LANCASTER, N.Y. (WKBW) — As another track and field season winds down, it's time for Lancaster athletes to not just say goodbye to another season, but to say goodbye to their longtime coach.
After 48 years at the helm, Kevin Carriero is set to retire.
These last few days have been bittersweet as he can't help but get emotional when talking about what his athletes have taught him.
Carriero is a legend at Lancaster.
His teams have remained consistent or have grown in size nearly every year. He gives the kids structure and treats them as if they were his own.
"You join the track family, you're family for the rest of your life as far as I'm concerned," he said.
Over the years, Carriero has seen it all and looks back fondly on what he calls "The Golden Time". He was among a group of coaches who worked alongside and supported each other. Those memories remind him of what coaching is all about.
"I pinch myself sometimes and say, how can anybody be so lucky, to be in a community and in a group of people for so long and be like brothers? I'm the luckiest guy in the world."
Throughout his coaching career, Carriero has coached countless sectional and state champions with many of them continuing their careers in college.
Pentathlete Mike Wolford is one of them and is grateful for his time at Lancaster and grateful for his coach.
"The impact he's had on his athletes is more than just you see on the track," Wolford said. "They improve as better people."
As Carriero gets ready to say goodbye to the sport he's given so much to, he's also expressing gratitude for his kids, for his colleagues and for a community that's become family.
"I wasn't born in Lancaster but this community has embraced me like one of their own," he said. "I'll be forever grateful for that."