Longtime Fulton athletic official named to Hall of Fame

Don Distin, of Fulton, has been named to the Class of 2014 for the New York State Athletic Administrators Hall of Fame.

He and others were installed into the Hall of Fame March 14 at the Saratoga Hilton in Saratoga Springs. This was part of the New York State Athletic Administrators annual conference and Dave Martens Awards Luncheon.

Distin grew up and spent most of his life in Fulton. He was a staff sergeant in the US Army and member of the Signal Corps.

He was sent to Germany, and when the Army found out he could play football, he became captain of the 6th Armored Cavalry in 1952. The team won the European championship. He was also the trainer for the 6th Armored Cavalry boxing team.

Distin received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as permanent certification as director of health and physical education, from Ithaca College. He earned his administrative and supervision certificate from SUNY Oswego.

Distin was hired as a social studies teacher and head football coach at G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton.

He is credited with starting the wrestling team in Fulton in 1959. In 1962, he became director of athletics and taught physical education. Three years later he was promoted to administrator of health, physical education and recreation for the Fulton City School District.

Distin served as president of Section 3 from 1978-80. He also was president of the New York State Council of Administrators of HPER, New York Stae Dental Health Teachers Association, Central New York Cities League and Central Zone President for Council of Administrators of HPER.

Distin was on the original organizing committee of the New York State Athletic Administrators Association in 1981 and attended the first organizational meeting in Binghamton. He was selected and served as the first past president for the New York State Athletic Administrators Association from 1981-83.

In addition to serving on many section, state and national committees, Distin also served as speaker at many of those state and national conference workshops.

He has had numerous honors bestowed upon him by his community, school, Section 3, state and national organizations.  Upon retirement, the new Fulton Athletic Complex was dedicated in his honor.

Distin has also served his church and acted as chairman of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for the Syracuse area for five years.

Distin and his wife, Carolyn, were married for more than 50 years and had four children, sons Sherman and Mark and daughters Susan and Mary Beth.

After his retirement, they retired to Florida. Carolyn passed away in 2006, and Distin has been remarried to Judy, and they live in Avon Park, Florida.

In addition to Distin, those installed were in the hall of fame were:

** Robert Douglas (deceased), a member of the original organizing committee, second state president, first finance chair

** Joseph Farrell (deceased), Binghamton, original organizing committee and host of first official meeting.

** Dr. John Foley (deceased), national publications committee, state Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame,

** Alan Mallanda, Lake Luzerne, original organizing committee, fifth state president, second executive director, 14th national president, NIAA merit and hall of fame

** David Martens, Fairport, (deceased), original organizing committee, first state president, fifth national president NIAAA hall of fame and award of merit

** Mason Morenus, Homer, original organizing committee, conference presenter and organizer, Otis Sennett Award, NIAAA state delegate

** Bernie O’Brien, Section 8 executive director, original organizing committee, first treasurer, NIAAA award of merit, New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

** Roy O’Neill, Mamaroneck (deceased), fourth state president, first executive director, NIAAA award of merit.

** Otis Sennett, Baldwinsville, original organizing committee, organized first conference, New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, NIAAA award of merit, NIAAA Hall of Fame.

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