Portland State University photo
Cereghino family photo
Louis Cereghino takes a knee in the 1950s with players including Dennis Gass and Walt Spitznagel.
Clarice KeatingCYO/Camp Howard inducts two lifelong athletes this year into its Hall of Fame: retired Portland State University softball coach Teri Mariani and longtime CYO coach Louis Cereghino, who is honored posthumously.
Of the Catholic Sentinel
Mariani worked as a coach and athletic administrator for 29 years before retiring in 2008. Though she’s officially retired, Mariani is still often in the stands at PSU, calling the action for a live web broadcast at Vikings women’s sporting events.
In addition to becoming the youngest person to be selected to the Portland Metropolitan Softball Association Hall of Fame for her contributions to the sport, Mariani was inducted into the PSU Athletics Department Hall of Fame and Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. When the Vikings softball team placed third in the nation in 1991, Mariani was named West Region Coach of the Year, an honor she received again in 1992.
After playing CYO sports in grade school at St. Philip Neri, Mariani went on to play volleyball and basketball at St. Mary’s Academy. She competed in volleyball, basketball and softball at PSU, graduating in 1976. Then she stayed on to coach.
“I was always involved with team sports because I liked the camaraderie, but you also had the individual challenge,” she said.
Mariani’s experience with CYO in grade school was her stepping stone into athletics, which led her to stick with sports during her entire academic and professional career.
Mariani is accepting the award in honor of her parents Bob and Harriet. Bob coached CYO sports for 20 years and Harriet coached for eight. They were both named CYO coaches of the year.
Mariani remembers tagging along to football practice with her dad as a second-grader, and playing volleyball and basketball with her mom as coach later on.
“I don’t want to say I was pushed into sports, but our family environment opened the doors,” she said. “They were the reason I got started.”
Cereghino, 1914-1995, was raised on the family farm in Milwaukie and played sports as a tyke at St. John the Baptist Church. He participated in the athletics program at Milwaukie High School, graduating in 1932 with big plans for college and professional coaching.
But that year Cereghino’s mother died, so he chose instead to stay home and help out on the family farm. Soon after, the young man’s older sister died and Cereghino’s father, an Italian immigrant who never learned English, relied on his son to be the spokesman for the farm.
Though he wasn’t able to pursue his dreams of higher education, Cereghino didn’t give up on coaching. As soon as he graduated, he signed up to coach CYO sports at his alma mater, St. John’s. In his free hours, Cereghino began coaching, often rushing from his duties on the farm to make it to games on time, and continued to coach nonstop until his 70s. By the time he retired, he had worked his way up to the athletic director position.
“His goal was to get everybody to participate,” said his son, Bob Cereghino. To that end, the elder Cereghino expanded “cub” athlete opportunities, expanding the CYO program to include more players than ever.
“He absolutely loved young people,” Cereghino said.
One of Cereghino’s players, Mike Richardson, credits his former coach for influencing generations of athletes. Cereghino also gave Richardson a small loan, seed money for the young man to start a comic book company, which today has grown to become the internationally recognized comic book publishing company Dark Horse Comics.
When Cereghino retired from coaching and farming, he transitioned to the role of “super fan,” his son said. Milwaukie High painted a permanent spot for “Mr. Mustang,” as he was known, which was always reserved for Cereghino’s folding chair at basketball games. He was famous for knowing the names of all the players and athletic staff members at the high school.