As word of his death spread on opening day of football practice for the Kenmore East Bulldogs in 2009, Lou Reuter's name was written, in magic marker, on a locker room wall near the saying, "Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog."
Saturday afternoon, the coach and teacher was honored in a more lasting way, as the press box at the Bulldogs' home field was dedicated in memory of Louis "Lou" Michael Reuter Jr.
It was a symbolic return for Reuter to Dick "Sparky" Adams Field, where he worked side by side with the Bulldog's legendary coach, after whom the stadium is named.
"He was a very loyal assistant coach who the kids loved," said Adams, who was Reuter's boss as head coach from 1964 to 1977. "He had some great sayings. The players loved him. They'd come up to JV and keep on talking about Coach Lou.
"We were very fortunate to be together," Adams continued, choking up a bit at the memory of the man he called his best friend. "And I'm very pleased his name is up there on the press box now. We're together forever."
Adams helped unveil a color portrait of Reuter at a dedication ceremony held before the Bulldogs' varsity football game against the North Tonawanda Lumberjacks. The portrait was to be hung inside the press box.
Reuter coached junior varsity and varsity football at Kenmore East for 33 years, and he taught social studies in the high school from 1963 to 2000. He was affiliated with the Empire State Games for 27 years -- 17 years as a volunteer and 10 as western regional director.
He also was a member and vice president of the Ken-Ton School Board for several years.
Reuter was 74 when he died in August 2009, after a lengthy battle with cancer.
"Lou was a class act and perfect gentlemen. His dedication to our district and service to children was unparalleled," said Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro, who was hired during Reuter's second term on the school board.
Reuter also coached football at Kenmore West High School and ran the intramural basketball programs at Kenmore East. As head of supervision for athletic events, he was the official greeter for visiting teams.
In 2008, Reuter was inducted into Kenmore East's Athletic Hall of Fame.
"No one could match Lou's love for athletics," said Brett Banker, the district's athletics director. "He inspired and greatly influenced generations of student athletes throughout our district."
Banker continued: "Lou taught children important life lessons. Not by X's and O's, but by living a life of integrity and honor."
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