Rye High Track Dedicated to Coach Yedowitz
By Melanie Cane
On June 8, the Rye High School track was dedicated to Coach Jim Yedowitz, who passed away January 2. His family and friends, as well as Rye’s Track team and coaches, participated in a celebration of his life, career, and legacy. The celebration included several speeches, the unveiling of the dedication plaque, and relay races on the newly named track.
Rye Track Coach John McGee, who had been Yedowitz’s sidekick since 1981, gave a moving tribute to his longtime friend. “He became my mentor, brother, advisor, confidante and, yes, my boss. There was no question this was his program. His contagious personality and deep love for his team drew me in. Jim instilled in his teams the qualities of hard work, dedication, and the ability to overcome adversity. He taught them to win with humility and lose with dignity. Jim took great pride in developing each and every workout and kept them in folders all over the Yedowitz house.
“He started the Winter Track program 40 years ago with 13 athletes. This year there were over 100. There was a place for all kids on Jim’s team; from the best athlete to the weakest. Most people think about what they are going to do when they leave a team or job. Not Jim. He worried about who would be running the program after we stopped coaching. That is why it is most fitting that this track be named in his honor. Jim Yedowitz is Rye track.”
Anne Yedowitz described the dedication and outpouring of love remarkable. “Since the day Jim passed away, we have been so blessed by tremendous support and love from the Rye community, the track team, the school, the coaches, Mike Arias. It is a great comfort knowing how many lives touched. He and John were truly a coaching team. They balanced each other out and made each other better coaches. Jim would not have enjoyed coaching for so many years without John.”
She added, “The dedication ceremony was amazing, albeit, bittersweet. We would much rather have had Jim present for the dedication, but we were so proud to participate. We are looking forward to next year and continuing to celebrate Jim.”
Athletic Director Mike Arias said he could think of no tribute more appropriate for Jim Yedowitz than to name the track he coached on for 43 years after him. “The hope is that the dedication plaque will live forever near the starting line, a spot that Yed would be at every practice and meet, and a place where I know he felt at home.”