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Irvington Honors Bill "Otto" Otivich

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – Irvington Recreation Supervisor Joe Archino remembers when “the Legend of Otto” was cemented in his mind: long-time coach Bill “Otto” Otivich was umpiring an over-40 adult baseball game in the late 1980s when he ducked to miss a ball heading toward him, hit the ground and missed the game-deciding play.

Archino thought Otivich would call on him to decide whether the play was good. Instead, Otivich stood up and yelled, “Do-over!”

“These are adult softball players who are not the easiest people in the world, and they all listened,” Archino said. “They all went back.”

Mayor Brian Smith recently honored Otivich with a proclamation noting his many years of service to the village. Otivich served as a coach and teacher in Irvington schools for several decades. For the past 23 years, he has been running the youth basketball program for the recreation department.

Otivich is a Hastings native who began working for Irvington just after graduating from Manhattan College.

“I'm truly touched,” Otivich said while thanking the village and his family for their support.

Otivich said he's “now coaching kids of, kids of, kids I've had.” People ask him all the time how he knows so many people and Otivich said, “I'm just old.”

Smith noted that he had Otivich as a high school gym teacher. Both of his children have also had Otivich as a teacher in “Ottoball,” the nickname given to the youth basketball program.

“I'm just glad I had Bill Otivich as my teacher,” he said.

Trustee Rocco Rasulo grew up having Otivich as a mentor. He said Otivich has the ability to be a teacher, coach and friend.

“It's a quality not often seen,” he said.

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