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Joe Colella

Coaching ∙ Hopewell

 

 

 

 

Most veteran high school coaches look forward to peaceful retirement. But not Joe Colella, who was head baseball coach at Hopewell since 1964 and assistant coach four years before that. “I enjoy it tremendously and intend to coach as long as I’m healthy,” Joe said with cheerfulness not characteristic of his profession. Between 1964 and 1987 his Hopewell teams won eight section titles and compiled a record of 355-132-2 for a 73 percent winning average. The Vikings’ 1979 WPIAL baseball championship was the first in Hopewell High sports history. And the 1986 squad was the first Beaver County team to win the PIAA state baseball title. In 1964 Joe and Woody Clark started the Hopewell American Legion baseball program. Joe’s Legion teams used mostly the same players as his high school squads, and with equal success, piling up a 490-139 record (78 percent) and winning 16 Eastern Division titles, 6 Beaver County titles, and three Pennsylvania Regional titles. As a junior at Rochester High School in 1948, Joe led the league with a .450 batting average. He batted .410 as a senior and was the youngest player in the 1949 Hearst All Star Game at Forbes Field. He also was a four year baseball letterman at Geneva College, leading all District 3 colleges with a .615 batting average as a senior in1955. In the early 1950s, Joe was an outfielder in the independent Pennsylvania-New York minor league. He later played eight seasons in the Beaver County League with Ambridge Legion, Rochester Legion, and Aliquippa J&L.