Kind and generous are not typically the first two adjectives associated with a football coach. But John Boyle was no typical football coach. As the head man at Clarke High School in Westbury for 31 years, many said that Boyle treated all his players with respect, regardless of how far they could throw or hard they could tackle. And they loved him for it.
“They always knew they were valued, regardless of ability or where they were in the starting lineup,” longtime assistant Tim O’Malley, 48, of East Rockaway said.
Boyle died late Saturday night surrounded by family at his home in Greenlawn after a nearly five-month battle with pancreatic cancer, according to his wife, Gina Trupiano. He was 60.
Boyle, who retired from coaching at the end of last season, went 156-115-2 while at the helm for Clarke. His teams qualified for the playoffs 18 times and won the 1997 Nassau III title.
“You couldn’t work for a better head coach,” O’Malley said. “He was knowledgable and let you have a lot of input and say in what we did. He was very open-minded and set a great example of how to deal with kids and how to treat kids the right way.”
Born March 29, 1958, at Mid-Island Hospital in Bethpage, Boyle grew up in East Meadow. He had an undeniable zest for life and preached the virtues of positivity
“He always saw the positive thing,” Trupiano said. “Instead of honing in on the negatives, he always turned things around into a positive, whether it was uplifting his team after a bad day or coming home from work after a bad day and sweeping me away to make me feel better. He always saw the positive in life and he never had a negative bone in his body.”
Trupiano added: “He always tried to do the right thing from the start, and he always did.”
Boyle spent 33 years on the Clarke faculty, first as a history teacher and then as the dean of students. He retired last year. He loved spending time on his boat and at his beachfront condo on Amelia Island, Florida.
“He always had to be active,” Trupiano said. “Whether it be just going for walks on the beach or sitting at the beach and having lunch. He would walk all the trails on the North Shore or Sunken Meadow Park. He just always had to stay busy and do something.”
Throughout his football career, Boyle drew the admiration of both his assistants and his opponents.
“We had some real good battles,” Roosevelt coach Joe Vito said. “John was a very good football coach. You knew when you played Clarke that you were going to be in for a game. They were prepared and very knowledgeable guys.”
In addition to his wife, Boyle is survived by his daughter, Fallon, and his sisters Nancy Scalice of Sanford, Florida; Eileen Weitzel of Amelia Island, Florida, and Jane Assetta of Lake Placid, New York. A wake will be held at Charles O’Shea Funeral Home in East Meadow on Wednesday 7-9 p.m. and Thursday 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. A Mass will be said at St. Brigid’s Church in Westbury at 11 a.m. Friday, after which Boyle will be buried at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the Lustgarten Foundation for pancreatic cancer research.