Jim Pinkerton Joins Elite Class Of Coaches In Hall
BY DAVE SHEA
Jim Pinkerton was the only coach inducted as a member of the second class of the Ogdensburg Free Academy/St. Mary's Academy Sports Hall of Fame this fall.
A very fitting honor because in many ways he stood in a class by himself in local high school annuals.
The late Jim Pinkerton, who was taken away from his family, friends and coaching peers much too young at age 48, represented both OFA and St. Mary's with distinction.
A 1965 graduate of SMA he was a three-sport athlete in football, baseball and basketball. As a senior he captained the football team and was honored as the MVP in baseball and went on to pitch for Niagara University where he graduated in 1969 with a degree in Physical Education.
He returned to his native Ogdensburg after graduation and started his education career in the fall of 1969. In his career at OFA he coached football, baseball and volleyball and served as the school's Director of Athletics from 1982-1996.
He coached varsity baseball for over 20 years and led the Blue Devils program to unprecedented success. His teams won 368 games, won 10 Section 10 Class B Championships, compiled a streak of 54 straight league wins, played in the New York State Final 4 three times and earned one trip to the state title game.
He established a steady pipeline of talent from the Cliff Montroy Youth Sports Facility, the home of Kiwanis Grasshopper Baseball, to the OFA practice fields where he and longtime Junior Varsity Coach Chuck Ladouceur and Assistant Varsity Coach Mike Sargent brought out the best and instilled great pride in the Blue Devil players. Sargent followed Pinkerton as OFA's varsity coach and enjoyed a very successful tenure of his own.
In recognition of his outstanding coaching, teaching and administrative careers Pinkerton was inducted into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 20O9.
Coach Pinkerton's contributions to OFA Athletics will be forever remembered and etched in stone. Each year the Jim Pinkerton Memorial Award is presented to one of the two Outstanding OFA Male Senior Athletes and a large rock and plaque honors his career in OFA's Monument Park. OFA also holds a Jim Pinkerton Wooden Bat Baseball Tournament and after the championship game the winning team gathers for a photo at the Jim Pinkerton Memorial Rock.
The Northern New Baseball Umpires Associations remembers Jim Pinkerton every spring presenting the Jim Pinkerton Award to the Outstanding Baseball Player in Section 10.
Coach Pinkerton's son, Coach Tom Pinkerton, who followed his father's foot-steps to become a very successful OFA Varsity Baseball Coach and lead three teams to the New York State Four, spoke of a legacy which went beyond the impressive win total and championships won.
He spoke his dad's impact as a role model and how so many of his players went on to be successful coaches and how his dad's commitment to family, friends and fellow staff members at OFA remainded strong right to the final days of his life.
"Even when he was dying, dad was so concerned about the athletes and coaches at OFA. One day he asked me if the Boys Volleyball Tournament was going on and when I said it was, he asked me to go out and give Ron Johnson a hand," said Tom Pinkerton.
"He was so respected by his peers and he was such a caring role model. He became like a second father for a lot of his players."