George Ulrich is a beloved and supremely impactful former teacher and coach who served the Patchogue-Medford schools for 34 years. Over the course of 25 years, 1966-91, Ulrich reigned as the winningest Varsity Baseball coach in PMHS history. His teams won nine league titles, and the greatest of his squads, the 1974 Raiders, won the Long Island Championship, leading Ulrich to be selected as Suffolk County’s Coach of the Year. His total of 352 victories ranks 15th on the all-time honor roll of Suffolk County baseball coaches. Many of Ulrich’s players went on to have successful careers in the college and professional ranks, and a few made it all the way to the Major Leagues, notably Jeff Schaefer (Class of ’78), a five-year infielder with the White Sox, Mariners and Athletics. 

In addition to coaching Varsity Baseball, Ulrich also made his mark coaching football, first as the freshman coach at South Ocean Junior High, and then as chief assistant and defensive coach of the Patchogue-Medford Varsity. Beginning in 1958 and continuing until his retirement in 1991, virtually half of all the male students in the P-M District came under the very strong influence of Ulrich (and his partner for many years, Ed Wakim), the phys ed teachers at South Ocean Jr. High (later Middle School). Ulrich liked to come off as strict, and even intimidating at times. Scrawny pre-teens would shiver in his presence. But as soon as students learned to “fall into line” and perform to the best of their abilities, Ulrich would often break the tension with sweet praise, a few jokes and smiles. He employed the same techniques coaching baseball and football. He always gave special attention to young people with special needs, particularly those from broken homes or who had lost a parent. Even after 50 or 60 years, many of his former students and players consider Mr. Ulrich to be among their most memorable, if not favorite, P-M teachers and coaches, and many consider him to be among their most treasured friends. 

Ulrich is being doubly honored today, having been selected to the Patchogue-Medford Hall of Fame not only as a worthy individual, but also as one of the coaches of the honored 1967 Varsity Football team, the first Patchogue team in 24 years to win a football league championship.

Hits: 46