Steve DiGregorio returns as Nutley HS football head coach

Steve DiGregorio during his previous tenure as Nutley HS football coach.

NUTLEY, NJ – Steve DiGregorio is back as the Nutley High School varsity football head coach.

DiGregorio, a 1979 NHS graduate, was the Raiders head coach for eight seasons from 2004 to 2011. Tom Basile took over as the head coach from 2012 to last season.

DiGregorio guided the Raiders to the 2010 NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 playoff championship game at the Meadowlands where NHS fell to Morristown to finish with an 8-4 record. In the previous season, the Raiders advanced to the semifinals of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 playoffs, but lost at home to West Morris to finish with an 8-3 record.

In 2011, the Raiders lost to Parsippany Hills on the road in the first round of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 playoffs, but defeated Belleville, 49-14, at home on Thanksgiving in DiGregorio’s final game to finish 6-4.

The Raiders finished .500 or better in six of DiGregorio’s eight seasons, including going 27-16 in his last four seasons.

In a phone interview with The Nutley Journal, DiGregorio said he is thrilled to be back as the coach of the Raiders. During his time off, DiGregorio got a chance to coach his sons at Princeton High School as an assistant football coach.

“I was able to coach my sons at Princeton High School.” he said. “They got done playing, and Tom (Basile) decided to step down. Tom and I are very, very close and really good friends, and (he’s) a terrific football coach, but he decided to step down, and the opportunity looked good and so did the time. I spoke with my wife about it, and three of my sons, and they were all for it. I think it was just a matter of timing that this happened. Last year, or maybe a couple of years down the road, it might have not worked out this way, but the time certainly worked out to my benefit.

“I was on the staff (at Princeton) for my oldest son, Zack, for his senior year, and then I took a year off, and then for my youngest son, Aaron, I was there for three of his varsity years – his sophomore, junior and senior year. It was just a terrific experience to be on the field with them. And that was one of my motivations to step down the first time. My oldest (son) was the starting quarterback in high school and I didn’t want to miss his games… The head coach there was really good to me, allowing me to be on the staff. It was terrific. And plus, it was nice to work with kids from our community who I saw growing up.”

DiGregorio said he is in the process of learning all the NHS players and assembling a coaching staff.

Make no mistake, DiGregorio is excited to guide the Raiders again.

“It’s great,” he said. “Nutley football is terrific. I have great memories as a player and the years that I was the head coach here.”

DiGregorio previously was the head football coach and athletic director at Paramus Catholic from 2001-03.

Since 2004, iGregorio has taught social studies at Nutley High School.

In a statement, Nutley Athletic Director Joe Piro said, “It is a pleasure to have Coach DiGregorio back on staff.  He was a role model for our student athletes and a mentor to our staff during his first tenure as coach. I look forward to watching him pick up where he left off. The Raider Nation is excited to have him back.”