STILLWATER, N.Y. — Mike Lilac has guided Hoosick Falls athletes both on the basketball court and the baseball diamond for decades. The longtime coach has been a staple for Panthers athletics since his coaching days began in 1989.
On Oct. 22 he will trade in the blue and white that he has grown so accustomed to over the years for another familiar combination; maroon and silver, though just for a day. Lilac has been announced as the newest member of the Stillwater High School Athletic Hall of Fame, where he starred in the 1980’s as an athlete.
Lilac was a three-sport athlete for the Warriors, playing basketball and baseball from 1982-85. He also played varsity football from 1982-1984. Stillwater enjoyed plenty of success during Lilac’s tenure, winning a league title in basketball his senior year. He played for his dad Mike Lilac Sr, a member of the Capital District Basketball and New York State Basketball Hall of Fame.
Lilac Jr. was also a member of the 1985 Stillwater baseball team that won a sectional championship.
Growing up around Stillwater athletics with his dad as the football and basketball coach, the induction is special for Lilac. The athletes he shares the honor with were players he looked up to as a kid.
“Growing up, looking up to these guys that are in there, and guys that I’m going in with — it’s a nice honor,” Lilac said. “Especially as a kid growing up with it, I think it’s pretty neat”
Lilac says he looks back on with fond memories from time to time. His favorite moment of his illustrious playing career came after winning the sectional baseball championship in 1985. The game happened to fall on “Family Day” in Stillwater, a large town wide celebration.
After the win, the Warriors returned to Stillwater via a championship escort from the town’s fire department.
“They paraded us right into Family Day and (we) got introduced in front of the whole town, it was pretty cool,” Lilac said.
Lilac also recalls a few Stillwater players talking with a scout for the Cincinnati Reds prior to the sectional match.
Other than that, the current Panthers coach cherishes the friendships that were formed with his teammates while on the gridiron, basketball court or baseball diamond.
“You kind of remember the relationships with your buddies, your teammates,” Lilac said.
Now as a coach, Lilac’s Hoosick Falls Panthers face off against Stillwater often. He doesn’t take those matchups for granted.
“It’s always been a special game, I circle it on the calendar,” Lilac said. “Even after my father retired, there’s always a friend or a relative or somebody’s kid on the team. It’s always a nice little reunion, I get to see some old friends.”
Lilac is joined by Abbey Hanehan, Gary Carpenter, Tommy Tanner as individual inductees. The 2007-2009 golf team and the 2002 girls soccer team were also inducted into the Stillwater Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2021.
The newest members of the Stillwater Athletic Hall of Fame will be inducted at a 5:30 p.m. ceremony on Oct. 22 in the middle school cafeteria prior to the varsity football game vs. Canajoharie. The inductees will also be honored on the field during halftime with a plaque.