When Rick Mantz over the Bridgewater-Raritan football program for the 2022 season, he had his kids doing things they’d never done before, or even just the same things in ways they’d never been done before. DJ Catalano, who joined his staff from neighboring Somerville, took notice of all the little things.
Now, he’s fully in charge of the program.
Catalano, who was left in charge in the interim after the sudden departure of Mantz shortly after his first season due mainly to health issues, was approved to take over full-time back on Tuesday by the Board of Education. And in a wide-ranging interview with Central Jersey Sports Radio, was effusive in his praise for so many of the people he has worked with and under over the years, all of whom are great influences on the coach he’s become today, and hopes to continue to become.
There’s Mantz, who also was at Rutgers while Catalano was there as a defensive quality control coach. There’s Dallas Whitaker, whom he coached under at Somerville, along with a number of other Rutgers products. And Zoran Milich, Montgomery’s first and only football coach, who was instrumental to Catalano’s formative years as a player.
Catalano takes over a Panthers program with a new Athletic Director, Bill Deniz – who came over from Delaware Valley after the retirement of longtime AD John Maggio, and with a tremendous amount of resources and excitement among the student body. Bridgewater went 4-6 last year, but isn’t all that far removed from three straight appearances it made in the North 2, Group 5 Finals from 2015 to 2017.
Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko’s interview with new Bridgewater-Raritan head coach DJ Catalano: