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Former Yale QB Teaching Math in Michigan

by Randy Snow

Originally posted on Yahoo! Voices, Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Bob Verduzco is a California boy who graduated from an Ivy League school. So how did he end up in Michigan teaching high school math?

Verduzco grew up in Southern California. In the summer prior to his freshman year, he spent a lot of time working on his quarterbacking skills with his uncle, Mario Verduzco, who was a high school football coach. Thanks to his hard work, he made the varsity football team at Aptos High School as a backup quarterback in his freshman year.

Four games into the season, the starting quarterback broke his leg. Verduzco took over and led the team to the playoffs. In the league championship game he beat his Uncle Mario's team, Soquel High School from Santa Cruz. Mario was the Soquel defensive coordinator.

He switched schools in his sophomore year and transferred to Soquel High School where he played for the next three years.

In the late fall of his senior season, he came home from school one day to find a Yale assistant coach waiting in his living room to talk to him. He didn't even know where Yale was, other than it was somewhere out east. Verduzco was also recruited by West Point, Boston College, Clemson, the University of Washington, UC-Davis and the University of the Pacific. After a trip to visit the Yale campus in New Haven, Connecticut, he fell in love with the school.

Verduzco entered Yale in the fall of 1986 and played football on the freshman team. The following year, as a sophomore, he was one of eight quarterbacks on the varsity team. At five feet, eleven inches tall and 185 pounds, he beat out six of them to become the Yale backup quarterback that year.

In 1988, his junior year, he was named the Yale starter. Late in the first half of the season opener against Brown University, Verduzco was hit in the knee while throwing a pass and tore his ACL and MCL. All of his knee cartilage had also been crushed. Unaware of just how seriously his knee had been injured, he returned in the second half and finished the game, where he threw for 150 yards and a touchdown. The game ended in a tie because there was no overtime in the Ivy League at that time. He was named the Offensive Player of the Game. The next day, an MRI revealed just how serious his injury was.

Thanks to a family friend back in Santa Cruz, who was a physical therapist, Verduzco was put in contact with the team surgeon of the NFL San Francisco 49ers, who agreed to perform reconstructive surgery.

Verduzco flew back to California and had the surgery performed on his injured knee. His rehab was long and painful. In fact, a second operation had to be performed when his recovery did not go as planned. After an entire year of rehabilitation, Verduzco was finally cleared to return to the practice field.

He missed the remainder of his junior season and all of his senior season as well. He finally got to play again in the fifth year of his college eligibility under NCAA rules in 1990.

He graduated from Yale in the spring of 1991 with a degree in Economics. After a year in the business world, the desire to coach football got to him. In 1993, Verduzco returned to Yale and was the quarterbacks coach for a season.

From 1995-2000, he was an assistant coach at De Anza Community College in San Jose under his Uncle Mario, who was the head coach there at the time. Verduzco coached the quarterbacks and wide receivers.

Ever since he was a junior at Yale, Verduzco has wanted to be a high school math teacher. Two of his brothers live in Michigan so Verduzco and his wife and family eventually moved to the Southwest Michigan area. He got this teaching certificate online and did his student teaching at Vicksburg High School in Vicksburg, Michigan. He was also the quarterback coach of the Vicksburg varsity football team in 2005.

He has also spent time teaching and/or coaching at Hackett Catholic Central High school in Kalamazoo and was also the head football coach of the freshman team at Portage Northern High School for one season.

"I think people have to do what they're cut out to do and to follow that calling," Verduzco said. "If you're happy, you'll be successful."

Since 2008, he has been teaching math at Galesburg-Augusta High School in Galesburg, Michigan. He mainly teaches Algebra I, but has also taught Geometry.

This coming fall, Verduzco will be the offensive coordinator of the Galesburg varsity football team under new G-A football head coach Tony Smith. Verduzco will be calling the plays.

Recently, Smith and Verduzco visited with legendary G-A High School football coach Bill Maskill who still lives in the Galesburg area. Maskill was the head football coach at Galesburg for 40 years (1951-1991). When he retired, his record was 273-84-2 and he led the Rams to four state titles. Smith and Verduzco are taking over a team that has won only one game in the last four years and has not won a game in the past three years. Their visit to Coach Maskill was an opportunity to get the former G-A coach's views on what it will take to return Galesburg to a winning tradition.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to coach at Galesburg," said Verduzco. "Coach Smith has allowed me to create the offense based on some of the things I've done while coaching at the high school level and at Yale."

Verduzco has come a long way from his days as an Ivy League quarterback and student in the late 1980's. But teaching math and coaching football at a small Class C high school in Southwest Michigan is right where he wants to be at this time in his life.


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