North Philadelphia: St. Joseph’s Prep Football Coach Gabriel Infante Empowers Boys to Become Men
St. Joseph’s Preparatory School head football coach Gabriel Infante (above) holds a 41-18 record over five seasons. That includes two consecutive PIAA AAAA State Championships.
He previously served as the head coach at Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey and before that, was a defensive coordinator at several high school.
Infante tries to make leaders out of those around him, ensuring that his student athletes walk away as more than football players. He wants them to be educated and strong individuals.
How would you personally define leadership?
One word – service. To lead is to serve, to take care of the people for whom we are responsible. I believe in the servant/leader model and we try to teach our kids that to lead is to serve others.
You’ve built arguably the most successful high school football program in the city of Philadelphia. How have you accomplished this?
The key is finding great people. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t build this program. It is the wonderful coaches, parents, families, teachers, alumni and administrators who helped build this program and who have supported it who have built this program, not me.
What have you made sure to do to personally impart some of your leadership qualities in your student athletes?
We train them to be leaders in several ways. We do leadership training with all of our players and each year, we perform service projects across the country. This year, we went and served the community of Athens, GA. Service is a major component to teaching leadership. I try to give as much of my time as possible to be an example. The program is an extension of my desire to be the best that I can be and I hope that players take my example and strive for excellence in all that they do and the process needed to achieve it.
How important would you say it is to have student leaders?
We believe that the mission of our program is to empower boys to become men. We teach what it means to be a man in football, to allow us to teach the characteristics of being a good man in life.
What would you say your goals are for this season?
Our goal is always to get better today.
Besides the wins and the school’s success, what would you say is the best part about coaching?
Being a small part of their growth, knowing that that all of them are destined to do great things and play large roles in our society.
– Text and images by Nathan Grubel and Matt Bernardini