News  > Dick O'Toole, Edison Coach

   

02/22/03 Edison's O'Toole set to retire

Inventors won 2 Section V basketball titles in his 27 seasons

By James Johnson
Democrat and Chronicle

(February 22, 2003) — When Dick O’Toole went looking for his first high school head varsity basketball coaching position, his search began and ended in the Rochester city school district.

O’Toole was raised in the 19th Ward on the city’s west side. Sunup to sundown, Rochester’s recreation parks were his playgrounds.

He played basketball for West High, a city school, and paid dues in the district coaching developmental teams.

For six years, O’Toole searched and waited. After he was hired at Edison in 1976, he never left and became a constant presence in high school boys basketball in the city.

“The city league was very good and very competitive back then,” O’Toole said. “There wasn’t any better basketball to be around.”

FILE PHOTO 1998
Dick O’Toole will retire after 27 seasons of coaching at Edison Tech. “If you listen to him, he’s not going to steer you the wrong way,” former guard Jason Singletary said.

O’Toole never ventured far from the scene in 33 years, but is ready to make a change. He will retire as Edison’s coach when the team completes its season and end his career as a physical education teacher after the last day of school in June.

The Inventors (9-12) play at Fairport (17-3) at 7 tonight, during the second round of the Section V Class AA Tournament.

“Every other year, after the final game, you start to think about next year,” said O’Toole, a 57-year-old father of two. “This time, it’s really the end. I never entertained thoughts of moving on.

“I grew up in the city, went to city schools and I liked it. Part of coaching is trying to help the kids get ready for the next step in life. The kids here have a lot to offer and I’ve learned a lot from them, too.”

With O’Toole passing along any type of instruction needed, the Inventors have won two Section V championships with a record of 315-267 under the Monroe Community College Sports Hall of Fame member.

“If you listen to him, he’s not going to steer you the wrong way,” former Edison point guard Jason Singletary said. “He’s straightforward with you, he won’t tell you what you want to hear like a lot of people.

“Players listen to him, even if they don’t like his style, because they know he knows what he’s talking about.”

O’Toole has worked as an instructor with coach Jim Boeheim and his staff at Syracuse University’s basketball camp for more than 20 years. A fan of Division III college basketball, O’Toole also has a rapport with the area’s Division III coaches.

There were occasions when he would coach Edison in a game, then drive to watch parts of three other high school games to scout future opponents.

For years, a curly haired O’Toole provided analysis during televised Section V Championship games.

“It’s his life,” his wife Maribeth O’Toole said. “We go to Syracuse games. We plan trips around NBA games. He watches games seven days a week. He goes to Niagara (University) to watch (Edison graduate) James Reaves play.

“(His retiring) is a little sad, because it’s been a big part of our lives.”

E-mail address: jjohnson@DemocratandChronicle.com