2005-08-18 / Sports

Senall Returns To BCHS Sidelines

By Elio Velez-

The job of a high school football coach in New York City can be pretty tough. When it comes to gathering a team full of youngsters and molding it into an effective and winning program, not many coaches are more experienced than Marty Senall.

He returns to the sidelines as the varsity head coach of the Beach Channel Dolphins. The first practice for the 2005-06 season begins on Saturday morning, and will continue all this week at Beach Channel High School. Senall encourages any students who wants to play can come to practice and tryout. This season, Senall is back at the job he loves very much.

“I don’t know how I can wipe my hands and say goodbye. This year is going to be one of the hardest years I’ve ever coached,” Senall says.

It’s taken him two years to return to the Dolphins after being removed from the job due to a disciplinary action filed in the spring of 2003. The action was a result of a disciplinary action filed against Senall by a former player. That player, who has since left the school, accused the coach of harassment.

That claim was bogus according to Senall, who said that the unnamed player had disciplinary problems in the past and broke team rules during a meeting at spring practice.

“I don’t think children should play if they use profanity. The child is better off for not doing it,” Senall says.

Senall filed an arbitration case as the then administration removed him job. The job was handed over to then assistant coach Steve Goldman and former JV coach Victor Nazario was then tabbed with the job before the beginning of the 2003 season.

Senall filed an arbitration case and it was finally settled with the Department of Education this past spring as he regained his job. The full details of the arbitration case settlement such as compensation or other matters cannot be disclosed by both parties. He would also like to put past the discord that has occurred over the past few years with Nazario, who took over the head job for two seasons. Senall says it’s time to focus on getting the kids ready for the upcoming season.

“It’s a shame that the kids have been put through the middle of all this. I am excited to coach and hope they (the players) are as excited as I am,” Senall says.

The postive result for Senall is that he will once again coach in the sport he cherishes. Watching football games on television according to the longtime coach cannot replace his burning desire to go back to the sidelines.

In his 30+ years of coaching, Senall has been a part of turning schools such as Lafayette, South Shore and then Beach Channel into championship contenders. Starting in 1966 as an assistant coach, Senall says he learned the tools of the trade from Lafayette head coach Jack Kriegman. In 1970, the team became the PSAL co- city football champions along with Far Rockaway. At 29 years old, he was ready for the challenge of a head coaching job. He quickly tasted success across town in Brooklyn as the newly appointed head coach in 1973 at South Shore, leading them to the city championship.

Senall missed the championship in 1974 by one game but it wasn’t the end of a triumphant run. South Shore would go on to make appearances in the title game in 1977 and 1978 and captured the city championship in 1983, 1985 and 1987.

Moving to Beach Channel wasn’t easy at first in 1998 as he took over a program that had little to celebrate in the prior seasons. Going 0-8 in 1997, he worked very hard to create a winner and did just that. “In the first year, we went 7-2, beat Far Rock and missed the playoffs by one game. In our first game, we beat Stevenson 59-6,” recalls Senall. They also made the playoffs in 1999 and 2001.

His knowledge of the area and his continuing love of the game will be carried over to bring Beach Channel back into a winning force. The team had a tough 2004 campaign by finishing 1-7 and last in the PSAL Queens division. It won’t be easy Senall says because he has to start from scratch in recruiting, designing the plays and getting to know the kids.

Those possible obstacles won’t stop him however from not taking the job. Assistant coach and longtime friend Steve Goldman will be on his side and Senall says the support he has gotten from Principal David Morris is an encouraging sign. He should have some promising players returning to the squad such as runningback Nathaniel Howard and players graduating from a successful junior varsity team that went 6-2 last year.

“I love to coach in Rockaway. I’m a guy who lived at 105 Street for 15 years. One of my idols is Jack Kershman (longtime head coach) at Far Rockaway,” Senall said.

“I’m returning to the sport I love.”

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