Joseph Grimaldi, U-Md. and high school coach, dies at 83
By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Joseph Grimaldi, 83, a former soccer coach at the University of Maryland and
Walter Johnson High School, died Dec. 18 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.
He had dementia.
Mr. Grimaldi, who was elected ACC coach of the year in 1982, led the Terrapins'
soccer team from 1980 until 1984, when he resigned to become assistant to the
university's athletics director for the next two years.
He was previously the head coach at Johnson High in Bethesda for 15 years,
finishing with a record of 126-12-12. The Johnson team won 11 county titles and
went to the state finals five times, winning one championship.
Mr. Grimaldi, a native Washingtonian, was born Jan. 12, 1926, with his identical twin brother, Saverio. He graduated from Central High
School in Washington and enlisted in the Army Air Forces, where he learned aerial photography. After his discharge, he graduated from the
University of Maryland, where he ran varsity track.
He began teaching boys with behavioral problems at MacFarland Junior High School in the District, then moved to Prince George's County
schools for a year. In 1953, he accepted a job teaching physical education and science at Montgomery Hills Junior High, where he began
coaching basketball as well.
In 1965, Mr. Grimaldi joined Johnson High, where he first coached the swim team, which won a championship in 1966, and the junior varsity
basketball team. He was hoping to coach football when administrators offered him the varsity soccer team position.
So rare was the sport in American high schools that Mr. Grimaldi had to find a rule book to learn the game. His daughter said he roamed
local playing fields to find athletes whom he would encourage to enroll at Johnson High.
He took the 1972 high school team to Europe, where it played in Portugal, England and Scotland, and he was named Montgomery County's
soccer coach of the year in 1973.
After he retired in 1986 from U-Md., he refereed in high school, college and summer leagues, directed a summer soccer camp and
volunteered at the Wheaton Boys Club. He was a member of St. Andrew Apostle Catholic Church in Silver Spring for 45 years. He lived in
His brother died in 2006.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Josephine V. Grimaldi of Silver Spring; four children, Charles Edward Grimaldi of Cheltenham,
England, and Joanne Marie Grimaldi, Grace Debra Halpin and Paula Jean Ruther, all of Silver Spring; and eight grandchildren.
Joseph Grimaldi led the Walter Johnson soccer team to
11 county titles and five trips to the state finals,
winning one championship. (Family Photo)