st. joe football road
St. Joe’s Head Coach Paul Sacco gives thanks to the team, cheerleaders, families and supporters as the team celebrates after winning the State Non-Public II title over Gloucester Catholic at Paul VI in Haddon Township Saturday November 21, 2009. Photo/Dave Griffin Dave Griffin

The staff of the St. Joseph High School football team walked into head coach Paul Sacco's hospital room at Atlantic City Medical Center, City Division, on Thursday night.

The first thing Sacco asked, according to assistant coach Rick Mauriello, was how Thursday's practice had gone.

Sacco, 53, was resting comfortably Thursday night after a scary two days. He was admitted Wednesday for high blood pressure and blood on the brain, said Rhonda Bianchini, director of institutional advancement for the school, on Thursday night.

"Hopefully, he'll be back with us within a week," Bianchini said.

Mauriello said Sacco successfully underwent a procedure Thursday

morning due to blood on the brain.

"I'm with him right now," Mauriello said. "He's real tired, but he looks good."

Few programs in the state can match the success St. Joseph has had under Sacco. The Wildcats are the defending state Non-Public II champions and are 243-54-5 in Sacco's 30 seasons. No Cape-Atlantic League coach has won more games.

Word of Sacco's illness spread via the online message boards and Facebook on Thursday afternoon and evening.

"I know there's all kinds of rumors out there," Bianchini said. "It's not as severe as what was being said out there."

Sacco had elevated blood pressure and headaches during last weekend and the beginning of this week.

"There was some worry there," Bianchini said.

Mauriello said originally doctors thought Sacco just had sinus trouble and a migraine headache.

But a CT scan revealed bleeding on the brain, Mauriello said.

St. Joe (7-1) does not play this weekend. Mauriello said Sacco is expected to be in the hospital another seven to 10 days. St. Joe is scheduled to meet St. Anthony (8-0) in a state Non-Public II semifinal next Saturday night in Jersey City.

Former St. Joe standout Jack Corcoran also visited Sacco on Thursday.

"His spirits are pretty good," Mauriello said of Sacco. "He's happy to see us."

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