Daniel A. Van Detta (Dir. Phys Ed)

Daniel A. Van Detta (Dir. Phys Ed)

Dan Van Detta Fatally Stricken
         by Paul Bostwick

Daniel A. (Danny) Van Detta, director of physical education in the Batavia schools where his coaching career spanned more than 30 years, collapsed and died of a heart attack Wednesday night, December 13, 1972, while driving from the Senior High School to Genesee Community College. He was 60.

The well-known and popular sports figure known affectionately as "Coach," had suffered a heart attak four years ago, but his only consession to that was to give up coaching football. He was in his fifth year as director of physical education and had coached baseball through last Spring. He also was director of the city's highly regarded Summer Recreation Program.

During World War II he was commissioned on the battlefield in Europe and awarded the Silver Star, the nation's second highest honor, for gallantry in action.

Coach Van Detta, who resided at 246 East Avemue, had been at the Senior High School where a wrestling match was taking place. He decided to drive to Genesee Community College where the BHS swimming team was participating in a swim meet. He was accompanied by Miss Elizabeth A. Dimmick, health education teacher at the Junior High School and a close friend of the family.

En route to the college, Coach Van Detta stopped the vehicle for a traffic signal and suddenly collapsed at the wheel. Miss Dimmick drove him to nearby Genesee Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 7:10 p.m.

Few men have left the impact on athletes that Coach Van Detta left on those he coached.


Daniel Van Detta's 1932 Batavian Senior photo: