Veshio retires as Quaker Valley track coach

Monday, July 15, 2019 | 6:00 AM

As a coach, Jerry Veshio encouraged his teams to focus on and improve one thing each week.

It was that mentality that helped Quaker Valley’s track team send students to the state championship track meet every year for more than 40 years and Veshio to lead the football team to win its first PIAA state championship in 2017.

After more than 40 years of coaching at Quaker Valley, Veshio, 67, retired last month as track coach, his final job in the district where he’s worked since the 1970s.

“What I’m most proud of is the tradition we upheld over all those years of getting kids to the state track meet,” he said.

Veshio, who grew up in Aleppo and lives in Sewickley, began working at Quaker Valley Junior High in 1976 as a substitute teacher. He was given a full-time position in 1979.

In 1998, he moved to Quaker Valley High School to work as athletic director and health and physical education teacher. He continued on as athletic director while keeping his teaching status until retiring in 2011.

Veshio began coaching track in 1978 and was named head coach in 1998.

Veshio also coached swimming for a year and football for 12, including three as the head coach. He returned to coaching football for a year in 2017 and led the team to its historical victory in Hershey.

Veshio called that winning football season “a tremendous sense of accomplishment.”

He enjoyed getting the community excited around the team with an outcome that “nobody had any idea it would happen.”

Veshio was named the Sewickley Herald’s 2017 Man of the Year for his accomplishments.

As a track coach, Veshio said, he tried to “give direction and guidance to the kids.”

“You aim to have them do the best they can,” he said.

Bob Patterson Jr., president of the Sewickley Community Center board of directors and an assistant coach for the Quaker Valley football team, was coached by Veshio. His son, Bobby, who runs track, was also one of Veshio’s athletes.

“My respect for Coach V. is such that even as an adult, it’s weird to call him Jerry,” said Patterson, who was on the track team under Veshio. “I still call him Coach V.”

Patterson said Veshio’s coaching record speaks for itself. Veshio, he said, has helped produce a large number of WPIAL and PIAA qualifiers, podium finishes and champions across the sprinters, distance runners and throwers.

“It’s been fun watching him coach my son. As a parent who coaches, I’ve had to do my part and keep out, letting Coach V. and the rest of the staff do their jobs,” Patterson said. “But it’s easier when I know the quality of coaching that my son is receiving, and more importantly, the caliber of human being that I am entrusting him to.”

Whether it was coaching or teaching, Veshio said he was always excited to be a part of it.

“I was also proud and happy to live in the community that I worked,” he said.

He didn’t mind running into parents at the grocery store and thought being a part of the community where he worked only enhanced the job he did.

Quaker Valley stands out to Veshio for its “small-town atmosphere. The people here, they care about the kids and they care about education,” he said. “It’s a great community to raise a family.”

Retiring as a track coach — and his final paid role in the district — doesn’t mean Veshio plans to go anywhere, other than traveling more with his wife, Leslie.

“They’ll still see my face around. They’re not getting rid of me that easy,” he said.

Veshio plans to continue volunteering as a scorekeeper and doing announcements for football.

Veshio also wrote a book, “Moving Forward,” about the Quakers’ PIAA championship season. The book is set for release at the end of September or beginning of October.