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Clinton Hockey Coaches

Eleven men have coached the Clinton High School hockey team since its first game on January 16, 1926. Dave Litz has just been appointed for this season 2001-2002. Here is a chart showing all the coaches and the assistants who have held that job through the years.

1926-1929 Ray W. Smith
1929-1942 Robert H. Williams Don Lenny, ca. 1940(a 6th grade teacher)
1942-1946 Norman Parkhurst
1946-1950 Arthur Scoones
1950-1955 Mike Nardello Paul Seyse
1955-1983 Bernie Burns
1983-1985 Don Simon Bill Owens
1985-1991 Jack Kane Tim Suppe
1991-1999 Tim Suppe Ted Fauss(’91-’94), Francis Alteri(’94-’99)
1999-2001 Francis Alteri Robert Duke(’99-’00) Rob Hameline and Dave Litz(’00-’01)
2001-2002 Dave Litz Bill Owens and Rob Hameline
In 1936 the State Education Department required that team coaches be certified as public school teachers. This presented problems for many schools with specialized sports like hockey.

Norman Parkhurst was carried as coach during the latter years of Bob Williams’ reign, and continued as the sole coach during the World War II years. When Mike Nardello became coach in 1950 Clinton social studies teacher Paul Seyse was the official coach. Seyse attended all practices and games, both home and away. This ceased to be a problem when Bernie Burns, himself a social studies teacher at Clinton, got the job in 1955.

Since then people who are not public school teachers can get just the coaching certificate after taking a first aid and theory of coaching courses. Hence, many coaches today are part-time and earn their livelihoods elsewhere than in the school district.

Concerning the assistants Ted Fauss played at Clarkson University and in the National Hockey League; Owens was a member of the Clinton High School team in the 1970’s; Robert Duke played college hockey at SUNY Oswego; and Rob Hameline skated for the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Now for a more detailed look at these 11 men:

RAY W. SMITH – Ray was the sole principal from 1924 to 1929 at district # 4, the Clinton village district which was then housed in the old Marvin Street School, which had opened in 1893. This was in the pre-centralization days when most of these students lived in or near to the village. Smith left in 1929 and went to become principal at Dolgeville High School.

ROBERT H. WILLIAMS – Williams starred on Clinton’s first hockey team in 1926 and became coach after he graduated in 1929. He also was a star player and coach for the Clinton Hockey Club amateur team which began in 1928. He served as a hockey referee in numerous college and high school games through the years and also coached the original Clinton Comets from 1947 to the mid-1950’s. From 1956 to 1975 he was Kirkland Town Clerk and also drove a bus for the school district. Earlier he had worked for the Town of Kirkland Highway Department.

NORMAN PARKHURST – Norm came to Clinton about 1935 as a physical education teacher and coach(his father was a Baptist minister in Utica and briefly in Clinton in the 1930’s). He retired from the Clinton schools around 1970 and wasn’t really a hockey man, but did take the helm during the war years as he relied on the players for their skills and expertise.

ARTHUR SCOONES – Art played on the early 1930’s Clinton High School teams and later with the Clinton Comets in the 1940’s. He spent most of his career with Wicks and Greenman, a men’s clothier in Utica .

MIKE NARDELLO – Mike came to Clinton and played for the Comets in the first Arena in the late 1940’s after serving in the Coast Guard during World War II , and he also played with the New York Rovers, the Coast Guard team, and the Manhattan Arrows. Earlier he had played at St. Francis Prep and St. Lawrence University. He also worked for Chicago-Pneumatic in Utica and later in New Jersey.

BERNIE BURNS – Bernie was one of the many Burns boys who have played Clinton hockey over the years. He graduated from Clinton in 1941 and also played hockey during his years at Hamilton College and with the early Clinton Comets. He refereed many college games also and held the Clinton job the longest of anyone…..28 years as he compiled a record of 332 wins, 130 losses, and 13 ties, a record that will probably stand forever.

DON SIMON – Don coached hockey at Rome Free Academy from 1969 to 1976 and was a physical education teacher in the Rome schools. He coached JV hockey at Hamilton College and also coached the sport at Utica College and St. Lawrence University. Simon brought a “European style” of hockey which incorporated constant movement and players weaving in and out while passing continuously.

JACK KANE – Jack was a Clinton Comet in the early 1960’s when the team dominated the Eastern Hockey League scoring 333 goals and making 689 assists in his Comet career. Kane was a native of Lindsay, Ontario and owned with Archie Burton the Clinton Flyers Junior Hockey Club for a few years. He also assisted at Colgate University.

TIM SUPPE – a Clinton native who played for Bernie Burns in the early 1960’s Tim’s father, Bob, played on the first Clinton high school team in 1926. Tim also coached football. He led Clinton to State Hockey Championships in 1995 and 1996.

FRANCIS ALTERI – Fran graduated from Clinton in 1987 and was an outstanding offensive player. He went on to SUNY at Geneseo for four more years of hockey and also played hockey in Europe. Back in Clinton he became Suppe’s assistant in 1994.

DAVE LITZ – the new coach also played for Coach Burns prior to his 1982 graduation from Clinton and went on to play professionally in the Eastern Coast Hockey League with the Mohawk Valley Stars. He coached Clinton youth hockey before he assisted Alteri at the high school level. Clinton has been fortunate to have this high caliber of individuals who have run Clinton’s high school hockey program these 76 years.

Information in this article is as correct and factually accurate as possible. If you notice a fact that you believe is incorrect, please let us know. Comments are always welcome.

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