Jim Lynch spent his entire professional educational career at West Babylon High School, and his name will forever be associated with his home basketball court.
Before a home boys basketball matchup against Bellport on Jan 30, West Babylon renamed and dedicated its court to Jim Lynch and his longtime assistant coach Frank Taplin.
Lynch, who spent 33 years involved with the West Babylon basketball program including 24 years as head coach, worked 48 years at the school in roles such as American history teacher, dean and assistant principal.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Lynch, 75. “It’s a culmination of a career. It means that for all-time, the court and my friend Frank Taplin and I are welcomed visitors to West Babylon, the home of the West Babylon Eagles, and that will be there forever.”
The late Taplin, who also worked in the basketball program 33 years and was Lynch’s assistant for 22 seasons, spent more than 40 years working as a teacher, coach and guidance counselor at the school.
The duo led West Babylon to 19 playoff appearances, four league titles and a Suffolk AAA championship in 1978. Lynch prided himself on coaching a team that played tough and wouldn’t make anything easy on their opponents.
“We had one real goal,” Lynch said, “and that’s that we may win or lose, but no one will ever look forward to playing West Babylon.”
Lynch, living in Islip, retired from coaching in 1995 and as assistant principal in 2012. He won nearly 300 games at West Babylon.
And now at West Babylon, Lynch’s son, Tim, is continuing in the tradition of his father. Three of Lynch’s four children are varsity head coaches, his sons Jamie (Islip boys basketball and football) and Tim, along with his daughter Debbie McGuire (West Babylon girls basketball).
“It’s a great honor for my Dad, it’s a great honor for my family,” said Tim, 46. “I think it was a great idea to respect the West Babylon traditions and guys who have given their lives to this place, so I’m proud of him. I’m honored that I took over for him.”
In 2011, Lynch was given a lifetime achievement award by the Suffolk County Basketball Coaches Association and Suffolk County has named a ‘Jim Lynch Unsung Hero Award’ to be awarded to future players.
“He’s lived up to his own personal standards, his own tremendous character,” West Babylon principal Ellice Vassallo said. “And it’s what he’s taught his own children — to be independent, to be confident — and that’s what he taught the students and the school, whether it was on the court or off the court.”