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Tributes are paid to top-class coach

Date published: 22 May 2012

Teacher left his mark on basketball and football

A POPULAR PE teacher has died following a two-year battle with cancer.

Yaro Martyniuk (61), who slam-dunked his way to 100 trophies as a basketball coach and set up the Oldham Celtics Basketball Club in the 1980s, died at Dr Kershaw's Hospice on May 17.

The father-of-three, from Lewisham Close, Royton, had been head of PE at the former St Alban's RC High School, in Warren Lane, for over 30 years before moving to St Augustine's RC High School.

Until recently he was a football referee with the Lancashire FA and had also taught business studies at Marple Sixth Form College.

Not only was he the former captain of the Ukrainian Lions soccer team in the Oldham Sunday League, he also became head coach of national league basketball side Bolton Fine Ceramics.

Alongside Pat O'Donnell, he helped form Oldham Celtics Basketball Club, which went on to set a number of records, two of which were seasonis best statistics for the whole of the National Basketball League.

Mr Martyniuk also coached eight players who went on to play for England at various levels.

Stefan Moroz, who invited Mr Martyniuk to be best man at his wedding, said: "He was a very generous and loyal man, firm but fair.

"He had a great respect for authority and, of course, enjoyed great success in sport, including getting some of his students to play basketball at a national level."

Mr Martyniuk leaves his wife Margaret and three children, Alexander, Daniel and Alex.

His funeral takes place at 9.30am on Friday at the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St Peter & St Paulis & All Saints, in Chadderton Way, followed by interment at Greenacres Cemetery.

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R.I.P. Yaro.....You were a pain in the butt as a teacher at St. Albans but we students had nothing less than enormous admiration and respect for your achievements. Our thoughts are with your family.

Very sad to hear the news I remember Yaro very well having played with him on the original team at St Albans when we were both students many many years ago. Yaro always displayed a real passion for the game and with his drive we were a very good team. What has been left out as well is that Yaro was also a black belt in Shotokan Karate, he never did anything in half measures. God bless you Yaro the world has lost a very nice man. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family & the students he taught

A fine Oldhamer. Very well respected and admired for his achievements and dedication.

Yaro, You were a legend pal. It was good knowing you. R.I.P

R.I.P Yaro and thanks for enabling me to have my thoroughly enjoyable Saturday nights at the sports centre watching Celtics in the 80`s.

Yaro I knew and worked with you a long time my old friend and I am so glad that we spoke just recently. We argued and laughed a lot over 13years - not about Basketball I might add but about the last time that you bought me (or anyone else for that matter) a pint !!? We were intending to meet up this summer but that is not to be. I will miss all the good times we had at the Celtics, School Cup Finals and the unforgettable Kingston Camps.
God Bless
John Grant (Oldham Celtics 1985-1991)

I knew Yaro for many years and it was a pleasure to be in his company. He was dedicated to promoting sport in the town and was a great pal of another 'good bloke' Bob Sopel. God Bless Yaro and may you rest in peace. (John)

Very sad for me to hear the news as well. The time and effort he put in to the lives of many kids deserves recognition. Sympathy to all those close to Yaro.

Yaro, you will be sadly missed but remembered by all who knew you, a super stong athlete, a top football referee who took no nonesense on the field, if only they were all like you. A very proud Ukrainian who supported his national Ukraine football team in Kiev, top man Yaro RIP

I am so sorry to hear the news of Yaro's early death. I have only just heard the news after leaving Oldham many years ago. I did not realise just how much he meant to me until his picture popped up on my pc, as we fell out over 28 years ago now. Thanks Yaro, for all the time you gave to me. often when I did not deserve it and was being a pig headed teenager. RIP, You will never be forgotten.You helped shape me into the3 person I am today,Thank you and god bless coach. One of the eight.

Yaro and I met through football. Aged 16, in 1966, we both played for the Ukranian Lions and enjoyed our football with many other fine young men on the Ukranian team.

Yaro was a fine fit lad who excelled in sport and believed in fair play. I never saw him referee a football match but have heard many accounts of his actions on the field of play; he was good for football. He was also good for education.

Yaro failed his 11+ and went on to gain a Masters Degree in Business Studies.

I miss him.

I am still missing you.You are often in my thoughts as we experienced so may 'adventures' together as friends for over 46 years. Most of all I enjoyed the training sessions with you, especially when training for the Paras! It is only now that I realise how fit we were. Those were the days my friend.See you Pal.

Always in my thoughts; so many memories.


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