By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Foothills Focus Executive Editor
Vince D’Aliesio has, admittedly, done a little bit of everything. He’s worked with the courts, hosted radio shows and coached high school and college football.
Now he’s the Cave Creek Museum Board of Directors president. The Cave Creek Museum recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
“Vince brings a combination of academic and civic experience that shapes and guides our institution in a thoughtful-yet-decisive way,” said Karri Porter Brace, executive director of the Cave Creek Museum.
“From his experience with the Arizona State University coaching staff, to advising youth, from his participation as a councilman of Carefree Town Council to historic preservation, Vince is a steadying influence that aligns all our people and efforts in forward motion.”
D’Aliesio grew up in the Valley and always dreamed of retiring in Carefree.
“It ended up happening sooner than we thought,” he said with a laugh. “I wanted to get involved in the community. My first foray into it was helping out at festivals and things on the weekend. Two years ago, I was elected to council.”
His philanthropic and volunteerism was sparked by his Carefree home. The Gerry Jones home was the first built in the town.
“We found out after we bought it,” he said. “It’s been a whirlwind. We fell in love with the house and the community. The home was built in 1959. I wake up every day and go to bed every night imagining what Gerry’s vision was back then.
“The panoramic view of Black Mountain makes you appreciate the culture and the history of the community that much more.”
D’Aliesio’s home was featured on a Gerry Jones home tour that benefited the museum. Jones visited the home and shared the history of the property and the land.
“This was goat farms way back when,” he said. “It reverberated through the rest of the community. The house was built around the mountain. There was no blowing anything up. Whatever’s there, they put the house on it. There’s stone inside and outside of it.”
The tour gave D’Aliesio his first fix of the community’s history. The board approached him to join and within a couple months, he was asked to be the vice president. Soon after that, he assumed the board presidency.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” he said. “There are a lot of people who haven’t heard of the Cave Creek Museum. It’s based in Cave Creek and been around for 50 years, but it services all of the Desert Foothills.
“It’s the only historical museum in Metro Phoenix north of the 101. Our goal is to continue to make it a museum that serves all of the communities. We want it to be a place where people see historical artifacts and celebrate contemporary art and architecture.”
Ideally, he’d like to see the museum move to a more visible space with a contemporary look and feel. The facility also boasts a working stamp mill.
“It’s an incredible blend of pioneering and cowboy mixed with the contemporary art,” he said. “I’m just so amazed that I get to be a part of this amazing place.”
He’s also hoping the Gerry Jones Home Tour will return and, perhaps, hosting a Paolo Soleri lectures.
“There’s also Bike Week. There’s a big motorcycle influence here,” he added. “It’s not just a museum of historical artifacts. We want people to appreciate the arts and the modern, contemporary architecture.”
Nicknamed “Coach D” and the host of the “JV Sports Show” from 9 to 10 a.m. on KDUS AM 1060, D’Aliesio grew up in Central Phoenix, spending nearly half his adult life coaching football.
He was a team captain and offensive lineman at Camelback High in the 1980s and later played football at Scottsdale Community College. He later attended Paradise Valley Community College.
D’Aliesio returned to Camelback as an unpaid freshman assistant as a college undergrad for his first football coaching job for the late Pete Kellen, later graduated from ASU, and continued this journey through eight high schools and three colleges, including ASU.
He has a Pac-10 championship ring as a result of spending two seasons as a graduate assistant coach under the late Bruce Snyder at ASU in 1996.
“That was the year we went to the Rose Bowl,” said D’Aliesio, who has three teenagers with his wife, Cheryl.
He earned a master’s degree in education from NAU and, in better times, is the color commentator for Ottawa University NAIA Arizona Football, and does play by play for the men’s and women’s basketball programs. D’Aliesio also does color commentary for the Hohokam Junior College Athletic Conference Football teams. He’s the PA announcer for Camelback and Campo Verde high schools.
The benefit of working with the Cave Creek Museum is being surrounded “by great people,” he said.
“That makes it that much easier,” he added. “It’s a great staff all the way around. During this pandemic, the museum is going through a facelift, so we’ve been shut down during the pandemic.
“I just have a passion for being around people. The Desert Foothills is the most beautiful, amazing place. The people here a really great and I’m not just talking about Carefree or Cave Creek—it’s all of the Desert Foothills.”