On June 1, St. Joseph High School introduced Paul Dudzinski, Class of ‘82, as the school’s new head coach for Boys’ Basketball.
Coach Dudzinski played for his mentor, Coach Vito Montelli, from ‘78 through ’82, and is excited to take over the reins of the St. Joe’s storied program. Coach Dudzinski will be the third coach of a program that has more wins and titles than any high school in the state.
Coach Dudzinski brings his own winning traditions, having accumulated four Southwest Conference titles and two state titles in his 19 years as head coach at Stratford High School. “I had memorable times coaching at Stratford High School and made great friends whom I’ll always cherish. Now, I am ready to start a new chapter at St. Joe’s. This couldn’t have come at a better time. It truly is an opportunity I wouldn’t have missed. We will play an exciting brand of basketball that will make our Cadet fans, student body and alumni extremely proud,” he said.
Coach Dudzinski, who played college ball at the University of Rhode Island, said, “I am tremendously grateful. I want to coach, and I have a lot to give. I know how important high school basketball is in a young man’s life. I’ve seen this game do great things for kids, and I want to be the bridge between a great basketball program and players who want to excel.”
Coming home will not be a challenge for Dudzinski, as he has maintained strong ties with the school. “At home, we are and always have been a St. Joe’s family. My wife Kathleen (’82) and I are St. Joseph High School sweethearts, and so are my brother and his wife,” he said. His three daughters are also Cadets. Amanda ‘11 (Class Valedictorian) and Chloe ’13 are alumnae. Their sister Ellie will graduate on June 4. The Dudzinski family resides in Stratford.
St. Joes’ vice principal for athletics, Kevin Butler, said, “In athletics, there are always new eras to start, and we are beyond thrilled to start a new era with Coach Dudzinski. Naming Paul Dudzinski the St. Joseph High School head boys’ basketball coach is first step in returning this program to excellence, a major step in continuing to build a program that contends at every level in the competitive Fairfield County Interscholastic Conference.”
Butler led the selection committee through a review of over thirty local and regional applicants, and several rounds of interviews of high quality candidates, before unanimously selecting Dudzinski. He added, “A coach of Paul’s caliber would not have been available to us if we had not hired him now. His reputation as a basketball coach and alumnus made it very apparent that this is a great opportunity for everyone.”
“This is outstanding for St. Joe’s,” said Dr. William Fitzgerald, president of St. Joseph High School, “If anyone asked me to identify someone in the community capable of taking our legacy to the next level, it would be Paul. He not only brings his basketball expertise, but he will help our young men develop, and will always have their best interest at heart. Coach Dudzinski is going to have kids very excited to play for him. ‘The Lord works in wondrous ways.’”
Coach Dudzinski met with the team after the announcement, reaffirmed Camren Menefee, Alec Pelletier, Omar Telfer as team captains, and set up meetings to ensure a smooth transition. Coach Montelli was on hand to offer his congratulations.
St. Joseph High School strives to be the premier college preparatory school in Southern Connecticut. The school provides a learning environment that embraces the Gospel values of the Roman Catholic faith and promotes a commitment to family and community. The school prepares young women and men to realize their potential, helps them excel in higher education and provides a foundation to guide them throughout their lives. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredits St. Joseph High School.
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