Long time coaches receive N-O League’s Foundation Awards

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 11 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo contributed by Albion Schools – Former long time Albion coaches Alec Sherman, left, and Al Johnson received the Niagara-Orleans League’s Foundation awards this past week.

This past week’s annual Niagara-Orleans League dinner banquet was highlighted by the presentation of the league’s Foundation Award to three former long time coaches including Alec Sherman and Al Johnson of Albion and Judith Otto of Barker.

Otto, who started the girls sports program at Barker during the mid 1970’s in response to the Title IX mandates, is most recognized for building the Lady Raiders field hockey program into a perennial league and Section VI champion. Before her retirement she guided the Lady Raiders to 313 victories, 13 N-O League and 15 Section VI titles in addition to three Far West Regional titles and two trips to the state Final Four.

An Albion High graduate, Sherman coached virtually every level of basketball at his alma mater over a 30 plus year career including boys Junior High, JV and varsity boys teams and girls varsity where he guided the Purple Eagles to N-O titles twice. A competitor in basketball, track and cross-country during his scholastic days at Albion, he has also been the “Voice of the Purple Eagles” at football games since 1979.

Photo contributed by Barker Schools – Former long time Barker coach and girls sports program founder Judith Otto received the N-O League’s Foundation Award.

Johnson likewise coached at Albion for three decades. He served as JV wrestling coach for 30 yars, 27 working with varsity coach Keith Piccirilli. He also coached Jr. High football, boys variety soccer, girls JV and varsity soccer, varsity track, JV baseball and also served as assistant varsity baseball coach for several years.

The banquet also recognized long time Roy-Hart varsity volleyball coach Bill Holahan for receiving the Section VI coaches Sportsmanship Award.

In addition, 20 year N-O Service Awards were presented to Jon Dewart (Barker), Scott Fuller (Newfane and Barker), Carrie Vonna (Newfane and Jackie Benton (Wilson).