Tag: Austin Holman

Austin Holman out as football coach at Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the middle of 5th season

In the middle of his fifth season as head football coach at Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Austin Holman is out, and an interim head coach is expected to be named later this week.

Holman – in a text message to Central Jersey Sports Radio – says he “had to step away from (the) team for personal reasons.”

CJSR had reached out to him as part of the typical game week prep for our Friday night broadcast, which has the Raiders (1-3) hosting Westfield (1-2) at 7 pm for the first-ever night game in their long rivalry. Click here to listen.

Holman said he could not comment further.

His Twitter bio says he is the head track and field coach at Elizabeth High School, but no mention is made of Scotch Plains-Fanwood football. And the Twitter page for the Raider football team (@SPFRaiderFB) was offline as of 12:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Holman did not coach last Thursday’s game at Rahway, a 27-12 loss.

But just two weeks ago, both Holmans coached in what had come to be known in recent years as “The Holman Bowl,” the fourth meeting between the brothers as opposing head coaches at various schools. Aquinas won the game, and now each has two wins against the other.

READ MORE: Sibling rivalry sparks Holmans as Austin’s Raiders, Tarig’s Trojans get set to meet Friday night

Reached for comment, SPF Athletic Director Ryan Miller said in an email, “I cannot comment about our head coach at this time.”

However, Miller did say, “We will have a coaching staff in place,” in reference to Friday’s game. He said he could not comment on an interim head coach “until the Board of Education meeting which is Thursday, the 21st, but that’s just two days away, and before Friday’s home game against Westfield.

Holman took over a 1-8 Scotch Plains team from Mark Ciccotelli in 2019, and went 4-6 that first year, winning five games each in 2020 and 2021, then going 2-8 last season.

In four-and-a-half seasons, Holman’s Raiders went 17-25, qualifying for the playoffs once – in 2021 – but they were ineligible after an early-season brawl resulted in numerous player disqualifications that also made them ineligible for postseason play, per NJSIAA rules.

Sibling rivalry sparks Holmans as Austin’s Raiders, Tarig’s Trojans get set to meet Friday night

It happens occasionally, but not that often: siblings coaching high school football in the same state.

But what about in the same conference, same division?

That’s what’s happened the last few years in the Big Central with Tarig and Austin Holman.

Austin, the younger of the two, has been the head coach of Scotch Plains-Fanwood since 2019. Tarig Holman came back to the Middlesex County to lead JFK in 2020, and baby brother got the best of the elder Holman two years in a row: 40-2 that first season, and 41-20 in 2021.

Tarig (left) and Austin Holman were on the New Brunswick staff together in 2004. (Submitted photo)

Last year, Tarig took the head coaching job at St. Thomas Aquinas, following the sudden death of Brian Meeney, who led the Trojans in 2021 to a 9-1 season with seven shutouts, matching a modern Middlesex County record.

And he might have gotten away from Austin except for the Big Central Conference’s new divisional alignments, which put Scotch Plains in with Aquinas in the United Gold.

Austin and Tarig Holman went against each other as head coaches in 2020. Tarig (right) was with JFK at the time, while Austin (left) was in his second season at Scotch Plains-Fanwood. (submitted photo)

Tarig’s Aquinas club got the better of the Raiders last season, 43-0. They meet again this week, Friday night at 7 pm, with Tarig looking to even the score at two apiece, or Austin looking to take a commanding three-games-to-one lead.

The two haven’t always been at different schools, or on opposing sidelines. They were at New Brunswick together under John Quinn in the mid-2000s, when the Zebras had one of the most successful multi-year runs in school history.

Tarig Holman (in back) at age 6, with his brother Austin in front, age 2. (submitted photo)

The Holman brothers talked about their family bond – and rivalry – at Big Central Media Days last month. Click below to hear comments from Austin, then Tarig Holman:

Return specialist Shawn Martin hopes to write next chapter at Southern Connecticut, but not before taking the diamond one last time

Shawn Martin returned four kickoffs for touchdowns last football season for Scotch Plains-Fanwood, amassing 414 yards on just six returns.

Sure, he only returned six, but that’s because no coach in his right mind would dare tell his players to kick the ball to the young man who would be the Central Jersey Sports Radio Special Teams Player of the Year.

But ask him now what his favorite return is? It’ll have nothing to do with football.

The 2019 football season was normal, of course, and 2020 was affected by COVID – but at least it happened.

Martin missed the entire baseball season last year when it got wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic, only getting in a handful of games in the Last Dance Baseball Tournament.

So, right now, his favorite return is the one he just made this week back to the baseball field with his Scotch Plains teammates. (They just played their first game this week after a COVID-related pause.)

Martin is headed to Southern Connecticut State University, to play wherever he can get on the field for the owls, after a tumultuous recruiting season that tended to be the norm for high school athletes around the country, unless you’re a four- or five-star kid.

Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko caught up with Martin this week before his Raiders’ baseball team left for an afternoon game at A.L. Johnson.

Click below to listen:

Scotch Plains-Fanwood kick return specialist Shawn Martin

Cipot helps North Brunswick figure it out, and is named Coach of the Year

In The Sound of Music, the nuns in the abbey sang “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?”

In North Brunswick, head coach Mike Cipot had to figure out how to solve the problem of not having the graduated Myles Bailey.

All he did in his time with the Raiders was re-write more than a couple of key pages in the record books. Bailey is tops in career rushing yards (5,096), career rushing touchdowns (41), and career points (314). And as a safety, his 8 career interceptions rank 5th all-time in school history.

Bailey now is a grayshirt at Central Michigan, and he’s not the only top talent Cipot lost.

There’s Samod Wingo, a TE/DE who is at William Paterson, and Leon Lowery – who played in a handful of games late in the season for Syracuse.

But Cipot and his assistants found a way, leading North Brunswick to a 7-1 season, their only loss to Cranford, one of the Big Central’s top teams.

How did they account for the loss of Bailey’s big numbers? By committee.

Five different players – including the quarterback, sophomore Frankie Garbolino – rushed for 100 yards or more this season.

Click below to hear Mike Cipot talk about how the Raiders continued their success in 2020:

Honorable mentions for Coach of the Year included Dan Lee of Monroe and Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s Austin Holman.

Lee’s Falcons finished 5-1, by far the school’s best season since he took over for Chris Beagan in 2016. Monroe had gone a combined 8-30 in Lee’s first four seasons. Their only loss came by 7 at home to Old Bridge in Week One, and they won their remaining games by a combined 184-60, never allowing more than 18 points the rest of the way.

Holman led the Raiders to a 5-2 season, following a 4-6 mark in his first year at SPF in 2019. He took over a program that had gone a combined 9-50 under Mark Ciccotelli and Jon Stack from 2013-18. They scored three blowout wins, beating Princeton, JFK and Colonia by a combined 136-29.