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Brothers' Coaching Careers Hit Down the Same Baseline

March 19, 1987|PAUL McLEOD | Times Staff Writer

They are brothers cut from different cloth, whose lives move in parallel. One is a shy young man with an aggressive coaching style, the other is gregarious and a scholar of the game.

It is a tale of two Tereschuks, whose love for each other guides them in their roles as high school baseball coaches. But Pete and Tom Tereschuk are better remembered as all-star football players at Lakewood High School in the 1970s.

Now, at California High School in Whittier, Tom, 26, hopes to build a baseball program. At Wilson High in Long Beach, Pete, 31, is trying to rebuild one. Their coaching styles are clones of each other, products of a close relationship and athletic success.

The name Tereschuk is nearly legend in Long Beach/Lakewood athletics. Few can forget the overtime game in 1970, when Pete, a 15-year-old quarterback, dueled future-Ram Pat Haden beforeLakewood High lost to heavily favored Bishop Amat in the CIF Southern Section 4-A Division football title game at the Coliseum.

Pete Tereschuk rewrote the passing record book at Long Beach City College before his career ended with arm trouble at San Diego State.

One of seven children from a "very middle-class family," Pete was shadowed in those days by his bright-eyed, 10-year-old brother, Tom. They shared meals, teamed up on yard work, lifted weights, shared a bedroom and palled around the city together.

"We spent a lot of time together . . . growing up," Pete said.

Tom carried the family name as an all-Southern Section quarterback in 1977 and later played in the Shrine game. He attributes much of his success to his older brother.

"I never had any sports idols as a kid. (Pete) was my idol," Tom said.

Not much has changed since then. Their parents died several years ago and they share the family home with a sister and her daughter. The conversation at the dinner table often settles on baseball, a sport the two brothers played--but with less fanfare--in their high school and college days.

Tom says that he "learned how to coach baseball from (Pete). We use the same drills in practice. All the coaching details--he taught me."

Their lives have taken similar paths.

Pete was a pitcher and a quarterback at Lakewood High, Long Beach City College and San Diego State.

Tom played quarterback and pitched at Lakewood High and Long Beach City College. He pitched at the University of San Diego.

Pete coached summer league baseball in Alaska for three years. Tom played there for two, including a season on Pete's team near Anchorage.

Both were student-teachers at Wilson.

Pete teaches 10th grade English. Tom, a social studies major, now teaches remedial reading.

When Pete was appointed baseball coach at Wilson, Tom became his assistant for two seasons.

It is no surprise that Wilson and California will play in the pre-season next year.

For all the similarities, the brothers do not look alike and they have differing personalities.

Pete's height at 5 feet 11 inches and his lack of speed kept him from attracting the interest of major four-year schools when he graduated from Long Beach City College. He was too slow and too small, they said, at 195 pounds. Now he has put on weight. The bright blond hair he tucks under his baseball cap contrasts with his little brother's reddish hair that grays at the temples.

Tom weighs about what he did in high school, 175 pounds. His 6-foot, 1-inch body looks more at home in a baseball uniform than his older brother's.

A Scholar of the Game

They are active coaches, but in different ways. Pete roams the field with nervous energy, but approaches his players in low-key fashion. He is a scholar of the game, an astute surveyor of every option.

Tom has a more aggressive coaching style, and he has trained himself to be conscientious.

"I push too hard sometimes," he said. "As a pitcher I didn't pay attention to details. Most pitchers don't. I think I have overcome that as a coach."

Pete calls himself "outgoing and personable."

"But I'm not the person to share too many things about my private life. Tom is quiet, very serious and very conscientious."

First Year on Varsity Level

Tom will need that drive at California High. In his first season on the varsity level, he faces a monumental challenge. The Whittier Union High School District is not known for free-spending on athletics, preferring to give academic areas budget priority.

The Condor program has not had a winning season in several years. When he first arrived two years ago, Tom found his intensity out of fashion.

"It was hard to get the guys to do anything," he said. "They weren't used to running on or off the field. But they understand me now. The guys are really trying hard."

California is off to a 1-3-1 start this year. In its first game, pitchers James Popoff and Robert Nethington combined to produce a no-hitter.

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