February 22, 2018
By: Leah Kocse
Last weeks college signing day at Emmaus high school was like any other, except this time, small talk with a friend revealed a big life choice decision. I like to call Emmaus Athletic Director Dennis Ramella my friend because like many other athletic directors and coaches I've grown to know well over the years, he truly is someone I enjoy catching up with at games and other events. On this day I simply asked "what's new?" and with a smile Ramella responded "well, I officially handed in my retirement papers." I asked "how do you feel about it, do you feel good?" and to that he said "I didn't want to do it, but I had to. If I didn't, does it make it less real?" I immediately understood the struggle. When you love something that you've been doing for so long, it's very difficult to let it go. I admire him so much, because he's not retiring because he feels overwhelmed or that he's not up for the task. Ramella is retiring to give someone else an opportunity. As Ramella simply put it "it's time. I'ld rather not make it official but like they say all good things have to come to an end and I figured after 45 years it was time to let some younger person pursue their dream. I know i've loved this job and I certainly think I can still do it but maybe it's time, as I said to let a younger person, I've been somewhat blocking someone from coming and pursuing this great situation so, it's time."
Ramella started his career at Central Catholic where he spent 26 years, part of it coaching boys basketball, baseball and golf. Then, after 13 years as their athletic director, Ramella joined the Emmaus high school staff in October 1999. Ramella said "I have the best job in the school district. I always have had the best job. My students are the athletes and they're great kids and my classroom has been, when I was a teacher the regular classroom but also the athletic arena, and for me it was exciting it was fulfilling and as I said there isn't a better occupation for me."
When asked what he will remember most in his 45 years, Ramella says "the thing I'm most proud of are all the student athletes and the championships they've won, but also where they've gone to school. We've had so many, so many outstanding Division I Division II and Division III athletes. I love looking in the paper and seeing how they're doing. I love reading that they've graduated. Even you look in the paper and they're getting married, that's what this is all about." 45 years is a long time, so it's no surprise to hear Ramella joke about how the students have not only married, but have also had children who have played at Emmaus. But there's no slowing this guy down. When I asked of his plans for the future, Ramella said "I don't look at it as retirement. I look at it more as semi-retirement because I plan to still be involved. One of my former assistants Shaun Murray is up at Northampton and I plan to help him. My son Ray is up at Nazareth and I'll probably help him. Another assistant Chad Remaly is down at Southern Lehigh and I'll probably help him, and then I'm always going to have my hand in at Emmaus."
I have no doubt Ramella will continue to stay busy, ironically probably more now in retirement. I wish nothing but the best for him as he takes on this next venture in his life with his wife Cathy, and I look forward to seeing him at all the big games!