The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district and
community are deeply saddened by the death today of volunteer
varsity wrestling coach and former Olympic gold medalist Jeff
BH-BL athletic director Bob McGuire valued Blatnick as not only a personal friend but also a long-time supporter of the district's wrestling program.
"Jeff was a very valuable member of our BH-BL athletic coaching staff," says McGuire. "He was a man who was totally respected by everyone he touched. He was respected for his knowledge, character and spirit. Jeff was a major part of our wrestling program and was a great role model for students who came through our program."
"Jeff came to me and asked if he could volunteer to help coach. What do you say to an Olympic champion who asks to help! You say 'Yes!! Welcome abroad and let me get the door for you!' Well, that door opened up six years ago for the BH-BL wrestling program, and because of Jeff's hard work, passion, pride and love for the sport, our wrestling program started a new tradition. Jeff will be truly missed by our entire coaching staff, our wrestling community which we call family, and all members of our community. We have lost a true gentlemen, leader, coach, and friend."
Blatnick and his wife Lori were BH-BL parents and residents and have been active supporters for many years of both the interscholastic wrestling booster club and the Pee Wee Wrestling club for younger children.
In addition to many other honors over his athletic career, in 1984 Blatnick was one of the first Americans to ever win an Olympic gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling.