DIGGING IN: Members of the DiGregorio family, from left, Aaron, Nadia, Derek, Steve, and Zack, share a laugh with legendary coaches, from left, John Thompson III, Jason Garrett, and Pete Carril at a 2015 event at Conte’s Pizza to raise money to fight ataxia-telangiectasia, known as A-T. Beloved football coach Steve DiGregorio, known as “Digger” to his players and many friends, passed away last week at age 60 after a valiant battle with cancer, sparking sadness and fond memories from the countless people he touched on and off the gridiron. (Photo by John Dowers)
By Bill Alden
Be kind. Fight for justice, especially for those who can’t fight for themselves. Whatever you are doing, do it to the best of your ability. Do the right thing every day.
Those were the core principles that guided Steve DiGregorio and are just some of his qualities that family and friends are reflecting on in the wake of DiGregorio’s death on October 12 at age 60 after a valiant fight against cancer.
DiGregorio, known to all as “Digger,” was a big-hearted, good-natured, and tough-minded football coach whose influence was felt by a number of programs.
He served 13 years as an assistant coach for the Princeton University football team, several years as an assistant at Princeton High, and was a star player and later award-winning head coach for his alma mater, Nutley High.
DiGregorio also had coaching stints at Hobart College, Allegheny College, and Paramus Catholic. Before starting his coaching career, DiGregorio starred for Muhlenberg College and has been inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
His influence extended far beyond the gridiron as he helped create the “Derek’s Dreams” charity after his middle son, Derek, was diagnosed with a rare neuro-muscular disease, ataxia-telangiectasia, or A-T. The cause of fighting for a cure to that disease hit at the heart of his existence as it involved his beloved family, wife Nadia, and their sons, Zack, 26, Derek, 24, and Aaron, 22. more