PV Athletic Director set to retire

Gattoni to step aside after nearly 40 years at PV


Molly Heintze

Mr. Thomas Gattoni will retire from being PV’s athletic director and a history teacher at the conclusion of the school year. He has been at Pascack Valley for 37 and a half years.

Noah Schwartz, Sports Editor

Thomas Gattoni has a variety of different hobbies, including gardening, playing the guitar, and spending time with his family. However, with his work commitments at Pascack Valley, he sometimes struggles to find enough time for his passions.

He will soon have a lot more free time for those interests, though.

After serving as Pascack Valley High School’s Athletic Director since 1995, Gattoni announced he will be retiring from the position, as well as his job teaching one US history class, at the conclusion of the school year. Gattoni will officially retire on June 30, with Mr. Shawn Buchanan taking over the AD job.

“I have spent a lot of time here…I think I have to [retire]. I think it’s just time,” he said.

During Gattoni’s 37 and a half years at PV, Gattoni taught history, was the head baseball coach for 22 seasons, and headed the athletic program. At the helm of the baseball program, Gattoni earned a career 377-173 record, leading the team to five league championships and two county championships.

“I hope that if you ever talk to one of my [baseball] players, they would say that they enjoyed playing for me, but they learned how to play baseball. And they learned how to play it right.”

Gattoni’s success on the baseball field began way before his coaching career, as a player. While playing at Park Ridge High School, Gattoni caught the eye of the Fairleigh Dickinson University coaching staff.

Between 1976 and 1979, Gattoni started all 134 games for the Knights, hitting for an average of .365, the third best in school history. Gattoni still holds the FDU school record for home runs (36) and runs batted in (164). He was recognized for his accomplishments when he was inducted into the Fairleigh Dickinson University Hall of Fame in 2012.

Prior to becoming the AD at Pascack Valley in 1995, Gattoni taught five history class and was named PV’s teacher of the year in 1993. However, he significantly decreased his teaching load once he accepted the administrative position. The transition was difficult at first, but as Gattoni gained more experience and became a father, he settled into the AD role.

“[The athletic director’s role] is about what you can provide to the coaches to make things better for them, therefore making things better for their athletes,” Gattoni said. “You are more of a giver. For awhile I struggled with it. But as I became a father I kind of realized that life wasn’t [so much] about me.”

Gattoni has three daughters in their twenties, each of whom were athletes in high school when they attended Old Tappan. Meanwhile, his wife teaches at Ridgewood High School and used to coach girls basketball there.  

Throughout his long tenure at Pascack Valley, Gattoni has made a number of close friendships with his colleagues, including fellow history teachers Jeff Jasper, Karen Kosch, and Ken Sarajian. Gattoni said he has always had a great bond with them, because they “grew up” together here at Pascack Valley.

“We just had a really good camaraderie in the [history] office,” Kosch said. “We were all growing up in our professions together… We found ways to have fun but we became really good at what we did.”

Over almost 40 years, Gattoni has spent “a lot of time” here at Pascack Valley, in order to support his students, coaches, and athletes. Being committed to them each and every day, regardless of circumstance, are among his most important priorities.

“If you ever see it rain real hard, you know I’m going to be on the sideline; the players are out there so I’m going to be out there with them… The better days, I’ll still be there, but the worse it gets the more likely I’ll be around,” he said.