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Former Hackensack High School head softball coach Joelle Della Volpe is the new head mentor at Chatham High School after her summertime appointment to the post for Morris County program. (photos courtesy of Joelle Della Volpe)

Joelle Della Volpe has been admired for her enthusastic approach to coaching

Della Volpe takes a very 'hands-on' approach in teaching the game she loves

Della Volpe guided Hackensack to the 2012 Bergen County tourney semifinals

New Chatham Softball Coach
Excited About Directing Cougars
By Steve Tober

If there is one word to describe Joelle Della Volpe’s attitude toward the game of softball it is to approach all she does with ‘enthusiasm.’

The recently-appointed Chatham head softball coach had a chance for a special meet and greet with Cougar parents in the high school cafeteria on Sept. 22nd, and the opportunity to spend some valuable time with those who are particularly interested in the softball program simply provided another invigorating moment in her continuing desire to get going with her off-season plans as soon as possible.

“I’m extremely excited about this opportunity, and I think the people at Chatham are very enthusiastic as well about the sport of softball in town and at the high school,” said Della Volpe, a former Belleville star who spent the past 10 seasons at the head coach at Hackensack High School. “I give my entire heart and soul to the game of softball and I enjoy getting dirty with the kids because they can hit me grounders and I’ll run the bases with them to try and help further show them the way while hopefully becoming better players.

“I want to get as many girls as possible to become involved with off-season training and we will look to see them get going with their winter hitting sessions starting the day after Thanksgiving,” she explained. “I have a totally different style of hitting that I teach that involves both power hitting and bunting because it’s important to incorporate all the best aspects of the long ball and short ball.”

Della Volpe has shown an ability to motivate and win at the same time with her share of solid seasons at Hackensack, including a Bergen County Tournament semifinal appearance in 2012 when her Comets lost to state power Immaculate Heart.

IHA is coached by one of Della Volpe’s former Pride softball coaches Anthony LaRezza, who is now president of Akadema Elite softball.

“Joelle will do very well with Chatham softball after a good run at Hackensack,” said LaRezza. “She has a very solid background in the sport and has worked hard to get to this point.”

Della Volpe is a former soccer, volleyball and softball standout at Belleville High School where she is a 1997 graduate. Next came a solid college career as a third baseman for Western Connecticut, playing under Little East Conference Hall of Fame coach Alicia O’Brien, who is now the associated head coach at Central College in Iowa.

“Coach O’Brien is a phenomenal coach and taught me as much about the importance of respect, tradition and team camaraderie as the game of softball itself,” said Della Volpe. “I look to incorporate many of the team bonding and spirit building activities, including pasta parties and other get-togethers for the softball team.”

Della Volpe comes from a strong lineage of coaches from Belleville, including her own former Buccaneers’ softball coach Carl Corino. Other former Belleville student-athletes who have moved on to coach softball include current Bucs coach Chris Cantarella and Jamie Galioto, who had a nice run of success at West Orange High School.

Her brother, Marc Della Volpe, is the former head softball coach at Montclair Kimberley Academy.

“Softball has always been important in Belleville and it was great to play and also learn so much about the game from coach Corino,” continued Della Volpe. “I always thought about what it would be like to coach there, but getting the opportunity to coach for 10 seasons at Hackensack was a great experience and exposed me to a new area of strong softball in Northern New Jersey.”

Now, it will be up to Morris County where schools such as Morris Knolls, West Morris, Whippany Park and – most recently – Butler have been among the top programs. Chatham has a wealth of potential to stay on the way up after showing some solid progress under its former coach Alexis Davies.

“The Chatham softball parents are excited, the kids seem very enthused and I am looking forward to getting my off-season program in place and continuing the plans heading forward toward next spring,” said Della Volpe. “I think Chatham will be a great place to coach!”

Della Volpe has a strong sports setting at home since she is married to Bloomfield head baseball coach Mike Policastro. The couple have two children, daughter Giuliana, 4, and son Dante, 1.

“Softball and baseball have many differences and a few similarities, although the approach to hitting is very different in the two sports,” said the new Chatham head mentor, who is a teacher at Bloomfield Tech where she is involved in advertising resources at Bloomfield Tech. “Mike and I have discussions all the time about our coaching philosophies and different approaches to our sports, and it’s all enjoyable for us, plus the kids keep us on the go!”

Joelle Della Volpe is interviewed for TV while coaching at Hackensack

Former Belleville standout Joelle Della Volpe infused fresh energy into the Hackensack softball program during her tenure at the Bergen County school.

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