by Will James
Photo of Will James & Jim Dimino
The name Dimino, carries far-reaching impact amid the Northern California high school football community, largely because of the impressive career achievements compiled by the patriarch of the Dimino clan, Jim Dimino. His superlative career as an educational leader for more than 30 years is perhaps best exemplified by Jim’s natural desire to guide student-athletes with stellar leadership principles founded on courage, pride, honor, and integrity.
Dimino’s remarkable career was recently acknowledged and saluted in grand fashion at the annual Sac-Joaquin Section Hall-of-Fame Induction Ceremony at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento. After being introduced by Guest of Honor, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Dimino was officially ushered into an elite status; enshrined into the Hall’s Administrative classification along with a host of celebrity-caliber inductees. To commemorate his induction, Jim was presented with an elegant crystal trophy and a large Olympic-size gold medal adorned with a long red, white, and blue ribbon draped around his neck.
The essence of Jim’s acceptance speech was typically modest and humble: “I’m very grateful to be honored in this fashion. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed to have had the opportunity to coach great players and to have had the benefit of working with outstanding assistants on my staff during my coaching career. But I’m particularly proud to know that I’ve had a positive influence upon the lives of many student-athletes who have gone on to distinguish themselves in sports, in business, and in life. As an administrator, I always felt I had an important obligation and serious responsibility to my job, which I approached with a special passion and total devotion.”
Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Jim completed his undergraduate studies at Seton Hall University, and earned his Masters Degree at Oregon State. After working in the Grant Union High School District for five years at Highlands and Norte Del Rio High Schools, Jim found his niche at El Camino High School.
There, he attained major notoriety as a highly successful football and baseball coach and athletic director. In 20 years as the Eagles’ Head Football Coach Jim’s teams captured seven Capital Valley Conference titles and back-to-back Sac-Joaquin Section Division-2 Championships in 1984 and 1985.
Though officially retired, Jim remains ever-busy maintaining his distinctive television presence as Game Analyst for Access Sacramento’s Home Town Sports Football Game-of-the-Week, providing the Comcast Cable TV viewing audience with astute insights and observations of high school football action throughout the Sacramento County region since 1996, earning Jim a stature of authority and respect that earned him the nickname, “The Imperator of Analysis”. In addition, he continues to serve as Tournament Director of the CIF/SJS Basketball Playoffs where he has governed the event for the past 18 years at American River College, UC Davis, Delta JC, and presently at Spanos Pavilion at UOP in Stockton.
Jim has held this post concurrently with his long-standing position evaluating basketball officials for the California Community College Athletic Association. Jim was the former president of the Sac-Joaquin Section Athletic Director’s Association, and for nearly a decade, has continued to hold a seat on the Dante Club Board of Directors in Sacramento, having been the Board’s President in 2008.
Collectively, this array of accomplishments has placed Jim Dimino in a distinctive class from which he is preceded by a profound reputation in the high school student-athletic arena. However, the Dimino name reaches much further than the senior Dimino’s giant shadow. Jim’s family has substantially extended the scope of the Dimino legacy in the Capitol City with continuous marks of excellence.
Jim’s son, Mike Dimino, has left his own mark in the region, having coached Hiram Johnson High School and Del Campo High School to their greatest accomplishments. As head coach of the Del Campo Cougars football program, Mike has registered 8 consecutive seasons of logging 9 or more victories. These superlative seasons have been parlayed into six league titles in the Capital Athletic League and Capital Valley Conference, and two SJS D-3 Championships in 2006 and 2009.
The prominence of Jim’s grandson, Ryan Dimino, has accounted for further saturation of football success in Sacramento County. Ryan, who played under his Dad, Mike, as a four-year varsity standout, was a key component in both of the Cougars’ SJS Championships. A two-way starter at quarterback, running back and linebacker, Ryan was one of the elite players in Northern California as a junior and senior and was named to the Sacramento Bee’s All-Metro Team both seasons. Ryan is currently riding a football scholarship at UC Davis.
Yes, there is yet additional support hanging from the family tree. Jim’s daughter, Melissa Dimino, was a member of the 1992 U.S. Winter Olympic Team competing as a downhill speed skier in Albertville, France. And son Matt Dimino and daughter Maria Dimino have remained instrumentally supportive in many ways throughout Jim’s career.
By no means minimized in the midst of his remarkable career, is the indispensable matriarch of the Dimino family. Jim is quick to express endless gratitude to his devoted, loving wife of 55 years, Kris Dimino, whose limitless sacrifices and support have remained paramount to his success. “They’ve been beside me all the way … I couldn’t have done it without them”.