St Raymond lost more than a former athletic director and legendary baseball coach with the passing on Ron Patnosh last week.
To the high school’s community the 76-year-old Patnosh was part of its soul and its face in many roles for the last 48 years. He died last on the mornng of Sept. 19, after suffering what appeared to be a heart attack at his home, according to Ravens baseball coach Marc DeLuca. Patnosh suffered from vertigo and smoked during his life, but he appeared in normal health recently and began playing golf again, according to friends. Patnosh retired in 2010, leaving behind an unmatched legacy at the school.
“He is St. Raymond’s,” DeLuca said. “They always joke around that he came with the building.”
Patnosh, who played baseball St. Francis Prep baseball with former Yankees manager Joe Torre growing up, was one of the CHSAA’s most successful and longest tenured coaches. He started the Raven’s baseball team in 1964 and won 1,080 games, second only to Archbishop Molloy’s Jack Curran in the CHSAA. St. Raymond claimed city championships in 1980 and 1989 and nine division titles in his tenure.
Friend and McClancy baseball coach Nick Melito said coaches and people like Patnosh gave the league legitimacy. His colleagues know what losing someone like him means.
“It’s a huge void,” said Bob Fletcher, one of Patnosh’s former player and the Kennedy Catholic baseball coach. “You don’t have people like this any more that do this for the love of the game and to help people. It was always about the people and the kids. He is going to be sorely missed.”
Patnosh’s coaching style was described as old school, but filled with compassion. He would immediately correct a mistake, but find away after the game with his sense of humor to leave a player feeing good about themselves.
“We knew as hard has he was, he loved us,” former player and St. Ray’s Athletic Director Ben Aguirre said.
Patnosh dedicated his life to helping kids in any way he could. He even coached youth basketball into his 60s. He was a history teacher at St. Raymond and the history club moderator. Patnosh, who had very little family, was also its athletic director and an assistant principal. The people associated with the school, his players and its students became family to him.
“It was always about his kids,” Melito said. “Not players, it was his kids.”
He made sureleave that family in capable hands when he retired. Patnosh handpicked and mentored both DeLuca and Aguirre. He was the one who told Aguirre back in 2002 he should come back to St. Ray’s and helped him get a job. Patnosh welcomed DeLuca, who played at Mount St. Michael, with open arms. He stayed around the program after his retirement and was in the dugout when the Ravens won the city title in 2013.
“It’s like learning to paint from Picasso,” DeLuca said “I had the best. I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher.”
Patnosh’s wake and funeral were both held in the in the St. Raymond gymnasium, the place and the school he home called for nearly five decades
“I cant imagine the school without him,” Fletcher said. “It will keep going on, but I just can’t personally invasion the school with out him.”