Bob Furlong, a driving force in Riverhead youth sports for decades has died after a long illness.
Furlong, 58, died yesterday at Stony Brook University Hospital.
He was the longtime general manager of the Riverhead Tomcats in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, which announced his death last night on its Facebook page.
Furlong had managed the Tomcats since the establishment of the league in 2009. He stepped aside as general manager due to health concerns last spring, his assistant manager Patti White said. White took over the general manager responsibilities after he stepped aside.
“When the league went from one team to five teams, Bob was instrumental in establishing that team in Riverhead,” league president Henry Bramwell said. “He was instrumental in making the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League one of the top summer leagues in the nation.”
Furlong was “very, very knowledgeable about college sports,” Bramwell said.
He is remembered by friends and colleagues as quiet, hard worker who got the job done.
“Bob was a super smart guy who was always the voice of reason within the league,” Bramwell recalled. “He was always a calming influence, a very kind and considerate person.”
Former Riverhead Little League president Tony Sammartano said he first met Furlong when he coached the Riverhead Fire Department team in the league.
“His heart was truly in it for the kids in the community,” Sammartano said.
The two men were co-general managers of the Tomcats when the team first took the field eight years ago, Sammartano said. “He was always a diligent worker, from start to finish,” he said.
Bramwell said Furlong was loved and respected by other coaches and players alike. There was an outpouring of emotions on the league’s Facebook page after Furlong’s passing was announced last night, Bramwell said. “Players, parents, coaches all paid tribute to him.”
The beloved coach was honored by the league last summer with “Bob Furlong Day” and it created an award his name, which will be given for the first time this season to “a player that best exemplifies Bob’s commitment to the community and sportsmanship, both on and off the field,” Bramwell said.
“He was so dedicated and passionate about the league, to his last breath,” White said. “Whatever he did, he did with so much passion.”
Furlong had been a longtime employee at Pine Barrens Printing in Westhampton and a real estate researcher at the county center,
He summered in Bay View Pines in Flanders and moved there full-time when he was in his 20s, said friend and colleague Tom Lennon.
Furlong lived in Hampton Bays. He is survived by his wife Shirley and their children, Katie and Dennis and his brothers Jim and Larry.
Memorial visitation will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2017, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home, 336 Marcy Avenue, Riverhead. A memorial Mass is scheduled for Saturday, March 11 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Ponquogue Ave. in Hampton Bays with Fr. Philip Hubbard officiating. It is requested that if any former players, parents, or friends of Bob would like to submit a fond memory or story, it can be e-mailed to Heppnerfuneral@gmail.com so that it may be posted during the memorial. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, P. O. Box 263, Westhampton, NY 11977.