LAWRENCE -- Central Catholic High mainstay Ernie DiFiore will be resigning as the powerhouse school’s athletic director.

DiFiore has spent 31 years at the school as a teacher, coach and administrator, including the last 10 years as the school’s athletic director.

He said there were two reasons for the surprise announcement -- more focus on his family and his health.

“After many discussions with my wife Dana, and a great deal of reflection, I have decided to step down as athletic director of Central Catholic High School,” said DiFiore.

“At this point in time, I need to focus on my family and on my health, said DiFiore.

“Central Catholic has been my home for the past 30 years. I love the school, I love the people I work with, and I am fortunate to call them family.”

Central Catholic’s President Chris Sullivan said he tried to convince DiFiore to remain on, over a few meetings, but to no avail.

“This is a big loss for Central Catholic,” said Sullivan. “Ernie has served the Central family with love, and as Athletic Director, he has been a tireless advocate for our students in general, and our student-athletes in particular.

"Ernie has been a dedicated supporter of our coaches, who have been successful because of his leadership. Most importantly, he has always kept the mission of Central Catholic close to his heart when managing all of our athletic endeavors.”

DiFiore has agreed to remain on until his replacement is found.

“I have no words that can adequately express how I feel about the students of Central Catholic,” said DiFiore. “They have been what has sustained me all these years. I love them dearly and I will miss them. Central Catholic has given me so much more than I could ever give back.”

Sullivan said DiFiore would always be welcomed back if after months or a few years he wanted to return to help at the school.

“With open arms,” said Sullivan. “Ernie represents who we are and what we’re about. I hope he comes back some day soon.”

DiFiore was a 1987 graduate of Methuen High. He and his wife Dana have been married for 27 years and have two children, Sam (22) and Olivia (17).

“I need to do focus on my family right now,” said DiFiore. “This job takes up a lot of time, nights and weekends, etc. And I need to do a better job taking care of myself and my health. I’m very emotional right now.”

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