Track and field was an all-encompassing endeavor for Roy Chernock, and he loved every millisecond of it.
Chernock, a Hall of Fame track and field coach at Oceanside High School and C.W. Post, now called LIU Post, died at Trustbridge Hospice in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Sept. 4, his family said. He was 90.
“He was a leader and a winner,” Chernock’s son, Joe, 67, of Watchung, New Jersey, said.
Chernock was born in 1928 in Jamaica, Queens, went to Flushing High School, and graduated from New York University with a masters in physical education in 1950. He was a Metropolitan and UAA champion in hurdles, long jump and relay events, according to NYU's website.
He was married to his wife, Ethel, for 63 years until her death in 2014. The couple lived in New Hyde Park from 1951 to 1965 and Oceanside from 1965 to 1973, and then moved back to New Hyde Park, where he lived until 1975, when he moved to New Jersey.
“He was the best father a kid could have,” Joe said. “He was always a high school coach and then he went on to college. He was around kids of a high school age long before I was of that age. Anything that I ever had to talk about, it was very easy to talk to him because he was always around kids that age.”
Chernock coached at Oceanside High School and taught physical education there from 1958 to 1967. He compiled a record of 105-3 and coached multiple state champions. He coached C.W. Post from 1967 to 1973 and his teams went 42-1, including its first undefeated season in 1968. “It was his life,” Joe said of Chernock’s passion for the sport.
While at Post, Chernock coached 39 NCAA All-Americans, five individual NCAA champions, won four men’s cross country collegiate track conference championships, and two NCAA Regional Championships, the school's athletic website said.
Chernock moved on to coach at Baruch College in Manhattan in 1974-75, served as an assistant coach at Princeton from 1975 to 1977, and spent a large part of his career at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where, from 1977 to 1990, he coached 13 All-Americans.
“Roy was one of the old-school-type coaches, where he could coach everything, ” said Vin Lananna, who ran for Chernock at C.W. Post, was the USA men’s track and field coach at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, and is the associate athletic director at Oregon University. “He himself was a good sprinter, hurdler, and could coach the distances. He did a great job during his time at C.W. Post developing athletes in just about every event. Today, coaches are more specialized, Roy was good at coaching every event.”
Chernock turned C.W. Post into an outstanding Division II program, even competing against some local Division I powerhouses, Lananna said.
In recognition of his successes, Chernock was inducted into four athletic Hall of Fames — Oceanside High School, C.W. Post, William & Mary and NYU.
After retiring from William & Mary in 1990, Chernock coached at five Florida high schools, including John I. Leonard High School in Greenacres, where he coached current 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon.
Chernock didn’t just coach the sport — he competed well into the final quarter of his life. In his late 60s, Chernock held national masters records for the 100 and 200 meters, and the 100 meter hurdles.
In addition to track and field, Chernock loved to golf. When he was 73, he shot his age at Addison Reserve Country Club in Delray Beach, Florida. He also was an avid bowler who, at one point, averaged 190, Joe said.
Chernock is survived by his daughter Debi of West Palm Beach; son Joe,and daughter-in-law Maria; grandson Brad and grandaughter-in-law Diana of Springfield, New Jersey; granddaughter Dana of Manhattan; and great-grandson, Michael.
A celebration of Chernock’s life will take place in West Palm Beach at a later date. He will be cremated.