Fordham University mourns the loss of William Persichetty (CBA ’54) who died Sunday, June 29 in Charlottesville, Va. He was 75.
Born in New York City to Annabelle and August Persichetty, he grew up in Jersey City, N.J. and was a track star there at William L. Dickinson High School.
Persichetty enrolled at Fordham, and was a member of the team that set a world record in the two-mile relay (7 minutes 27.3 seconds) at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1954. The previous record was 7 minutes 29.2 seconds. Fordham runners Tom Courtney, Terry Foley and Frank Tarsney rounded out the relay.
In 1957, he began teaching and coaching track and cross-country at Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange, N.J. He also coached at Oak Knoll and Oratory Prep in Summit, N.J., and served in the Army as a Ranger.
His teams won several conference and New Jersey parochial championships during his tenure, set national records in the indoor two-mile relay as well as several regional and state races.
Persichetty was an avid traveler who toured throughout the United States and much of Europe. “He had a great sense of history and art,” said Msgr. Michael E. Kelly, headmaster at Seton Hall Prep. “He did that to enhance his classes in world history and art history. He was not an artist himself, but was well-schooled in that discipline.”
He was inducted into the Hudson County (N.J.) Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1985, the Fordham Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Seton Hall Prep Hall of Fame in 1997, where the track is named in his honor.
“Whenever possible, he would travel to watch former students who were performing at the collegiate level,” Msgr. Kelly said.
Persichetty retired from teaching and coaching after 40 years and moved from Summit to Nellysford, Va., where he enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren.
Persichetty is survived by his wife of 44 years, Eileen; children Michael, Cathleen Dee and Elizabeth Molins; his sister, Marlo Morra, and 10 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Seton Hall Prep in West Orange in memory of Coach Persichetty.