Sunday Morning Chat: South Broward Manager Joe Giummule
South Broward Manager Joe Giummule has made four stops along his managing career, and along the way he has seen plenty of baseball. This week, Giummule sat down with HSBN to discuss the challenges that he faced at the different schools, the perfect program, and his fellow coaches in South Florida. Part I of the two-part interview is below. Enjoy!
Anthony: Ok Broward fans. I’ve done many of these interviews over the years, sometimes with coaches I barely know, other times with coaches I have gotten to know through HSBN. Today I get the pleasure of speaking with not only a coach, but one of my friends, South Broward Manager, Joe Giummule. Welcome, Joe.
Coach Giummule: How’s it going Anthony? Good to see you.
Anthony: Alright, let’s start here. You have coached at Deerfield, Coral Glades, and now at South Broward. Take us on a little journey on how these three stops all came about.
Coach Giummule: Alright, well when I first started teaching I was doing some lessons on the side. There happened to be a couple of Deerfield kids that I was working with. Coach Tozzi got in touch with me, asked me if I was interested in coaching at Deerfield. I said, “Sure, as long as you could get me a teaching job there.” I was teaching middle school at the time. So they got me a job and basically he said, ‘you coach third base, you call the pitches, I’ll deal with the parents and the paperwork.’ Things took off from there. We had two kids in the big leagues from that team. We were one game from states. Probably that gave me the main opportunity of getting the job at Glades.
Then I was at Glades for four years, I opened up the school, started the program. I believe we were 72-38 in the four years that I was there. It was a great school. I took the job with the intentions of retiring there, spending my next twenty-five years and retiring there. Unfortunately with the field situation, it wasn’t my own field, it was a city field. Guys were doing camps and lessons on my field. It just, as a head coach I wasn’t able to do the things I wanted to do.
And, you actually left off a school, I took a job at Sebastian River. I took a job where a coach was fired for an alleged hazing incident. My family had moved up that way. I loved the area. I applied for the job, was offered and I took the job. I took a major pay cut and I was living with my parents and it was going to take about three years for them to get that program into the right direction.
I actually landed at South Broward because a reading coach position opened up. I didn’t go there with the intention of coaching. I went there to get into administration. I was the reading coach and was going to go into administration. Cooke decides to retire, he asks me to take the job. No, thank you. The principal asked me to take the job, I said, “No, thank you.” He asked me again and I said, “Yes, sir.” So that’s kind of how I got into South Broward and where I’m at today.
Anthony: Coaching in different areas you’ve seen several different social classes. Talk about the differences and the challenges that you face at these different schools.
Coach Giummule: Sure. Well, at Deerfield and South Broward, there are hard-nosed kids. They’ll go through a wall for you. Yes, sir. No, sir. A lot of kids that live at the field, they are there 24/7. You’ve kind of have to tell them that it’s time to go home. We don’t necessarily have the depth as a team like when I was at Coral Glades where I was two, or even three deep in some positions. And obviously we’re not raising the type of money we did at Glades. I want to say the first year I opened up Glades we raised $35,000, and from there on out we were in the mid 40s every year. So we were able to order uniforms routinely, get whatever equipment was needed. It was really a well-oiled machine as far as financially and the amount of players that you had coming in.
Right now at South Broward my numbers are low. I’ve got twenty-one kids; I’ve never seen it that low. And even at Deerfield, the numbers had started to dwindle a little bit. Those are the two main things. As far as the kids go, I’d always had good kids at both programs. At Glades, I just had more kids trying out and was able to weed out the kids that weren’t my type of ball players.
Anthony: Most teams are running full-time, from September though April. You run your fall program a little differently than the other coaches in the county. Why do you do that?
Coach Giummule: Well, I’m actually the girls soccer coach and we’ve won two straight, actually, we’ve won two district championships in our last three years and have gone on to regionals the last three years. I wouldn’t say that I’m a great soccer coach or anything like that, but we’ve been pretty successful.
And to be honest, I think too much of me is not good for the guys. I want them hungry come the spring. When I was at Glades I had six freshmen starting on the varsity and those kids were with me every fall, every spring for four straight years. It just became where, I felt like we were going through he motions a little bit. There wasn’t anything that I could say to them that they hadn’t heard already.
Now, being the soccer coach at South Broward, I leave it up to my assistants. I mean, I know what’s going on. I know who’s pitching, I’m basically dictating who’s pitching. I’m doing all the paperwork. I’m just not out there from 3:00 to 6:00 or coaching the games. And it gives my assistant coaches an opportunity to be a head coach. Like this year, I have Sean Cambridge, well shoot, he’s got seven years of head coaching experience. So, it’s easy to hand over the reigns to him. Last year was Chad Boone, and Chad runs his own travel ball company. I’m not leaving it with Joe Schmoes or mommy and daddies. I’m leaving it with guys with qualified baseball guys that I know the right things are going to be done.
Anthony: Along those same lines you’re one of the guys who coaches through the summer on a travel team. How hard is it to separate summer baseball from high school baseball.
Coach Giummule: Yeah, its different. I’m still on the fence as to how I feel about the travel baseball. I really don’t like the show and go. You show up a half an hour before the game, you get loose, you play a ball game. Everybody’s paying to play, so I was a the kind of coach that would play the guys equally, not necessarily trying to win every ball game, but trying to make sure that everybody was playing equally.
In high school, we’re putting our best nine or 10 out there that give us the best opportunity to win. So those are the two main differences. And of course in the summer my phone is ringing off the hook. I’ve had some high profile guys playing for me with the South Florida Elite. The role of the high school coach with colleges is really diminishing. It’s very rare that I get college coaches calling me. I get more the pro guys calling me for my high school guys than the colleges.
Anthony: Although you’ve been around for a while, you’re still considered one of the younger coaches. You have an old school way about you though on the field. Why have you maintained the old school style of coaching at a time where most coaches are becoming more passive.
Coach Giummule: Well, I played for Coach Hysell at Coconut Creek and I played for Coach Hansley at Nova and I’d like to say I took quite a bit of their styles, and combined it into my style. I just think that kids need discipline and they need to know right from wrong and that it’s not always okay. You’re going to be held responsible for your actions. It honestly gives other kids opportunities. If a kid’s late, they know that I’m fair and consistent and if he’s late then another kid is going to get a chance.
Going back to Coral Glades I had a kid that would skip school and I ended up starting a freshman behind the plate at St. Thomas in a district game, and the freshman ends up getting the game winning hit and throwing out a runner. Not one player is ever going to dictate the wins and losses most times. It really just gives everybody an opportunity to show what they can and can’t do. As long as they know you’re fair and consistent, then you can continue doing it. It’s when they see you not punishing or suspending your best players, that’s where the problems come in. I don’t have any discipline issues. It’s usually the non-baseball stuff; missing a class; failing a class; things of that nature that I run into some issues sometimes.
Anthony: One of the issues we spoke about privately and have disagreed on in the past is the role of coaches in terms of teams winning. I’ve always maintained that it takes a strong structure even with star athletes, while you sided with the idea that most coaches could win given top talent. Explain your ideas on this issues.
Coach Giummule: Well, look, I’ve never coached a guy that’s a 90 guy on the mound. It’s real easy to sit back and call a game when a kid is throwing 90. It’s a lot different calling a game when a guy is throwing 78 to 82 miles per hour. There’s just, it leaves little error for mistakes. Some of these programs have two horses that are both Division I guys that are going to be top draft picks. It’s a little easier. You can show up to the field and not play your best ball game and still find a way to win, where as at South Broward, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we’ve got to come to play. If we don’t play a good ball game, we’re not going to win. It doesn’t matter how good I do coaching third or calling pitches. If we don’t play well, we’re not going to win. That’s where at some other schools they can overcome some errors. They can put a seven run spot in an inning. We’re not going to do that.
Having said that, the elite program that have talented players and also have coaches that run a good program are the ones that move fast through regions and go on to states. It’s the other schools where they have the talent and they keep under-achieving year in and year out that illustrate your point that a strong structure is needed.
For Part II of the Giummule interview, check back on Sunday, April 6th!