field. She graduated Suma Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Policy Studies in 1997. Afterward, she continued her education and earned a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University. Currently, she is a Professor at Boston College Law School.
“Certainly my fondest memories were working with the coaches, particularly on the track team, Linda and Art Kranick run a top-notch program,” Van Neste said.
“Ed Hall was my discus coach. He was wonderful as a coach and mentor to me. He is the one who recruited me, gave me all sorts of confidence, and had such an influence on my life,” Van Neste said nostalgically.
Jamie Welsh (Sweeney)
Welsh, graduated from Saratoga Springs High School in 2002, where she participated in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. Her high school accomplishments include: part of the girls cross country team to win the state, federation, and national title in 2001; named a Suburban Council All Star for cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field; ran a leg of the New York State and federation indoor and outdoor 4x800 relay team; named an All-American for the Steeplechase and Distance Medley Relay in 2002; and was listed in the “Who’s Who Among High School Students” and a finalist for the 2002 Sports Foundation Section 2 Scholar Athlete Award.
Following high school, Welsh attended the University of Rhode Island and participated in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. While there, she received the Rookie Performer of the Meet Award at the outdoor A-10 Championships in 2002 and placed twelfth in the Steeplechase at the New England Championship in 2005.
Local Dealership Raises Money for “Act with Respect Always”
WILTON – Closing out its most recent “Share the Love” charity campaign, New Country Subaru on Route 50 presented a check for $7,388 to local anti-bullying organization, “Act with Respect Always” (AWRA). Headed by former Saratoga Spring tennis coach Rich Johns, AWRA visits schools and encourages students to understand what their peers may be going through and to treat them with respect. This is New Country’s ninth year participating in Subaru’s nationwide Share the Love campaign. In 2013, local dealerships were allowed to choose charities within their own communities to raise money for, alongside other nationally recognized organizations. This year, the other charities included the ASPCA, Meals on Wheels, the Make-a-Wish foundation, and the National Park Foundation.
This marks the first year that New Country Subaru chose to raise money for AWRA. Annie Robillard-Esposito, regional representative for Subaru, said that it is up to the specific retailer whether or not they work with a charity again for future Share the Love campaigns.
“It’s not just to sell cars, and do it for business,” Robillard-Esposito said. “It’s actually to do the right thing for the community.”
The Share the Love event raises money by allowing every customer to choose a charity they wish to donate to, and for each car sold, Subaru of America donates $250. Customers are able to choose multiple charities, so the amount often ends up split however many ways for each charity chosen. This most recent campaign lasted from Nov. 17 to Jan. 3.
As part of his work with AWRA, Johns tells people to accept the “1-percent” of others, meaning their outward differences such as appearance and class, and to get to know their “99-percent,” meaning the inner workings of a person that define them far deeper than tangible traits.
“I’m working hard to take away those labels on the 1-percent,” Johns said. “That we should all be accepted for who we are, what we look like, where we live… you are driving a different automobile, but I want to know what’s inside you, and that’s the 99-percent.”
All photos by Thomas Kika.
Meet St. Paul's New Pastor
SARATOGA SPRINGS — St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church recently welcomed its new associate pastor, Rev. Ethan Luhman. Luhman was ordained at the church mid-August after moving to Saratoga Springs with his family from the Midwest. Though he is only 26, Luhman possesses a humble wisdom that makes him seem like an old soul.
Growing up in a rural, farming community in a small town near Madison, Wisconsin, Luhman spent a lot of time outdoors in the country. He enjoyed the small town culture, something he also likes about Saratoga.
“I went to a small high school in a town where everyone knows everyone,” said Luhman, who graduated with less than 50 other students. “I appreciate that Saratoga isn’t so large you can’t know everyone and get to know people. We are overwhelmed by how great the community is here.”
Luhman has been part of the Lutheran church his entire life. His father, a district attorney, was involved in the church, teaching bible study and Sunday school. The church that Luhman and his family attended was built by his great-great-grandfather, a Norwegian immigrant. The church still stands today, and remains in the middle of a huge cornfield.
After graduating from high school as valedictorian, Luhman was set on going to college but wasn’t yet sure what he truly wanted to do. He initially considered the medical field.
“I was a biology major at first, but one day my pastor asked, ‘Have you ever thought about being a pastor?’ When you think about careers, you don’t think of ‘pastor’ as one of them,” said Luhman. “But then I started thinking about my own gifts and my abilities. I want to help people and I want to be able to use the gifts God has given me to be among His people.”
“I thought about being a chiropractor, a healer of the body, but I was like well, I will work at being a healer of souls,” Luhman said lightheartedly.
Luhman attended Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin, where he immediately changed his major to theology. While in college, Luhman learned to read ancient Greek and Hebrew, and had the opportunity to get involved in a number of ministries. When he was a sophomore, he started a tutoring program in inner city Milwaukee.
“That really expanded my experience because I came from a rural community, and now I was in an urban environment with a diverse group of people. I had a heart for them. It let me know how big the kingdom of God is. It includes people all over the world, people who don’t always look like me,” reflected Luhman.
After college, Luhman attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, where he met men who were like-minded and on the same journey. He also learned a lot about his passions and what his strengths are.
“I learned to be a better listener. So often we get caught up talking or thinking that we understand what someone is saying, but to take the time to really give them the space to express themselves and be open, it can be a very healing thing. It is empowering to be heard,” said Luhman.
Luhman met his wife, Sherry, in his last semester of college while on a mission trip to Mexico to build houses. After dating for eight months and a brief engagement, they got married in 2012. Shortly after, they had their first son, Abram, who is now almost 3. Two weeks before arriving in Saratoga Springs, Luhman’s wife gave birth to their second son, Owain. His family has been by his side through seminary school, his ordination and now, his first placement as a pastor.
A group of pastors that oversee different areas across the country decided where Luhman would be placed. They decided the right fit for him is here in Saratoga Springs.
“We were ready for an adventure,” said Luhman.
St. Paul’s had been waiting for another pastor for five years, making Luhman’s arrival that much more significant and timely. Luhman works with head pastor, Rev. Adam Wiegand to help lead church service, teach bible studies and help with the church’s youth services.
“I’m excited to be a witness for Jesus here and to reach out to the community. I want to be there for the people. That’s why I became a pastor, to be with people and to be a guide of sorts,” said Luhman. “What brings me joy is being a part of and leading a community of people that are focused on serving Jesus in their lives.”
Luhman’s daily life as the new associate pastor consists of a lot of catching up and getting familiar with the church’s programs. He meets with members of his congregation, helps with the church’s preschool and visits Saratoga Hospital regularly to meet with patients.
When he is not at St. Paul’s, Luhman is busy being a dad to two small boys. He enjoys taking his son, Abram, to the library and to Congress Park to feed the ducks. The family also recently went apple and pumpkin picking at Saratoga Apple.
Luhman adds with a smile, “We can’t imagine a better community to be a part of. We don’t have plans of leaving anytime soon.”