Dellapina said his wife Ann, who is not a Springfield native, has fully supported the return home. But Dellapina said that won’t make it any easier to leave Hamilton.
“My experience in Hamilton has been so rewarding, so many wonderful people, so many similarities to the Springfield community that the only place I would ever consider leaving for would be the opportunity at Springfield,” he said.
Dellapina returns to a different Springfield than he left after attending Wittenberg and working at South as a wrestling assistant coach from 1988-89 and as a football assistant in 1991. North and South merged into Springfield High in 2008, and there have been some athletic growing pains.
“You celebrate the history, you celebrate the past successes,” Dellapina said. “You use those as things to help engage the kids, but this is their time. So it’s imperative that people that were North High products and South High products get behind and use their own experiences to help motivate our kids.”
Dellapina, whose parents were both teachers in Springfield and still live in town, said his biggest first-year challenges will be to get reacquainted with the city, learn what students want, learn what the needs are, unite people around a vision and then be strategic about improving the program.
“We want to create programs at the high school that people and parents want to be a part of, that kids are attracted to,” Dellapina said. “I want coaches to understand that it really falls upon them to really try to get kids involved and excited about the programs we have.”