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“Joey D,” the greatest coach in Mount Aloysius history: 235-74 (76%)

Note: I need a photo of Joey D if anyone can help

… DeAntonio will enter Mount Aloysius’ Hall of Fame

So few people in the 21st Century can remember when Mount Aloysius was a national power in athletics.

More than three decades ago, the Mount hired a women’s basketball coach who really did not want to coach women. However, Joey DeAntonio grew to love women’s basketball, leading the Mount toward the pinnacle of women’s junior college basketball.

At the time, Mount Aloysius was not yet a four-year educational institution. It was referred to as a junior college, still a two-year school.

However, the president of Mount Aloysius offered the coach who was then an assistant with the men’s team a job directing the women’s team.

Joey demurred, but the money was better. The job, however, was followed by his elevation to the role of athletic director, so the move was a no-brainer.

Surprised, very happy

I congratulated Joey in a phone conversation on Saturday, and we had a great talk. As a journalist back in the 1908s and 90s, I can cogently recall the quality of the program that he built. He had a plan to make the Mount a competitive women’s basketball program, something it had not been in its history.

As a result, he is being recognized by the Mount for his accomplishments, being named as one of the inductees into the first Hall of Fame class,

I was surprised, very surprised when the [Mount Aloysius] A.D. called me and told me about it. That seems like a long time ago, and people today don’t know anything about how good we were.

I feel very good about it.

Joey D, Sept. 3, 2022

How did he accomplish this?

Joe DeAntonio served as head women’s coach from 1983 until 1995, and at the time, the Mount did not have a legitimate basketball court to practice on or a place on campus to play their games.

With his gregarious personality and dynamic leadership, that aspect of athletics at the Mount gradually changed over the years. Suddenly, the women’s program was bringing positive PR to the Cresson campus, and the administration and board of trustees recognized this.

He compiled a record of 235-74 over those years, a winning percentage of .760, but it required a plan,

These players were Division I caliber, but they did not have the grades to get into those schools. So, I started recruiting them, telling them that by being successful here, they could have an opportunity to earn a chance at playing at a top Div. I school after two years at the Mount.

Joey D, Sept. 3, 2022

The plan worked.

The Lady Mounties became a regional power under his tutelage, but as A.D. and coach, he encountered many challenges.

The growth

A successful athletic program requires a plan to turn a losing program into a winner, and when I first covered one of Coach DeAntonio’s games as a journalist in the 1980s, I could not believe the talent that Joey had accumulated.

However, in the midst of winter, he had to gas up the van and take his team to area schools to practice and play games,

We went to Penn Cambria, to the middle school in Lilly, to Gallitzin. I had to pull out a paper every day to see where we were going.

But, the girls didn’t care. They were playing — and winning.

Joey D, Sept. 3, 2022

Honors — and an athletic facility

The success of the women led the president to recommend to the board of trustees that the school build an athletic facility. The first one was constructed in the 80s, ending those trips to the area schools.

Joey D was in heaven. He was named as the Region XX Coach of the Year in the National Junior College Athletic Association on six different occasions. The teams reached the Elite 8 of the NJCAA national championship once and the Sweet 16 three times.

Four of his players earned All-American status in the NJCAA, and 16 made all-region. In his final 11 seasons, the Lady Mounties earn spots in the national rankings ten times.

Many people did not realize the quality of those players and teams,

I had a guy in Altoona ask me if our team could beat Altoona High School. Seriously.

They had no idea how good we were.

I told him to come up and see some of our games and then decide for himself.

Joey D, Sept. 3, 2022

This is a wonderful recognition of a coach who put his heart and soul into building that program.

The inductees to the Hall of Fame will be honored on Oct. 7, which will be part of their alumni and homecoming weekend festivities. The others who will be part of the first hall of fame class include Brianna Baker ‘08 (women’s basketball and women’s volleyball); Ginger (Fanelli) Claar ‘03 (women’s basketball); Aaron Kovach ‘13 (baseball); Roman Mims ‘08 (men’s basketball); Jalisa (Westover) Murphy ‘14 (softball); and the 2015 AMCC Championship Men’s Soccer Team.

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