Coach Raphael was a selfless man who committed his life to teaching kids all he could about hard work, discipline, courage, honor, integrity, faith - the kind of values that last beyond a ballgame. The football field was just another classroom to teach the values that were important to him. He had a way of making you want to be better than you were, of getting your best effort and the confidence that came from that. He made us all better because he expected us to be better. St. Joe always had that reputation for being tougher than we should have been, forever going up against bigger, faster players. But that didn't mean much to Coach because in all his teams he instilled a big dose of his toughness and guts. You played hard and you never quit. And if you lost, you sure didn't cut up on the bus ride back. He'd also praise you and love on you. He was proud of all his kids, students and players alike, and always had a smile and a sense of humor.
One of his favorite pranks was in the middle of a stressful Algebra test, he would turn off the light and slam his hand on a filing cabinet and scare everybody to death. He thought that was hilarious. Before he's ever begin writing on the chalk board he made a cross at the top like this .+. because he put his faith at the top of everything he did. We had Mass early on Friday mornings before games and always said an "Our father" immediately before gametime. He put all his faith in his Lord.
I so much admire him for what he made of his life and how he influenced so many people that had the privilege to spend some time with him. Mrs. Raphael taught me for 2 years at Holy Family and she was just as special. Coach just commanded respect and he was worthy of every bit of it. I hope the Good Lord will look down lovingly on his family and give them comfort and peace. He left them a legacy of a very fine name. I am very certain he got a "Well done!!" on his arrival in heaven.