WOONSOCKET — The decision never did have anything to do with the money or the more suitable climate.
It was all about happiness. It was all about family.
That’s what led Josh D’Abate to remain at Mount St. Charles; to remain at Mount as the head coach of both his successful boys’ and girls’ volleyball programs.
A few weeks ago, D’Abate was given one of those career decisions that don’t come around too often in life. After a couple of phone interviews, he was offered a position as a coordinator for an athletic program based out in Arizona. It entailed overseeing a club basketball/volleyball program for males and females between the ages of 10-19 and was a position that offered a substantial pay raise from his coaching at MSC and his current employment at Chili’s Restaurant.
In the end, though, the final decision was easy. It was all about his happiness and all about his family — his biological family and the one he’s adopted at the top of the hill on Logee Street.
Instead of flying out to sunny Arizona, D'Abate chose to remain grounded.
“My brother and his wife are due for their first child in March. My father lives in Smithfield. I just felt with family here and no family on the west coast that that played a big role,” he said. “Plus, we’ve also built some family here at Mount. For me to walk away would be real tough.”
After several weeks of uneasiness and sleepless nights, D’Abate approached athletic director Richard Lawrence at the beginning of the week to tell him that he was staying at Mount. He made the decision not too long before his girls’ team suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Prout School on Tuesday night in the Division I semifinals.
The setback spoiled the Mounties’ bid for perfection and a possible sixth state title for D’Abate since taking the head coaching position back in 2002. During that span, his boys’ teams have captured four crowns in Div. II, including the last three. His Lady Mounties were last year’s Div. II titlist and surely gave it a run for an unprecedented double by coming just two wins short of a Div. I crown in their inaugural season at the state’s highest division.
“We have great kids that come to practice every day,” D’Abate said. “I told them (after Tuesday’s loss) not to hang their heads, especially the seniors. I think it was expected for us to be there on Saturday, but it just didn’t happen."
Mount’s special season, one that saw it go 16-0 during the regular season, didn’t just belong to the varsity program. The jayvee squad also finished undefeated in the league and brought home the championship in the JV State Meet.
That gives reason for optimism for 2011 for D’Abate, who will lose five valuable starters from this year's team in Maria Saia, Tara Murray, Tessa Jacobs, Sarah Manupelli and Lauren Palazzini. Coming back for the 2011 season will be strong setters sophomore Carissa Gould and junior Jessie Connaughton as well as defensive specialist and libero junior Meg Reilly.
This spring, it appears the boys’ team will be back in Div. I after its three straight titles in Div. II.
“The alignment meeting is on Monday,” D’Abate said. “As far as I know, we’ll be in Division I.”
D’Abate, who only told his senior players about his possible departure from Mount, stated he was happy he was given the opportunity for the position out in Arizona.
“It certainly would have been a big difference, but money can’t buy happiness,” he said. “Money doesn’t replace family.”
Both his own and the one he’s built here at Mount St. Charles.