The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Just ask the Archbishop Wood baseball team.
When their longtime head coach, Jim DiGuiseppe, announced his retirement earlier this summer, it truly was the end of an era. But now it looks like the DiGuiseppe name will carry on for the Vikings.
His son, Jim DiGuiseppe Jr., will be taking the reins.
“The responsibilities as head coach are getting more and more. I thought it would be a good time to step back. My son was announced as new head coach, so I’ll have to submit my resume to him,” DiGuiseppe Sr., 60, said with a laugh. “I’ll still be involved.”
The Fox Chase native has coached the Vikings for 22 seasons, the last 17 as head coach. His son has been part of the Viking team for 15 years as an assistant coach.
“It’s been great. It was really a special thing,” said DiGuiseppe Jr. “Not a whole lot of fathers and sons have an opportunity to work together. It’s really been a lot of fun to coach with him.
“I’m very excited,” he continued. “I expect us to continue with the high standard that we established. I want to go out, compete and have a successful season.”
The dynamic duo have guided Archbishop Wood to Catholic League Blue Division titles in 2009 and ’10. The Vikings also won the city title in 2010 and went on to claim their first-ever state playoff victory.
“Our program has really grown by leaps and bounds. We won a couple of titles,” said DiGuiseppe Sr. “The program’s in as good a shape as it’s been in for sixteen years.”
The father-son team has a smorgasbord of accomplishments between them. A 1968 graduate of Cardinal Dougherty High School, DiGuiseppe Sr. went on to graduate from Temple University with a degree in health and physical education in 1972.
In addition to his Catholic League coaching experience, DiGuiseppe Sr. coached American Legion baseball and coached the Philadelphia Catholic League during the annual Carpenter Cup Classic in 2008, ’09 and ’10.
For the past 15 years, he has been a teacher in the Bristol Township School District. He currently teaches health and physical education at the Neil Armstrong Middle School, where he also coaches basketball and football.
The younger DiGuiseppe is an Archbishop Wood High grad who earned a degree in business education from Delaware Valley College, where he was a three-year letter winner for the Aggies baseball program. As a pitcher and an outfielder, he was a first-team All-Conference selection and also was named most valuable player.
He later obtained his master’s degree in counseling and human relations from Villanova University. For the past 11 years, he has taught business at Bucks County Technical High School.
The younger DiGuiseppe also coached the Newtown American Legion squad and worked alongside his father on the Philadelphia Catholic League’s coaching staff during the 2008, ’09 and ’10 Carpenter Cup.
The elder DiGuiseppe enjoyed the Carpenter Cup experience.
“That was fun,” he said. “You get a camaraderie with the players. The spirit of the Catholic League is great. You get to be with all of the coaches and players in the league. That was a great experience.”
Although the high school baseball season is eight months away, the duo are looking forward to their new roles on the Archbishop Wood diamond.
They’re staying busy in the meantime. Both are back in the classroom after summer vacation, and DiGuiseppe Sr. is again leading the Neil Armstrong Middle School football team.
“I love coaching. I like the commitment from the kids,” he said. “I’m a player’s coach. I value loyalty. I have a great rapport with the kids. I enjoy them.
“I’m not a quiet coach,” he added. “I’m always in the game. I like to motivate the kids through a lot of energy and enthusiasm. But when you get a little older, you mellow a little bit.
“I’m thrilled because now I can stay around and help Jim and be his righthand man,” DiGuiseppe Sr. said of the 2012 baseball season. “I expect him to maintain this good program that we have going. You set a high standard and you want to maintain that. I definitely think it’s attainable. I wouldn’t expect anything less.” ••
Editor Melissa Yerkov can be reached at email@example.com