VERONA – Glenn ‘Chip’ Thron is a predominant member of Vernon-Verona-Sherrill’s athletic tradition.
As a young man, Chip always loved sports and regrets not getting involved during his time in school. Despite not being directly involved with the outcome on the field, Thron was often seen keeping stats at baseball, basketball and football games to keep a running history of VVS athletics.
After graduating from VVS in 1982, and soon after college, Thron found his way back to the school and joined the VVS All-Sports Booster Club in 1987.
The rest is history.
Over the past 30-plus years he’s become arguably the most recognizable athletic figure at the school. For all of his contributions as a volunteer, scorekeeper, and involvement with the Boosters Club, Chip was inducted into the VVS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.
For his efforts, we present Chip the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association’s (NYSCOPBA) Volunteer Spotlight Award.
Every student-athlete that has the privilege to wear VVS’ red and white knows him as purely ‘Chip’. He’s the go-to guy if you need anything at any time. A 1982 graduate at VVS, Chip has volunteered his time since joining VVS’ All-Sports Booster Club in 1987. A few of Chip’s many tasks and accomplishments over the past 30-plus years are being the curator for the Route 31 VVS Message Board since 1992 and building the Boosters Club up enough to fund the tax share of Oliver Park Baseball Complex.
“I’ve known Chip my entire 16 years at VVS and he’s the epitome of what any athletic department, team or Boosters Club looks for in a volunteer,” said Duey Weimer, VVS athletic director, who is moving on to Victor High School in the fall. “Whether it’s updating the front message board since 1992, announcing at basketball games, keeping the book for baseball, 50/50 at football games, concessions for various sporting events, or working at district functions or fundraising, Chip volunteers 100% of his time and gives 100% effort.
“If you ever need to know a VVS statistic, team results or a personal recollection of a game from the mid-80’s to present day, Chip is your man! His selflessness and unwavering support for all things VVS has had a lasting impression on everyone and he is without a doubt deserving of being recognized for his volunteerism.”
According to Weimer, if you talk to anyone who’s ever been closely involved with VVS athletics, they’ll surely have a favorite “Chip” story.
Chip is a big, affable guy and greets everyone with a big smile. He supports all VVS sports, but is most closely associated with baseball and basketball. The players in those sports have grown very close to Chip as they progressed through the program.
“I am graduating from VVS this year and I was a three-year varsity player on the baseball and basketball teams in which Chip was very involved in both,” said Dewey Roden, who’s headed to play Division 1 baseball at UMass-Lowell. “I’ve known Chip since I was a little kid. Chip is a very unique guy; he’s always thinking about others and always trying to help keep VVS athletics successful. The things he does for us athletes and the things he does behind the scenes are amazing. He does not get the credit he deserves.”
Chad Hodkinson met Chip when he began coaching baseball and basketball at various levels in 1999. Hodkinson took over the varsity baseball program in 2010 and the two have grown even closer over the past nine-season run, which includes a Section 3 championship in 2015.
His unwavering loyalty to VVS is not atypical for Chip. He sticks with his favorite sports teams through the years. He loves the Yankees, Steelers, 76ers, the New Jersey Devils and the Utica Comets. He’s a New Jersey Devils fan because Utica was part of the Devils organization 26 years ago. That’s taking loyalty to a new level.
“Chip has a love for sports that is not seen in many people,” Hodkinson said. “But I think the number one reason that Chip continues to be dedicated to VVS, is his loyalty. His loyalty and devotion goes beyond sports though. Chip can be found at any VVS event. He is one of the most kind and sincere people you will meet … one of the most caring individuals ever.”
Hodkinson knows Chip better than most and enjoys all the time he gets to spend with his witty, loyal and caring friend.
Whether it’s getting in a timely jab at coaches or players, or showing compassion for a player that had a tough game, Chip is much more than a scorekeeper. He always remembers to bring Hodkinson’s daughters birthday presents every year and does that for others as well.
“It may sound simple, but Chip’s biggest impact is his presence at any VVS event,” Hodkinson said. “I don’t think there is a person around that has been to a quarter of the number of VVS sporting events as he has. If you ask any VVS player who their biggest supporter is other than their family members, Chip’s name would come up over and over.”
Other than support and friendship, Chip’s presence has a tangible value to the success of VVS athletics.
“He codes the book in great detail whether it’s a swinging strike, a foul ball, a hard hit ground ball for a base hit, etc. I use that information to help us,” Hodkinson said. “He tallies all the stats after each game and creates a summary making it easier for me to send the stats to the media. He takes care of all the little things before and after games that drive coaches crazy. He is an invaluable member of our baseball staff. The players view him as a part of our team.”
While off at college, Roden will feel a bit of a void not having Chip in the dugout.
“My favorite thing about Chip that I will dearly miss is him yelling out the next four batters that are coming up to hit in the current inning,” Roden said. “My favorite memory with Chip is, after making a huge play or hitting a home run and getting a fist bump from him and not being able to feel my fist for the next half hour because his fist bumps are so powerful. He is one of the most hardworking guys around when it comes to being involved in athletics. It was a pleasure getting to know him and being involved with him in sports.”
Current and former coaches and players know without a doubt the program wouldn’t be as strong without Chip’s contributions. His impact has been felt throughout every level and continues today.
Legendary Red Devils basketball coach Al Knapp and one of his star pupils, Dan DeBlois, gushed about what Chip brings to the program.
“I actually grew up with Chip,” said Dan DeBlois, who starred in football and basketball at VVS before graduating in 1993. “We were neighbors and in all of my years of travel ball, he’d go to all of my games, even before he started with VVS sports and the boosters. I have nothing but great things to say about him. He’s the most dedicated person I’ve met and the real unsung hero to VVS sports … that’s for sure.
“He’s helped raise so much money that’s given VVS a competitive advantage,” added DeBlois, who played at Hamilton College and joined Thron as members of VVS’ 2017 Hall of Fame Class. “He gives the school a resource that other schools don’t have. His life revolves around VVS sports. I don’t know anybody more dedicated and he’s probably the most selfless person I’ve met. He doesn’t want any of the glory. He just enjoys helping program and helping the kids.”
Knapp coached 14 years at Brookfield, then for 22 more at VVS, before retiring in 2011 with 539 career victories. He won 15 Tri Valley League division titles and a Section III championship in 1999. During that span, Chip was always supportive and got things done to help the program run smoothly.
“Basically Chip is probably the most committed, generous person I’ve been associated with in athletics,” Knapp said. “The volunteer work he does at VVS … he’s in a class all by himself. He’s a very good and very humble person … and a very good friend. I’m indebted to him for all he did for me.
“It’s really hard to find anyone who’s ever said a bad word about Chip. That’s a testament to his character and selflessness. He’s just a great guy. He’s just amazing. … Irreplaceable.”
CHIP THRON FILE
- Nickname “Chip”… Glenn was about 1 hour old. His sister (Jean) saw him in the nursery and told his mother… “He’s a chip off the old block, he looks just like dad… lets call him chip.”
- Started with the VVS All-Sports Booster Club in 1987
- 1990 – Chip took over the “broom closet” – concession stand between gyms
- Most Proud of… Booster clubs ability to fund the local tax share of the Oliver Park Baseball Complex ($60,000 over 15 years)
- Created and Published “Devil Doodles” – Did you know type information about VVS Basketball – Stats, records, games info and more.
- Basketball is his favorite sport to watch… however, baseball is his favorite sport be be involved with.
- Started keeping book in 2003, when Jim Burton became AD)
- Chip has been the curator for the Route 31 VVS Message Board since 1992
- Chip has been seen chasing letters that blow away down route 31 and climbing over waist deep snow piles ever since
Mid-York Sports Report is running a volunteer series over the summer months. For nominations, please contact Nick Sardina via email at firstname.lastname@example.org