Jim Dempsey got the job he always wanted. He’ll now be able to say that he is a head varsity boys basketball coach in the Shore Conference.
Late Tuesday night, the Toms River Regional Board of Education approved Dempsey, 49, to take over the head coaching job at Toms River East, where he’s been an assistant varsity coach for the past 12 years.
“We have to practice hard and we have to play hard. We have to know what we are doing and we have to know our opponents too,” Dempsey said of his coaching philosophy. “As much as coaching a game is a great thing, what’s more satisfying is when you prepare the players for a game and they see what you prepared them for and they respond well. That’s a great thing.”
Dempsey is a Social Studies teacher at the high school and this will be his first varsity head coaching job. He replaced former coach Mike Konopka, who resigned in April for personal reasons after four seasons at the helm. The Raiders were 4-17 overall and 2-12 in Class A South in the 2012-13 season and that’s something Dempsey hopes to improve upon next season.
“We have to be able to compete in our division, Class A South. If you look at our 21 regular season games, 16 of those games are against Class A South opponents,” Dempsey said. “So, the bread and butter of our schedule is Class A South. If you can’t compete in your division, you are not going to go very far in the postseason.”
Prior to being an assistant coach at Toms River East, Dempsey has also been an assistant coach at Brick, Mater Dei and Point Beach. Dempsey played football and basketball at St. Joseph High School, now called Monsignor Donovan. Dempsey played football and rugby at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.
“I want to thank the Board of Education, our principal Anne Baldi and our district athletic director Joe Arminio for this opportunity,” Dempsey said. “I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time and all you can do is ask for a chance and they’ve given me that.”