32963 Homepage

Want to purchase reprints of your favorite 32963 or photos?

Copies of Vero Beach 32963 can be obtained at the following locations:


Our office HQ: (located at 4855 North A1A)
1. Corey's Pharmacy
2. 7-Eleven

(South A1A)
3. Major Real Estate Offices


1. Vero Beach Book

2. Classic Car Wash
3. Divine Animal
4. Sunshine Furniture

5. Many Medical

New athletic director brings impressive credentials, winning attitude to St. Ed’s

Photo: St. Edward’s new athletic director Eileen Pliske.

St. Edward’s has hired a new athletic director with an impressive track record at an elite Fort Lauderdale college preparatory school to create winning teams here, while teaching essential life skills to student athletes.

Eileen Pliske, associate athletic director and girls lacrosse coach at Pine Crest School, quickly rose to the top of 21 applicants for the post at St. Ed’s, according to head of school Dr. Stuart Hirstein.

“I know the president of Pine Crest very well, and Eileen was highly recommended. She’s got the emotional IQ and I think she’s going to do very well here,” Hirstein said. “Our mission is really about the whole child. It’s the academic piece, of course; it’s the athletic, the arts. I think we have around 70 percent of our kids participate in athletics and you learn as much on the playing fields as you do in a classroom.”

Pliske will take over for Greg Zugrave, who served in the role for the previous two years. Current associate athletic director/athletic trainer Jeremy Gillan will retain his role with the school as it transitions into new leadership.

“Over the next couple of years, it’s allowing Eileen to take control of the department and allow her to come in and make it her own. And just to give our student athletes a great experience. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about,” Hirstein said.

Despite the success teams in several sports had over the school year, a basis of the personality match between Pliske and St. Edward’s lies in striving for excellence and recognizing that may not always equate to wins.

“In my coaching career, I start with the relationships,” Pliske said. “You get the buy-in from your players and they know you care about them … I always say, ‘Praise the effort, not the results.’ If we focus on the effort, you can get the most out of whoever you coach. It lends itself to breeding success through the long term.”

One of the teams seeing the pay off of such a philosophy is the boys basketball team. In the 2022-23 season, the Pirates put together their best winning percentage since 2013-14 at 73 percent culminating in a district championship.

But the 2022-23 school year was a mix of victory and tough defeat for St. Ed’s teams. The baseball season was the Pirate’s worst since 2005-06, yet this year’s boys lacrosse season continued a trend of strong seasons ending in state tournaments.

“I think it gets back to numbers,” Hirstein said. “You need depth, you really need 15 to 17 baseball players. We had 13 or 14. In a small school, it tends to run in cycles where some sports really take off for a couple of years because there is a group that’s really good and then they graduate. We’re in the early phases of the pickup of baseball.

“Every year is a little different – we had a number of boys try out for football last year, 45 or so,” Hirstein said. “For our size, that’s a pretty good number. In some of our younger grades, we have a lot of interest in baseball. We have a lot of boys playing Little League here in Vero Beach, so there is hope there.”

Pliske’s lacrosse background – including being selected to the South Florida Chapter of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a Truly Great Coach in 2011 – could well be a boon to St. Edward’s current most popular sport.

The 2023 boys lacrosse team finished its season at 13-6 with a loss in the region semifinals of the state tournament, while the girls lacrosse team posted a record of 9-6 capped by a loss in the semifinals of the district tournament.

“You always like to have an athletic director that has coached because they understand what their coaches are going through,” Hirstein said. “I think it adds legitimacy to the position. Lacrosse, it just so happened that she played in college and has coached for a long time.”

Investing in Hirstein’s stated commitment to excellence, St. Edward’s has laid plans for new locker rooms, a new press box and new athletic offices. Hirstein said St. Edward’s weight rooms were just refinished and a new pool will be complete around December or January.

“I think we’re on the right path,’ Hirstein said. “Looking through the lens of excellence and that includes everything we do, even our facilities. It’s continuing to look at our coaches – we have a number of part-time coaches who aren’t on staff. It’s continuing to mentor those coaches so they buy in to our philosophy of the whole child.”

“I’ve been a mentor for coaches throughout my career at Pine Crest. So, I just plan on continuing that,” Pliske said. “Not everybody has the same approach to coaching and I think that’s OK. We can learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses to build successful programs. I think finding out what makes everybody tick is going to be the most important thing.”