With the Blizzard of 2017 holding up play in the outdoor high school sports schedule some three weeks after the storm hit, Joe Miraglia had to wait patiently for his return for coaching.
Miraglia, a longtime member of the coaching staff at Valley View, is starting his first season as head coach at Forest City, and is anxious to get the season underway.
“We tried to establish our program, and the success I learned, coming that way from Valley View, teaching them how to be successful and learning our program,” Miraglia said. “It seems to be working out very well; I’m very excited and the kids are enthused. The community has been unbelievably supportive; we raised more than $14,000 in about a month at a bingo.
“Not only that, but Honesdale Bank and NEPA Cable donated, so for the first time, we’re going to have a scoreboard up at Forest City.”
Visions about how Miraglia’s first wave of softball success had to cross his mind, coaching his daughters at the Jessup Youth Sports Complex while multitasking at a variety of the teams based in the Valley View School District.
“My oldest daughter stuck with it and that’s when we got involved with Little League, with the Carbino Club through softball and involved in travel ball,” Miraglia said. “Once my daughter became a freshman, I got hired as the JV coach [at Valley View] by E.J. Weston [in 2007].”
During that time, Miraglia found ways he could improve his teams.
“Since the majority of the players were from Valley View, I asked him if we should be involved also with the travel team and with our Carbino Club Little League and junior Little League,” Miraglia said. “We formed a bond and we had some really good success with the Carbino Club team that went to the World Series twice, and our travel team (Hurricanes) was successful.”
Having a hand in getting kids ready at these levels ultimately paid off for Valley View, making a good program stronger. From 2011 to 2013, Valley View reached the state semifinals, the state final and, finally, won a state title.
But two years later, Miraglia saw how much time all the different teams was taking up, and decided to cut back, unsure if he would ever get a chance to be a head coach at the varsity level. A year later, the dream returned as retirement opened up his schedule enough to allow him to pursue his dream again.
“I thought I could really focus on being a high school head coach,” Miraglia said. “I was selective; I didn’t want to just go somewhere, I wanted to be sure it was going to be a good fit.”
He interviewed for one position, but didn’t get that job, which caused him to widen his search and he came up with Forest City as a potential landing spot.
“I heard a lot of good things about Forest City and did some research on them,” Miraglia said. “The program was struggling a little bit, but I heard it was a good place, the kids were respectful and there was talent up there and they just needed a coach.”
A couple of things popped into place, solidifying Miraglia’s decision to go after that job.
“Brian Newberry, a longtime assistant baseball coach at Valley View, came to me and said he heard that I was looking to be a head coach, and he said that he would like to be my assistant coach,” Miraglia said. “He and I started going to soccer games and different things and started introducing ourselves to the kids and parents.”
What the duo found out was that Miraglia’s initial sources of info about Forest City were true, so he called athletic director Brian Durkin, was told to apply, and ultimately was named the head coach in November.
“It’s a small school with an up-and-coming program, investing a lot of money into the school itself,” Miraglia said. “It seemed like a good fit; it seemed like a challenge, but a good fit.”
If the players remain enthusiastic and the parents remain on board, Miraglia knows the blueprint to cover the rest.