NORTH SMITHFIELD – A coach who has worked with the North Smithfield school district for nearly a decade is among those named National Federation of State High School Associations Rhode Island Coach of the Year for 2021/2022.
Ariana DiPaola was recognized for her work as head coach of the North Smithfield High School girls basketball team, according to an announcement this week from the Rhode Island Interscholastic League.
DiPaola, who grew up in Harrisville and was an athlete herself for the Burrillville High School Broncos, received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and exercise from the University of Rhode Island in 2012. She started work that same year as a physical education and health teacher for Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy.
In 2013, DiPaola was hired to serve as physical education and health teacher at North Smithfield Elementary School, and also began serving as girls basketball coach for North Smithfield Middle School.
She moved up to coaching girls varsity basketball at North Smithfield High School in 2014, a position she’s held since. DiPaola added serving as head coach for the boys cross country team to the mix in 2015, and has also served as the assistant coach for high school boys and girls track and field in her home town of Burrillville.
In North Smithfield, she has also served as head coach for varsity co-ed track.
Formerly known as Ariana Stanton, DiPaola married the Northmen boys basketball head coach Brandon DiPaola in 2021.
An instructor with the American Red Cross since 2011, DiPaola was among 26 coaches recognized in their respective sports, in an announcement from RIIL on Wednesday, Dec, 21.
“In grateful appreciation of outstanding service and unselfish devotion to interscholastic activities,” notes the State Coach of the Year citation.
DiPaola led the the Northmen girls basketball team to the Division III championship game last season, where they hoped to win their first title in a dozen years. The team ultimately lost to the Tolman/Shea co-op in a championship game at Rhode Island College.