Photo by James A. McBride
Joe Ranoia, long-time basketball coach at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School, Berlin, speaks at a surprise event held in his honor in the school gym on Feb. 3.
On Friday, Feb. 3, in Berlin, the long-time Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School boys’ basketball coach, Joe Ranoia, was honored by family, friends, community leaders and current and past players.
The event was a surprise for a man who customarily tries not to draw attention to his own achievements, and no doubt would have discouraged being the object of so much praise and admiration.
Ranoia, 67, has been head coach at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel since the 1974-75 season. At the age of 28, he and his wife, Sharon, and two children, Marie and Joseph, moved from South Philadelphia to Berlin and enrolled their daughter at Our Lady of Mount Carmel school.
When the Sisters of Mercy at the school needed a head basketball coach, they asked Joe, who played basketball at Penn State but had no experience coaching an organized basketball team.
During his tenure, the team has won championships in 2003-04, 2004-05, 2007-08, 2009-10, and 2010-11.
Before the 1979-80 season, he became the director of the Camden County Catholic School Independent Boys Basketball League, a position he still holds today.
In addition to his coaching and director duties, he also runs summer basketball camps and trains players.
During the Feb. 3 tribute, which was held before the JV Boys’ and Varsity Boys’ games against St. Peter, Merchantville, a video of Ranoia’s life, from his boyhood days to the present, was shown. It included interviews with former players and, in some instances, father/son duos he has coached throughout the years.
Ranoia’s daughter, Marie, spoke during the tribute, as did league referees, and parents and other league coaches.
Congratulatory letters were read from Bishop Joseph A. Galante, Gov. Chris Christie and a former school principal.
The varsity boys’ team presented Ranoia with his own personalized parking sign, and the basketball floor was renamed the “Joe Ranoia Court.” (Now his name is in decals on the floor, but the school hopes to raise the money to permanently paint his name on the court at its March 10 Beef and Beer.)
As well, the Scholar-Athlete and Leadership Award, has been renamed the “Joe Ranoia Award.”