Tod Silegy leaves a long legacy at South Meadow School

Tod “Sil” Silegy with five eighth-grade softball players at South Meadow Middle School in spring 2024. 

Tod “Sil” Silegy with five eighth-grade softball players at South Meadow Middle School in spring 2024.  COURTESY PHOTO CONVAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

 “Sil” in front of the stage curtains in the South Meadow School gym, which were paid for by a Winter Slam basketball tournament fundraiser.

 “Sil” in front of the stage curtains in the South Meadow School gym, which were paid for by a Winter Slam basketball tournament fundraiser. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Championship banners from Tod Silegy’s 24 years as athletic director of South Meadow School. 

Championship banners from Tod Silegy’s 24 years as athletic director of South Meadow School.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

A piece of the original ConVal gym floor, commemoraring the first boys’ varsity basket ever scored on the floor, by Tod Silegy, in December 1970. 

A piece of the original ConVal gym floor, commemoraring the first boys’ varsity basket ever scored on the floor, by Tod Silegy, in December 1970.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Tod Silegy surrounded by memorabilia in his office in the gym at SMS. 

Tod Silegy surrounded by memorabilia in his office in the gym at SMS.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Tod Silegy points the SMS Puma logo created by his son, Sam.

Tod Silegy points the SMS Puma logo created by his son, Sam. STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

Tod Silegy reflects on 24 years of memories at SMS. 

Tod Silegy reflects on 24 years of memories at SMS.  STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

The T-shirt on the left was presented to “Sil” by the SMS student council for his contributions to South Meadow School.  

The T-shirt on the left was presented to “Sil” by the SMS student council for his contributions to South Meadow School.   STAFF PHOTO BY JESSECA TIMMONS

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 06-28-2024 1:24 PM

It’s the end of an era at South Meadow School in Peterborough, as longtime Athletic Director Tod Silegy, known to thousands of children throughout the region simply as “Sil,” will retire at the end of this school year. 

“People ask me, why am I leaving?” Silegy said. “And the answer is, I’m not sure. But 24 years is a long time. I want to leave when I still have time for a new chapter. We’ll see what comes next.”

Silegy’s long legacy at South Meadow School is reflected in the ceiling of the gym. Dozens of championship banners from almost every sport hang from the beams, including a special banner dedicated to Silegy on the last day of soccer season in fall 2023. 

“Coming to SMS was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Silegy said. 

Silegy graduated from the first class at ConVal High School in 1971. His ConVal athletic career started when he made the varsity ski team as an eighth-grader. He went on to letter in three sports a year, all four years. Silegy continued his sports career at Keene State, as a four-year, three-season athlete in soccer, basketball and baseball. 

After graduation, Silegy joined the coaching staff at Franklin Pierce, where he coached eight consecutive NCAA Division II men’s soccer tournament teams, including the national semifinals in 1991.  For 24 years, Silegy was the head men’s soccer coach at Franklin Pierce, as well as coach of the Nordic and alpine ski teams, assistant basketball coach and golf and softball coach. He was inducted into the Franklin Pierce Athletics Hall of Fame as a coach in 2009.

Silegy joined the staff at SMS after an old school friend called at told him there was a soccer coach position open in the ConVal district. Dick Dunning, who was then principal of South Meadow School and happened to be Silegy’s former baseball coach, interviewed Silegy for the position. 

“Dick hired me on the spot. He asked if I could also teach P.E. (physical education), and I told him I had a B.A. in teaching P.E., ” Silegy recalled. “Then he made me A.D. The rest is history.”

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Silegy, who coaches soccer, basketball and softball, has led the SMS boys’ soccer team to the finals or won the championship every year since 2004. In 2011,  he was named Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year, and he has been inducted into the ConVal Athletics Hall of Fame as an athlete, coach and contributor.

In 2012, Silegy received the ConVal School Board Chairman’s Award for outstanding contributions to the ConVal School District. In 2024, he was awarded the Tri-County Legacy Award by the NH Tri-County Soccer League, where he chaired the committee for more than 20 years.  Silegy came up with the league’s slogan: “Developing Young Athletes.” 

Silegy says coming to South Meadow Middle School transformed his life. 

“I had been working 12, 14-hour days at Franklin Pierce, six or seven days a week, for 22 years.  By that point, I had three really young kids and was leaving my wife, Beth,  alone them all the time, and it wasn’t working.  Getting this job was a lifesaver for me and for my family,” Silegy said. 

Silegy says everyone asks him about what is was like to transition from working with college students to working with middle-schoolers. 

“Coaching college prepared me to be successful as a middle-school teacher; I could just pass my experience on to the kids. You have to have a higher level of expectations; you have to know how to communicate with them. I’m a huge relationship person.  Kids need that with an adult. Once you have a good relationship with a kid, you have them forever, instant respect,” he said.

Silegy says his philosophy of physical education is that being active is  a way to develop self-confidence.

“We have a lot of students with social and emotional issues. I don’t care if a kid can’t kick a ball a mile or if they never make a basket, as long as they feel successful in my class,” Silegy said. “For some kids, the only success they have in school all day long is in my class. P.E. is really important.”

Silegy’s impact on the region also includes the Silegy Soccer camps at South Meadow School, which he has run since coming to SMS, and his Winter Slam basketball tournaments, which raise funds annually for South Meadow School. Silegy said he is going to run Silegy Soccer Camp again this summer, and then decide what will happen going forward. 

At the close of the fall 2023 soccer season, the SMS Student Council honored Silegy with a trophy for his contributions to the school. For 22 years, he also led the all-school pep rallies, supporting teams and athletics at SMS, and was beloved for his wild costumes and indefatigable spirit. 

“I’m 71, and I still teach and coach all day long, and I don’t have any problems with it. I’m leaving when the going is still good.” Silegy said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time here at SMS. I’ve never had one bad day. ” 

Walking through the school gym that his been his home away from home for the past 22 years, under the dozens of championship banners,  Silegy smiles when he points out the SMS Puma logo in the middle of the gym floor. The artist, Silegy’s son Sam,  signed his name – “Sil” – which will serve as another permanent reminder of Silegy’s time at SMS. 

“Now it’s time for someone else to have a legacy,” Silegy said.