In Memory

Pete Reiff -Asst. Coach 77-80

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01/06/09 12:48 AM #1    

Jeff Wagner -76 (1976)

Hoffman track coach Reiff dies at 52
By Marty Maciaszek Daily Herald Sports Writer
Posted May 27, 2003

Pete Reiff was a master at preparing his Hoffman Estates High School boys track and cross country teams for the postseason.

Just 11 days ago, Reiff was beaming about his track team's third-place finish in the Mid-Suburban League meet despite only three state qualifiers.

But on Monday morning, just four days before this year's state meet, Reiff died unexpectedly at age 52. The official cause of death was not known.

"It's a tremendous loss to not just athletics but academics,'' said retiring Hoffman assistant coach and teacher David Alex, who was Reiff's best friend. "Pete took pride in the fact he was from the old school. When his (social studies) students wrote essays and he graded them, they were held to a very high standard.

"He was the same way in athletics. He was very into 'we-ism' and not 'me-ism' and the idea of team.''

The all-state runner for the legendary Joe Newton at York was able to mix individual and team into a pair of state trophies after arriving from Thornridge to take over in track in 1980 and cross country in 1987 at Hoffman.

Reiff's track teams won nine MSL titles and his 1997 team, led by hurdle champion Pierre Leinbach, took second in Class AA to Lake Park. They are the only boys track team in MSL history to claim a state trophy.

His 1990 cross country team led by Maha Martinez also took second in the state. Leinbach and Martinez were all-Americans and among 35 all-state athletes Reiff coached.

"What a great motivator,'' Alex said.

That rubbed off from one of the best in Newton. Reiff finished third in the 1968 state cross country meet for the third of York's 22 titles under Newton. In the 1969 track meet, he was fourth in the state's 2-mile run before going on to compete at Michigan State.

Reiff also had former athletes go into coaching, such as Ty Gorman and John Osmanski at Barrington and Dan Delahunt at Hoffman.

"He greatly admired Mr. Newton, and one of the greatest joys Mr. Newton had was watching Pete coach,'' Alex said. "And one of the greatest satisfactions Pete had was watching his former athletes coach.''

Alex said "absolutely'' that this year's state qualifiers - Brett Farmer, Jordan Breaux and Dennis Manning - would compete Friday in Charleston.

Reiff is survived by his mother, LaVern, and three children, Dylan, Landon and Madeleine. A memorial service will be held from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, with a funeral service immediately following at Ahlgrim and Sons Funeral Home, 330 W. Golf Road, Schaumburg.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hoffman Estates High School to the Peter Reiff Memorial Fund for the outstanding York High School cross country runner of the yea

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