OFA/SMA Hall of Fame; LaRose Touched All Bases
BY DAVE SHEA
When it comes to Ogdensburg Free Academy Athletics, Steve LaRose has touched the all the bases and gone the distance.
All the way to induction as a member of the second class of the OFA/St. Mary's Academy Sports Hall of Fame as an Outstanding Contributor this fall.
Long time sportswriter, editor and photographer of The Journal-Advance News and Oldschoolsportsjournalnny.com Dave Shea was also inducted as an Outstanding Contributor. The St. Mary's Academy Athletic Association was honored as an Outstanding Contributor in the hall of fame's first class.
A 1978 OFA graduate LaRose was a three-sport junior varsity and varsity athlete competing in football, bowling, baseball and junior varsity basketball.
Following college LaRose returned to Ogdensburg and throughout his professional career the CEO of Howland Pump and Supply has served Blue Devil athletes as a radio announcer and commentator, high school coach, youth sports coach, youth sports organization founder, founding member of the Block O Booster Club and as a very a successful businessman he has many former Blue Devil athletes employed in the various branches of his plumbing supply company.
He also had a house constructed with a gym which has been opened for youth basketball practices and countless pickup games for high school and college athletes.
Most importantly he and his wife and fellow OFA graduate, Monica Luckie LaRose, are the parents for four Blue Devil athletes. Breton, Cavan and Kinnon all went on to become NCAA Division I athletes and OFA senior Brogan LaRose has enjoyed a fine scholastic career in basketball, cross country and track and field.
Steve LaRose is a former president of Ogdensburg Pee Wee Football, founder of the Maple City Slam AAU Basketball program and co-founder of the Ogdensburg Maples Youth Baseball with the late Jay Cole. His coaching resume includes 42 years of coaching youth baseball and/or youth basketball and 10 years as a volunteer assistant coach in OFA Junior Varsity Football with Tim Valley.
Dubbed the "Baby Bull" by radio personality John Astolphe, LaRose was the voice OFA and other area high school sports action on WSLB-AM Radio for 17 years and hosted a daily morning sports commentary show "The Bull On Sports".
He approach to his family and professional life followed what he considered the primary directive he learned as an athlete and preached as a coach "the first requirement for being successful was to be a good person."
He attributes a great deal of his success as originating from the guidance he received from his parents Wayne and the late Brenda LaRose, his coaches at OFA especially the late Jim Pinkerton, and Dave Shea who gave him his first job taking scorers over the phone at the office of The Journal and Advance News.
"My coaches at OFA were among the best people I have ever met and they influenced me a great deal along with Tom and Ruth at the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club. I was lucky to be coached and be around by people like Jim Pinkerton, Tim and Mike Valley, Ron Romano, Ron Johnson, Chuck Ladouceur, Wayne Houmiel, Doug Loffler and Bill Merna and others," said LaRose at his induction.
"And I want to thank the Howland Pump employees for their efforts. They are great people."
LaRose also recalled the origin of his coaching career as a member of an OFA Baseball team coached by Jim Pinkerton.
"We had a game when Coach Pinkerton let everyone pick their position. I said I wanted to coach so he gave me the scorebook and lineup card and said you got it," said LaRose who was deeply honored to be inducted into the Hall of the Fame as a member of class which also includes the late Jim Pinkerton.
"He never allowed food in the dugout but that day he went and got a bag of food and went in sat in the corner of the dugout and just enjoyed himself."
2019 OFA/ST. MARY'S HALL OF FAME CLASS
Athletes: Jim Blake Class of 1964, Lisa Boyer Class of 1975, May Ferguson Class of 1975, Kelley Geary Class of 1975, Becky Skelly Wassus Class of 1974, Bob Hentschel Class of 1952, Joe Jones Class of 1970, Bob LeBeau Class of 1973, Tom Lightfoot SMA 1966-69, OFA Class of 1970.
Teams: 1974 OFA Girls Basketball, 1975 OFA Girls Basketball, 1970 OFA Boys Basketball, 1971 OFA Boys Basketball, 1964 OFA Boys Basketball.
Coaches: Jim Pinkerton (1947-1996), SMA Class of 1965, OFA Coach 1969-1996.
Contributors: Steve LaRose Class of 1978, Dave Shea SMA Class 1967.
NOTE: Nominations are encouraged for the hall of fame. An application can be accessed on the Ogdensburg Free Academy Website.