Retired Bridgeton High School athletic director Joe Blandino returned to high school athletics last week.
Blandino, who retired from his 26-year post as Bridgeton’s AD before the 2011-2012 school year, accepted a position with Sacred Heart as the school’s new part-time athletic director July 2. The change was part of a series of moves the school is making to lower financial costs as it works to keep the school open and operating.
In January, the Diocese of Trenton announced the school would close due to financial issues. But the Save Sacred Heart High School Committee said in April it raised $17,000 more than the $300,000 that the diocese agreed upon. The committee also stated it should have no trouble raising the other $300,000 that is needed by December.
“I don’t really know much of the situation, but I knew they were in trouble to stay open,” Blandino said Wednesday night. “Obviously, they were able to find a way to take care of that, but I know they are treading water right now and looking for good people at a very low price.
“And that’s why they are reaching out to retirees in all positions, where they could get some quality people with a lot of experience to help them get back on their feet and keep the school going.”
Blandino said he would be happy to accept the position as long as it was part-time. After all, he did just retire a year ago. He mentioned that the fact the school was smaller and that Sacred Heart doesn’t have a football program played a part. He added that moving to another school in the Cape-Atlantic League made the decision easy. He said he still has plenty of connections within the league and with the other athletic directors.
Blandino couldn’t speculate as to why former co-ADs Keith Jones and Steve Tucker stepped down. All the Fairton resident knows is that he’s excited to work with high school athletes again.
“I just enjoy being around kids,” Blandino said. “I can honestly say I miss being around kids and this gives me another opportunity to do it again in a whole new atmosphere, which makes it more exciting.”
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