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North Rockland Coach

During Eugene J. Dall’s coaching career at North Rockland, his cross country and track &  eld teams have won, as of May 16, 2015: 48 League championships, 48 Rockland County championships, 40 Section championships, 18 individual New York State championships, and had two National individual champions.

And you thought North Rockland was a football school!

Gene Dall has been honored as Rockland County’s top coach of the season 41 times.
Collecting hardware, though, has never been the main focus of Gene’s career at Rockland County’s largest high school. Recognizing, recruiting, training and prepar- ing young men for the highest level of achievement on and off the track has always been the passion of this consummate physical education professional and coach.

A graduate of New Milford High School in New Jersey in 1965, Gene went on to Ithaca College, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education. It’s not surprising that he joined Ithaca’s pantheon of excellent coaches (including North Rockland football legend Joe Casarella and our own Joe Biddy of Suffern) very early in his career. As an undergraduate, Gene coached wrestling at South Seneca High School, then guided the Trumansburg High football and track squads during his graduate student days.

Yes, Gene Dall knows football. All Twin-County Conference at New Milford, he wore the blue and white for the Ithaca Bombers in college, earning letters in track &  eld at both schools, too. Once Gene joined the P.E. faculty at North Rockland High School in 1970, Athletic Director Ralph Cordisco quickly put him to work with the freshman squad, where he racked up 47 wins and only 9 losses over seven years.

But when the seasons changed in 1970 so did the direction of North Rockland track &  eld and the county’s history. Taking over the stagnant program, Gene’s charges went 3-8 in dual meets in 1971 (his only losing season), then surely established the Red Raiders’ dynasty. An 8-3 record and third place in the Rockland County cham- pionships in 1972 eventually led to the program’s  rst county title in 1980. Along the way, North Rockland’s boys assembled a 46-meet winning streak in dual meets between 1983 and 1993, an overall 45-year dual meet record of 249-33, and fought hard for 27 county and 18 sectional titles. The team was unbeatable between 2002 and 2007 as it triumphed in six straight county championship meets.

As we all know, few track &  eld athletes show up in mid-March and soar to great heights. Champions are built in the winter and that’s exactly what Gene did as he thoroughly established the credibility of North Rockland’s indoor track &  eld pro- gram. (They used to call it “winter track” as veterans of the old Red Raider Relays, contested on the high school’s parking lot, will recall.) Running in the halls, sprinting around the oval painted in the parking lot, doing what could be done on the long-for- gotten cinder track, as well as throwing and jumping in the gym,when necessary, produced 16 Rockland County and 20 Sectional titles during the snow-and-ice season.

If you’re trying to do the math, you may be confused that all these numbers so far don’t quite add up. That’s because in September 1977 the world  rst saw what must have seemed very strange: Gene Dall stomping around Bear Mountain, Van Cort- landt Park, Sunken Meadow and other hilly, leaf-covered venues on Saturday after- noons without a pigskin in sight. Yes, Gene took over coaching North Rockland’s cross country squad. The  rst season, the team went undefeated, winning Rockland County and Section 9 titles, and running in the New York State championships. More success followed with a Section 9 trophy in 1979 followed by third places in the state and Eastern States meets. Hall of Fame inductee Todd Sinclair’s second place in the 1979 Federation Championships capped off Gene’s  rst stint with the harriers.

Returning in 1984, Gene had the Red Raiders humming again as the program soared to new heights, capturing Section 1 titles in 1988, 1991, 2001 and 2002 that led to runner-up state meet placings in 1991 and 2002.

New York State championships were cherished but not especially rare things by the beginning of the 21st century as athletes coached by Gene and expert assistants (including longtime throws genius, the late Robert Murphy) brought home 18 state championships. That roster includes John Stephens in the shot put and pole vaulter Ryan Dall, Gene’s son – both National champions; as well as Eric Favors, the current state champion and indoor shot put record holder.

The distinguished legacy of Gene Dall’s 47 years at North Rockland not only in- cludes plenty of victories, plaques and high-achieving young men, but also the origi- nation of the challenging Red Raider Run cross country invitational and the massive, two-day Red Raider Relays held at the school’s revamped track &  eld facility.

Gene now resides in Kingsville, Texas, with his wife, Lonnie. Gene assists his son Ryan, who is head coach of the track team at Texas A&M-Kingsville, a Division II school. They hosted the Div. II national championships in April of this year and Gene played a major role in administering the meet.