PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Peekskill High School held an alumni night for all former basketball players on Jan. 11 and also paid tribute to a beloved former staff member.
The school dedicated an equipment closet to Gary “Porky” Male, the district’s former equipment and team manager, who died last summer at age 70. The area, which has been named, “Porky’s Pen,” is adorned with both a sign and photo plaque commemorating Male’s 25 years of dedicated service to Peekskill’s athletes and coaches.
Male began working for Peekskill schools more than two decades ago as a volunteer team manager under coach Lou Panzanaro. His role eventually expanded to helping other coaches as well. He worked mostly with the district’s basketball, football, and baseball teams, but made himself available to any coach who asked for his help.
“There was never a time when he was called that he did not immediately respond,” Panzanaro said. “We named the closet after him because his devotion to Peekskill warranted a prominent remembrance and he was probably most at home in the gym. The closet was one of his special places where he did much of his work.”
In addition to Porky's closet dedication, there will also be an empty seat in the gym with his jacket on it at all home games this year.
The night’s events were presented by the Peekskill City School District’s Athletic Department and began with about 20 former basketball players gathering in the high school cafeteria to catch up with each other and reminisce about old times.
After the reunion the alumni players took in the boy’s junior varsity basketball team was playing a game, which would be followed by a varsity game later that evening.
Besides his involvement with sports programs at the schools, Male was instrumental in getting the press box erected in Depew Park and also worked frequently with the city at Peekskill Stadium.
"Porky took great pride and joy in being part of the athletic community,” Panzanaro said. "He was there for everyone all the time. Porky was non-judgmental; he never had a negative word to say about anyone. He wanted only to see the Peekskill athletes and coaches do well."