Longtime School Board member, coach passes away from cancer
By Kyle Barnett - May 01, 2014
A pillar of the St. Charles Parish community known for his role in shaping the local public education system, as well as his coaching success and authoring a book on the southeast Louisiana way of life, has died.
Steve “Coach” Crovetto, 63, passed away on Friday after a long battle with cancer. Crovetto was a longtime Luling resident, and although he may be best known in latter years for his 12 years as a School Board member, he was also heavily involved in local sports programs, especially as a football coach for Hahnville High School from 1978-83 and again for the 1994 season.
Crovetto also coached at Nicholls State University.After finishing up his career as a coach and teacher, Crovetto focused on his small business, Cro & Associates Inc., that had local real estate development dealings and contracted with parish governments for weed control.
In addition to running his business, Crovetto was elected to the St. Charles Parish School Board in 1998 and served on the board until 2010. He also found the time to write the book “The Parade” that detailed his experience as a child witnessing the formation of a West Bank parade krewe.
School Board member Al Suffrin said that Crovetto lived his life to the fullest.
“I would say in 63 years of life he did more and accomplished more than most people could in 100 years,” he said.
Suffrin said Crovetto’s attitude towards life did not change in his last days.
“Even in his most difficult moments he really didn’t let it show. He always was very upbeat,” Suffrin said.
Suffrin called Crovetto a vital part of the St. Charles Parish community.
“He gave on a lot of different fronts, particularly to the youth of St. Charles Parish as a coach. He touched the lives of a lot of his students and a lot of the parish,” he said. “He continued to impact the community.”
Crovetto was particularly integral in the transformation of St. Charles Parish Public Schools from a good school system to one of the best in the state, Suffrin said.
“He was on the board for 12 years and those where 12 critical years. Coach Crovetto and others really laid the foundation for the district,” he said. “It is our job to keep it on track. Our job now as Board Members is easy because of the job that members like Steve did.”
In particular, Crovetto was instrumental in upgrading and maintaining the school system’s facilities.
“For a lot of that time he was chairman of the Capital Improvements Committee and there was a lot of progress made during his time,” Suffrin said. “He had a lot of understanding of construction and he made a lot of strides in that area.”
School Board member Clarence “Sonny” Savoie maintained a relationship with Crovetto for more than 30 years after the two first met at a Hahnville High School after party following a football game.
“As a teacher, coach, School Board member and community activist, he was just a consummate leader in the community,” Savoie said. “He will be sorely missed.”
Savoie said Crovetto’s legacy can be felt not just in the long-range programs he helped the school system form, but also through the lives of those he directly mentored.
“He was a great advocate for children. I am just amazed at the lives he touched,” Savoie said. “The kids who played for him were really good friends with him and had so much respect for what he taught them about life. He taught them how to become a man and how to help your community by doing the right things for the right reasons.”
In addition to being a community leader, Savoie said Crovetto was a pleasure to be around and well-liked by the St. Charles Parish community.
“When he ran and got reelected with no opposition, that kind of tells you how people felt about him. It was just a testament to him as a coach and a person. He lived his life that way and it was very admirable on his part,” he said. “He was a funny guy too, he always had a funny story or joke and that was just Steve Crovetto. He was the coach and you knew it.”
Savoie said the memory of Crovetto will not soon be forgotten.
“He leaves a big hole and I think he taught us it is important to live our lives each day and I think he tried to instill that in his last days that I was in association with him. He was very courageous,” he said.
Former St. Charles Parish Public Schools Superintendent Rodney Lafon called Crovetto a “true coach of coaches.”
“Steve Crovetto was a great teacher, coach, School Board member and family man,” Lafon said. “He touched and made a difference for many people and many children. We will surely miss this fine gentleman.”
Crovetto’s funeral was held on Wednesday.
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