Not Just Your Average Joe

Written By Riley Thompson |
Photo Courtesy of Hartford Courant |

The man, the myth, the legend, Joe Grippo. He has been around Morgan longer than you can imagine- not only as a volleyball and basketball coach, but also as a mathematicsĀ teacher. Grippo retired from teaching 4 years ago but decided to continue coaching at Morgan.

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61 years old and still kicking, Grippo continues to bring his energy to practice and games. We all know Grippo as the fiery coach on the sidelines, but when the game ends, where does this fiery coach go?

Joe resides in New London, where he has spent his whole life since childhood. Growing up with his sister, he values his family most. Occasionally she will bake brownies for his athletes which he will share at practice.

Joe lives on a tight sleep schedule, usually going to bed around 10 pm or 11 pm, and waking up always between 5 am- 8 am. When he has the day off from volleyball or basketball, he will spend his day with his dog going on hikes or walks.

When it comes to food, Grippo prefers to eat at home, but if he was to eat out he eats at Illiano’s because it is, “more his style.” An Italian restaurant in Middletown, it suites Grippo and his Italian heritage.

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Senior Sami Ashton, one of his former basketball and volleyball players thinks very highly of Grippo, “Grippo worked so hard to make all players better at two sports that he loved and had a passion for. He was so committed to his job as a coach, never missed a practice, never was late. He taught life lessons that will be useful throughout entire lives like when having a career, lessons that will make us better people. He watched videos, read books, had long talks with his other coaches to improve himself as well as the players. I couldn’t imagine having any other coach, and I definitely wouldn’t be the player or person I am today without him.”

Senior Josie Sullivan also was coached by Grippo for the past four years in basketball, “He motivates you to work hard, and I thank him for these past four years, I’m going to miss not playing next year.”

Junior Shannon Maher has been participating in Morgan Basketball for her past three years at Morgan, “I’m really going to miss him next year, it’s going to be weird playing for someone else and having to adjust to their coaching style.”

Senior Riley Thompson also participated in Morgan Basketball, “I feel privileged to be able to have had Grippo as a coach for these last four years, he is the type of coach who will push you to be your best everyday in practice or games and will do all he can to win. I am lucky to have had him as a coach.”

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