WRIGHT TWP. — There has been one solid fixture on the sidelines for Casey Cole since her freshman year on the Crestwood field hockey squad – Elvetta Gemski.
The long-time coach provided a sense of ease and poise that Cole says is so ingrained in her play that she passes it on to her teammates daily.
“All her wisdom that she’s passed down to us,” the senior midfielder said. “It’s really such an honor to play for her and be under her as a player.”
Gemski, who was set to enter her 39th year as varsity head coach, officially stepped down on Thursday, Aug. 21, for undisclosed reasons. Under her tenure, Crestwood has won five PIAA state titles with the last one occurring in 2012.
“We were all upset because we’re all so close to her,” Cole said. “She’s like a parent to us, so it was upsetting, but she’s still here so it’s still a positive atmosphere, she’s doing well.”
The news wasn’t as surprising to acting head coach Patricia Moratori, who said Gemski’s decision was a possibility since before the start of preseason.
“We’ve discussed this is what’s best for the program at this point,” Moratori said. “Mrs. Gemski didn’t want to kind of dump everything at once. So I kinda (knew) this might be coming. I was kind of clued in since the beginning of preseason that this might be what’s happening.”
According to Moratori, Gemski will be acting as a volunteer coach and has attended several practices leading up to Crestwood’s season opener against Nanticoke on Sept. 3.
“She’s going to be here as much as she can but on the days she can’t, it just alleviates that problem of her not being here every day,” Moratori said.
Gemski’s husband, Stan, died on Aug. 4.
No matter her role, Gemski’s presence, even in smaller doses, is enough for her players.
“She’s here a lot still helping us out,” Cole said. “She’s still very much a part of it. So we still get to see her a lot.”