Tribute to a John Cervino – a true winner

By LARRY MASI, Class of 1968

As a young man, playing football for the Ocean City Raiders, I grew to admire our dear Coach Cervino.

I know that when he was drilling us and making us run laps, and through knee-deep water in the ocean, or running what he called “hill and dale” at football camp up the side of hills and mountains in the Poconos, I don’t think I was referring to him then as my “Dear” Coach.
However, after every practice, and every game, I knew beyond any doubt that he cared deeply for his players, me included.  Coach Cervino had an uncanny ability to challenge us and get us to work as teammates regardless of the color of our skin, or our background, and he was determined to mold us into the absolute best players we could be. I know these words reflect the feelings of other on our team.

During my tenure at OCHS, I played four sports. I loved baseball, but it was football, and Coach John Cervino, that had more to do with my learning of persistence than perhaps anyone I ever knew – other than my dad.

Why? Because he believed in us, and me.

When it came time for college, I was preparing to go to Lehigh or Lafayette. But Coach Cervino said, “Larry take this film reel to the coach at Gettysburg College and then make your decision. I remember that it was after all admissions had pretty much been closed that I followed his advice. Based on his instinct, and I assume his influence, Gettysburg offered me a terrific deal if I would play football for them. I did. Coach Cervino was proud.

Coach Cervino was the best! He could have coached anywhere but he chose Ocean City High School.  I am thankful for that choice and for the opportunity to have played with many talented athletes under his direction. 

Coach Cervino, you were and are a winner. And in my mind and heart, you always will be. 
I pray that you are with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And that I and other Raiders will see you again in God’s Stadium in Heaven. 

Blessings to the Cervino family for sharing him with us.

John Cervino & Larry Masi in 1968

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