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Rebuilding the Saints

Albie Crosby is returning to the football sidelines as the new coach of the Neumann-Goretti football team

By Bill Gelman

The SS. Neumann-Goretti High School football team is hitting the reset button following a season in which there wasn’t much positive news to talk about.

Besides finishing the season 0–9, which included the cancellation of their final two games of the regular season — Thanksgiving Day rivalry against South Philly High included — the program dealt with a shrinking roster that had just 19 players when the decision was made to call it a season. Opposing squads outscored the Passyunk Square-based squad 299–44.

But that’s all in the past.

It’s time to start thinking about the future, a future that includes Albie Crosby as the new head coach. Neumann-Goretti announced the news last week.

“I am very excited,” he said. “I think it’s a great, great atmosphere at Neumann-Goretti. Being back in the Catholic League is a great feeling.”

Crosby knows the Catholic League well from his playing days at West Catholic High School. The former All-City standout, who spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach with the Burrs, has enjoyed his share of success on the local high school coaching scene. He helped build Imhotep Charter into a powerhouse program. In four seasons at the helm (2012–15), his team compiled a 53–6 record, highlighted by a 2015 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAA state crown. Crosby was named the Public League Coach of the Year in ’12 and AAA Coach of the Year by the Pennsylvania football writers following his final season. He stepped down after four seasons for personal reasons.

But he couldn’t stay away long. Crosby, who played college football at Western Connecticut and Virginia Union, is ready to do what it takes to build a state championship caliber football program at 1736 S. 10th St. There is a winning tradition these days at Neumann-Goretti as the boys basketball program has captured seven state titles over the last eight seasons. The girls basketball squad is riding a streak of three-straight state crowning moments. The Saints baseball team, which is 12–3 and in first place in the Catholic League standings, is looking to repeat as state champions.

Besides the school, the new gig is a chance to honor one of his good friends, former Neumann-Goretti football and track coach Steve Smith, who passed away in ’15.

He also sees the school has all of the pieces in place that will help put the Neumann-Goretti football program back on the Catholic League map.

“I am just building a program,” he said. “Some see it as tough. Some see it as easy. We are starting at the ground floor. I am looking to focus on building the program, then everything else will follow.”

He noted the Neumann-Goretti administration has been extremely supportive.

Crosby, who has a son, Devin, 20, and daughter, Lauren, 18, also works full time for the sports apparel company Battle.

The new coach met with the team last week to discuss the off-season plans. Running will be a big part of the regimen. It’s all about getting in shape for when training camp opens in August.

What happened last season is in the past. The coach and his players are excited about the future.

“The program has a lot of energy,” he said. “Energy excites you.”

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