After legendary Marist High School girls’ basketball coach Bill DeFazio passed away last November, his wife, Alice, the athletic director at New Jersey City University, wanted to make sure that her beloved husband’s coaching legacy lived on.
So after the last season ended, Alice DeFazio thought of the best way she knew to maintain the work her husband had tirelessly done for the past two decades was to take over the program herself.
“The thought had been going on for a while,” said DeFazio, who was once the head coach at Montclair State University as well as St. Dominic Academy, where she constantly waged battles coaching against her husband. “Larry [Arico, the Marist athletic director] and I were talking back and forth about it for a while. At first, I thought he was joking, but then he told me he was serious.”
“It just sort of came to mind,” Arico said. “I think Alice’s work stands out on her own. I had no doubt in my mind that she would be perfect, as a person, as a coach. I don’t think Marist High School could have a better person or a coach. I’ve known Alice for so long. We’ve been friends for more than 20 years. For me, the thought was, ‘Who’s better than Alice?’”
Alice DeFazio bounced the idea around in her head for a while.
“I was thinking about it and in late April, I said, ‘Yes,’ as long as I was in a volunteer position,” DeFazio said “I wanted to make sure that there was no conflict of interest with my full-time job.”
So beginning this coming season, Alice DeFazio will be the athletic director at NJCU and the head girls’ basketball coach at Marist, taking over the program that was once headed by her husband on a court that is aptly named the Bill DeFazio Court.
“I really wanted to be involved for the scholarship that is named after Bill,” Alice DeFazio said. “It’s a perfect opportunity to do so. I’m doing it for all the right reasons. It’s all about the pride that Bill took in the program and the work that he put into it. He had a commitment to excellence. I wouldn’t have given it a single thought if it wasn’t Bill’s program. It’s all about doing the right thing for my husband.”
DeFazio said that she’s getting help from two dutiful assistants, namely Erica Cubile, who was an assistant at New Jersey City University, and Pete Vincent, who also has college coaching experience at Centenary College in Hackettstown.
“They’re both really good people and good assistants,” DeFazio said.
Arico is pleased with the idea that Alice DeFazio will carry on the legacy of her late husband.
“She brings instant credibility to the program,” Arico said. “She already has the program back on the right track. I feel confident that we’re doing the right thing and we’re going to do things the right way.”
DeFazio has no qualms about taking the position.
“I just want to restore the program to the point where it had respect like when Bill was the coach,” DeFazio said. “A lot of it got lost after he left. Also, for me, being busy is very good. It’s healing for me. Losing Bill left a major void in my life. In many ways, it’s fitting that I’ll be coaching on my husband’s floor, in the gym he helped build. I’m privileged to get the opportunity to work with the right people. We’re going to make it right. I’m sure, one thousand percent sure. I know I’m going to have a good coach sitting alongside of me. I’m sure he’d approve of this.”
A lot of people already do…
The winning ways just continued at the NJSIAA Group track and field championships last weekend, with the legacy and the legend of Dickinson’s Jose Veras continuing once more.
On Friday at the Group IV championships in Old Bridge, Veras had a tough day, falling in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, injuring his back in the process. He finished 10th in a race he was favored to win. He also tried to compete in the 400-meter run and finished seventh.
However, the undaunted Veras wanted to make up for his failures and a day later, he came back with a vengeance, winning the 800-meter run in a blistering 1:51.62 and finishing second in the high jump with a career-best 6-8. It’s no longer amazing what this young man can do.
Also, St. Peter’s Prep sprinter Najee Glass won both the 200-meter dash and 400-meter run in the Non-Public A championships. Glass ran 21.84 to win the 200 and set a new meet record with a time of 47.08 in the 400-meter, where he is the state defending champion.
Zamir Thomas of Snyder, the defending state champ in the 200-meter dash, finished second at the Group II championships in the 100, 200 and 400 meters. Teammate Rashawn Taylor was third in the 100 and 200 and fifth in the 400. The Tigers finished third in the 1,600-meter relay, good for a third place team finish in Group II.
Also qualifying for the NJSIAA Meet of Champions are Christian Gomez of Memorial (fifth in the javelin in Group IV); Daeshawn Putman of St. Peter’s Prep (sixth in the high jump in Non-Public A) and Matt Cerbone of Hudson Catholic (third in the 100-meter dash in Non-Public B). Amira Dardir of McNair Academic qualified by finishing sixth in the Group I girls’ high jump…
Congrats to Nick Cordatto of Bayonne, Kevin Alonso of North Bergen and Yeudy Ventura of Union City for being selected to participate in the annual New Jersey Scholastic Baseball Coaches All-Star Classic next Wednesday night at Diamond Nation in Flemington. The three locals will represent the Northeast 1 All-Stars, with Union City’s Chipper Benway serving as one of the coaches…
The St. Peter’s Prep volleyball team had another successful campaign, winning their second straight Hudson County tournament as well as capturing their second straight NJSIAA state sectional title. But the Marauders fell to Fair Lawn in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions Tuesday night, falling in straight games, 25-14, 25-8. Lorenzo Samin was a standout for the Marauders all season long…
Jersey City native and former St. Anthony basketball standout Rashon Burno has been hired as an assistant basketball coach at Manhattan College. Burno was an assistant last season at Towson University…--Jim Hague Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.