DEGYANSKY, Eugene “Sonny”

In Memorial

Eugene “Sonny” Degyansky. Age 89. Passed away peacefully on January 22nd. Beloved husband of Barbara (nee Peresta). Dear father of Martin L. (Janet), Carol J. Long (Warren), Daniel J. (Kathleen) and Matthew D. (Rheanna LaRoche). Beloved grandfather of 11 and great grandfather of 14. Deepest gratitude to the staff of Seasons of Life Hospice. Blessed in marriage and health, fortunate and privileged to work with a multitude of students, mentors, parents and colleagues as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator.

Memorial Service; Tuesday, January 26th, 11:00 am at St. James Lutheran 4771 Broadview Rd. Cleveland, OH 44109. Reception to follow. Visitation; Monday, 2-8 at The Zabor Funeral Home, 5680 Pearl Rd. Parma (between Ridge and Snow).

Sonny graduated from BW in 1949 and was inducted into the Alumni Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1971.
The highlight of Eugene Degyansky’s athletic career was in 1949 when he was named B-W’s Outstanding Athlete and reveived the Cleveland Touchdown Club’s Football Player of the Year Award.  “Sonny” captained the basketball team and received All-Big Four, two years.
All-Ohio, and All-Big Four football awards earned him a chance with the New York Giants, but he later asked for his release to go into coaching.
Gene embarked upon a successful coaching career at West High School and always retained his philosophy in a time of offensive battles that “defense makes a good team.”  In eight years he led West High to three West Senate titles and in 1952 they won the championship.
In 1957, he became head coach at Lakewood High and his successes continued as the Rangers won four District Championships.  After being selected Cuyahoga County Coach of the Year in 1963, Gene retired from coaching.
He was a charter member of the B-W Lettermen’s Association and his numerous campus activities placed in Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.
 He went on to be the coodinator of guidance at Lakewood High School and a member of the Lake Erie Association of Counselors and the Ohio Education Association.
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Messages of Condolence

  1. Jeff Degyansky on January 22nd, 2016 3:22 pm

    Grandpa (Great Grandpa),

    May you rest in peace and know that we love you and will miss you.

    Love,
    Jeff, Jamie, Sawyer, Braden, and Zachary Degyansky

  2. Bon & Brenda Manning on January 22nd, 2016 7:32 pm

    Our sincere regrets on your family’s loss. We enjoyed his company at Devon’s and Andrew’s wedding.

  3. Matt on January 23rd, 2016 3:29 pm

    Rest in peace Pop.
    Love you forever

  4. James Hess on January 24th, 2016 9:32 am

    My sincere regrets to your family’s loss..
    I was a Grad student at West High School in 1950-51

  5. Chuck Padvorac on January 24th, 2016 9:35 am

    Our deepest sympathy on your loss. Your Dad will be remembered in my prayers. Hugs to Mrs. D. Chuck

  6. William M. (Biff) Folberth, Lakewood High School '62 on January 24th, 2016 9:42 am

    They don’t come any better than “Coach” and his wife Bobbie. I was privileged to have played basketball for “Coach” in what has been called “The Golden Age of Ranger Basketball” at Lakewood High School, 1957 to 1964. While others were partially responsible for the success of that era, the leader of the merry band (with his assistant coaches Duncan and Zimmerman) was our “Coach D”.

    The snow in the East means I will be unable to join my fellow Hoppsters who I’m sure will be front and center at the service on Tuesday, including, “B”, Scotty, Gabe, Weed, Whitey, Phil, Tom, Ron S., Ron F., Ralphie, Jamie F., Al, Rich, Don C., Dick and I’m sure many who in a senior moment I’ve inadvertently forgotten. We were fortunate enough to have gathered at “B’s” in Lakewood some four years ago to celebrate coach’s 85th birthday, not a dry eye in the crowd.

    I hope someone takes a ceremonial picture of all former Ranger Hoopsters on Tuesday.

    My lasting remembrance of Coach was his “patented” out of bounds play with less than five seconds left when we were behind by one point (didn’t happen often) that gave one of our running and gunning guards a shot at the hoop from less than six feet away.

    Coach always had the answers to issues in both life and basketball, and was a role model for us all.

  7. Ron & Carol Fugo on January 24th, 2016 10:45 am

    Saddened to hear about “Coach D” …..many fond memories…..he never forgot(several years ago he sent me PD clippings from our games in 1962). We will miss him but never forget him.

  8. Babe and Marie Topole on January 24th, 2016 11:26 am

    Our deepest sympathy to Barb and the entire Degyansky family. Babe felt very honored to replace Sonny at West High as the head coach .

  9. Don Conry on January 24th, 2016 11:42 am

    I did not know what a great athlete he was. I do remember seeing his portrait at B. W. He was a gentlemen coach whom my brother Ken played for his junior year. He paid me a compliment my senior year and I have carried that with me my entire life. I wish I could have been athletic enough to play for him, but am glad my brother who was a Co captain his senior year had that chance his junior year. They beat Shaw at Shaw to tie for the LEL title as a senior ….after he retired from coaching. Rest in Peace, coach. Don Conry, LHS 61.

  10. Jim Fisher on January 24th, 2016 1:57 pm

    I was one of Lakewood High School’s fortunate because I had the forever memorable experience of being coached and taught (graduated in ’64) by Gene Degyanksy. It might seem like a cliché, but I can easily say I learned as much about life (his teaching) as I did basketball (his coaching) from Coach Degyanksy.
    That’s saying a lot because I still have him in the back of my head when I’m watching NBA games today (defense first!) and learning from experiences (they are what life is made of).
    To his family, I can only pass on my deepest regrets and hope they receive some solace in the fact that so many of us carry his teachings into our daily lives.

  11. Leonard Kantor on January 24th, 2016 10:01 pm

    I knew you as Gene, I lived across the street from you.i am Diane Nagy`s Dad.I always told my daughter Diane how nice of a person you were.You are in Gods arms, and with all the Angels, now.You will be missed very much.God bless you now and all your family. Leonard R.Kantor

  12. Greg Birney on January 25th, 2016 9:31 am

    It was a great pleasure to work with Sonny on the Organizational Board of the WEST HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS REUNION held every two years. His Leadership and wisdom will never be forgotten. We all loved and respected you as the originator, author, and architect of this Board. Always thinking of others, this Program has recognized many of the athletes playing for West High. We all THANK YOU and TRULY ADMIRE YOU for all that you have done for your students, teachers, and players. ” You have shown us the way” GOD BLESS

  13. Bob Hulligan on January 25th, 2016 10:52 am

    I remember him from the Guidence Office at LHS and that he coached my next door neighbor, Ken Conry.

  14. Al Drews on January 25th, 2016 12:49 pm

    Coach, teacher,role model,gentleman,hero,counselor,mentor,advisor,motivator, inspirer,leader,confidant,encourager,difference-maker,friend. These are the words I would choose to describe what coach meant to me and many others whose lives he touched. I can’t adequately express the impact he had in shaping who I am today and it all started back when I was his hoops manager in the eighth grade at West High.

    I join with Bobbie and the Degyansky family in grieving the loss of this special man. I make peace with his loss by knowing he did not suffer for a long time and by realizing how lucky I am to have had him my life.
    With Sincere Sympathy–Al Drews

  15. Luke Hoffa on January 25th, 2016 6:29 pm

    I have always been thankful that I had the privilege of playing for Coach D. He was a great coach and also a great man. He will be missed.

  16. Gene and Jean Fahnert on January 26th, 2016 12:54 pm

    Gene was a fine man, teacher and educator. We will miss him. We were fellow educators at Lakewood High.

  17. Grant and Pat Sherwood on January 26th, 2016 1:45 pm

    Remembering “coach” as a generous and humble man who cherished his family and had a significant influence on both my personal and professional life. Our prayers go out to Bobbie and family.

  18. Tony and Bonnie DiBiasio on January 28th, 2016 3:37 pm

    To Mrs. Degyansky, and the Degyansky family,
    On behalf of Danny and Bob, and all our families we wish to express out condolences and deep sympathy in the passing of Mr. Degyansky. Sadly we just learned of this today. Please know how much we loved both of you. Mr Deganysky and Mrs. Degyansky were so close to our parents that we thought of both of you as surrogate parents. Always there with an encouraging word, sincere support, and an expression of unconditional acceptance for each of us, in all that we did. As an adult, one learns that men like my father and Mr. Degyansky are rare individuals whose presence in your life makes you a better person just from knowing them. Our family was doubly blessed by the friendship “Sonny and Bobbi” had with Tony and Julie. I will treasure the memories I have of Mr Degyansky, as a kind and gentle man who cared deeply about all those he touched in his remarkable life.
    With Love, Tony and Bonnie DiBiasio, and the whole DiBiasio Family.

  19. Beth Stoch Beerer on January 29th, 2016 11:42 am

    I would like to extend the Stoch Family’s deepest sympathies to the Degyansky Family. We so cherish the 7 decades-long friendship and all the memories our two families shared. Mr. Degyansky was such a wonderful, loving and gentle man. Such a true and faithful friend to my parents, June & Ed. He will be sorely, sorely missed.

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