Viera High’s Costello retires after 40 years of coaching


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Viera High track coach Dave Costello, center, is retiring after 40 years of coaching, the last nine with the Hawks. JP Caglione, left, Nick Bandos, Kaitlyn Jensen and Jamyson Boyd were state medalists this spring.

photo by Carl Kotala

Dave Costello has certainly won his share of titles in 40 years of coaching track and field.

But for the man who has now retired after spending the past nine years at Viera High, it’s never been just about the trophies. It’s been about something much more important.

“When you coach, it’s all about the kids,” Costello said. “Improving them. Making sure they do good in school. And what they learn on the athletic field helps them further down the road. … You want them to graduate and be successful.”

Costello, 67, had an impressive 31-year career at Elizabeth High School in New Jersey.

After retiring, he thought he was done coaching. Then came the opportunity to help get the track program at Viera High off the ground. During the past nine years, the Hawks won seven district titles and just finished perhaps their most successful season by winning six medals — most in program history — at the state meet.

“When I started here at Viera, I had like 15 kids out,” Costello said. “Now, we had the biggest turnout (125) we’ve ever had. I just think it’s time to go. Every now and then, you know when it’s time to go.”

Viera athletic director Chris Gallagher called Costello an “outstanding coach” and added the Hawks were “fortunate to have him coaching so many young athletes.”

One of those athletes, JP Caglione, finished third in the shot put at this year’s state meet and graduated in June the proud owner of the school record in both the shot put and discus. He received a scholarship to Charleston Southern University.

“Ever since freshman year, he believed I was going to be the next one to break the records, and four years later, I was the one to do it,” Caglione said. “He’s come early in the morning for me. He’s come in the offseason for me. He texted me during football season about the track schools that were interested in me.

“I owe him a lot. My own personal success was because of him pushing me for the past four years.”

Kaitlyn Jensen, who will be a senior this fall, also owns school records in the shot and discus and placed in both events at this year’s state meet.

“He is the brightest, funniest guy,” Jensen said. “I’m going to miss him so much next year. I’ve known him forever. He’s like my dad … He’s a great coach.”

Costello was quick to point out he has had some great assistant coaches at Viera through the years, along with strong support from the administration. But after 40 years, it’s time to play some golf.

“It’s been a fun ride,” he said.