WESTFIELD, NJ — While there have been many successful coaches throughout the history of athletics at Westfield High School, few have reached the illustrious level of success obtained by Beverly Torok, head coach of the girls varsity volleyball team. Last weekend, Torok’s team’s win in the New Jersey state tournament was her 400th career victory as the varsity coach, making her only the fourth coach ever at Westfield High School to attain 400 wins in a single varsity sport.

“It’s hard for me to believe that I have won 400 matches as a head volleyball coach here at Westfield,” Torok said. “It feels spectacular that we have had such success in this program.”

When Torok first began coaching varsity for Westfield in the fall of 1994, the volleyball program was largely undeveloped. Without Torok’s vision and determination to improve the program, said Athletic Director Sandra Mamary, the program would not be where it is today.

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“When I first started [as athletic director], I sat down and met with a lot of coaches,” Mamary said. “Ms. Torok’s very vision and philosophy that she stressed to me was to make the girls volleyball program more competitive. She’s been instrumental in taking this program to the next level.”

Even eight years ago, when Mamary first became Westfield’s athletic director, WHS lacked either a freshman or a middle school volleyball team. Today, the volleyball program is flourishing under Torok’s lead.

“I’m happy that in one of the sports that has not always been so visible, she has taken it and made it visible,” Mamary said. “She has a work ethic second to none and she’s dedicated and passionate. Most importantly, she loves what she does and the kids want to play for her.”

Torok, along with the rest of the volleyball coaching staff consisting of junior varsity coach Jay Cook, ninth grade coach Dave Tarullo and eighth grade coach Chrissy Cabrales, has put together a series of winter teaching clinics and summer camps designed to enhance the town’s volleyball program beyond its varsity level. Torok said that, behind the collective hard work and commitment of the players and coaches, Westfield “now competes with the best in the state, challenging themselves to get better each and every match.”

For Torok, changing the volleyball culture in Westfield was not only about establishing a tradition of success, but going beyond the concept of volleyball and better preparing her players for their futures. Rather than winning games, Torok said she is most proud when alumni come back and tell her how much they learned from being on the team and how that has influenced their lives.

Mamary put Torok’s milestone in perspective.

“She now finds herself in some pretty exclusive company, with only three other coaches having attained that milestone,” she said. “When you think about athletics and the tradition of athletics in this school district, that’s a mighty big feat to know that only four coaches have ever in the history of Westfield attained 400 wins in one single varsity sport. That’s a big deal.”

Jared Greenspan is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.