BRICK, NJ — A funeral has been set for beloved basketball coach Raymond Cervino, who led the Toms River North women’s basketball team to the finals of the Tournament of Champions in 2000.
Cervino died last week at age 78, according to his obituary on the O’Brien Funeral Home website.
Cervino was a history teacher at Toms River North and coached girls basketball for 20 years at Toms River North, where his teams compiled a 313-212 record and won the Shore Conference Class A South division nine times, according to Asbury Park Press records.
He was inducted into the NJSIAA Hall of Fame in 2001, a year after coaching the Mariners to the NJSIAA Group 4 Championship and Tournament of Champions Finals, the only Ocean County team to reach the TOC title match. He was also inducted into the Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame along with his daughter, Nicole.
His family said his students and players probably remember him just as much for his many sayings, such as ‘let’s go like the rotary phone’, ‘I said yes’, ‘oat brain’ or, when frustrated, “very unintelligent game, ‘you glaze my apricots’, ‘get in the fuckin’ shit,'” or by his most famous catchphrase: ‘Geez O Man.’ “
Cervino was born in Philadelphia in 1944 to William and Dorothy Cervino, and graduated from St. Joseph’s University before moving to the Shore.
“His early years were full of baseball and lots of shenanigans,” his family said in their obituary. “He told his grandchildren that his youth was comparable to that of John Travolta in the movie Grease. During his last weeks, Ray even confessed that he had spent a year of his young life as a cheerleader. -college cheerleader – all for the purpose of showing the girls how strong he was.”
Cervino loved the Shore and “any summer day you could find Ray on a boardwalk, haggling tourists to play a game with him.”
Years after retiring from Toms River North, Cervino returned to the field to coach the Antrim Primary School girls’ basketball team at Point Pleasant “as well as his own grandchildren”, said his family said.
“Although he had an iconic career, Ray had an even more iconic retirement,” his family said. “During his senior years, he was able to do what he loved most: spend long days with the love of his life, Mary. He was happiest during the days he spent with his ‘ Mariooch’ – her eyes lit up every time she walked in. Ray and Mary were known for their youthful escapades, trips home to St. Augustine and their shag dances. Ray and Mary also shared two beloved dogs, Nealie and Simon, who traveled everywhere with the duo.
He died on October 7 surrounded by his family, including his wife, Mary; his children VIcki, Nicole and Adam and their respective spouses, Michael, Dave and Heather; eight grandchildren, his sister, Lilla, his in-laws, nieces and nephews, according to the obituary.
“Everyone who had the honor of knowing Ray is invited to celebrate his life in their own way. Raising a glass of your favorite beverage and bending your elbow in his memory would be very fitting,” his family said.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, October 14 at O’Brien’s Funeral Home, 505 Burnt Tavern Road in The Brick. A funeral mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, October 15 at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, 406 Forman Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach.
In lieu of flowers, donations should be made in her name to Rescue Ridge, PO Box 223 Spring Lake, NJ 07762 or Wounded Warrior Project, 370 7th Avenue, 3rd floor Room 320, NY, NY 10001, her family said.