By JOHN KNEBELS
Special to The CS&T
RADNOR – Spend a few minutes with Joe Giunta, and it’s clear the man is a straight shooter who knows his craft and has a knack for breaking things down in layman’s terms.
Look at Giunta’s resume and be prepared to notice a host of Catholic institutions that helped shape his personal development, and observe how he has been returning the favor ever since.
Not only that, but Giunta is clearly an ambassador for all the places at which he has been either schooled or employed. No bridges burned anywhere on the landscape.
They’re just a few reasons why Cabrini College chose Giunta as its athletic director several months ago.
“I can’t say that I went out and said to myself, ‘I am going to look for a Catholic school to work at above any other,’ because that wouldn’t be true,” said Giunta. “But if you look at where I’ve worked and gravitated toward, I obviously feel comfortable in a Catholic environment.
“There is something about the atmosphere. I’m proud and happy that my parents chose to send me to Catholic schools for my education. The experiences helped mold me and I met many mentors along the way.”
Giunta, 37, is a 1989 alumnus of Cardinal O’Hara who graduated from St. Laurence grade school in Upper Darby. His family moved to Media during his eighth grade year, and that prevented him from attending Monsignor Bonner.
Although the move ultimately had a happy ending, Giunta recalls feeling disappointed that he wasn’t going to join his classmates at Bonner.
“I had already taken the tour, and my buddies were going there,” he said. “That’s a difficult thing for a young person. I learned to adapt, but it wasn’t easy.”
Eventually, Giunta received a degree in communications at Neumann College and played both basketball and tennis there. Immediately out of college, Giunta remained at Neumann to become its director of alumni relations and special programs.
After leaving the area for three years to become athletic director at St. Edward High School in Cleveland, Ohio while simultaneously finishing a master’s degree at Ohio University, Giunta returned to Neumann and became its athletic director from 2000 to 2003 before taking a job at Temple University as an associate director of athletics.
When the Cabrini athletic director job opened up, Giunta applied. He said he immediately felt a sense of warmth from not only those he met while on campus, but the actual campus itself.
“It was kind of funny the first time I was here,” said Giunta. “When I was competing against Cabrini, it was like going against the evil empire. Then all of a sudden, I was like, ‘Wow. This is a great place.'”
Several Cabrini coaches remarked how much they appreciate Giunta’s administrative style. Although he insists on being informed of all developments, he relies heavily on his coaching staff’s professionalism and prefers a hands-off approach.
According to Giunta, that is why it’s imperative to employ the right kind of inspanidual.
“When you hire the right people, you don’t have to micromanage,” said Giunta. “We’re surrounded by so many terrific people around here.”
Giunta said there’s a distinct possibility he’ll get to know those people for quite a long time.
“There are so many variables that go into jobs, but this is a place where I could potentially stay forever,” said Giunta. “It’s like a little world here where people are warm and friendly and open their arms to the students and employees. I feel fortunate to be here. I think a lot of this place.”
Cabrini undoubtedly feels the same about Giunta.
John Knebels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org