Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Teaneck Legend Cervino Dies at 93

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Teaneck Legend Cervino Dies at 93

Article excerpt

In the fall of 1967, a 16-year-old newcomer to Bergen County, transplanted from Queens to New Jersey at the beginning of his junior year in high school and knowing no one, nervously walked into the athletic director's office and asked if he could help keep statistics for the Teaneck High School football team.

He was greeted with a big smile and a welcoming hand by Joe Cervino, even then a legend in Bergen County coaching circles, and I was no longer a stranger in a strange suburb.

Joseph Anthony Cervino Jr. died Tuesday afternoon at Holy Name Hospital at the age of 93, leaving a legacy far greater than his coaching record, which itself was great.

"I patterned my entire life after him, as a man, as a teacher, as a coach, as a parent, as a husband, as a grandfather," said his eldest son Joseph Walter Cervino, himself a legendary baseball and wrestling coach at Paramus High School before retiring in 2011. "Who had a better life than him?"

Coach Cervino (that's all any of us ever called him) was from Haddon Heights, N.J., where he was a standout baseball and football player. He went to Gettysburg College to play both sports, but World War II intervened and he spent three years in the Army, becoming a sergeant, seeing action in the Normandy Invasion and earning a Purple Heart. He then returned to Gettysburg after the war, met and married his wife of 65 years, Audrey, and settled in New Milford, starting his teaching and coaching career at Teaneck High School in 1949.

He was the head football coach for a couple of years but made his mark as the school's baseball coach for 22 years and athletic director for more than two decades. His baseball teams won 384 games in his 22 seasons as head coach, including five league, four county and three state sectional titles. He helped found the Bergen County baseball tournament in 1959, and his team won the first county title. …

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