January 2022: The Hammontonian Magazine January 2022 | Page 11

Most high school coaches enjoy playing big games against top-rated opponents . That ’ s certainly the case for longtime St . Augustine Prep coach Paul Rodio and his son , also named Paul , who coaches at St . Joseph Academy . They each enjoy the challenge of leading their teams against the best , with one exception — each other .
“ That ’ s the worst day of the year for me ,” the senior Rodio said .
“ My entire family doesn ’ t want to root for one or the other and I ’ m crushed no matter who wins ,” Rodio said .
The younger Rodio also hates when his father is on the opposite bench .
“ I don ’ t like it because it ’ s someone I love and respect . When I coach against him it ’ s still my dad , so when we beat them , it feels bad , and I know he hates when he beats me , too . It ’ s tough because it ’ s not just family . Imagine playing against your dad and there ’ s hundreds of people watching . It ’ s just very emotional for both of us ,” Rodio said .
Coaching basketball is a passion for both Rodios , and it ’ s only added to the bond the two share .
Rodio the senior has been at St . Augustine for 45 years . His son is in his eighth season at St . Joseph and says his father was a huge factor in his desire to coach .
“ He ’ s the reason I do anything . Since I was a kid , I ’ ve been with him on the bench , in and out of locker rooms . I didn ’ t really hang out much with friends when I was little . I remember games my dad coached against the best teams in the state , St . Pat ’ s , St . Anthony with Bob Hurley , and I just fell in love with the grind of it , I don ’ t know what I ’ d do without it ,” the younger Rodio said . Despite the differences in age and experience , there are similarities in how the pair lead their teams .
“ When I watch Paulie [ the younger Rodio ] I see a lot of his dad . The mannerisms , how they talk to their teams , the style they play ,” John Rodio , the younger Rodio ’ s uncle and the older ’ s brother , said .
“ People tell me that a lot , that I remind them of him when he was younger ,” the younger Rodio said . The coaches talk often during the season .
“ I talk to him all the time , even on the days we play against each other ,” the senior Rodio said .
“ It ’ s like a conversation with any other coach , ‘ How ’ s your team ? what do you think about an opponent ?’ Those type things . I ’ d never ask him what defense he ’ s going to run against us ,” he said .
“ My dad and I have conversations every day . We bounce things off each other . If he ’ s at one of my games , he ’ ll give me his opinions and I appreciate that ,” the younger Rodio said .
With more than 900 wins , the senior Rodio ranks as the all-time leader in South Jersey history . His son is closing in on 200 victories .
“ I ’ ve been around a long time and won a lot of games . But I think he [ the younger Paul ] can win even more ,” the senior Rodio said . St . Joseph and St . Augustine aren ’ t scheduled to meet this season , meaning the two coaches can focus on watching each other beat the rest of the Cape Atlantic League .
“ I try to get to as many of his games as I can . I always hope he has a good

Rodios & high school basketball : We are family



game and for him to continue to be successful ,” the older Rodio said . His son had similar feelings . “ I always hope he wins , except when he plays us ,” he said .