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February 17, 2010 > Irvington personnel inducted into Hall of Fame

Irvington personnel inducted into Hall of Fame

By David J. Nicolas
Photos By William Mancebo

Irvington High School honored six individuals for their contributions to its athletic program. Jeff Fern, Bob Buum, Bill Choate (class of '75), Patty Hitchcock, Sharon Hicks and Bill Sinnot became the school's first Hall of Fame inductees on Tuesday, Feb. 9. They were recognized during halftime of the Irvington varsity basketball game against American High School.

"We wanted to honor the people who have given us years of service," said Jackie Cain, vice president of Irvington's Athletic Boosters. "It's important to remind the community who has made an impact in our school and athletic program."

The boosters' original plan was to commemorate long-time teacher, coach and now athletic director Jeff Fern who will be retiring after this year. Instead, the group compiled dozens of candidates for Irvington's first Hall of Fame.

One of those recognized was Bill Choate. As a student at Irvington, he was a two-time North Coast Section champion and state champion in wresting. He went on to coach wrestling at Irvington for 10 years. He said it was great being back at his alma mater, and that the electric crowds during the varsity basketball games of today matched the size of crowds his high school wrestling days. Choate is currently the head coach of Newark Memorial High School girls wrestling where he guided three women to NCS titles last season.

Patty Hitchock has served in various committees since 1989. She helps to put on Grad Night and is an Athletic Booster.

Sharon Hicks began her Irvington coaching career in 1987 as the girls varsity basketball coach. She wanted to build the talent that flowed into Irvington, so she began coaching basketball and volleyball at John M. Horner Junior High School. Hicks plans to retire from coaching after this year.

Bill Sinnott taught at Irvington from 1972 to 2008 and is now retired. He also coached football, tennis, soccer and baseball.

Bob Buum, who some call the "grandfather" of Irvington, started teaching and coaching when the school opened its doors in 1962. Every Thursday in PE, students at the school run the Buum, a 1.5-mile trek named after the track and cross country coach.

Buum remembers the school fondly and admired the talented athletes that went through his programs-but he loved the sweets that came after some victories. Buum awarded any athlete who broke a record. One season, according to Buum, he had to hand over 13.

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