first_imgWhen John Kaye met with Matawan Regional High School’s football players as their new football coach after school on March 1, there wasn’t much of an introduction needed.Along with being the school’s varsity baseball coach for the past 15 years, Kaye was an assistant football coach for the past 18 years under Joe Martucci.Martucci resigned after his 28th season after the Huskies won their second NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II playoff championship in the last three seasons, all three seasons ending in trips to the championship game. Martucci, who had a 197- 81-1 record and five state titles, has agreed to coach the offensive backs at Kean University this fall.Not only did Martucci know Kaye well as colleagues on the sidelines, Martucci also has been the athletic director and will step down from that post in June.Will Kaye be able to remain as baseball coach for a program that has developed 13 players who went on to college and last year was a co-champion in the Shore Conference A Central Division?“That program is in a good position, and I’ll visit that decision at the end of the [baseball] season,” Kaye said.Two former players were the other finalists for the position of head football coach— Dave Monro, a former offensive coordinator at Raritan, and Charlie Marsh, who had worked as a defensive coordinator at Monmouth Regional before returning to Matawan’s staff last season.“I didn’t recommend anybody — that was the board’s decision — but I felt John Kaye was the best applicant because he has head coaching experience and has coached every position in this program except quarterback and receivers,” Martucci said.For now, Kaye is organizing a staff and maintaining an offseason program for the many returning players. He could not speculate at this time how much of a change will be made on the schemes on either side of the ball. “A lot of the staff will stay together, the same faces in different roles,” Kaye said. “What matters is the ones wearing the uniforms out there, the [jersey] numbers and colors.”Kaye was a head coach at Hillside from 1989 to 1995. He started his coaching career with two years as an assistant at Matawan and four years after that as a defensive coordinator at Scotch Plains before going to Hillside as head coach and then returning to Matawan.“I had other possibilities for head coaching jobs elsewhere since I came back, but felt it did not fit the right way, and I stayed here,” said Kaye. “When the position opened, I talked to my family about it and decided to apply.” Kaye chose to coach the freshman team this past season to allow him more time to follow the efforts in the same fall season of his daughter, Nicole, a defender on Matawan’s soccer team who is embarking after her graduation this spring on a college career at Ramapo.“I’mhonored to be mentioned in the same sentence as [former coaches] Joe Martucci and Barry Rizzo, legendary coaches not only in New Jersey but nationally,” Kaye said.Kaye is eager to take over a program that has further embedded itself in the community with the establishment of a Hall of Fame monument area at James C. Dwyer Sr. Memorial Alumni Park off the stadium entrance, a testament to the program’s tradition of success and development of players who went on to college and NFL careers, such as Jay Bellamy, who has served as special teams coach at Matawan and played in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent last_img

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