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PSAL head Kevin Gill steps down from post

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Kevin Gill, the man credited with the revitalization of the Public School Athletic League, announced his retirement last week after 35 years in the Department of Education.

After taking over for Thomas Hemans two years ago, Gill made sweeping changes at the PSAL, which had be plagued by, “incompetence, indifference and uncaring,” according to Francis Lewis girls’ basketball coach Mike Eisenberg.

Gill, 56, was also the Chief Executive of Food Services and Transportation in the Department of Education, instituted coaching clinics, PSAL.org — the league’s very successful web site — and brought back the idea of borough championships, which brought more exposure to the city’s student-athletes.

“It’s a big loss, Kevin was a guy who was actually willing to listen and make changes to make the league better,” Cardozo boys’ basketball coach Ron Naclerio said. “He broke down an iceberg of incompetence that had been frozen for 40 or 50 years. He did a lot in a short time.”

Gill also forced the league’s coaches and athletic directors to work, at times holding their paychecks until box scores were emailed or faxed into the league’s offices.

“Although the new regime did a tremendous job of trying to make the PSAL a classy organization, the main reason they succeeded was because Kevin Gill cared,” Eisenberg said. “They care about the kids, about what is best for the kids. Tommy Hemans and the old regime did not.”

Gill, who began his career as a math teacher in 1968, has been responsible for the largest school food service operation in the country for the past 20 years and has headed the school transportation system for the last 15 years.

Gill will remain on the job for a couple of months as the search for his replacement is already on. The choice is a critical one because without Gill, the league could slip back into the bureaucratic nightmare it was before he took the job.

“People don’t admit what a joke it was, but Kevin said if it’s a joke, tell me what to do to make it better,” Naclerio said. “He actually scared a lot of athletic directors and coaches into working. Hopefully the next guy actually has a clue, cares and wants to take the league up a level or two.”

“I’d like it to be someone who has a good organizational background and a background in PSAL athletics,” added Eisenberg. “Someone who knows the problems the kids and coaches face everyday, a person who gets things done, who has the respect of coaches and administra­tors.”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by email at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Updated 10:25 am, October 12, 2011
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