Fallston football player C.J. Turner, left, shares a laugh with former head football coach Dave Cesky after presenting him with a football signed by the team during a ceremony to honor the long time Fallston head football coach, teacher and athletic director before Friday night's home football game.
Fallston football player C.J. Turner, left, shares a laugh with former head football coach Dave Cesky after presenting him with a football signed by the team during a ceremony to honor the long time Fallston head football coach, teacher and athletic director before Friday night's home football game. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

For the large majority of the past 40 years, Dave Cesky has been the big guy in orange, leading his Cougars football team onto the field to begin new home season after home season.

Friday night it was Cesky making that stroll again, only this time the team, and many former players from his previous teams, were on the field waiting for the legendary coach and members of his family.

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Cesky, who officially retired in January due to a cancer battle, was honored by the football team, the school and the community for his many years at Fallston High School.

“It meant a lot, because it came from the students, faculty, the parents, the players and the community, it just meant a lot,” Cesky said.

Physical gifts included a football, signed Fallston helmet and framed Cougars jersey, but it was the love and thoughtfulness of many that made the night so meaningful.

“I went out in January with cancer and never came back. After I got operated on and had some complications, I never came back the second semester,” Cesky said. “I taught last year for half a year. It was colorectal cancer where they took part of my colon out. Didn’t have to do chemotherapy or anything, so things look pretty good, until next time when they check me next February. I’m good right now, I had a long recovery.”

Cesky was also sidelined in 2016 with another medical issue, but still made it to a few games. “I was wheel-chaired into a couple of games, I tried to hit a couple at the end of the season,” Cesky said. As for making more games this season, he said, “Oh yeah, now that I’m retired, I’ve got lots of time.”

One word really describes what the best of part retirement is according to Cesky. “Everything”, he said.

Cesky, 65, coached for 40 years, taught for 42 at Fallston (44 in Harford County) and was the Fallston Athletic Director for 35 years. He did teach at Aberdeen for two years.

So, what’s the retiree doing? “I spend a lot of time with my grandkids in all phases. I have four in this area and four down south,” Cesky said. “Gardening, you know, just about whatever I want to do. Getting in a local group to talk sports at Panera Bread. I’m pretty good at that, so it took somebody by surprise. They’re solving the world’s problems, so I jump in sometimes.”

What’s Cesky going miss the most? “The interaction with kids. I’m having a good time tonight because a lot of former players are here and I’m catching up with them, but it’s the interaction with kids, it’s the big one,” he said. “That’s why you get into teaching, coaching to begin with, to see how they develop, what they learned, but you can learn from them, too. Always felt that way. It’s time, I always said, you know when its time. I could have retired a little bit earlier, but I was too, stubborn.”

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