Longtime youth sports coaches honored posthumously

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Two longtime youth sports coaches, the late Bob Spindler and the late Richard “Whitey” Thomas, were honored by the Rome Sports Hall of Fame as Frank Clark Service Award winners on Sunday, July 28.

They were recognized during the Hall’s 43rd annual awards dinner which was held at Vernon Downs Hotel Casino. The dinner will featured the induction into the Hall of Fame of Nick Bottini, David Caldwell Jr., Jack Charney, Charlie Constantino, George Lewis Jr. and the late John Mody.

The service award is named in memory of Clark, who was a longtime member of the Hall of Fame board of directors and was active in numerous community organizations.

Here’s a look at this year’s service award honorees, with much of the information provided by the Hall of Fame:

Robert Spindler

A technology teacher for the Rome City School District for 33 years, Spindler was active in the community, especially in youth sports.

Spindler was an AYSO volunteer coach in the late 1980s and continued his involvement in the sport over the years. He also coached soccer on various levels in the school district and also was a soccer referee.

He was a driving force behind the start up of the Rising Stars Soccer Club in Westmoreland, helping with the construction of the facility. He also served on the board of the Central New York Soccer League and eventually became the registrar for the adult summer leagues.

He also coached baseball, softball and girls basketball and was a certified scholastic girls basketball official.

He was also active in many organizations, including leadership positions with Teugega Country Club, Trailbusters Snowmobile Club and and Lake Delta Yacht Club.

He died on June 23, 2018.

Richard “Whitey” Thomas

Thomas for many years was involved in the Rome National Little League baseball and the Rome Colts Pop Warner football programs.

Besides being a successful Little League coach, he also helped maintain the playing fields and the buildings used by players and spectators, painting the buildings and equipment the colors of the Rome National all-star team.

He was also a Pop Warner coach for the Rome Colts, helping to lead them to numerous winning seasons. He remained actively involved with the program even after his children’s playing days ended.

Thomas died in 1989.

The Rome Sports Hall of Fame awards dinner was preceded by a public reception on the day of the dinner at the Rome Sports Hall of Fame located at 5790 Rome-New London Road.

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