James Monroe High School football coach Richard Serbay has had a memorable year.
On June 1, he was inducted into the James Monroe High School Hall of Fame.
"Coach Serbay is the most recognized person in reference to The James Monroe High School," said John B. Gordon III, the school's principal, who started the Hall of Fame two years ago. "The students love him, the community respects him, and his opponents fear him."
In another special recognition, the school's yearbook was dedicated to Serbay this year, an honor that Serbay said was just as satisfying as his induction into the school's Hall of Fame.
"It felt really good for the kids to think about me like that," he said during an interview Tuesday. "I was real proud of that."
At the Hall of Fame induction at Cannon Ridge Golf Course, Serbay's son, Sammy, 22, gave the introduction for his father. Serbay has been coaching for James Monroe since 1982 and he likes to tell people that his teams have won 4 and 3/4ths state championships because last year his football players came so close. Up by two points with less than two minutes to play, Brookville High School came back to kick a game-winning field goal to win 34-33, a heartbreaking loss for the Yellow Jackets.
"We came so close, 20, 30 seconds," he said. "We had that game won and we let it slip through our fingers."
Serbay said some one of his most memorable seasons was in 2005-06 when his No. 4 seed underdog Yellow Jackets knocked off the first and second seeds to win regionals. His son played center on that team. In the 2005 region final, James Monroe beat York 54–41 in a wild shootout.
"It was one of the most exciting games I've ever coached in," Serbay said. "What a great game that was."
Also inducted on June 1 were Hogie Garnett, Dennis Dodson, Michelle Nichols and Beth Richard. Serbay praised Principal Gordon for starting the Hall of Fame at the school.
"It is one of the best things we've ever done. Our principal, Dr. Gordon, stepped up and got it started," Serbay said. "There are so many wonderful athletes and people who went to school here who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. I wish we could just put more than five in each year."
At 62, Serbay said he still has the fire in his belly to coach.
"I love coaching," he said. "I get so excited every July and August when a new batch of kids come in and we try to mold them into a team. That's such a great challenge."