No. 7 Sports Story of the Year: A coaching legend passes on

12/26/2014 12:00 PM |
The 1977-78 Mattituck boys basketball team, led by coach Jack Hussnatter (seventh from the right). (Credit: file photo)

The 1977-78 Mattituck boys basketball team, led by coach Jack Hussnatter (seventh from the right). (Credit: file photo)

Jack Hussnatter, a Mattituck coaching legend, seemed to have been cut from the same cloth that produced other old-school coaches like Greenport’s Dorrie Jackson and Southold’s Dick Osmer. His death April 1 at the age of 82 saddened those who knew him.

As a boys basketball coach, the quick-witted Hussnatter, often seen with his trademark cigar, was described as an innovative strategist with an affinity for the inside game. His teams were known for their impeccable, tenacious man-to-man defense.

Height and defense helped Hussnatter’s Tuckers to back-to-back appearances in the New York State final four in 1978, when the Tuckers lost in a semifinal, and in 1979, when they lost in a final. They remain the only Mattituck boys basketball teams to reach the state final four.

“I think all of my teammates loved the guy,” one of his former players, Don Wilcenski, said. “We’d run through a wall for him.”

Hussnatter, who played basketball and ran track and field for Sayville High School, also spent some time coaching Mercy High School’s boys basketball team. He had a fondness for golf, too. In addition to coaching Mattituck’s boys golf team for many years, he was a board member and club champion at Island’s End Golf and Country Club in Greenport.

Mike Huey, who started his coaching career as Hussnatter’s assistant, said, “He was the best.”

Top 10 sports stories

No. 10: A tennis tournament’s decline

No. 9: So close to Middletown

No. 8: The Christy era ends in Mattituck

Comments

comments