By MaryAnne Denniston
Oct. 18, 2017: On Saturday afternoon, October 7, more than 50 family members, friends, colleagues, former students, and athletes came together to dedicate a bench in honor of Coach Bob Spenik.
Located on the Meadow Avenue side of the field, in a grassy area close to the start of the sprint lines, the bench is a gift from those who participated in a dinner in Coach's honor held in April of 2016. Coach's unexpected death in January of this year made the dedication all the more moving and meaningful.
Christy Patt, BHS '67 and former cheerleader, welcomed everyone, spoke of Coach's profound influence, and introduced Christina Butler Spenik, Coach's daughter, who spoke on behalf of his family. Al Mingrone, retired Bronxville High School teacher and Coach's college roommate, recalled their friendship, which spanned over 65 years, and Bob McGrath, former assistant coach, spoke of how perfectly the bench inscription, "Superb Coach, Dedicated Educator, True Friend," expresses the great reach he had.
Roger Haile, BHS ’65 and former team captain, dedicated the bench in the name of Coach's former players. He reminisced, emotionally reiterated the significant impact Coach had both on and off the field, and noted how fortunate each of those he touched is to be able to carry forward the values he embodied. Bob Kettle, BHS '67 and former team captain, was not able to attend but sent his message of tribute, which was shared by Christy Patt. SHA!capella, Bronxville High School's a capella singing group, closed out the ceremony with a wonderful rendition of "Onward Bronxville," a fight song prominent at each and every game during Coach Spenik's tenure.
Coach Spenik coached BHS football from 1963 through 1969. During this time, he had a remarkable record of 52 wins and 4 losses that included a record-breaking 37-game winning streak. His profound influence extended for many years beyond his years as football coach and teacher; Bob went on to become principal of the high school and retired as assistant superintendent of schools.
The Class of 1967 held its 50th reunion during the same weekend.
Pictured here (from top down): The bench dedicated in honor of Coach Bob Spenik; Christina Spenik Butler (Bob's daughter), her husband, John Butler, and their children, Owen and Emily, with some of the dedication attendees in the background; rotating: Dougla Pyrke, Tom Heiss, Anders Rhodin, Sue Hufnagel, and Anne Quisenberry Spaulding (all Class of 1967); Tom Heiss, Sue Hufnagel, and Anders Rhodin (all Class of 1967).
Photos courtesy MaryAnne Denniston