By Phil Anastasia
Dennis Scuderi said he followed his heart back to a place that feels like home.
Scuderi was re-hired Friday as Camden Catholic's football coach. He was the Irish's coach from 1998-2004.
"I left there to go help my son," said Scuderi, referring to his son Dennis, who was the new head coach at Middle Township in 2005. "If not for that, I don't think I ever would have left Camden Catholic."
Scuderi was 53-21 during his first seven seasons at Camden Catholic. He led the Irish to three state tournaments, and his 2003 team reached the Non-Public 3 state title game.
Scuderi became the head coach at St. Augustine Prep in 2006. He invigorated the Hermits' program, going 37-20 in five-plus seasons.
His St. Augustine teams went 27-4 from 2007-09 and won two division titles in the Cape-Atlantic League.
“We had a number of qualified candidates who showed great interest in taking over the helm of the Irish football program,” Camden Catholic athletic director Marlene Grimes said in a statement. “The search committee and school administration undoubtedly felt that Dennis was the right person for the job."
Scuderi most recently was defensive coordinator at Absegami, where his son Dennis is the head coach.
"I loved being with him but I wanted to get back to running my own program," Scuderi said.
Scuderi fondly recalled his previous time with the Irish program.
“I am thrilled to be back at Camden Catholic. I had a wonderful experience working with the players, the faculty and staff, school administration and alumni the first time around," Scuderi said. "Camden Catholic is one of the most prestigious schools in South Jersey and my heart has remained there ever since I left in 2004."
Scuderi replaces Gil Brooks, who resigned after two seasons. Brooks, whose two Camden Catholic teams went a combined 17-5, cited an increased work load at his law practice for his decision.
Scuderi said he will meet with his players this week.
"I want to try to get everybody involved -- alumni, faculty, student body, players," Scuderi said. "That's how you have a great program."
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.