Joseph Cioffi feels ‘home’ as new AD at North Arlington

For Joseph Cioffi, North Arlington High School felt like home, even after he made the difficult decision to step down as the school’s girls volleyball and boys track coach in hopes of bettering his chances at eventually becoming an athletic director down the road.

Now as the new athletic director at North Arlington, Cioffi feels like he’s back home, even if he never left entirely.

Cioffi, a longtime physical education teacher in the district, became AD on May 10, replacing Joshua Aronowitz who left to take over the same position at Matawan High School.

“It was a goal of mine to be an athletic director, but also to be the athletic director of North Arlington,” said Cioffi, who has been in the district for more than 15 years, most recently at Veterans Middle School. “I was excited about being here for 15 years. I grew up in Nutley and being here for 15 years, this is my home. I know the town, know the community, know the people in it, the students and everything. It’s a great honor for me to be the AD of North Arlington High School.”

For Cioffi, becoming an athletic director dates back to his days as a student at William Paterson.

For the last year-and-a-half Cioffi has been a high school referee for football, basketball, lacrosse and baseball.

According to Cioffi, he felt that experience would help create more connections locally, but also give him a better understanding of how conferences and their athletic directors operate.

Prior to trying his hand at officiating, spent 14 seasons coaching track at North Arlington and nine coaching volleyball, the last seven as the program’s head coach. While he feels the officiating experience was a valuable one, leaving his players was difficult.

“There have been multiple nights where I’ve had conversations with my wife about possibly going back,” Cioffi said. “But I also knew that to be able to build my resume, I had to take this opportunity to expand my officiating career. I felt it was necessary for me, as a person who wants to be an athletic director, to see this other side besides the coaching aspect.”

Normally, most athletic directors start the job in July so Cioffi’s May start date created a unique situation for him. While that has created some challenges, it’s one that he has embraced early on.

“It is a very unique situation, but the good part about it is I’m learning how the end of the year works at the high school level,” said Cioffi. “I’m understanding how to run sports awards properly, the senior nights for the spring teams.

“What I’m enjoying is that I’m getting to see some of these seniors for the final six to eight weeks of their high school careers and be able to get to watch a couple of their games. So even though it’s been a unique situation, I’m really happy I came in when I did.”

Despite being one of the smallest schools in Bergen County, North Arlington sponsors 13 different sports. The hiring of Cioffi is one of two significant changes within the Vikings athletic department, the other being the appointment of Ali Beh as head football coach.

We’ll have more on Beh in an upcoming issue of The Observer.

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Jason Bernstein | Observer Sports Writer

Jason Bernstein joined The Observer as its sports writer in March 2022, following the retirement of Jim Hague. He has a wealth of sports-writing experience, including for NJ Advance Media (, The Jersey Journal, The Star-Ledger.)