BKW soccer coach inducted into state hall of fame

Enterprise file photo — Jordan J. Michael

A different kind of win: Former coach Jim Gillis is seen here at a Berne-Knox-Westerlo soccer game in 2012, left. Gillis was inducted into the New York State Boys’ Soccer Coaches’ Hall of Fame this month. During his time at BKW, he won 202 games and five league titles with his Bulldogs, stepping down in 2014.

BERNE — A long-time soccer coach for Berne-Knox-Westerlo is the newest member of the New York State Boys’ Soccer Coaches’ Hall of Fame. He was named on Nov. 11.

The inductee, Jim Gillis, coached boys’ varsity soccer for 22 years. During that time, his team totaled 202 wins and attended five league championships.

“It’s obviously a great honor … ,” said Gillis. “There’s only 60-some people that are inducted at the moment, so I’m quite proud of that.”

He described the award as the result of 36 years of coaching and working hard to make improvements at Berne-Knox-Westerlo.

Gillis was originally a coach at Guilderland High School for 13 years, first as a freshman assistant coach and then a junior-varsity coach. He then began coaching varsity at Berne-Knox-Westerlo.

“Jim’s a pretty humble guy,” said Tom Galvin, the athletic director for BKW. “He kept it quiet.”

Galvin said that Gillis told him he would be inducted during the state championships at Middleburgh, and Galvin asked if he could spread the word.

Gillis was a member of the Section 2 soccer committee since 1994. He was the committee chairman for 18 years and served on the committee for 21 years, he said. He is the sixth coach from Section 2 to be inducted into the hall of fame.

In 2002, Gillis helped to create the Capital Region Soccer website with coaches Ernie and Steve Clapper.

“That was a team effort,” said Gillis.

The group also ran an end-of-season All-Star banquet for boys soccer, moving it from the Polish Community Center in Albany to Saratoga and hosting 150 to 160 people each year, he said.

Under Gillis’s coaching, BKW was state ranked for only the second time in school history, in 2013, and won its first Western Athletic Conference title in 11 years.

Gillis stopped coaching at the end of the 2013 season, said Galvin. Gillis announced he was stepping down in the summer of 2014. He previously taught at BKW Elementary School as a physical education teacher until 2009, said Galvin.

“I’d like to thank the players that played for me,” said Gillis. He credited the students at BKW with being extremely hardworking.

“They put out their best effort,” he said. It also led to winning six sportsmanship awards from the Officials’ Association, he said.

Galvin said the athletic community in the school district is extremely proud of Gillis’s achievement.

“Jim not only gave his life to BKW soccer, he was BKW soccer,” said Galvin.