"In February of 2014, the man who was football at St. E will be at St. E no longer," said St. Elizabeth High School Development Director Kevin Scott.
On January 30, St. Elizabeth High School will bid a fond farewell to a Viking icon as Joe Hemphill, a Pike Creek resident, retires after 42 seasons as head football coach and 41 seasons as Athletic Director. He also spent several years as an assistant coach while he was still in college. During his storied career Joe coached teams to the Division II state title three times. The Vikings were champion in1994, 1996, 2010 and runner up in 1999 and 2000. Joe was coach of the year in 1989, 1994, and 2000. His career record is 237-180-13. He is fifth on the all-time wins list in Delaware and first in most games coached (430).
On Sunday, December 15, several hundred former players and fellow coaches, along with Hemphill family members, attended a reception and ceremony at the St. E Center in Hemphill's honor. A football player from each of the five decades of Coach Hemphill's career offered a reflection on his influence and style. With reminiscences that were both humorous and touching, the ultimate resolution proclaimed Joe Hemphill to be an exceptional model of Benedictine Spirit and Viking Pride throughout his 42 years as a teacher, coach, mentor, and administrator. "Coach Hemphill was the guy that other Division II coaches looked to for guidance because he always did it right," explained St. E Assistant Athletic Director Tom Beddow.
Bishop Francis Malooly shared his congratulations in person while the State Senate, City Council, and Governor Markell sent proclamations noting Hemphill's outstanding career and dedicated service to the school, community, education and young people. Bishop Malooly encouraged Coach Hemphill to stay involved in some way in guiding the youth of the diocese, even in his retirement.
"In true Benedictine fashion, the St. E Community gathered in prayer, hospitality and camaraderie to offer a worthy send off to a Viking legend and Delaware coaching icon," commented Principal Shirley Bounds.
Hemphill's successors as football coach and athletic director have not yet been announced.