By Cary Shuman
Diana DeCristoforo has stunned the local sports community with the announcement that she is leaving her position as head coach of the Revere High School girls basketball program.
DeCristoforo told her players at a team meeting last week that she has decided to step down as coach after two successful seasons at the helm of the program. DeCristoforo led the varsity team to a 37-6 record, capped by a perfect 20-0 regular season record and Northeastern Conference championship this winter.
DeCristoforo, 29, has accepted an assistant coaching position in the Salem State University womenâ€™s basketball program. She will remain at Revere High in her position as an English teacher for grades 11 and 12.
â€œIt was a very difficult decision and I was very torn making the decision,â€ said DeCristoforo, a former RHS basketball star who scored 1,300 points in her career. â€œItâ€™s a bittersweet decision for me although Iâ€™m excited to get over to Salem State and help their program with recruiting and scouting and coaching. Of course, itâ€™s with a sense of sadness and disappointment leaving here as well. It was a very emotional experience telling the players my decision at the meeting.â€
DeCristoforo said she made the decision last Tuesday night (March 15) and told the players the next day after school.
â€œI can honestly tell you I did not make the decision until I went to bed Tuesday night, so there was no amount of me being pulled in any other direction during the season,â€ said DeCristoforo. â€œIt was a very difficult decision but in the end I think it was the best for me personally and professionally.â€
DeCristoforo has aspirations to be a head basketball coach at the college level.
â€œI never thought this opportunity would come around so quickly after two years,â€ she said. â€œIt was never on my plate until after the season ended.â€
DeCristoforo has previous ties to Salem State. She received a Masterâ€™s Degree in School Counseling from the university and was a graduate assistant in the athletic office.
With two outstanding seasons at RHS on her resume, DeCristoforo was asked what moment sheâ€™ll remember most about her tenure.
â€œI think it was the day in and day out practices and seeing the girls improve as a team, seeing leaders step up at times when you needed them to,â€ said DeCristoforo. â€œThe games are all memorable in one way or another, but at the end of the day, you remember the people and the relationships that were forged.â€
DeCristoforo understood that her decision to resign will catch a lot of RHS sports fans by surprise. DeCristoforo had just wrapped up an historical season two weeks ago and despite losing some talented seniors to graduation, including Boston Globe and Boston All-Scholastic Morgan Jenkins, the Patriotsâ€™ future looks very bright, led by the sophomore tandem of Gena Restiano and Caitlyn Caramello.
â€œIâ€™m sure this decision was shocking to a lot of people and theyâ€™re entitled to their opinion and they will have their opinion, but at the end of the day, I feel like it took some guts and courage on my part to follow a dream that Iâ€™ve had and I hope that the girls take that as a model for them in the future â€“ that your decisions may not always please everyone, but you need to do whatâ€™s right for you.â€
RHS Director of Athletics Shaun Hart praised DeCristoforo for her service in the athletic program.
â€œIâ€™m disappointed that sheâ€™s leaving â€“ sheâ€™s been a great coach with 37 wins in two seasons; anytime someone like that is leaving your program, itâ€™s going to be big shoes to fill,â€ said Hart.
Dr. Lourenco Garcia, principal of RHS, also lauded DeCristoforoâ€™s tenure.
â€œI think sheâ€™s a great teacher and a great inspirational coach who works with the students very closely and gives them the motivation and drive to perform well,â€ said Garcia. â€œI watched a few games and saw that she interacts with her players in a personal way very well and encourages them to do well,â€ said Garcia. â€œItâ€™s sad to see her leaving, but thatâ€™s the way it is. Sheâ€™ll be around supporting these kids and I wish her well.â€
DeCristoforo said that because sheâ€™ll still be teaching at the school, sheâ€™ll be able to follow the team closely next season.
â€œLuckily Iâ€™ll still be here at Revere High teaching and Iâ€™m looking forward to having some of them in class and watching them progress as a team,â€ said DeCristoforo. â€œTheyâ€™re wonderful kids, wonderful players and even better people.â€