Columbus, Ga (WRBL) – Al Pellegrino’s job description was the Shaw High School Athletic Director and head football coach. However, the man was so much more that just that. He loved Shaw High School and only wanted to the best for it.
“He wanted Shaw to be first class in everything. He bled black and silver. It’s rare when you catch him not having something on Shaw related everyday,” said Shaw Associate Head Coach Parise Bailey.
When Coach Pellegrino took over the football team in 2017, he wanted to lay down a new foundation for his team and help unite Shaw High. Principal Sureya Hendrick was searching for the same thing. Coach Pellegrino came up with the perfect season.
“We were looking for a motto that would represent what my vision was. So the ‘Shaw United’, Coach Pellegrino helped us to put it together. He was big on community and everybody chipping in putting in their hands to do the work and getting it done together,” said Principal Hendrick.
The Raiders leader worked tirelessly to raise the standard for Shaw football. It took some time, but the changes happened on the field. Shaw went from an after thought to a playoff contender. His players loved and believed in the man that believed in them.
“Coach P meant a lot to me. He’s definitely a role model in my life. Someone who stayed on me each and every single day to push to be great. And he’ll never let any of us fail. Coach P was more than my football coach he treated me like I was his own son,” said former Shaw quarterback Wason Davis.
While he was an authority figure on campus Coach Pellegrino was never above helping out in any task.
“He went in and cleaned up locker rooms. He wanted to show our football team that organization was key, and everything that they did it needed to be with excellence,” said Principal Hendrick.
“He always talked about doing things the right way. From lifting weights to the practices. Even with the coaches, he wanted to make sure that we did things the correct way all the time with our kids,” said Coach Bailey.
There isn’t a playbook for this kind of tragedy. Coach Pellegrino was a giant on campus and he will be sorely missed. Many will see his lasting legacy in the color and current logo of the Shaw High Raiders. Since he was a key factor in bringing back the silver and black color scheme and the current Raiders logo.
“When I look around I see him. Every time I see the Raider, the new Raider head, and the ‘Shaw United’ seal that we use on all our paraphernalia and other items in the building,” said Principal Hendrick
Al Pellegrino is survived by his wife, his three children and two step children. He was 56 years old. We at News 3 share our deepest condolences with the Pellegrino family and Shaw High School.