Vic Varallo, longtime coach, Metro Council member, dies at 89

Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 10:00pm
Staff reports

Former councilman Vic Varallo died Friday in Gallatin after a long illness. He was 89.

A successful, longtime football and track coach at East High, Varallo served on the Metro Council from 1991 to 1999 as an at-large representative.

Born Angelo Vic Varallo on April 11, 1922, to parents J.B. and Catherine Varallo, Vic attended Holy Name Catholic School in East Nashville and Father Ryan High School. He began college at Ole Miss where he played both football and basketball. But World War II intervened and he found himself in the Pacific theatre from 1942 to 1945, assigned to be an aerial gunner in the back of a B-25. He was shot down twice and received four different medals for his service, including the American Campaign medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

He resumed his studies at what is now known as Middle Tennessee State University following the war and again played multiple sports, captaining the football team. After graduation, he was recalled to service to become part of the 306th Air Base Group during the Korean War.

Following his discharge, Varallo found his calling. He became a teacher at East High School and for more than two decades became a force in prep track and field as a coach. Along with Edgar Allen, he started the Banner Relays, for decades one of the most elite track events in the state. His teams won the Banner and Optimist Relays and twice won state championships. He also taught at Pearl, Hillsboro, Dupont, Hunters Lane and Overton high schools before he retired in the early 1990s. He was also a successful football and basketball coach and was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in 2005.

"I must be a pretty good coach," Varallo told the Tuscaloosa News in 1975. "I've had some winners and feel I know the secret. A coach has to relate to his athletes. If my boys are wearing tight pants, I wear them."

Varallo was a fitness advocate and stayed in excellent shape. He competed as a championship water skier and basketball official for 39 years before hip replacement surgery slowed him down. After coming back from an injury to ski again, the tireless Varallo summed up his outlook on life like this: "I live for the day. If I die tomorrow, I know I have lived my life twice."

Parts of those many lives included working at the family business, Varallo's Restaurant, and serving on the Metro Council. Term limits prevented him from running for a third at-large term.

He is survived by his wife, Sheila Diane Varallo, a step-daughter and granddaughter as well as numerous brothers, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Services will be held at the chapel at Spring Hill Funeral Home, 5110 Gallatin Pike, at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Internment with military honors will follow at the Spring Hill Cemetery.

3 Comments on this post:

By: Captain Nemo on 11/28/11 at 6:32

RIP Vic, I will always have good and fun memories of you during your city council days.

By: BenDover on 11/28/11 at 8:42

Always loved Varallo's when I worked down-town. Never got over to his new store near the Arcade though. Vic seemed like a really nice guy.

By: PKVol on 11/28/11 at 10:54

One of the true 'Nashville Originals' that was smart enough to never take himself too seriously. Rest in peace, Vic.