Chuck Funke* 2015


ECIC / Section VI


Charles “Chuck” J. Funke passed away on September 1, 2010, but not 

before leaving an indelible and lasting impression on the entire Western New York sports community, all those that came to know him during his life, and his loving family.  Shortly after his death, Mary Jo Monnin of the Buffalo News wrote an article about Chuck in which she appropriately described him as the face of Section VI football.  In that same article, a former student, Dr. Doug Moreland, called Chuck “the true measure of a man” for the way in which he brought out the best in everyone and for how his name was revered in any  discussion about him.  A past colleague and friend, Frank Payne, also confirmed this sentiment when he referred to Chuck as the “Vince Lombardi of High School Football in Western New York” in a quote for the  Orchard Park Bee.  Perhaps most telling of his measure was from his daughter, Karen Reid, who said that “his real love were the kids he spent his entire life working with”. 

These kind words and sentiments were earned by Chuck over many years while working in education for the Iroquois Central School District.  He began his career with Iroquois in 1966 as a physical education teacher. would later hold positions as a guidance counselor, athletic director, and retire from Iroquois as a middle school principal in 1999. 

From 1974 to 1981, he also coached varsity football, track, and boys’ and girls’ basketball.  As the girls’   modified basketball coach, he oversaw two undefeated seasons.  As coach for the varsity football team, he would also preside over five of eight winning seasons, ultimately accruing a record of 38 wins and 27 losses.  In his final game with the Iroquois Chiefs in 1981 the team earned its first appearance at Rich Stadium.  From there, Chuck’s involvement in athletics continued to expand when he became the athletic director for Iroquois from 1981 to 1993.  In 1982, he was also appointed as the Section VI Football Chairman, a position that he would distinguish for 28 years. the chairman, he presided over many positive changes within the Section VI community, including pushing for the formation of the New York State Championship Playoffs founded in 1993 and developing the post season bowl games, designed to give non-playoff teams in the Section the opportunity to extend the season with two extra games. his guidance, Section VI ultimately earned 16 state titles. 

His particular love for the game of football extended to other positions as well.  He would help to found and serve as president of the Western New York Amateur Football Alliance, an organization that sponsored such events as the Junior Combine at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Western New York Coaching Clinic, College Night at the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse, and the Bills Initiative for Youth Football. 

For his work in this regard, Chuck was awarded many honors.  Among them, the WNY Officials Association Memorial Award, the NYS Athletic Administrators Association Award for Distinguished Service to Athletics, the Basketball Service Award for Dedication and Support of the Iroquois Basketball Program, the Ship Pardon Service Award for Significant Contribution to High School Football, and appointment to the Iroquois Central Athletic Wall of Fame.

 * Posthumously awarded