New St. Joseph coaches excited to take over basketball programs

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Sunday, April 30, 2023 | 5:59 PM


Geoff Dutelle and Logan Acri are ushering in new chapters for the St. Joseph basketball programs, and both got a chance last week to meet and talk with each other about what the future holds on and off the court.

“We both met with our respective teams at about the same time,” said Dutelle, the recently hired Spartans girls basketball coach.

Acri was brought on board as the boys coach.

“Everywhere that I’ve been in coaching, there’s been a close tie between the boys and girls teams, and it only helps the school benefit overall in terms of excitement at games and goals we are trying to accomplish,” Dutelle said.

“It’s kind of cool to be coming in at the same time. It’s a new beginning for each program, and we’re really excited to share ideas and have the programs feed off each other.”

Dutelle, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., who teaches mathematics in the Fox Chapel School District, takes over for Dennis Jones, who stepped away after five years.

Jones continues his recovery from health issues that caused him to be away from the program for a big portion of this past season.

Dutelle hopes to keep up the team’s momentum after back-to-back WPIAL Class A semifinals and PIAA tournament appearances.

No one will graduate from the 2022-23 team that captured the Section 3-A title and won 20 of 27 games. The Spartans were led by the scoring and defense of Valley News Dispatch Player of the Year Julie Spinelli.

“I told the girls that when they beat Rochester two years ago, they made headlines all across the WPIAL,” Dutelle said. “We talked about how exciting it was and how they took that next step this past season.

“This will be the last ride for some of the girls who will be seniors. We talked about how important it is to not take anything for granted and prepare and play with a whole new set of expectations. People know the great things this program has been able to do. We hope to be able to do the necessary things to keep it going.”

Dutelle, a three-sport athlete in high school, began coaching soccer at Fox Chapel during his time as a student teacher and eventually made his way to basketball.

“I was 22 and full of energy, so I started coaching three sports (soccer, lacrosse, basketball) at Fox Chapel,” Dutelle said.

“After some time, my love for coaching basketball started to shine, and I really turned my focus towards it.”

Dutelle worked with a number of coaches at Fox Chapel, including former Foxes girls coach Jenn O’Shea. He spent the past four years with O’Shea at Montour as the girls JV coach and varsity assistant.

“I’ve wanted to become a head coach, and I owe so much of that to Jenn and what she’s done to help me,” Dutelle said. “She’s always been locked in and so positive to what we were doing for our players.”

Acri hopes to build up a Spartans boys program that is seeking a return to the WPIAL playoffs after a two-year hiatus.

St. Joseph went 8-14 overall and 2-8 in Section 3-A in the final season of Hart Coleman’s four-year tenure with the Spartans.

Acri said he took a lot of positives from an open-gym session with 10 players at the school Saturday morning.

“It really went well,” said Acri, a graduate of Red Land High School, 10 miles south of Harrisburg. “It was kind of a last-minute thing after we met with the team and the parents. We wanted to get in and get to work. We knew some guys weren’t going to be able to be there as they are in the middle of their spring sports seasons and have other things planned. But with the guys who were there, we kind of did some skill stuff and took some initial steps to get better.”

Acri has assistant coaching experience at both his alma mater and Susquenita along the Susquehanna River north of Harrisburg.

He also has been an AAU travel coach and basketball skills trainer.

Acri, who earned a master’s degree in sports leadership from Northeastern in Boston, made the move to Pittsburgh last September and works for UPMC.

His involvement in sports while at Northeastern included work in sporting-event planning and implementation at nearby Harvard.

“I was able to be around (Harvard men’s head coach) Tommy Amaker and all these other great coaches and was able to see how they operate,” Acri said.

“It was a really cool experience. I’ve been blessed to learn from so many great coaches at different levels. It has shaped my coaching style and philosophy, and I hope that will be an asset at St. Joseph.”

Acri said he is looking forward to the start of the St. Joseph summer basketball league, which gets going the second week of May as the spring high school seasons start to wind down.

“I told the kids that their in-season sport is always their top priority,” Acri said. “I encourage them to play as many sports as possible. When we’re able to get together in the gym, we’ll work as hard as possible.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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