Basketball: St. Joseph names Paul Dudzinski

Paul Dudzinski is surrounded by members of the St. Joseph boys basketball team after Dudzinski was named coach of the Cadets.
Paul Dudzinski is surrounded by members of the St. Joseph boys basketball team after Dudzinski was named coach of the Cadets.

St. Joseph High has named Paul Dudzinski as its head boys basketball coach.

Dudzinski played for his mentor, coach Vito Montelli from ‘78 through ’82, and is excited to take over the reins of the storied program. He will be the third coach of a program that has more wins and titles than any high school in the state.

Dudzinski brings his own winning traditions, having accumulated four South-West Conference titles and two state titles in his 19 years as head coach at Stratford High School.

“I had memorable times coaching at Stratford High School and made great friends whom I’ll always cherish,” Dudzinski said. “Now, I am ready to start a new chapter at St Joe’s. This couldn’t have come at a better time. It truly is an opportunity I wouldn’t have missed. We will play an exciting brand of basketball that will make our Cadet fans, student body, and alumni extremely proud.”

“This is outstanding for St Joe’s,” said school president Dr.William Fitzgerald. “If anyone asked me to identify someone in the community capable of taking our legacy to the next level, it would be Paul. He not only brings his basketball expertise, but he will help our young men develop, and will always have their best interest at heart. Coach Dudzinski is going to have kids very excited to play for him. ‘The Lord works in wondrous ways.’”

Dudzinski, who played college ball at the University of Rhode Island, said, "I am tremendously grateful. I want to coach, and I have a lot to give. I know how important high school basketball is in a young man’s life. I’ve seen this game do great things for kids, and I want to be the bridge between a great basketball program and players who want to excel.”

Coming home will not be a challenge for Dudzinski, as he has maintained strong ties with the school.

“At home, we are and always have been a St Joe’s family. My wife Kathleen (’82) and I are St Joseph High School sweethearts, and so are my brother and his wife.”

The Dudzinski’s three daughters are also Cadets. Amanda ‘11 and Chloe ’13 are alumnae. And sister Ellie will graduate on Saturday. The Dudzinski family resides in Stratford.

St Joseph Vice Principal for Athletics, Kevin Butler, said, “In athletics, there are always new eras to start, and we are beyond thrilled to start a new era with Coach Dudzinski. Naming Paul the head boys basketball coach is first step in returning this program to excellence, a major step in continuing to build a program that contends at every level in the competitive Fairfield County Interscholastic Conference

“Mr. Butler led the selection committee through a review of over thirty local and regional applicants, and several rounds of interviews of high quality candidates, before unanimously selecting Mr. Dudzinski.

“A coach of Paul’s caliber would not have been available to us if we had not hired him now. His reputation as a basketball coach and alumnus made it very apparent that this is a great opportunity for everyone.”

Dudzinski met with the team after the announcement, reaffirmed Camren Menefee,

Alec Pelletier, Omar Telfer as team captains, and set up meetings to ensure a smooth transition.

Coach Montelli was on hand to offer his congratulations.excel in higher education and provides a foundation to guide them throughout their lives.