KINGS PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island driver is facing charges in the death of a beloved father, baseball coach and teacher.
They called him Coach McDermott, but say he was more like a father figure and a friend, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reports.
The Kings Park High School junior varsity baseball team still can’t believe their coach and teacher, 37-year-old Michael McDermott, was killed Sunday afternoon in a hit-and-run.
“He’s been my gym teacher since sixth grade. He was my soccer coach, and I had such a close connection with him,” Nick Milano, a junior, said.
McDermott was out jogging in St. James along the shoulder of Lake Avenue when he was struck by a 2014 Nissan sedan headed southbound around 12:20 p.m. The driver took off and left him for dead.
Twenty minutes later, in Manorville, police pulled over 32-year-old Keith Clancy, who was driving with a smashed-up windshield.
He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
Prosecutors say court documents show his license was revoked in 2015 for a DWI.
He was arraigned at first district court in Central Islip on Monday afternoon.
Timothy Eagen, the superintendent of Kings Park School District, says McDermott was a gym teacher and soccer coach at the middle school and coached baseball at the high school. He leaves behind a wife and three young kids.
Eagen released the following statement Monday:
“It is with deep sorrow that I am reaching out to you this evening with some tragic news. I was informed a few short hours ago that Mr. Michael McDermott, WTRMS physical education teacher and JV Baseball Coach, was struck and killed by a car over the weekend while he was out jogging.
“Mr. McDermott was a wonderful man, talented teacher/coach, and beloved member of our staff, and this news will be shocking to all that knew him. The district is in the process of reaching out to mental health staff to provide support for both students and staff. We will have a support center available Monday afternoon, starting at 1pm in the Library at KPHS, for staff and students in need of assistance.”
“When I saw the dugout, I was like, this is real, this is an actual thing that’s happening, and it’s very, very upsetting,” Jason Forneiro, a senior, said.
To honor him, teammates wrote all the players’ names on a baseball and buried it at the third base, where the coaches stand.
Monday night, the high school will remember him with a ceremony in the dugout, where players wrote “RIP Coach McDermott. Family, school, baseball” — a quote they say he taught them that they’ll never forget.
Guidance counselors were on hand Monday afternoon for any students and teachers who needed support.