Americo A. "Ben" Bedini, a Westchester football coaching legend, died Sunday morning at his home in Raleigh, N.C. He was 87.
Bedini, who was inducted into the Westchester Sports Hall of Fame, compiled a 95-7 varsity coaching record at Rye and Port Chester, including a 59-5 mark at Rye. He was also the first coach in the history of the Iona football program.
Bedini took over a Rye team that had won 18 games in a row under Frank Robinson in 1954, and extended the streak to 33 before it ended with a loss to Harrison in 1955. He also had another 33-game win streak in 1960.
"It just was a very, very special time in my life, and I was lucky enough to coach a lot of great kids," Bedini said in a story that appeared Sept. 28 in The Journal News.
Bedini then moved on to Iona, where he guided the Gaels to a 9-0 record and a televised Bowl win over Kings College in 1967. He was inducted into Iona's Hall of Fame in 1990.
Current Rye coach Dino Garr played under Bedini at Iona.
"He was well organized," Garr said of Bedini in the Sept. 28 Journal News story. "The players respected his ability to prepare for a game. A lot of his skills in terms of preparation for a game, I still use today.
"Yeah, he was tough. He expected you to go out there and give your best, and he wasn't very big on excuses for not being there, practices especially. But he was fair."
Bedini also was the offensive coordinator at Fordham, and joined his friend Sam Rutigliano as a scout with the Cleveland Browns, and then Marty Schottenheimer with the Kansas City
Bedini is survived by his wife of 45 years, Peggy, a son, Anthony, and five grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh. There will be a visitation at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to Hospice of Wake County, 1300 St. Mary's St., Raleigh, N.C. 27605 and the Sidney Shoifet Scholarship, Found Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Falls Village, Conn. 06031, or to the charity of your choice.