The next generation

After 22 sea­sons, Arch­bish­op Wood base­ball coach Jim DiGuiseppe an­nounced his re­tire­ment in June. Now his son is step­ping up to the plate.

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 my­

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