November 18, 2008
Geneseo: When Fred Bright passed away on November 18, the Geneseo community lost one of its most celebrated coaches, sports legends and friend.
On May 19 of this year, Bright was honored by the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) at its annual awards banquet. He received the Damore Distinguished Service Award for his numerous years of commitment and growth of the conference.
Bright coached SUNY Geneseo’s women’s soccer team for 14 years, compiling an all-time conference record of 177-62-17. Over this period his teams won four SUNYAC championships, five ECAC Upstate NY Tournament crowns, appeared in three consecutive NCAA tournaments, and even reached the Final Four in 1994, his final year of coaching.
His interest in sports went well beyond soccer. He coached Geneseo’s men’s tennis teams from 1975 to 1980, achieving a notable 36-22 record. He made major contributions to SUNYAC’s operating codes for both women’s tennis and soccer.
Bright was named SUNYAC Soccer Coach of the Year (1985) and the National Soccer Coaches Coach of the Year/Northeast (1994). His many coaching achievement were also recognized when he took home the coveted Rochester Area Sportsman Award in 1988.
When he wasn’t coaching, Bright held of number of other posts at SUNY Geneseo. These included Associate Professor of Health and Physical Education (1971-1995), Chair of the Health and Physical Education Department (1984-1991), and Director of Sports Information (1991-1995).
Fred Bright married Joan Fisher 46 years ago. The Brights have two daughters (Carol and Sharon) and one son (Jeffrey); all are SUNY Geneseo graduates. They also have three grandchildren.
Bright was active in many community activities, including a dozen years as a member of the Geneseo Rotary Club. He served on the Board of Directors of Rotary’s camp for handicapped for seven years. From 1975-1985 Bright was the director of the American Cancer Society’s annual tennis tournament.
A native of Aaronsburg, Pennsylvania, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree at Lock Haven State College (1957), his M. Ed degree in Recreation Education from Penn State (1962). He did his military service in Europe from 1957 through 1959. He taught physical education in Lehighton, Pennsylvania (1959-1961) and was a recreation specialist with the State of Vermont (1962-1964) before joining the SUNY Geneseo faculty in 1964.
After his official retirement in 1995, Fred turned his attention to another of his great passions: telling stories. Some of his favorites will appear in the soon-to-be-published “SUNY Geneseo: From Normal School to Public Ivy.”
To all those who wish to honor Fred Bright’s memory, please consider a donation to The Geneseo Foundation, Erwin 201, 1 College Circle, Geneseo or to The Teresa House, 21 Highland Road, Geneseo. Private services to be held for the family. For more information or to send a condolence please visit www.doughertyfuneralhomes.com