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Two of the Branford Hornets' most successful athletic programs made big moves on March 1 by naming Ed Bethke head coach of the baseball team and selecting fellow graduate John Limone for that same position with the football squad.
Bethke, 27, takes over for George Dummar, Jr. after a nine-season tenure that included two state championships. Bethke was a star left-handed pitcher for the Hornets before graduating in 2005, the same year he helped Branford's Senior American Legion squad win state and Northeast titles. Bethke then pitched at Southern Connecticut State University, after which he joined Dummar's staff as an assistant coach the past two spring seasons. Branford baseball opens the 2013 campaign at Guilford at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3.
"It's bittersweet under the circumstances, but I've talked to George the last few days and he feels upbeat about everything. George made a big difference in me as a player and so it's a heartfelt thing to take over for someone like him and come back here, where it all began," said Bethke on Dummar, who was diagnosed with cancer last year. "I learned from George about forming player-coach relationships where the respect goes both ways and I want to make the relationships I have with my players positive ones. I want to keep this ship going the way George planned it by continuing our rich history and hopefully get back to the top of the promise land."
Limone, 29, played quarterback and cornerback for the Hornets' football team and was also a baseball player at Branford, captaining both clubs. He graduated in 2002 and played corner at Marist for two years. Limone then joined the football team's coaching staff in 2004 and held several roles, including special teams coordinator and defensive coordinator. Limone helped Branford win a state crown in 2005 and takes over for Mike Tracy following his four-year stint. He was also on the baseball team's coaching staff for a few seasons, serving as head man of the freshman and JV teams and extended praise to Dummar for his impact, just like Bethke.
"Branford football is very important to me and I've wanted to coach this team since the time I played here so it really is a dream come true," said Limone, who worked in Branford's special education department the last five years and is going back to school to receive his certification. "I want to keep pushing this program forward, get more involved with the youth level, and continue having kids do things the right way so we can hopefully keep our tradition going."