In the Coal Region, the holiday weekend is getting off to a sad start with news of the passing the most successful coach in the history of the most successful high school football program in Pennsylvania history. Jazz Diminick grew up in Kulpmont, but he became a football coaching legend in neighboring Mount Carmel.
“He`s an icon of football and raised a great family,” Tony Scicchitano said.
That’s how friends remember Joeseph Diminick, better known as “Jazz”. The former Mount Carmel High School football coach died at his home in Mount Carmel at the age of 86. Jazz was known to many as an icon in Coal Region football.
“And it`s especially a loss for our family. Four of our five sons that played for him were captains of his football team,” Scicchitano said.
When Diminick’s close friend of 50 years, Tony Scicchitano, got the heartbreaking phone call, he rushed to his friend’s house.
“He was like a library to talk to Jazz about sports years ago. My dad was a coach and he always said that Jazz Diminick was the best guy he`d ever seen to return a punt,” Scicchitano said.
Diminick coached at Mt. Carmel from 1962-1992. Before he came here and after he left, he also coached at other area school districts.
One of those school districts was in nearby Coal Township. Shamokin Mayor Bill Milbrand was friends with Diminick and remembers telling Jazz about his dreams of buying a bus company.
“When that day came true, jazz sent me a beautiful card saying congratulations and that I see your dream came true,” Milbrand said.
“I know Coach Diminick as a man of strong faith and I`m sure he`s in a better place,” Scicchitano said.
“He was just an icon. And besides that he was just a wonderful person. Very kind and caring person. He definitely will be sadly missed,” Milbrand said.
Even though Jazz Diminick spent most of his career at the school with the most successful high school football program in Pennsylvania history, friends say he always stressed to his players that good grades were more important than football. Diminick is survived by his wife and six children.