Jack Small retires after coaching for five decades


After 45 years of coaching in Lynbrook, Jack Small will be retiring, leaving an impact on the students he trained along the way.

Jack Small is a name that multiple generations of students at the Lynbrook School District are familiar with. He started coaching in 1974 and four years later he made his way to Lynbrook. On Tuesday, March 19, Small coached his final game at Lynbrook.

Throughout the years, Small coached varsity football, varsity softball, along with boys and girls basketball and soccer. He coached at Lynbrook Middle School, with 36 of the 45 years being a physical education teacher at Marion Street Elementary School.

“It’s all about the kids,” Small said when asked what his favorite part about coaching was. “The Lynbrook student athletes are amazing kids to coach. They’re hard working, they’re smart, they’re respectful, and I just really enjoyed coaching.”

Small emphasized that at the middle school level, it’s really important to be a teacher to these young athletes. He said that he didn’t only teach them how to be a better athlete, but to also respect everyone.

“We talked a lot about not just respecting your coaches and teachers, but to also respect the custodians, teacher aides, bus drivers,” Small said. “And they caught on to that pretty well.”

When Small retired from teaching 9 years ago, the athletic director at that time asked him if he wanted to stay on as a coach, which he said “absolutely.” While he was teaching, Small coached four sports and then after his retirement in 2015, he coached two sports teams. Small said he considers himself lucky to have been able to coach these Lynbrook athletes for so long. 

“My teams have always done really, really well,” Small said. “And a lot of that credit goes to the youth coaches and the parents who coached them before they came to me and taught them the fundamentals.”

Small mentioned that for the past 10 to 15 years, many of the students that he coached, he also coached their parents.

“I never did,” Small replied when asked if he thought he would be a coach for this long. “But when I started coaching at Lynbrook, I really enjoyed it.”

Before each game, Small said he would tell the kids to “have fun and play as hard as you can.” He told them that regardless of the final score, he is proud of them.

“It’s been a true honor for me to have coached the many Lynbrook athletes over the years,” Small said. “Along with these athletes, I’m going to miss my fellow coaches, the athletic department personnel, the parents, and everybody’s been wonderful. I love Lynbrook and I just feel lucky and blessed to have been able to coach here for all these years.”

At Small’s final game on March 19, his eighth grade girls basketball team won. The winning game, which took place at Lynbrook High School, symbolized Small’s huge impact on Lynbrook schools.