Messages for Joe Colistra . . .

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  Joe Colistra, the winningest FB coach in La Salle High history (153-88-2), and No. 3 overall in Catholic League history, announced his retirement 11/28/05.
  He was the head coach for 21 years and an assistant before that for 17 (under the coach whose school record he broke, John "Tex" Flannery). Joe, class of 1964, was a coaches' first team All-Catholic pick under Tex.
  Joe produced four CL titles ('89, '95, '95, '98) and a then-city record of 32 consecutive wins.
   We welcome your thoughts about Joe . . .
   Please send to silaryt@phillynews.com. Thanks!
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CONTRIBUTIONS . . .

please let me know if you want your e-mail address listed . . .   

  You know how much of a influence a coach can have on a student athlete. The lessons
taught between the lines can be so important to the development of a young life.

Coach Colistra was one of these great men in my own life. He made football
fun and challenging, while teaching me about respect, hard work, and being a
good teammate. These are lessons many have learned on the field at La Salle.
I have clear memories of not only the wins and losses, but of the team's
great attitude, no matter the outcome of the game. This spirit, no doubt,
came from Mr. Colistra. It seemed the score never really mattered, but the
way you conducted yourself during the game and in practice did.
-- #53 Dan Fitzgerald '99
fitz2001@hotmail.com

  I have so many memories about JoCo that range from the football field
to the classroom. He is a man that stresses respect for yourself and
others, on and off the field at all times. While I was at La Salle, I
learned a lot from him. I learned how to hold my head high when he
used to kick me off the football field as well as when he used to fail
me on his AP Economics tests. All kidding aside, JoCo definitely made
a positive impact on my life. He instilled in his students and
athletes a sense of pride and tradition, not only for yourself, but
also for the name that we wore on our helmets - La Salle. He never
demanded perfection, but always stressed improvement. He always had a
way of putting things that made them not only weird and humorous, but
easy to understand. I remember half time during the Thanksgiving game
of my senior year (2003) when he told us that everything we do, we
should do with our hearts and that he was proud of us for how we were
sticking with the Prep up until that point. My friends and I still
reminisce about famous JoCo stories, quotes and actions and laugh
ridiculously and probably always will. Thanks, JoCo, for all the
memories. POISE, DISCIPLINE, LA SALLE!
-- #70 Jim Finore '03

The news of Mr. Colistra's retirement shocked me, as I thought he'd be coaching LaSalle football forever. Beyond his intimidating exterior is a caring man who would do anything for anyone. In times of struggle he was the first one to come and talk to me about things, always asking how i was doing and offering his services anytime i needed it. Mr. Colistra was one of the only coaches ive ever had that truly believed in me and gave me a shot my Senior year, something i thought would never happen, and for that i will always be thankful to him for giving me a shot to show what i had. With that i just want to say congratulations on your great career at LaSalle and im sure ill see you soon. Thanx for the memories.
--#27 Matt Malloy '04

  I would like to send my congratulations and best wishes to Joseph Colistra. Joe-Co was more than a coach at LaSalle. He was a teacher and also a good friend to both his students and his players. I had the privilege of being both a student and a player under Colistra. Even though he didn’t play me as much as I would have liked to play on the field I learned many valuable lessons from him in practice as well as at games. Enjoy retirement and always FOREVER LA SALLE!! Oh yea and way 2 beat the prep on thanksgiving day!!! We didn’t beat them one time while my class was on the team.
COOP La Salle '04 #21

  I just can’t imagine Mr. Colistra not being on the sidelines anymore.  Who would’ve made us do four quarters every night at Camp Canadensis…then made sure we had one or two overtimes, who would’ve scolded me every single day when catching punts at practice,  and who would’ve been first in line for “Hoagers and soders” at the picnics (smile).  I can’t think of another coach who would call me the day after the game he surpassed Tex Flannery for most wins at La Salle just to say thanks for being at the game.  That’s the man he is.  The influence he has on his football players is enormous.  It wasn’t always about who won the game, but how you conducted yourself on and off the field, because we had “La Salle” on our helmets.  He always emphasized poise, discipline, and team work, and if we showed these three things, we were winners in his book.  Although I may not always remember our wins and losses, I will never forget my memories as an Explorer football player, and I have Mr. Colistra to thank for that.  Thanks JoCo.
#21 Matt McGurkin ‘03

Coach Colistra always used to tell us how when we get older our stories will get better, like that time he intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown against Notre Dame.  Well when I tell my kids about my high school football coach no embelishment will be neccesary, I doubt they'll believe me even if I tell the truth.  He could make your day with a smile at practice, or make it awful with a scowl.  He'd always make us laugh though, mostly just by being himself.  He was a great coach, he is a great teacher and a great person.  One of my favorite JoCo quotes is "You may be able to beat me in a race, but you'll never beat me to that roast beef sandwhich."  What he taught us trancended football and the classroom, he taught us how to be men.  I have enough stories and memories of Mr. Colistra to last a lifetime.  Congratulation coach, the next guy has some big shoes to fill.
-#87 Frank Jorfi '04

  For those of us that grew up not only embedded in La Salle High Football but
PCL football over the years we know the contribution that Joe Colistra has
made to both. Being the loyal man that he is he has dedicated over 25 years
to the things he cares most about in the world. Away from the field, anyone
that knows Joe knows that above and beyond EVERYTHING in his life is his
family. He and Patty are like two peas in a pod, young kids still madly in
love, still the first one he looks for after a big win. The fact that win or
lose he could always be found with an arm around his sons ('95 and '00) as
they stood in front of the band for the alma mater. The fact that we as
grown men don't make major life decisions without putting a phone call into
Joe for his guidance. You see, it wasn't all about x's and o's with Joe. It
was about raising boys to be grown men. It was his countless talks about
respecting one another, about family, about leadership, about life. When you
would expect an intense x's and o's speech before a game Joe was always good
for a "make memories for yourself that will last a lifetime" speech. It's the
kind of man Joe is and the kind of men that he has raised for over 25 years.
We all knew how much he truly cares for us on the afternoon that he put
Miles Miller to rest. He was a real man that day. Funny how all the things
he told you when you were walking up the hill together seem to come true.
Thanks for treating me like a man Joe and being the man we will always look
up to.

-- anonymous

  I would first like to congratulate Coach Colistra on an outstanding run
as head coach of La Salle football.  Many of you already know they man
he is, on and off the field, and know exactly how hard it is to put
into words our feelings about him.  However, for those of you not
fortunate enough to experience JoeCo in the classroom or walking the
halls of La Salle, I apologize.  I feel that the title as head coach of
La Salle football is a secondary one, for he was a teacher first.  Spend
one period in his economics classroom, and you will know first-hand how
determined he is to connect to his students.  Actually, his practices
were nothing compared to his morning AP Economics class, and certainly
not as physical (just kidding).  I would love to add many of my
memories of JoeCo over the four years at La Salle, however, with regards
to his younger audience, Ted would not be able to print most of them.
On a more serious note, he has affected hundreds of students, on and
off the field, and has left us with memories to last a lifetime.  In
closing, I wish you the best and enjoy your new-found free time which I
am sure will be spent riding your lawn-mower with a cigar in one hand
and a beer in the other. Thanks for everything
-- Andrew Medwid #57 2004

Joe
   I have met you a few times through my friend, Marty Jackson. It was always a
pleasure talking to you about Catholic League football. I think you are
getting out at the right time, you have nothing to prove to anybody. You are a winner!
-- Jack Rutter

  I would like to congratulate and thank Coach Colistra for his illustrious
career as Football Coach at La Salle College High School. As a proud member
of the 98' PCL Chamoionship team I can honestly say I look back on those
years as some of my fondest memories. I believe this to be true for almost
all of the people Joe Colistra coached and can speak for many of the members
of that team as many of us still get together and discuss the glory days and
even re-watch old game tapes. Joe Colistra taught us class, hard work,
discipline and respect, things that helped me on the football feild but have
helped me even more in life. There is an old saying thoat goes "boys will be
boys, but La Salle boys will be gentlemen", nobody taught me this better in
my time at La Salle than Joe Colistra.

-- Kyle Callahan '00

  It was always a pleasure coaching against you Joe. You are one of the last in the group of great coaches that I have been privileged to compete against since I became a head coach in 1990. The things I respect most about you are your class in victory and defeat, your sportsmanship, and your good example to your players and to the league. I will miss you. Thanks for your friendship. That beard really makes you look old though, you should trying wearing shorts. Good luck and God bless.
(congrats on beating sjp)
-- Glen Galeone, Ryan

  Coach Colistra I would like to take this time to thank you for all the
memories, and commend you on an exceptional career. At the beginning of
my senior season and mostly likely every other season coach Colistra
stated the season of 2003 belongs to the seniors forever. Well coach
for as long as I have known La Salle football, it has belonged to Joe
Colistra, and the past 21 years of La Salle football will belong to you
forever. I have had the privilege of being coached and taught by coach
Colistra while at La Salle. Honestly I would rather take the pain of a
county fair football circuit, than the fear of a forty minute economics
class. From football I will take the memories of my four years playing
La Salle football. Coach I'm thankful that you believed in me and gave
me an opportunity, playing a 160lb senior at nose guard isn't common
practice in the CL. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to have
you as a teacher, even though you gave me a D. You taught the same
values in both, you must earn everything you get through hard work.
From coach Colistra I took more than just knowledge about football and
economics, I learned how to conduct myself and treat others. Coach the
story I will always remember you by came in my junior year and it
didn't come on the football field or in the classroom. In my junior
year I tore my ACL early in the season in a JV game. Being a JV player
injured for the season tends to make you feel a little forgotten. I
received surgery on my knee the day before Thanksgiving and meant I
would miss the Thanksgiving Day game. However you didn't forget me, at
7:30 on Thanksgiving mourning I was awoken to a message you had left on
my phone, you were calling from the locker room getting ready to leave
for the game. It meant a lot that you took the time to keep me feeling
part of team and wish me a speedy recovery, before the biggest game of
the season. When I rejoined working out with the team on my first day
back you stopped the workout and had the team applaud me. Having a
coach that respects and believes in you makes it easy to work hard for
every day. Coach you were right when you used to tell us will remember
our days of playing La Salle football forever, and will always remember
the man who taught us the game. Coach I will always remember your pep
talks, your unusual phrases, and your sense of humor. Thank you for
being our leader in good times and bad, on and off the field. Coach I
hope you enjoy your retirement. I guess it means you can spend more
time on the beaches of Sea Isle having a catch with Paul Kubach
remembering the good old days.
-- #3 Sean Adams '04

I played at LaSalle under Tex when Joe was our offensive line coach (67-71).   As a teacher, coach and person Joe was exceptional.  He was the the one that pushed you, praised you and helped you achieve your ultimate potential.  It was a pleasure to be associated with him.  Joe, cogratulations and best of luck to you and your family.
-- Rich Gaeto '71

Joe, I just wanted to thank you for your great contribution to high school football. I think that you have shown a lot of young men what it is to be a leader, student and person. I have learned a lot from watching the La Salle football program. I hope that your future will be a blessed and happy one. Thanks for the memories.
-- Coach Ernie Covington
Cardinal Dougherty HS

Congrats on a great career coach. I am honored I could be apart of it. You
always told us we would be making memories we would remember for a life time,
you were right. You made an impact on everyone you had on the field and in the
classroom. My fondest memories of La Salle are from the football field and your
classroom. Reminiscing with friends about times at practice or in econ class
always give us a good laugh. From glass whale statues to disagreement whether
the potatos you and Bruce smelled were baked or mashed, you instilled us all
with memories we will have for all our lives. Thanks alot coach you taught me
alot and I'll never forget it.

#54 Chris Galbally '03

In my years at LaSalle, half of the stories that we all talk about have something to do with "JoCo".  Whether on or off the field, he always found a very funny way of describing things.  One thing i will always remember is when he saw you in the halls, he made it a point to say hi no matter who he was talking to.  Coach Colistra would do anything for his players to make sure they succeeded and were successful.  Playing football for him and with all my friends are some of the best memories that I will have.  I just want to say thank you Mr. Colistra for always looking out for us.
# 4 John Trainer '04

  i just wanna thnak Coach Colistra for all that he has done for me in the years that i have known him. To me he was more than a football and treated me more than jsut a player, he treated all of his players like sons, tough when he had ot be but also offered us support when we needed it. I got to no Coach Colistra much better when i began assisting the freshman football team three years ago. He always was lookin out for me as a young coach and gave me alot of advice that has helped me. He was also one of the first people to call me to offer condolances when my father passed away and still keeps checkin up on me and my family to make sure everything is ok. His support has been awesome and it's the end of a era with him steppin down as head coach. Im gonna miss his stories and his use of similies and adjectives which was always amusing. He did however go out in one hell of a fashion defeatin our arch rival St Joe's Prep 14-13 in Ot on Thanksgiving, to the LaSalle Community! thats jsut like goin out winning the PCL.
mike gavin class of 2001

I would also like to congratulate Mr. Colistra for an incredible
coaching career at LaSalle. I can recall as a sophomore sitting in the
gym in August at our first meeting as an entire team, and being
intimidated simply by how loud his voice was. Coming in as a junior the
following year, after a championship, and hearing him define our team as
"the same tree trunk, with all new leaves," really made us believe that
we could win a spot if we worked hard enough. One of the many things
that I took from playing under Mr. Colistra, was the importance of
relentless hard work in practice. If you worked harder than everyone
else throughout the week, he would notice, and you would be on the field
come Saturday. He also coached with class. I was lucky enough to play
for LaSalle during the winning streak we had in the 90's, and I always
admired how Mr. Colistra's positive mentality, work ethic, and
dedication never changed once the streak came to an end. When I think of
LaSalle football, I always recall the countless practices, conversations
in the halls, afternoons in the weight room, film sessions, Saturdays at
Springfield, pasta dinners, victorious bus rides home, "The coaches have
asked/Let us pray...," camaraderie, hard work, and Mr. Colistra. Thanks
coach.
#24 Tim Fenningham '98

Coach Colistra was a great coach and thanks to the lessons I learned
from him, I went on to play football at Marshall University and
played a bit for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football
League. Thanks again coach.
-- Ron Puggi '95

Hi Joe,
I wanted to start off by saying Congratulations and Best Wishes. I heard so many great things about you from my cousin Miles Miller. I am a sophomore at Archbishop Ryan and just wanted to say thanks. The memories that I have of my cousin and the LaSalle High School College Football games will last a lifetime. Miles loved football and always spoke highly of you, your staff, and all his team members.
I know that when I step onto the football field to play against LaSalle, I will remember that you were not only a great coach, but a great man with a genuine heart. I thank you for the speech at my cousin's funeral. You along with his family helped make Miles the person he was and who I will always remember. Thanks Mr. Colistra
-- Mark Golic - Archbishop Ryan 2010
-- The Golic Family