Entrepreneur a man of sport and science
Founder of Verusco Technology diesJONO GALUSZKA
A Palmerston North man who turned his love of football into a business based on improving rugby performance has died.
George Serrallach, 76, was the founder of Verusco Technology, a company that compiled statistics from rugby matches to provide coaches with greater insight into how their players were performing.
He died at his home on Tuesday.
Before coming to New Zealand from Spain, he was heavily involved in the round-ball code of football.
Xavier Serrallach said his father was a skilful attacking player with great acceleration, who was good enough to play for the youth teams of European powerhouse Barcelona.
"If he stayed he probably would have advanced [to higher honours], but he went to study in Switzerland."
A bright man who earned multiple degrees and knew several languages, he ended up working as a biochemical engineer.
His widow, Josephine, said Dr Serrallach's love of adventure was the most likely reason they chose New Zealand.
When he got to Palmerston North, he kept himself in football - and very busy - by coaching.
Mr Serrallach said his father was a familiar face in town because of the many children he coached.
"He coached so many kids here in Palmerston North. He said something like 1500 kids, he coached.
"He was coaching pretty much a whole club [at one stage], plus the rep team and going to all the games."
Dr Serrallach also had a term as a city councillor from 1979 to 1981.
"People complained about his dress standard, because he came straight from [football] training in his training suit to meetings," his son said.
"He was so busy and committed to coaching."
He wanted the city to have a covered 50-metre swimming pool long before most councillors thought it was a good idea, and he helped to establish the youth council.
"He wanted young people to be part of the decision-making process," Mrs Serrallach said.
Mr Serrallach said his father was glad to get out of politics after one term.
"Immediately after it said on the radio he was not elected, he was relieved."
He was an ideas man.
Mr Serrallach said his father was full of passion and drive - whether it was teaching himself how to write programming code for his business, or trying almost every avenue to import a small piece of plutonium to complete a set of every element on the periodic table.
He was a family man who cared deeply for his wife, three sons and four grandchildren.
"He will leave such a big hole in our lives," Mrs Serrallach said.
The idea for Verusco came during two years of illness when he was younger.
Mr Serrallach said his father watched films of football players, and would notice movements and faults in them.
That experience made him think of a way to help coaches analyse player movements.
Verusco was first designed for football, but Dr Serrallach saw it had to change. "He realised he couldn't sell anything about soccer, so then he went to rugby," Mr Serrallach said.
Mrs Serrallach said her husband loved living in New Zealand, but later in life became nostalgic for his homeland.
His funeral will be held on Sunday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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