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November 14, 2013

The man behind the dynasty

For 22 years, Everett High's coach John DiBiaso kept program at top

EVERETT — Around him, the Greater Boston League corrodes, like the 19th or early 20th-century three-deckers that line the streets of this, his blue-collar city. Athletic programs at ex-rivals Cambridge, Somerville, Medford and Malden have withered into the mediocre mire that has become city athletics.

Change rattles around him in now, his 22nd season at Everett High. As he says, the demogaphic on his football team has moved from nearly 100 percent Irish and Italians to a team consisting of Haitian/Creole, Hispanic and Brazilians.

He remains the lone constant. John DiBiaso ... and winning.

Twenty-two seasons with 19 straight GBL titles, 14 Super Bowl appearances, 10 championships and an amazing 219-23 record — all in an era of suburban super-powers and private/prep prominence.

How does DiBiaso do it?

“I sell a very good product (in Everett High football),” the coach says, just days before his Crimson Tide hosts Central Catholic in the Division 1 North championship game Saturday at 1:30. “There’s a tradition in place here like no other.”

A tradition DiBiaso built, athlete by athlete, and continues to nurture today. Now the athletic director at Everett, he dotes over all sports, but football stands like no other program in the state.

Winning in the city. These days the notion is almost absurd.

“It happens,” said DiBiaso, struggling for more than one or two other examples. “Look at how the good coaches at Lawrence High (Paul Neal and most recently Raymond Nunez) have sold the basketball program there. They’ve done it, because they’re good coaches and because they won.

“It’s easy to sell a good product. I’ve had former assistants who tried over in Somerville and Medford. They’ve failed because they didn’t win.”

Like Neal during his coaching tenure at LHS, DiBiaso is a man who refuses excuses. Neal never complained about the athletic talent seeping away from him in the city at Lawrence. He worked around it.

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