ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – An Elmira coaching legend who inspired for decades, has passed away.
Dick Senko, the head football coach at Elmira Free Academy from 1975 to 2003, has died after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease in Florida. Senko was 75. An educator, mentor, and friend to many, Senko’s legacy was truly about helping people.
Named the coach of the decade during the 1980’s in the region, Senko earned a staggering (193-81-2) career football record at EFA while also serving as a global studies teacher. Senko retired from teaching in 1999 followed by his coaching retirement in 2003. A graduate of Elmira Southside High School in 1963, Senko learned the craft through the likes of fellow Elmira legend, Tom Hurley, of the Green Hornets.
A six-time coach of the year recipient, Senko graduated from Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio where he was a standout player in both football and baseball, earning All-Ohio Conference first-team honors. Senko is also a member of the Baldwin Wallace Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the Chemung County Sports Hall of Fame.
Dick’s legacy is everlasting on the students he coached and mentored. Senko coached the likes of football greats Marty Chalk, Blaine Fowler, Orlando Smith, and many more in his time as a coach. Longtime friend and colleague, Dana Carpenter, who coached with Senko for 27 years, provided some touching words in honor of Senko.
“We have lost an incredible man,” Carpenter said. “Senko was an outstanding coach, educator & athlete. His greatest pride was his family. I coached with him for 27 years, I have no words to express how deeply his passing will affect me & everyone he touched.”
Carpenter was a pro football player in the World Football League and at the University of South Carolina. Senko’s impact on Carpenter and countless others simply cannot be measured.
Senko is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their five children. Son, Dana, and daughters Laura, Emily, Martha, and Stephanie. 18 Sports takes a special look back at Senko’s life and legacy. Our thoughts and strength go out to the Senko family during this time.