Sometimes people just know when it’s the right time to walk away.
That is how Indian River High School boys’ basketball coach B.J. Joseph felt after 27 years on the hardwoods, with the last 22 being the general of teams at Laurel, Milford and IR.
“Just felt like it was time,” Joseph said. “I just turned 60 in November, and I have been involved with basketball every year of my life since I was, I guess, 11 or 12 years old. My wife has been the most supportive person I could ask for,” he said of his wife, Melissa. “All these years, we could never go away for Thanksgiving or Christmas because I was coaching.”
Joseph was honored during the Indians’ last game of the season, on Tuesday, Feb. 12 — an 88-72 upset of then-division-leading Milford. Several former players were in attendance for their coach, as were his wife and his daughter Jaclyn.
“It was really special to see some of my former players at the game,” reflected Joseph, who finished with a 39-41 mark in his four years at IR, including two berths in the Division II state playoffs. And several of his players have gone on to become basketball coaches themselves.
“It’s really hard to put into words what has stood out all these years. My former players were saying that I was able to teach them about life — and not just basketball. I always told them to play the game of life. Seeing those guys come back as grown men was really special… just so many memories.”
Joseph became a head coach for the first time 22 years ago, at Laurel High School. He then coached at Milford for eight more years before coming to IR for the past four years. He took the Bulldogs to several state playoffs, including the school’s deepest run ever into the quarterfinal round.
And now he gets to enjoy some traveling, and maybe actually get to sit and watch some basketball.
“My wife and I just bought a log cabin up in Vermont,” noted Joseph, who is a social studies teacher, teaching U.S. history and civics at IR. “Maybe we’ll finally get to go away for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I want to be able to go watch some college and high school games. Definitely want to go over to D.C. and see some of those high school teams, like DeMatha, play. I’m also going to take my daughter up to a ’Sixers game.”
After all these years of grinding, it’s time for Joseph to sit back and be a fan of the game he has loved all these years.
By Jason Feather