Even before his graduation from Cooperstown Central School in 1980, Dave Bliss was helping with youth sports, refereeing youth basketball games at the Clark Sports Center, and coaching there not long after graduation.
Bliss, the CCS softball coach and long-time Middlefield town supervisor, has been serving the areas’ children ever since. He was honored Monday for his service with the 2013 Fetterman Award.
“The only one question we all have about Dave winning this award is why hasn’t he won it sooner?” Jane Clark asked as she introduced Bliss at the award ceremony at the Otesaga.
Bliss has also coached basketball, soccer and baseball at various levels. He has been the CCS coach for 13 seasons, building the team into a top-level program. Last season, Cooperstown won its first league title, going undefeated in the regular season, and winning the Section Three, C-1 title.
In addition to his family and previous Fetterman winners, all three of Bliss’ assistant coaches and three of his current players attended the ceremony.
“You never are concerned about anything except what is in the best interest of the girls,” Glen Noto said, speaking for the softball program.
Bliss quoted Jackie Robinson in accepting the award, saying, “ ‘A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.’ The other winners have had an impact on other’s lives. I am honored to be among them.”
“If you look at the other winners here, we all have something in common, and that is we all have gray hair” he joked, “but that is not surprising given what we do.”
Bliss thanks his assistants, the CCS teachers and administrators, Clark and the Clark Sports Center, and his family. He said growing up with six sisters prepared him for coaching girls. He thanked his deceased parents, Claud and Anna, his wife of 30 years, Kim, and their three children, Rachel, Eric and Ethan.