Long-time Mount Carmel Area head football coach Joe Diminick had one of the all-time coolest sports nicknames, "Jazz," but that's not what this column is about.

When I was a young reporter, I found out a day before the high school season began that I was going to cover the Red Tornadoes. I didn't know a heck of a lot about football, but I didn't have to. I'd call Jazz, ask him what he thought about the upcoming game or the game just played. I just listened and typed; 10 minutes later I would have the story. But that's not my main debt to the late coach.

As a member of the Mount Carmel Area Mounties Band and not the football team, I didn't benefit from Jazz's influence there either.

I really didn't realize Diminick's impact on me until after his recent death. Jazz-coached teams started their game days in church. The team, Jazz and the other coaches gathered at the early morning Mass on Fridays. As a pre-teen, I was also often there.

It's likely that some players thought of the liturgy as a kind of good luck charm. Many, however, were probably like me. Maybe it happened then or years later, but we realized the kind of example that Jazz set by attending those Masses and living his faith.

There is no doubt that football was a very significant part of Diminick's life, but it was only a part of it. The other two "Fs" - faith and family - were infinitely more important.

It's not surprising that Jazz was even better husband, father, grandfather and person than he was a legendary coach. After all, he followed the winning game plan outlined by Jesus 2,000 years ago - love God and love others as yourself.


When you play on God's team,

you are always on the winning side.