Wayland-Cohocton boys varsity basketball Coach Bob Skoczylas barely had time to celebrate his first sectional championship when he found out his job was being cut. Despite coming off the greatest basketball season in school-history, because of recent school cuts, Skoczylas, an eight-year physical education teacher, and three-sport coach, is now searching for a new job.
Skoczylas played high school basketball in Alden, (Section VI) and was a standout collegiate basketball player at Brockport finishing up his career with 1,025 points which is good for 13th all-time.
Following graduating in 2002 he ended up in Wayland.
In his seven years as varsity basketball coach, Skoczylas guided the Golden Eagles to a 79-72 record. It took time but he slowly built the program to what it is today. The Golden Eagles went 48-18 the last three years including 20-3 this past winter as they captured the program’s first-ever LCAA title and first sectional championship in 17 years.
The Golden Eagles were also Steuben County Sportsmanship Award winners the past two years and also won the LCAA Sportsmanship award.
Skoczylas was a two-time winner of the Section V Tom Downey Coach of the Year award, including this past winter, where he was also selected as the Livingston County News Coach of the Year, along with York’s Eddie Orman Jr.
Skoczylas also coached modified football and modified baseball.
I met Bob 5-or-6 years ago through a mutual friend former Prattsburgh basketball coach Jim Burke. I liked Bob right way, we're the same age and both basketball Junkies.
After watching Wayland-Cohocton play under Bob I quickly noticed a difference in their team, and it was certainly a change for the better. He put countless hours into becoming a better coach and making his kids better. Off-season programs, AAU, Open Gyms, Camps, Clinics, whatever it took Bob was there putting his time in, and ultimately it paid off for him.
Nobody prepared better for an opponent than Bob Skoczylas, whether it was scouting, or watching game tapes. Skoczylas had his kids prepared every time they stopped on the court.
Another thing about Scoczylas, much like Coach Burke he preached how important character was not only on the court, but off from it as well. And his kids were nice kids on the court and off it. You wouldn't see any dirty play or attitudes, just respectful young men.
I was in attendance this past season at Wayland-Cohocton's season opener in Dundee against the Scotsmen. Coming into the season expectations were high, so losing a tight game in their season opener was very tough. Talking to Bob afterwards you could see his frustration. So how did he and his team respond? They won 20 of their next 22 games and a league and sectional title before losing in the Far Western Regional.
If I was a Superintendent and I'm looking for a gym teacher and coach I'm hiring Bob Scoczylas, with Bob you're not only getting a great teacher and a fantastic coach but a great person. Bob will not only teach your kids their sport of choice but he will teach them about life and make them a better person, just like him because they don't get much better than Bob Scoczylas. I really hope Bob gets a job in Section V so I can follow his teams and his career. I know he's not satisfied with one Sectional title, he's got a few more before he catches Coach Burke.
As a coach we always tell our kids that hard work pays off, that statement has never been more true than with Bob Scoczylas. A young teacher and coach in a new town, with his first teaching & coaching job. Taking over a struggling program, and with lots of hard work he builds a contender and now a sectional champion. I'm just sorry that Bob won't get a chance to defend that title next season. My only hope is that he's on a court coaching somewhere next season.
(Bill Collmer is a syndicated blogger and columnist for Gatehouse Media Newspapers of New York)