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Condon brought in to replace Frulio at St. Rose

June 16, 2011

After coaching the Purple Roses to a 22-4 record and a division title in his fourth year with the program, Jerry Frulio confirmed Tuesday he will not be returning to manage the St. Rose baseball team next season.

The former coach said he was made aware of the St. Rose administration’s decision to go in a different direction during a meeting with St. Rose Athletic Director Joe Lafferty last Wednesday night.

Frulio will be replaced by St. Rose alumnus Mike Condon, who is a member of the St. Rose Athletic Hall of Fame as part of the 1992 state championship baseball team. Condon was also recently hired as a physical education teacher at the school.

“We had an opportunity to hire [Condon] on as a full-time physical education teacher as well as a coach,” said St. Rose High School Principal Sister Kathy Nace, commonly known as Sister Kathy. “There’s a great advantage to having a coach in the building, so that was a big consideration.”

Frulio said he was upset with what he felt was the administration’s illogical decision to part ways with him.

“They are masking their decision that they are hiring Mike Condon as a teacher, and that their goal is to have more teachers in the building as coaches,” said Frulio. “I don’t know why they could not hire him as a teacher and make him an assistant coach.

“They decided they had to give him the head varsity coach position,” Frulio continued. “It doesn’t seem like rational, logical thinking. I have been in education for 12 years, and this is just not how you run things.”

Frulio was an assistant coach with the Purple Roses for two seasons under former manager and athletic director Jim Agnello, before taking over for Agnello in 2010.

In his first year as manager, Frulio led the Purple Roses to the Non-Public South B final. This past spring, Frulio guided the team to a 22-4 record and a B Central Division title, while reaching the Non-Public South B semifinal.

Frulio came to St. Rose following a 10-year stint at his alma mater, Central Regional High School.

“The St. Rose job just kind of fell into my lap, and it turned out to be a great ride,” said Frulio. “We were able to earn two state championships in four years, and we won a whole bunch of games.”

With a 14-year résumé as a high school baseball coach, Frulio said he is not actively looking for a coaching position at another school at the moment, but will not pass up an opportunity to get back to working with baseball players if the right one presents itself.

“At this point in time, I have zero desire to go and seek out a position,” Frulio said. “I have gotten support and offers from other coaches in the Shore Conference, but it would have to be the perfect situation. If the right thing comes along, I would consider it.”

Along with the support of coaches from around the Shore Conference, Frulio has been touched by the support he has received from the people who he has been directly involved with over the past four years at St. Rose.

“The parents and kids were great, and the outpouring of support since this news broke has been overwhelming,” said Frulio. “You don’t really give it any thought until something like this happens, and you realize the impact you had on people.

“I coached some unbelievable kids and some great baseball players,” he continued. “We sent some brilliant kids to some really great schools.”

Despite the warm feelings he has for many at St. Rose, Frulio was adamant that he was treated unfairly by the school’s administration.

“I’d be willing to bet my house that there is a whole lot more going on than just wanting a teacher to be a coach,” Frulio said. “That is a cop-out, and it’s lame. It is very transparent, but as a school and an administration, they can use that to mask what is really going on.”

In response to Frulio’s assertion, Sister Kathy reaffirmed that the school simply would like to have more faculty members work as coaches.

“I certainly understand Mr. Frulio’s disappointment in not being invited back for next year,” she said yesterday. “He’s been an excellent coach and a good role model. The program has flourished under his direction.”

Having faculty members act as coaches “benefits our school in the long term,” Sister Kathy added. “My responsibility as a principal is to have the benefits of the school in the long term in mind.”

Also, the principal pointed out, Condon is an alumnus of St. Rose High School and a former minor league baseball player, which Sister Kathy said she thinks will “give the program some good history.”

“Jerry [Frulio] is a great guy — a phenomenal guy — who had a great season,” Sister Kathy continued. “[Letting Frulio go] was probably the toughest part of the decision. You couldn’t ask for a nicer guy, and I think he is a very solid role model, again, for the boys.”

Still, “it’s a big asset to have your coaches in-house,” Sister Kathy said, citing benefits such as scheduling and enabling coaches to see their athletes on a day-to-day basis, even during the off-season.

Molly Mulshine contributed reporting to this story.

The above story also ran in the Jun. 16, 2011 print edition of The Coast Star.

Follow me on Twitter @  http://twitter.com/#!/SamCostantino

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Joni Morrissey permalink
    June 17, 2011 10:36 pm

    It is ashame that St. Rose has decided to move in a “different direction”, ONCE AGAIN, for the “better of a program.” It is quite obvious to me that the decision was a “FINANCIAL BENEFICIAL” to the St. Rose Baseball Program rather than a “MORAL BENEFICIAL” which it has been since Coach Agnello and Coach Frulio had to “clean up” St. Rose’s Baseball “MESS” in 2007! As a parent who had both sons go through both programs, it’s ashame that it all seems to come down to the dollars and cents……For someone who has questioned her faith in recent months, this most certainly does NOT reaffirm the logic and Christianity behind choices made administratively and with no “real explanation” for choices made. We, as a family and alumni of St. Rose, do NOT support the decision made with this baseball program going forward. Shame, Shame….I think the Diocese should know about the internal goings on at St. Rose High School….

  2. Alexander S. permalink
    June 22, 2011 12:18 pm

    I find it hard to understand why a coach that has had as much success in both winning and support from players/parents would be pushed out. Interesting story.

  3. ryan permalink
    June 28, 2011 4:19 pm

    SR Kathy is the worst thing that has happened to st. rose.

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