• Dan Russoman

St. Joesph graduate Vadino teaches golf


St. Joseph grad Val Vadino approaches the finish line of the 2013 Atlantic County Cross Country Meet. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON— A 2015 graduate of St. Joseph High School, Val Vadino earned varsity letters in four sports for the Wildcats. He placed second at the Atlantic County Cross Country Championships in 2014, and also helped St. Joe’s spring track and field team challenge for league and state titles. On the basketball court, Vadino was a three-year starter for St. Joe, helping the team improve each season he played. As a senior, Vadino joined the golf team and was one of St. Joseph’s top players. He garnered Cape Atlantic League All-Star honors in all four sports during his career. Following graduation, Vadino worked as an assistant basketball coach at his alma mater for two seasons.


The Gazette recently caught up with Vadino.


Talk a little about what you’ve done since leaving high school.


I am now working as a coach at GOLFTEC. I teach people how to play better golf. Although I only played one year of high school golf, I really fell in love with the game. When I am not coaching, I play competitive golf against the top golfers in the Philadelphia section.


What has been your favorite professional experience?


The best professional experience I’ve had so far has been the first time one of my students broke 100. To some golfers that might seem simple, but to 80 percent of golfers out there, it is not. My student was so proud and thankful for the work we did together. 


Do you stay in touch with any of your former high school teammates or coaches?


I try to stay in touch with as many of my coaches that I was close with over the years. I can’t believe how tough it is once you don’t see people almost every day for four years. 


What’s the one thing you miss most about playing in high school?


I miss basketball the most. It was such an exciting time, with so many good teams that we played. We always fought with the best of them. That is how St. Joe does it. 


What do you miss most about high school academically or socially?


I miss all of the groups I participated in. Student government, National Honors Society, they seemed like added work in school; however, they helped connect me with amazing people and organizations.


What is your favorite memory of playing in high school, either in a game, practice, traveling or socially?


My favorite memories were always our basketball games at Wildwood Catholic. Although not all great memories, I got to go into battle with an amazing group of guys and I’ll never forget that. 


Is there something any of your high school coaches said to you while you were playing that sticks with you today?


The best coach’s advice was from Tim Gallagher. It was one of my first ever games starting varsity my sophomore year. I must have had seven turnovers at halftime against a full court press. At halftime, I thought I was going to be benched. He told me they believed in me and to go out there and do what I’ve done since I was in second grade. I never looked back from that moment and truly think it changed my basketball career. 


What advice would you give to a high school athlete playing today?


My advice is simple, enjoy every second. The practices, games, any chance you get to spend in a team setting. Once you leave high school, reality hits and the real world begins. However, no one will ever take your memories away.