Longtime Holy Spirit coach stepping down

ABSECON — After 38 years of coaching, including the last 10 at Holy Spirit, Larry DiGiovanni is stepping down as girls’ basketball coach. The 61 year-old coach decided that this was the right time.

“It was starting to consume my life,” he said in a phone interview. “Every year I ask the girls to totally commit to the program and when you can’t give that same effort, it’s time to go. At the end of every year I’ve sat down with my family and evaluated our year and we (as a family) have based our decision on that. I ask the same question every year if I want to continue and this year I finally said no.”

Holy Spirit finished 22-5 last season, bringing his record with the Lady Spartans to 216-59 over the past 10 years. They won the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference for the fourth time as well. The 1968 Spirit graduate was a point guard and later began his coaching career as an assistant under legendary boys coach Bill Deibert.

“People think I’ve just been doing this the last 10 years but in reality it has been almost four decades,” he said.

DiGiovanni had nothing but praise for his assistants, athletic directors and opposing coaches.

“The parents have been great, the opposing coaches have forced us to get better with the way they have improved their programs,” said DiGiovanni. “The athletic directors and administration have been nothing but supportive and I’m very grateful.”

DiGiovanni won’t just quit basketball cold turkey as he will be starting up a point guard academy next year. He mentioned that he will still be involved with summer basketball camps and will be starting up a consulting program to help high school girls, to get the needed funding to further their education and basketball at the next level.

“Those things are still very important to me,” he said. “It will allow me to keep my hand in the game without the all-consuming challenge of coaching. My family has sacrificed so much and it’s time for me to give them more of my time.”

When asked what his greatest accomplishment was, DiGiovanni did not hesitate.

“Building a program that year after year was one of the best in the area,” he said. “I think we’ve done that and I’m very proud of that. We’ve been blessed with some great players who have pushed themselves to be great players. We’ve had girls sacrifice a lot for the betterment of the Holy Spirit girls basketball program and they all should be proud of what has happened here.”

No successor has been named as yet for the now open position.

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