Xaverian (Brooklyn) assistant football coach Malcolm Davis didn't have to think long when he heard that his former high school coach, Brooklyn Tech athletic director Jim DiBenedetto, lost his Breezy Point home in a fire in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
"I can only say that I am a footballer and footballers are doers," Davis said. "We didn't want to wait to see if we could help because of the type of person Coach Dibo is. There are many people who are in the position they are in life, good or bad, because of his influence. He's coached doctors, lawyers and other successful people. He's also coached people who are not happy where they are and wish they had listened to him."
Davis said he started with a Facebook posting regarding his former coach's situation, then started a page for DiBenedetto on gofundme.com, asking for $15,000 in donations. In less than 24 hours, $10,510 was pledged toward DiBenedetto.
DiBenedetto was Brooklyn Tech's coach for nearly 20 years, winning 125 games and reaching the playoffs 10 times, including two division titles. He also served as the school's choir director and in 2003 earned the National Choral Council’s Career Award for his distinguished work in choral music and music education.
"We would always tease him," Davis said. "We'd say, 'How can you be a tough football coach and be a choir director,' " Davis said.
Davis said he hasn't spoken to his former coach, but learned of the situation through DiBenedetto's neighbor and youngest son Adam.
"Coach is a real proud man," Davis said. "He's going to be OK, but something has to be done. I know the house may be insured, but there are people when they hear this, they're going to want to help. To sum it up, he's been a great guy to people throughout his career."
Here's a brief look at how Sandy has affected high school sports schedules along the East Coast:
In New York, the Catholic High School Football League and Public Schools Athletic League soccer playoffs have been postponed until next week.
In New Jersey, the high school football playoffs have been moved to Nov. 16-17 and Week 9 regular-season games can now be completed by Nov. 10. State volleyball first-round tournament matches have been postponed again. The matches were originally to be played on Tuesday. That was changed to Wednesday, but with extensive storm damage and power outages, the date was moved again until Nov. 7.
In Connecticut, the state high school association, revised state competition schedules in cross country, soccer, volleyball and girls swimming.
In Maryland, the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland postponed cross country, field hockey and soccer state championship and playoff events.