GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - Two long-time Long Island coaches with a total of more than 800 wins were inducted into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame Sunday.
It was a special and emotional morning at Heritage Hall at the Glens Falls Civic Center for Wally Bachman and Frank Romeo. They were among eight coaches honored at the annual Basketball Coaches Association of New York breakfast in the arena that hosts the state boys basketball tournament. Both were accompanied by friends, family, former players and coaching brethren.
"A dream come true," said Bachman, who has won 406 games at Valley Stream North and Jericho, where he currently is the coach. "To get to Glens Falls for this is the top of the mountain, a special moment in time."
Bachman, who also is the Section VIII (Nassau County) basketball chairman, said a highlight of his coaching life was "winning four straight Nassau County championships for Jericho and getting the support of that community."
After one championship game, his wife, Mindy, ran onto the court to celebrate. Said Bachman, "She yelled to me, 'I don't want you to ever stop doing this!' "
Romeo, who won more than 400 games while coaching mostly at Comsewogue but also for seven successful seasons at Suffolk CC-Selden, remembered that his high school coaching career did not start well. "I think we were 35 and 90 after my first seven years," he said. "Back then, I could never imagine something like this."
Romeo cited Class A Comsewogue's victory over Class AA champion North Babylon in the 1989-90 Suffolk overall championship game and having three straight undefeated league seasons as his most memorable coaching accomplishments.
"I've been retired for 15 years," said Romeo, who lives in Naples, Florida, "and I didn't expect anything like this to come to me so late in my life."