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Coach Garr enters Westchester Hall of Fame

Posted Monday, September 29, 2008 by Diamond/Lohud Staff

Dino Garr lands in Hall


By Jared Diamond • The Journal News • September 29, 2008

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John Nugent once fired Dino Garr, a long time ago, when Rye losing to Harrison was enough to shake things up and send an entire community into a frenzy.

Rye was not supposed to lose to Harrison. It didn't happen when Westchester Hall of Famer Ben Bedini ran the show. Not when Nugent, another inductee, called plays after him. And now here's Garr, a young hot shot with little experience, losing to the Garnets' bitter rival.


Not in this town.

So Nugent did what he had to do, but not without recommending him for the job at Westlake. Nugent knew he had a winner, and he also knew that one day the Rye fans would regret losing Garr.

He was right: Garr was a winner. Fortunately for Rye, Garr found his way back.

Since returning to Rye in 1985, Garr has 10 sectional championships and two state titles. And, with Saturday's 28-3 win, he has beaten Harrison six straight times.

Garr will be inducted into the Westchester Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday during a ceremony at the Mamaroneck Yacht and Beach Club, becoming the third successive Rye football coach in the hall.

"When Rye was looking for a new coach, I told them, 'You still have the best coach in Westchester at Westlake,' " Nugent said. "When he came back, that's the greatest thing that ever happened to Rye."

In his 32-year coaching career between Rye and Westlake, Garr has compiled an impressive 228-80-3 record, making him the third-winningest coach in Westchester history, fourth winningest in Section 1 history, and the 17th winningest in New York.

It's only fitting most of his success came at Rye. Garr was born in Italy but was sent to Rye at a young age to live with his aunt when his mother died.

Since then, Garr has been part of the Rye community, first as a student, now as a legendary head coach.

"When you put on that Garnet uniform, there are high expectations," Garr said. "I played for Rye, so I want to do it well. That inspires me."

The three coaches have been connected through Garr's entire life.

Garr grew up in Rye watching the Garnets and played for Nugent in high school.

Upon graduating, he went to South Dakota on a baseball scholarship but ended up transferring to Iona to play football, at the prodding of Bedini, the Gaels' coach at the time. Bedini would hire Garr as an assistant at Iona.

Garr Eventually took an assistant-coaching job at Rye under Nugent. When Nugent became athletic director, Garr took over as head coach.

"It's a great tradition, and that was one of my goals, to carry the great tradition of Rye and the great legacy that had been established," Garr said. "It's been my dream come true, and I'm proud I have been able to hopefully carry on and add to the long legacy and tradition of Rye."

He's done that.

He also has taught social studies at Rye Middle School his entire career.

Though Bedini and Nugent no longer live in Westchester - Bedini is in North Carolina, Nugent in Arizona - the three have stayed close. When Garr's selection into the Hall of Fame was announced, no one was more proud than Bedini and Nugent.

Garr is just another Hall of Famer the Rye community can call its own.

"Look at his won-loss record," Bedini said. "Nothing else has to be said. The legacy of Rye football defies description, and he has embellished it in the right way."

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