Many alumni joined together on Zoom on September 24 to pay tribute to teacher-coach Tom York, who sadly passed away in the spring.
The tribute was the kick-off for the virtual Alumni Seminar Series for 2020-21. In 2018, the Norfolk Academy Alumni Association, along with Teacher-Coach Tom Duquette, designed the series to re-connect alumni through open-forum discussion groups. When the COVID-19 pandemic halted all on-campus activities in March, the Alumni Board continued the program virtually. In the following months, more than 600 members of the Bulldog family Zoomed in.
Coach York served at Academy from 1989 until 2006. He taught math, was Varsity Football Head Coach - guiding the Bulldogs to 13 TCIS championships - and assisted in Academy's basketball and lacrosse programs. He was also Director of Athletics for four years.
Mr. Steve Monninger, current Varsity Football Head Coach, opened the tribute by talking about how Coach York helped build the program. “I'm the beneficiary of unbelievable coaches like him," Coach Monninger said.
Mr. Witt Borum, Assistant Director for the Middle School and an assistant football coach, said Coach York taught him to love students through actions on a daily basis. Mr. Bob Needham, a longtime football coach, spoke about Coach York's character, noting how Academy earned praise from Sports Illustrated magazine when it gave back a victory during his tenure because referees had mistakenly let the Bulldogs run a fifth-down play during the game.
Alumni then shared their many memories of Coach York, from both the athletic fields and the classroom. Many said they came to love him.
Freeman Thompson '99 told a story about meeting with Coach York about a decade after graduation, when Coach apologized to him for an error he felt he had made one season.
“He cared not just about football, about the program," Mr. Thompson said. “He cared about us. He taught me a lot of lessons. I owe a big part of my life to Tom York."
At times, more than 75 members of the Academy family were on the Zoom. Among them were two of Coach York's children who attended NA. Stephanie York Warren '96 spoke about having her father as both a teacher and lacrosse coach. Andrew York '94 said he was honored to be Tom York's son.
“It's so great to hear all these stories," Andy York said.
The upcoming Seminar Series schedule:
October 8: Tribute to track and cross country coach Ken Lampert '72, who also passed away in the spring.
October 15: History Teacher Toy Savage '71 will lead a discussion.
October 16: Dance Master Elbert Watson will lead a stretching and breathing session. We plan to record this event so it can be viewed at a later time.
October 22: Tribute to teacher, basketball coach, and Director of Athletics Dave Trickler, who passed away over the summer.
Details on these and other alumni events are available on our website.