By Nathan Mayberg
LIBERTY October 31, 2003 Ed Riente, the longtime successful coach of Liberty Central School basketball and football teams, was honored Monday night with a plaque by the members of the Liberty Central School Board of Education.
Riente is retiring after this school year.
He has been a basketball coach and technology teacher at Liberty Central School for the past 33 years. He took the boys varsity basketball team to the final four of the state championship tournament in 1993 and finished that season with a 22-3 record. His teams also reached the state quarterfinals in 1987 and 2000.
Riente said that he considers the 1987 team to have been his most talented, and believes they could have gone further if not for the sickness and academic ineligibility of some of the players.
He also coached two of the greatest athletes to come out of Liberty. Kaseem Sinceno played basketball for Riente and went on to graduate from Syracuse University and play in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears.
Maurice Martin began playing for Coach Riente in the eighth grade. Martin then went on to stardom at St. Josephs University, playing in the NCAA Tournament. Later, Mo became a first-round NBA draft choice of the Denver Nuggets.
Riente also led two Liberty varsity football teams to undefeated seasons. He coached junior varsity football for 12 years, and spent six years as the Indians varsity coach.
He was named basketball coach of the year in by a local daily newspaper in 1987 and 1993.
Tim Bult, who played football under Riente and now serves as Liberty Central School Athletic Director, was the first to speak about the retiring coach at Monday nights meeting. Bult commended Riente for 33 years of dedication, over 250 varsity basketball victories, over 450 JV basketball wins, and four Section IX championships.
He also called the veteran coach the best and most committed.
Were going to miss your leadership, hopefully we can meet your standards, Bult added.
Riente then spoke himself.
Its time for new blood and new ideas, he said. Thank you for the support. It is easy to do a good job when you have good people around you.
Phil Fanning was a player for Riente, served as an assistant varsity football coach with him and has been a longtime physical education teacher at the school.
I coached for 14 years with him, Fanning said. More than the wins, what I remember about Ed is that he wanted to give them valuable athletic experience.
Ralph Bressler, a basketball timekeeper, also praised Riente and his coaching style.
When I first started timing here and Ive timed almost all of his games he had that kind of class. He served Liberty very well.
Riente was born and raised in Frankfort, a town near Utica. He graduated from SUNY Oswego with a bachelors degree in education. He also served one year in Vietnam as a combat line soldier in a combat engineers unit. He was drafted in 1964, and completed his military duty in 1966.
Riente said that he plans to spend a couple more years in Liberty and then possibly move to the Charlotte, North Carolina area. He would like to enjoy his grandchildren who reside there and spend time on two other passions golf and fishing.