Over the next several months, we'll be featuring each inductee of the Greater Binghamton Sports Hall of Fame's 2023 class. We begin with a legendary Southern Tier coach in baseball, Ed Folli, who served as a JV Coach for Binghamton and Johnson City before bursting onto the scene with Union-Endicott in our latest Athlete of the Week brought to you by Amphenol Aerospace.

FULL INTERVIEW HERE.

The Ed Folli story reads very similar to any Endicott kid.

"I can remember sitting on the stoop sitting on June Street," Folli said. "Glove in hand, looking down the road to see my dad coming home so that we could go in the backyard and I could pitch to him."

As time marched on, Folli went from pitching for his dad to Pete Sylvester and other Union-Endicott coaches before playing in college at Springfield off of Sylvester's advice.

"He thought it was going to be a good thing for me and it was."

Another great place for Folli was staying in the dugout even after his years as a Springfield Chief.

"It was an easy transition because I never wanted to take the uniform off. I look at myself more as a caretaker of the game than I do as a coach."

That attitude was seen right away as fellow Hall of Famer, Lou Howell hired Folli as a JV Coach.

"Those three years at Binghamton were the best of my life."

Then to Johnson City, a short stop on the journey, but one that would ultimately change his life decades down the line.

"Tim Sinicki, He was my star shortstop and pitcher and he was a good one."

Before finally returning home to Union-Endicott to coach with Sylvester again.

"He was a tremendously successful coach at UE."

So when Folli got the call up to Varsity after 11 years, it was a bittersweet moment.

"I hated to see him go, I didn't understand then, but I totally understand it now. And I hated to see him go and I wanted him to stay on again. I didn't understand I said stay on and be my assistant. You know, he's like, No, that won't work. This is your time. And I didn't understand it then, but I totally understand it now."

Up to that point, whether it was Sylvester's squads or the Folli teams of the nineties, Tiger baseball was more or less the benchmark of Section IV at the time, leading up to 2001.

"They wanted to be the first that was. They were driven to that all year. Practices were easy. They had a goal."

The goal? Bring home Union-Endicott baseball's first-ever State Championship. But once in the title game, Ed's brother fell sick and was bedridden. To make matters even worse, his opponent's head coach was also terminally ill.

"So I'm seeing him, I'm thinking of my brother. And yet we're trying to accomplish this feat that no other great U-E team could ever accomplish. And when we finally got that final out, safe to say there were a lot of emotions for sure."

Two years later in 2003, Folli ran it back with a whole new squad. And epitomizing his already established importance on family, his two sons won it with him.

"Kind of like storybook in a way. Not everybody gets to win a state championship in any sports, it's very difficult to do, but to do it with your kids, overwhelming."

2006 would be the year Folli hung his hat on being a head coach, piling up Section Titles and a U-E record 275 wins.

"It was a little bittersweet because of my affection for Pete Sylvester."

And while Ed walked away from high school, he got a call from that old star shortstop from Johnson City, Tim Sinicki.

"I said, yes, what do you want to do? I said I want to accept your offer before you change your mind. So, yeah and I thought I really thought that four or five years at BU would be great. I could ride off into the sunset and here I am about to enter my 17th or 18th year."

Similar to that of his and Sylvester's relationship, it all came full circle as he was able to coach his son with the Bearcats. 

"I'm so proud of him. I think he's going to be a really good one. He connects with the kids, he knows the game and he loves it. And if you don't love it, it's hard to be good at it."

And with eight section IV titles, a pair of state championships, three STAC League Trophies, six America East regular season championships and five AE postseason championships and 275 wins as a head coach, the most in Union-Endicott history, there’s only one question left to ask…does winning ever get boring?

"No, not at all. You play to win," Folli laughed.

And be sure to keep an eye here in the coming days as we'll be publishing the full interview for these stories.