The second annual Gary Vyskocil Classic was held on April 4, 2023, at Washingtonville High School. Gary Vyskocil was a teacher and coach at Valley Central High School and Warwick Valley High School before finishing his career as the Athletic Director at Washingtonville Central School District.
“He spent his entire career supporting each athlete with whom he came into contact,” said Head Varsity Girls Track Coach Michael White.
Gary retired in June 2020 but worked on a per diem basis through June 2021. He then moved to Florida. After a short time, he was diagnosed with ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gary and his family wanted to move back to New York to be near their support system of family and friends as he battled this disease.
This meet was initially planned as a fundraiser to help cover the cost of medical transport from Florida to New York but, unfortunately, Gary passed away before he was able to make it home.
“We are sad that he did not live to see the outpouring of support for him, but we hope this event in his honor will provide comfort for his family,” added Mr. White. “During his illness, Gary was assisted by an organization called AlwayS for ALS, which supplied Gary and his family with medical equipment and emotional support. The meet is a way to honor Coach Vyskocil’s memory and support an organization that helps families dealing with ALS.”
The student-athletes of the Washingtonville Wizards Track & Field team and their parents worked together to organize a concession stand and collect donations to be raffled off. Washingtonville invited the schools where Gary had worked and a couple of other neighboring teams.
There were over 300 students competing as well as a sizable crowd of spectators. The event began with a short program of testimonials about Gary, which provided comfort to Gary’s parents, who were in attendance. WHS student-athletes helped set up and run the meet, moved hurdles and equipment when needed, and cleaned our facility when the meet concluded.