February 26, 2009


Funk headed to Section 4 Hall of Fame

Staff Writer

SIDNEY — Venerable Marathon Central field hockey coach Karen Fun will be among the latest class of inductees being honored by the Section 4 Athletic Hall of Fame.
She is among 24 inductees in this Class of 2009 that will be honored during ceremonies on Saurday, March 7, at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton. The induction ceremonies will take place between the Class D girls (1 p.m.) and Class D boys (3:45 p.m.) championship games that afternoon — to roughly start at 2:30 p.m.
Funk has established the “Gold Standard” for high school field hockey in Section 4, if not New York State and the nation. Her career record of 433-131-42, all at Marathon, places her in elite company. and her record of eight championships in nine state tournament finals appears without parallel. In addition to nine Section 4 titles, Marathon has won 16 of the last 17 league championships.
“I was surprised when I got the letter because I am still coaching,” said Funk. “I wanted to go into the hall of fame as a coach and not as a contributor, but they did change the eligibility for long-time coaches so I was eligible.
“I really look at being hall of fame differently,” she added. “You really have to go above and beyond in your profession. It’s nice that my peers in Section Four have recognized me for my accomplishments.”
What are those accomplishment, to this date? In this century (2001-2008), Funk’s Marathon teams have posted a 172-6 record, during which the National Field Hockey Coaches Association honored her as the 2007 National High School Coach of the Year. Included in this decade is also an 87-game winning streak that became the second longest in the national high school record book and her 433 team wins ranks sixth all-time in the nation.
Marathon field hockey teams under Funk have earned NYS Scholar/Athlete designation for 17 consecutive years and several sportsmanship awards. Her caring efforts have helped produce 15 National All-Academic players, seven All-Americans and 11 regional All-Americans, as well as dozens of collegiate athletes, many at NCAA Division I levels.
Funk, whose schoolgirl days as Karen Cornell preceded Title IX opportunity, returned to her home town directly from her 1972 SUNY-Cortland graduation. She enthusiastically started the field hockey program, despite no full-time teaching position being open and, for 10 years, continued as a per-diem substitute teacher. Prior to her 2006 retirement from full-time teaching, Funk had also been her district’s coordinator of Drug-Free Schools and Family Life Education.
“I keep doing this job because I enjoying coaching and the girls that are involved in athletics,” said Funk. “It really isn’t me, my accomplishments or my records. It is about the number of girls who have played field hockey for Marathon and those who have gone on to play in college. That’s what this field hockey program is about.”
When her records are mentioned above, there are a couple of records people may not know about. Funk has had at least one player go on to play collegiate field hockey every every since 1979 and , since 1997, at least one player has earned a scholarship to play collegiate field hockey.
Coach Funk even had another first from the recent 2008 season. Two players earned National All-American honors.
“I have had one player make either first or second team in the past for that particular season,” said Funk. This year, I had two. Marta Malmberg was first-team national All-American and Tessa Knapp was a second team national All-American. That is the first time that two players received that honor in the same season.”
Knapp recently signed her National Letter of Intent to play collegiate field hockey at University of Albany. Her classmate, Kelley Braman signed her letter of intent to play field hockey at Kent State that same day, February 4, in a small ceremony at the high school.
Joining Funk in the Coaches & Contributors category for induction this year are Thomas Dixon (Norwich); Ken Goldberg (Susquehanna Valley): James D. Hoover (Walton), David R. Kelly (Delhi); James McCloe (Waverly); Harry E. Nissen (South Kortright); Raymond G. Preston, Jr. (Charlotte Valley); George A. Seiler (New & South New Berlin); Fred Seither (Horseheads) and Roger S. Brown (Unatego/Section IV).
Athletes heading into the Section 4 Hall of Fame this year include Bethany Bailey Grace (Stamford); Rick Balles (Johnson City); Mike Bennett (Elmira Notre Dame); Barb Cook (Susquehanna Valley); Nicolette A. Davis (Stamford); Robert Garbade (Susquehanna Valley); Stephen T. Guinan (Windsor); Michael Lynch (Binghamton); Patricia McGrail Kallen (Stamford); Richard Mokay (Delhi); Scott D. Scofield (Windsor); Joel Stephens (Elmira Notre Dame) and Steve Stone (Windsor).