New Nazareth AD Silimperi hopes to maintain program's tradition

The 1984 Nazareth graduate is proud to oversee his alma mater's athletic program.

As the oldest of six children in a sports-minded family, Joseph Silimperi knows all about teamwork.

And he knows all about Nazareth pride and tradition and loyal fans like Andy Weaver, who was the first to know about his new job.

That's why Silimperi may have been the perfect choice to replace Rusty Amato as the Blue Eagles athletic director.

The 46-year-old was approved by the school board earlier this week to succeed his close friend Amato, who resigned the AD post to become an assistant principal at Nazareth.

Silimperi is a 1984 Nazareth grad, a former wrestler, and a father of three who earned his bachelors degree from Bloomsburg, his masters from Lehigh and an administrative certificate from East Stroudsburg. He has been in education for 23 years, five as an administrator.

He is excited about the opportunity to lead a Nazareth sports program that is generally considered competitive across the board.

"I want us to continue what we're doing," Silimperi said. "Rusty began student athlete character council for the Lehigh Valley Conference and I want to continue what he started. Character and how you carry yourself are very important to me, as it was with Rusty. We grew up together, had the same coaches and share the same values.

"I'd like us to win in everything possible, however, in doing that I want our athletes to understand that they're representing their school, their alumni and community and I want them to act accordingly. I want them to act like young gentlemen and ladies."

Nazareth is still known first and foremost for wrestling, and Silimperi's cousin Brad and brother Anthony are past champs.

However, Silimperi stressed that no sport is more important than another.

"Our primary goal here is turn to our student-athletes into good citizens," he said. "Sports can be an important part of that. We need to be consistent across the board."

Silimperi will have some extra football games on his plate this year as Northampton needs a new football home for two years while the campus undergoes a huge middle school construction project.

Nazareth will host five Northampton home games this season, including the traditional Thanksgiving morning game against Catasauqua.

"Todd Bowser [the Northampton AD] and me will meet next week to get everything ironed out in terms of who will be responsible for what," Silimperi said. "We want to be good hosts."

NEW COACH

In addition to hiring Silimperi as new AD, the Nazareth board approved Barry Jarvis as the new softball coach. He replaces Michelle Schoeneberger, who was 67-42 in five seasons. She is the mother of a 9-month-old son, Lucas, and resigned for family reasons.

Jarvis, a Wilson Area grad and former linebacker at the University of North Carolina, had been the Blue Eagles junior varsity coach for five years.

"We have several talented players coming back with varsity experience," he said. "I've coached all of these girls for the last five years, so I am familiar with them and they're familiar with me. It should be a very nice transition. It'll be a challenge, but I am looking forward to it."

Jarvis said his teams were consistent winners at the JV level, posting a 13-5 mark this past spring..

"We have great kids," he said. "We haven't had any issues."

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