The former students and players of longtime Bethpage High School coach and teacher Harry Settino would often stop by his Bethpage home, his son recalled, to introduce the coach to their families.
They wanted to thank him, said his son Stephen Settino of Patchogue.
“There was a love and an influence that my Dad had for so many people,” Settino said. “He had a very, very big heart, and he was an all-around good guy.”
Harry Settino, who split his time between The Villages, Florida, and Bethpage, died March 3 at a Florida hospice after a brief illness. He was 84.
Settino taught physical education and driver education at Bethpage from 1967 until he retired in 1990, and previously taught and coached at Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park.
He was born in the Bronx. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and transferred to Penn State, where he played football. He earned a master’s degree in education from Columbia University.
He married his high school sweetheart, Joan, and the couple were together for 54 years until she died in 2011. They settled in Bethpage and raised four children.
Settino was an assistant football coach and head baseball coach at Bethpage, where one of his players, pitcher Joe Sambito, went on to become a major league all-star with the Houston Astros and also played for the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets.
“We all will remember him as a beloved husband, father, grandfather, an exemplary coach and true friend to his players . . . and a loyal colleague to all those who worked with him,” Sambito said in an emailed statement from his home in Irvine, California.
He was a coach who commanded respect and demanded a good effort, friends and family said.
“If we lost and played poorly, it was ‘Take three laps around the bases,’ ” said Larry Herzog of Amityville, who played second base for Settino’s teams.
Stephen Settino said his father also was an innovator in training and physical fitness. He worked as a lifeguard supervisor for parks in Nassau County and served as an official in basketball, football and baseball. He was a Civil War buff and worked as a picture framer as well.
Bethpage schools Superintendent Terrence Clark said Settino “devoted his life to helping young people, and he left a big impression on the lives of many.”
Besides his son Stephen, Settino is survived by his sons Gregory, of Bethpage, and Christopher, of Lloyd Harbor; daughter Donna Reilly, of Delray Beach, Florida; and four grandchildren. He is also survived by his companion, Rose Battalio.
A funeral Mass was offered March 9 at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage followed by burial at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale.