Skaneateles school board votes to name field after beloved coach following emotional pleas from community

Mr. Bob Braunitzer, who spent 35 years at the Skaneateles Central School District, was more than a teacher and a coach.

Skaneateles High School Alumni Erica Nye had Braunitzer as her softball coach.

"I've never met a coach more passionate than him," says Nye.

For incoming Skaneateles High School Senior, Elijah Goodell, Braunitzer was a mentor.

"I remember he told us to be a kid all the time which is something to sort of keep with you throughout the years," says Goodell.

Incoming Senior, Molly Kerstetter remembers him for his fun-loving nature.

"You would come into his room and he would have music playing. Everyday he would be out in the hall playing with a tennis ball. He was very involved as a teacher and as a coach," says Kerstetter.

Braunitzer died on May 28 at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer.

Former student Matthew Leverich started a petition on asking the school district to name the softball field after Braunitzer.

It was an idea originally brought to the school board last summer, with the hope Braunitzer would be there for the dedication.

"We really wanted him to be here for this dedication. It would


meant the world to him, to his family, and the entire community," says Leverich.

It was clear at Tuesday's board meeting, the community wasn't prepared to let another day go by without giving the beloved teacher the recognition he deserves.

After several emotional pleas including one from board member

, Susan Benjamin,

who issued a motion

the board voted unanimously to name the field in Mr. Braunitzer's honor.

Following the vote there were hugs, tears, and a standing ovation.