After seven years at the helm of the Holy Spirit Spartans football program, head coach AJ Russo is stepping back.
Russo announced in a press release Friday that he is stepping down as the team’s head coach, but will remain with the program as an assistant.
“For the past seven years I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to be the head coach of Holy Spirit,” Russo said in a press release. “Working at a school where the administration, faculty, alumni, students, our coaching staff and players truly care about everyone around them is what makes Holy Spirit High School I want to thank former manager Susan Dennen and former athletic director Jay Connell for hiring me, current manager Tom Farren and athletic director Steve Normane for allowing me to do what I love to do and our President, Father Perry Cherubini, who fully supported me and our staff.”
Ventnor resident Russo steps down as head coach with a 50-26 record, winning the 2019 Unofficial Group II State Championship, winning the 2020 Unofficial South Jersey Championship and winning three titles of division WJFL.
According to the statement, Russo said spending more time with his family after a 2018 battle with bladder and colon cancer opened his eyes to the fact that time is precious and there is no no better use of that time than spending it with family.
“Although my health is good, being diagnosed with colon and bladder cancer in November 2018 made me realize how fragile life is and how important it is to spend time and create memories with your family of origin,” Russo said in a statement. “Our two children live out of state, Erin in Florida and AJ in Pennsylvania. For the past 7 years, my wife Rhonda and I haven’t had much time to visit them. I want to thank my family for his patience, his understanding and now I will have more free time with them.”
A 2011 Holy Spirit graduate and former Spartans player, Andrew DiPasquale will be the next head coach of Holy Spirit Football according to the statement. DiPasquale has been part of the Spartans football program since 2015 serving as quarterbacks and wide receivers coach for Russo.
The Somers Point resident played football and baseball at Absecon School, winning two state football championships, in 2007 and 2010.
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