Jim Agnello said on Thursday that he has resigned as the athletic director and the head baseball coach at St. Rose after leading the Purple Roses to consecutive Non-Public B titles in his only two seasons as head coach.
“I’m moving on and expanding my business in Staten Island,” Agnello said. “I agonized and agonized over this. The kids are what kept me there and it hurts me to leave. It was a tough decision because of those quality kids, and I wish them the very best. Me leaving doesn’t mean they have to stop what they’ve been doing the last couple years.
“My business has been strong and I’ve only devoted less than half my time to it, so I think it can take off with me there full time.”
Agello runs “Jim Agnello’s Baseball Academy” in Staten Island, where he was an assistant at Wagner for six years before coming to St. Rose. A Howell graduate, Agnello came in as the athletic director first and then took over the Purple Roses’ baseball program shortly after because of the controversial end to the tenure of former long-time coach Bart McInerney, who was charged with 12 counts of child endangerment in 2008.
“We really tried to build a program, a culture, and an idea of moving forward, and the kids really worked hard to make that a reality,” Agnello said.
Agnello didn’t rule out trying to coach again in the Shore Conference but said it would not even be a consideration for at least a year or two. St. Rose defeated Montclair Kimberly Academy, 11-0, in five innings to win their second straight Non-Public B title in the fall and also reached the semifinals of the Monmouth County and Shore Conference Tournaments. In 2008, St. Rose also reached the SCT semis while winning the MCT in addition to sectional and state titles. St. Rose had won three overall state titles in its history before winning the two straight and turning in consecutive 20-win seasons under Agnello. St. Rose also went undefeated in Class B Central in both years as well.
The candidates for his replacement as baseball coach could be his assistants, including former Central head coach Jerry Frulio, who has been an assistant at St. Rose for two years. Assistant Mike Cerminaro and jayvee coach Rich Lanko are other possible candidates to helm a team that lost most of its starting lineup to graduation as a 14-player senior class walked the aisle this past spring.
In other St. Rose baseball news, the site of their home field could be in jeopardy. Their regular home field has been at the Shore Christian Academy, which has closed, and the property has been foreclosed on. That means that a potential buyer that does not want to use the property for a school could get rid of the baseball field to accommodate whatever the buyer wanted to do with the land. The bank still owns the property as of now and it has not been sold.
In other baseball news, T.J. O’Donnell has been approved by the Board of Education and has returned as Raritan’s head baseball coach after a two-year hiatus. O’Donnell, who led the Rockets to a Group II title and perennial playoff berths in his previous tenure, replaces Bobby Devlin.
Finally, there are some college commitments to report as the Toms River North duo of pitcher Rudy Ferrentino and infielder/pitcher Brian Gilbert have both offered verbal commitments to Seton Hall, so congrats to them. Colts Neck senior infielder/pitcher Charlie Lasky has also reportedly verbally committed to Rutgers, and Red Bank senior pitcher/outfielder Jake Kalish has committed to George Mason. All four were Carpenter Cup selections in the spring.