Jeff Jewitt steps downs as Devon Prep coach

Jeff Jewitt, who recently stepped down as the Devon Prep soccer head coach, leaves a long legacy of building a winning tradition at two Main Line high school boys’ soccer squads.

His tenure, which includes The Shipley School (1992-2005) and Devon Prep (2010-2014), produced a record of 235-94-33 and 13 league/conference championships.

Jewitt also was named Southeastern Pennsylvania Boys High School Soccer Coach of the Year in 2005, and Main Line Boys’ Soccer Coach of the Year by the Main Line Times in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2005. Two years ago, he was named BiCentennial Athletic League Soccer Coach of the Year.

This fall, Jewitt took a leave of absence from his post due to his father’s failing health. Sadly, his father passed away Oct. 28 at Chester County Hospice, and he has been in the process of moving his mother from her Wallingford home of 43 years into an assisted living center.

A few weeks ago, Jewitt decided to retire from his Devon Prep coaching job for good, though he will continue to teach at the Devon school.

Jewitt said his father, Donald Jewitt, was one of the biggest influences on his life and his soccer career. Donald was the Nether Providence Club U16 coach when Jeff played for them back in the mid-1970s.

“My Dad was always supportive and encouraging he allowed me to enjoy the game,’ said Jewitt.

Two other coaching mentors for Jewitt during his high school playing days at Nether Providence High School (now Strath Haven) were legendary Nether Providence soccer coach Chris Jones and Nether Providence Club Coach Bob Urban.

“Nether Providence High School was a respected and powerful program [back then],’ said Jewitt. “We competed in the old Suburban Two Conference and our big rival was Harriton. Chris Jones really put us on the map. We went to the District One Championship game my junior year (1975) and were ranked No. 1 in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Poll most of my senior year (1976).’

Jewitt went on to a successful playing career at Ursinus College, and years later was inducted into the Ursinus College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Following graduation from Ursinus, Jewitt got into coaching, and built a winning tradition at The Shipley School (1992-2005). In 201, Jewitt took on a new coaching challenge.

“The opportunity and challenge to resuscitate a fledgling program was what drew me to Devon Prep,’ said Jewitt.

For Jewitt, the highlight of his Devon Prep soccer coaching career was the Tides’ 2-1 PIAA District One quarterfinal playoff victory over Church Farm School in the fall of 2013. It was Devon Prep’s first District One playoff win in more than a decade.

Devon Prep athletic director Mark Aquilante said, “Jeff did a terrific job for us – his energy re-invigorated the Devon Prep soccer program. We’ve won three BiCentennial League division titles under his leadership and gone to the [PIAA] district playoffs each year since 2011, and we owe him a lot. [Fortunately] he’ll still be teaching here — he’s done a lot for this school.’

Jewitt built a winning tradition at Shipley, too. In 1994, his third year at the helm, the Gators won the Keystone Conference championship final, 2-1 in overtime against Delco Christian — it was Shipley’s first soccer championship.

In the final game Jewitt coached for Shipley, the Gators defeated Friends’ Central, 1-0, in the Friends’ Schools League championship final — Shipley’s first FSL soccer title.

Shipley Head of School Steve Piltch, who has been at the Bryn Mawr school during Jewitt’s entire coaching reign, said, “Jeff had an incredible career here at Shipley. His passion for soccer and commitment to excellence became infectious. His players respected and admired him, and we will be forever grateful to him for the program he created here. When he handed it off to Thom Schauerman, it was incredibly strong.

“Knowing that Jeff went on to have a similar impact on the program at Devon Prep, I am struggling to believe that he will no longer be on the sideline for any high school team. His retirement as a coach is a loss for all of us. He should be proud of what he has accomplished. We are proud of him and will be forever indebted to him. Thank you, Jeff!’

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