Haverstraw High School Class of 1960
Tom DePatto was a native Rockland County athlete who chose to come back home and spend his life coaching other Rockland County athletes to greatness. As an athlete at Haverstraw High School Tom played basketball and baseball. In his senior year, 1960, Tom was a star pitcher on the Red Raider baseball team, finishing the season with a 9-1 record.
After graduation from Haverstraw High School Tom enrolled at Ithaca College in the physical education program and concentrated on playing baseball. With one year of freshman baseball under his belt, Tom was promoted to the varsity pitching staff as a sophomore. The Ithaca College baseball team played a major college schedule at that time and, in Tom’s sophomore year; Ithaca was one of only eight teams to qualify for the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. They won their first game against Missouri but lost the next two to the University of Florida and the University of Texas. In Tom’s
junior year, while being a regular starter in the rotation, Ithaca’s baseball team went 16-2 but did not qualify for the World Series. In 1964, Tom’s senior year, Ithaca was outstanding again and qualified for the College World Series with Tom as the ace of the staff. Unfortunately, the major universities were too much for Ithaca to handle.
Although there were some inquiries from the Montreal Expos, after graduation from Ithaca College in 1964, Tom decided to take a job with the City of Ithaca’s recreation department. He quickly rose to the position of recreation director and along the way; Tom met and married his wife, MaryLew.
In 1967 Tom returned to Rockland County when he was hired by the Clarkstown School District as a physical education teacher and cross country coach at Clarkstown High School. Tom was the cross country coach for more than two decades, first at Clarkstown High School (which became Clarkstown North), and then at South High when it opened. At Clark- stown High School Tom’s cross country teams were Rockland County champions in 1969 and 1970, while that same group was Section 9 champion in 1968-69-70.
Joe Biddy, a Rockland Hall of Famer and the legendary Suffern cross country coach, says of those Tom DePatto teams, “In the 40 years that I’ve coached at Suffern, I can say this: That 1968- 70 group was one of the first county dynasties. That, for its time, was as dominant as any of the other dynasties that came in the ensuing years from schools like Albertus Magnus, North Rockland, Pearl River, and Suffern.”
As seniors that team won its third consecutive Section 9 cross country title and runners Kevin Dillon, Bob Dillon, Tim McEwen and Bruce Woolley finished 2nd, 6th, 7th and 8th as
Clarkstown finished 45 points ahead of runner-up Middletown. Biddy went on to say of that group, “They practiced and raced as a team, and they hung out together as a team. Tom encour- aged camaraderie, loyalty, and respect among his athletes.”
Tom’s 1981 Clarkstown South cross country team, consisting of Jim McCarthy, Dan Glynn, Mike Colacino, Greg Kelly and Bob Malay, won the Rockland County and Section 9 champi- onships and were third in the New York State meet during a driving snowstorm in upstate Malone.
Tom also coached wrestling at Clarkstown South for many years. His teams were always well schooled in the sport, tenacious competitors, and very good. In 1975 Tom DePatto coached Scott Ketcham to the heavyweight state championship in Syracuse and those points earned by Scott were the deciding factor in Section 9 winning their first team championship. While at South, Tom returned to his first love, baseball, and his 1977 team won the league championship.
Tom went on to be appointed the Director of Physical Educa- tion and Director of Athletics at Clarkstown South High School. He was an innovative leader and, as Athletic Director, Tom came up with a system to pick the All-County cross country team based on a mathematical formula that was used for many years.
Tom retired in 1999 from the Clarkstown Central School District and, unfortunately we lost him in 2003, way too soon. He leaves behind his wife, MaryLew, two children, Todd and LewAnn Tonna, son-in-law Greg Tonna and three grandchildren: Faith, LauraAnn and Lindsey Lew. In 2008 Tom was inducted posthumously into the Clarkstown South Sports Hall of Fame.