Seventy Years of Coaching The Game

Between them, Rye head coach Dino Garr and recently retired assistant coach Tommy Maloney share more than 70 years of Rye-Harrison memories. The Rye Record asked them to go back in time with us with us.

Published October 11, 2011 4:01 PM
4 min read

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s-coachthumbBetween them, Rye head coach Dino Garr and recently retired assistant coach Tommy Maloney share more than 70 years of Rye-Harrison memories. The Rye Record asked them to go back in time with us with us.

 

By Mitch Silver and Jim Byrne

 

s-coachesBetween them, Rye head coach Dino Garr and recently retired assistant coach Tommy Maloney share more than 70 years of Rye-Harrison memories. The Rye Record asked them to go back in time with us with us.

 

Q: Which was your most thrilling victory?

Maloney jumped right in: “The wins in 2006 and 2010, definitely. We beat the top-ranked Class A team in New York State in ’06 by 19-18, and that extra point was the only one scored out of six touchdowns in the game.

“Last year, people forget that the Harrison team we beat – when Brian Pickup caught “The Catch” from Connor Eck –went on to the State finals. To win 21-20 with the injuries we had … pretty thrilling.”

 

Maloney added that he felt the playoff victory against Harrison in 2003 was one of the most important victories in the series. “We beat them easily in the regular season that year, but they played a great playoff game against us. We ended up winning, and made a run to the State title game, which we eventually lost. Without that win though, I don’t know if we would have had the great run of championships. It set a precedent.”

 

Q: How about your toughest defeat?

 

Garr took that one. “It’s either agony or ecstasy, there’s nothing in between. They’re all tough when you lose to Harrison. You just want to get on the bus as fast as you can. I still remember that first loss: we were both undefeated, and the game went down to the last 30 seconds. We knew they were going to run Denver Right. We’d scouted them, we’d gone over it all week, but we couldn’t stop it when push came to shove. Real tough.”

Maloney chose a different game. “We lost 10-6 to them in the rain in 1993, even though we were clearly the better team. Oh wait, I’ve got one that was worse: in 1991, we were on Harrison’s two-inch line when time ran out. We couldn’t get the play off in time. That one really hurt.”
Garr became philosophical. “There’s a saying: When you win, the kids made the plays. When you lose, the coaches made poor decisions. And there’s a lot of truth to that.”

 

The coach pointed out that he lost his first three Harrison games as Rye’s head coach. “That probably cost me my love and dream at the time.” Garr was let go, and landed at Westlake, where he turned around a team that had an 0-24 stretch before his arrival. After leading Westlake for six years, a run which included a State championship, he returned to Rye in 1985.

 

Q: Who was your biggest over-achiever?

 

Maloney said, “Lots, lots. Too many to name.” Garr took a whack at it. “Alex Urso comes to mind. We had him on special teams to start the season, but he just played his way onto the defense.” Then Maloney jumped in. “And he grabs the interception that won us our first State championship!”

 

Q: What’s the biggest difference in The Game through the years?

 

Garr said that the spirit is still strong and that sportsmanship is emphasized more than ever, which opened the door for Maloney, who was itching to add his two cents. “I can say it now that I’m retired. The fact that ‘Hang the Huskies’ became a taboo thing is nonsensical. It was nothing more than a good-natured slogan for a football game.”

 

Q: What makes this game so special?

“We have a saying – once a Garnet, always a Garnet,” noted Garr. “It’s about professing pride in your community. I think The Game is the epitome of what high school football should be about – two proud communities that want do well, especially on the gridiron. It’s so graduates can talk about it years later, and maintain friendships from it.”

 

Maloney added that other coaches have expressed amazement at the scene on game day. “Every school has their rivalry game, but not like this. Bill Broggy, the former Fox Lane head coach, came one year and told me he thought he had stumbled upon a college football game!”  

 

Q: Have you ever gone into the Brook after a victory?

 

Both of them immediately said, “Of course!”

 

Garr wondered if anyone would be soaking wet after this year’s game, now that it will be played at Harrison High instead of Feeley Field, the one with a duck pond. He also pointed out that the coldest dip ever was in 1985, after a 7-0 victory. “The snowball game with Myles Lavelle at quarterback,” said the coach, who looked cold just thinking about the harsh wintery conditions.

 

At one point during the interview, Maloney recalled a moment on the bus to Harrison when he looked at his old friend and said, “This never gets old, does it?” Although the coaches no longer run the Garnets together, it’s plainly obvious that sharing their memories of games past will never be played out.

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