The number of coaches in Ohio High School Basketball who have attained 600 victories can be counted on one hand. On December 20, 1998, playing against Chaminade-Julienne, Joe achieved that milestone. Not many coaches have spent their entire career at the same high school. At Archbishop Alter, starting in 1964, until the present (34 years), Coach Petrocelli has average 17.6 victories a year. Many of those years were when high school were only allowed to schedule 18 games during the regular season. Many of his season were extended by as many as eight games by advancing to the State Finals.
Joe graduated from Purcell High School in 1956. He received a BS degree from Xavier University in 1960 and his Master of Arts there in 1968. He is a retired Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves and has been married to his # 1 fan, Marianne, for 37 years. She missed only two games during his career. Their children are: Mary Jo Petrocelli, Suzanne Shorter, and Tony. Mary Jo is a reserve girls’ basketball coach at Beavercreek High School with over 200 victories, Suzanne’s husband is Greg, and Tony played for Joe from 1981-1984.
Coach Petrocelli’s teams won 19 Sectionals, 18 Districts, and reached the State Final Four five times, winning the Championship in 1978. In addition to the previously mentioned championships, his teams’ highlights also include the longest home winning streak in Ohio (1971-1981) of 77 games; an overall home record of 216-33, overall winning percentage of 76.8, and three undefeated regular seasons (1974-1975, 1975-1976, and 1984-1985). Alter High School was AP Poll champions in 1984-1985, 1986-1987, 1989-1990, and 1996-1997.
Joe’s individual accomplishments include: Coach in the North-South All-Star Game (1985), McDonald’s East-West All-Star Game in Philadelphia (1978) – the first McDonald’s All-Star Game, the Dapper Dan Game in Pittsburgh (1979), the Derby Classic in Louisville & Lexington (1980), Ohio Junior Olympic Team vs Russia (1978).
Forty-five Alter players have received full scholarships and two players (Jim Paxson, Portland Trailblazers and John Paxson, Chicago Bulls) have played in the NBA.
Coach Petrocelli also coached football, cross country, baseball, and boy’s tennis. They were Tennis Doubles Champions in 1976 and 1977 and Tennis Team State Champions in 1976.
Joe served as District 15 representative to the OHSBCA for 15 years, was President from 1992-1994 and Past President from 1995-1998. He is a member of the Dorwood Optimist Club.