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Hicksville baseball field renamed Coach Bob Hilsky Memorial Field

A sign honoring the memory of late Hicksville

A sign honoring the memory of late Hicksville varsity baseball coach Bob Hilsky is unveiled during a field dedication ceremony at Hicksville High School on April 26, 2014. Hilsky headed the school's baseball program for three decades until 1994 and passed away in January 2014. Credit: James Escher

Bob Hilsky coached Hicksville baseball for 30 years, winning 243 games and a county title.

While his impact on the community extended beyond the field, it is still fitting that it now bares his name.

Hilsky, who died in January, was honored at a ceremony Saturday morning at Hicksville High School, as loved ones spoke and the school's baseball field was dedicated in his honor.

"I'm sure he would've considered it a very humbling experience," said Mary Ellen Hilsky, Bob's widow. "It was beautifully done and very touching. Today was a demonstration of what he meant to the community."

"I remember being younger and he used to take us here as kids and we used to play on these bleachers," said Lauren Hilsky Clegg, one of Hilsky's five daughters. "To be able to come to games and see will be amazing."

Hilsky coached from 1960 to 1994, retiring after winning both the county championship and coach of the year award in his final season.

"He's the kind of guy who always looked out for his players, even after they graduated," said Paul Yanopulos, who played for Hilksy from 1979-81.

"He gave me the confidence to believe in myself," said Greg Polli, Yanopulos' teammate, who went on to be an All-American at Hofstra. Polli was cut as a junior varsity player but said Hilsky motivated him to keep playing.

"Baseball was the vehicle he used to teach life lessons . . . and he still won over 240 games," said Steven Culhane, who also played during the early 1980s and is now on the Hicksville Board of Education.

Colleague Steve Tomaini said Hilsky "was not only my best friend but like an older brother," and former assistant coach Edward Moeller called Hilsky "my mentor."

The family also awarded the annual Coach Hilsky Memorial Scholarship to Hicksville senior Ryan Schultheiss.

Schultheiss called it a "great honor" given Hilsky's legacy, a legacy that will be kept alive in the memories of family, friends and players.

And on the field.

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