The Long Island Advance headline said it all: “Walt Costello Greatest’ In PHS Court History.” The story heralding the Patchogue senior’s basketball superiority was published in 1964, but the sentiment may well remain true nearly 60 years later. Walter Costello was Suffolk County’s leading scorer, averaging nearly 30 points per game, and was named to All-League, All-County, and All-Long Island teams. But his greatness hardly ended there. He starred briefly at Manhattan College before making his greatest impact to his country and community as a member of the United States Army serving in Vietnam and then, for 34 more years, as an officer in the Suffolk County Police Department.
Walter has always been a leader and an inspiration to many. Growing up in a well-known Patchogue family of 13 children, Walt was a three-sport athlete, finally focusing on basketball despite growing to be barely six feet tall in a sport dominated by much taller players. He finished almost every game as leading scorer, mostly from picture-perfect jump shots years before anyone thought of awarding three points for long-range baskets. At Manhattan College he once scored 55 points in a game. Drafted in 1966 and sent into combat in Vietnam, he was honored with two bronze stars for heroic action in several major battles.
Back home in 1969 he married his former Patchogue classmate Jacquelyn Dietz and began his long service with the Suffolk County Police. Now living in California near their children Jennifer and Scott, Walter continues to serve- as a proud member of the American Legion and volunteer with various veteran and church groups, while still mentoring up-and-coming athletes.