by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Torrey Pines Pop Warner – a local organization that uses football and cheerleading to teach young kids important life skills – is getting ready for its 2012 season (set to begin this summer), and Andy Vanderwiel plans to continue his volunteer work as President, head coach, and board member of the organization. “I have been a board member and volunteer coach for over 15 years,” said Vanderwiel.

This season, Vanderwiel is excited for the new field turf and track being installed at the Torrey Pines High School stadium. “We, of course, use this field every Saturday for our Pop Warner games,” said Vanderwiel. “They’re also updating the practice field areas by the Torrey Pines High School coach’s offices.”

As President of the organization, Vanderwiel admits that getting all the details organized for the new season can be a bit of a challenge, but this year he is up for the task. “We have a very strong group of new board members this year so it’s not really been that hard on me personally when you have everyone pulling their own weight,” said Vanderwiel.

One of the most rewarding things about being President for Torrey Pines Pop Warner is “seeing the enthusiasm of the kids and parents as the new 2012 season gets started,” explained Vanderwiel. He is also proud to see the amount of respect given to the volunteers for their help with producing great programs each season.

In addition to his affection for coaching football, Vanderwiel enjoys skiing and playing golf in his free time. He especially takes pleasure in watching his three children – Blake age 23, Julia age 13, and Mo age 9 – shine at their various activities. His youngest, Mo, “wants to be a quarterback just like his brother Blake who played for Torrey Pines High School,” explained Vanderwiel.

We can only hope that Vanderwiel will come back to volunteer season after season, but one thing’s for sure: he has made a lasting impression on many. “Over the years it’s been very self-rewarding to see all the kids that have crossed my path on the playing field that have graduated from high school and middle school,” said Andy. “They still call me Coach Vanderwiel.”