Phil Greco to retire after 24 years at Rummel as athletic director
A brilliant career in athletics soon comes to an end for Phil Greco.
After 24 years, Greco has announced his retirement as athletic director at Archbishop Rummel, where he has served since 1994.
“I have been thinking about this for the past few years,” Greco said. “At a certain age, you strongly consider retirement. This was solely my decision. I could not be leaving Rummel on better terms. It is a great place to work.”
Greco presided over seven state championships in his tenure, including football (two), bowling (two), baseball (one), cross country (one) and wrestling (one). Many other Raider teams finished second in the state.
“We have had a great group of young men and wonderful administrators to work with,” Greco said. “I am very grateful to all and to the excellent coaches I have had a chance to work with.”
While Greco has hired a host of good coaches at Rummel, one will always stand out with his hire of Jay Roth as football coach in 1995.
“Jay was the best move we ever made,” Greco said. “He is a great coach, honest, fair and relates to the kids well. He is a disciplinarian who understands what it takes to be successful and he has helped build the character of many young men over the years.”
Roth has won two state championships, finished second twice in the state, claimed 12 Catholic League titles and has 220 victories in 23 years. Roth is extremely grateful for the opportunity that Greco gave him.
“He took a chance on a 32-year-old assistant coach with no head coaching experience,” Roth said. “I cannot thank him enough. He gave me a chance to come home, to my alma mater, at a place I love. Phil understands better than anyone what it takes to succeed and gave us that and understands what we go through, having been a great coach, himself. I was lucky to work for him.”
Greco concludes a brilliant career that began as an outstanding player at Delta State and at Tulane under Jim Pittman. He began his football coaching career at Nicholls High School from 1970-74 before becoming an assistant at De La Salle and Archbishop Shaw. Greco got his first head coaching job at East St. John, working in Reserve from 1978-80.
In 1980, his unbeaten Wildcats, led by quarterback Timmy Byrd, won the Class 4A state championship over Barbe.
Greco left East St. John to become an assistant coach at Northeast Louisiana before becoming an assistant at Southern Mississippi and Tulane. He spent the final six seasons at Nicholls State through 1993 before being hired by Rummel in 1994.
Reflecting upon his best memories at Rummel, Greco points to one opponent in his career that has brought him full circle.
“In 1980, I was fortunate to coach East St. John to a state title and we were unbeaten and defeated Barbe for the state title in the final state championship game to be played outside of the Superdome. The Superdome Classic began the following year. In 2012, Jay led us to an unbeaten season and a state championship win over Barbe in the final united state championship game before the split.”
The split is the biggest regret Greco has witnessed in his athletic career.
“It is truly sad,” Greco said. “When we were at East St. John, we never thought about not competing with private schools. We always wanted to do so. Rather than find solutions, we have found separation and that is very unfortunate for all the sports affected. It is my biggest regret.”
The search for a successor for Greco will begin immediately. There will no shortage of interest at a good school with excellent resources, facilities and a steep tradition.
“This is a great school, a great job,” Greco said. “I cannot express how fortunate I have been to be part of this.”
Rummel is fortunate to have had Greco as well.
Roth would seem to be a logical candidate to succeed Greco, though he will likely continue to coach football for the foreseeable future, with the success that he has had.
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