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State champion coach Mark DiRugeris returns home to lead Woodbury again

Woodbury coach Mark DiRugeris directs his players from the sideline during a basketball scrimmage between the Thundering Herd and Moorestown Friends on Monday, December 4, 2023 at Woodbury High School in Woodbury, New Jersey. Lukas Guerrier/D2 Sports Network


Mark DiRugeris was devastated when he resigned in 2018.


He unknowingly violated two New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association rules as Woodbury's coach during a team camp at Widener University. DiRugeris sat with his team on the bench to prevent backtalk and misbehavior by his players as a volunteer coach directed the team. Although he wasn't giving verbal commands or instructions, his presence was deemed a violation. The team also violated a rule that prohibits teams from wearing their school-issued jerseys in the offseason.


No harm was intended.


He continued coaching as an assistant for other high school programs and dedicated time to the Philly Pride AAU organization.


Five years later, the state champion head coach is back.


The Woodbury City Board of Education approved DiRugeris as the next boys' basketball head coach this past summer. He will begin his second stint with the program when the Thundering Herd host Colonial Conference rival Gloucester on Thursday.


"Woodbury holds a huge place in my heart," DiRugeris said. "A chance to come back to great kids, school, administration, and city is something I’m very excited for."

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