One of Joe Silimperi’s fondest memories in his career as an athlete, coach and administrator is getting invited to the wedding of one of his former wrestlers seven years ago.
“I coached Danny Gonzalez at Pocono Mountain in the mid-90s,” Silimperi was saying tonight. “He’s now a teacher and coach at Easton (Area Middle School) and he invited me to his wedding. It was neat because it hit home to me that I had had impacted someone else’s life. I guess I did OK.”
Silimperi, 46, wants to continue doing OK and better after recently being named as the athletic director at his alma mater, Nazareth Area High School.
Silimperi, a 1984 Nazareth grad, is replacing Rusty Amato as the Blue Eagles’ AD. Amato is now an assistant principal at the high school. Silimperi earned his bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg, then got his master’s at Lehigh. He received an administrative certificate from East Stroudsburg.
Silimperi was a special education teacher in the Nazareth Intermediate School and he has also served as the “voice” of Nazareth wrestling for the past eight years, after taking over for his father, Victor, who began announcing the Blue Eagles matches in the mid-1980s.
“When I found out (Amato was stepping down), I inquired about it and I got it,” Silimperi said. “I was pleased because I know a lot of folks were interested in the position.
“As for the appeal, well, starting in high school, I began looking to find a way to impact kids in a positive manner in my community. I’d like to continue the traditions here in Nazareth, the kids wearing the letter jackets. Sports brings people together.
“We want to do well in sports but we want to help our kids become good citizens, too. I’d also like to reach out to other kids who aren’t athletes but who like sports.”
Silimperi also wants Nazareth to be a good neighbor. The Blue Eagles will be sharing their home football field with Northampton this year as the Konkrete Kids are undergoing a building project at their middle school and need a place to play.
“When we’re playing away, they’ll be playing on our field,” Silimperi said. “We want to beat Northampton in competition but we want to be good hosts. We want their seniors to remember that senior year and have good memories even if they don’t have their field.”