Tag: Coach of the Year

CJSR Girls’ Coach of the Year: Everybody played, everybody scored, everybody won in a dominant year for Mary Klinger’s Rutgers Prep

Please scroll down to the bottom of this post for more coverage on Rutgers Prep’s 2021 season:

Everyone wants to play flashy. Everyone wants to score. Everyone wants the basket seen ’round the world.

Often, that’s basketball these days.

For the Rutgers Prep girls’ basketball team this year, everybody played defense. And that allowed everybody to get in the games – all 14 players on the varsity roster. Sometimes, everyone scored in a game. And in the end, they all hoisted a trophy: for winning the Skyland Conference’s Blue Division pod.

With a balanced Argonauts squad that was dominant all year – including their final two games when the biggest name on the team, Villanova-bound Christina Dalce, was out with a knee injury – Rutgers Prep head coach Mary Coyle-Klinger was able to instill her trademark trait in her players: defense.

And defense got it done. Her team allowed an average of 31 points per game, while winning by an average of 45. That’s remarkable, no matter how you slice it.

And for all of that, Mary Coyle-Klinger has been chosen as the 2021 Central Jersey Sports Radio Girls’ Basketball Coach of the Year.

Click below to hear Mary Klinger talk with CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko:

MORE ON RUTGERS PREP:

An audio retrospective on Rutgers Prep girls’ dominance in 2021, with Mary Klinger, Christina Dalce, Belle Pellecchia

Rutgers Prep steamrolls everyone, runs wire-to-wire with No. 1 ranking to be named CJSR Girls’ Basketball Team of the Year

No Dalce? No problem. Rutgers Prep girls cruise to win top Skyland Tournament pod

Rutgers Prep faces Gill St. Bernard’s for top Skyland girls’ title, with Dalce’s status up in the air

Dalce, Klinger talk dominant Rutgers Prep win in battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2

No. 2 Franklin girls get their crack at No. 1 Rutgers Prep in rematch of 2019 SCT final

CJSR Boys’ Coach of the Year: Bound Brook’s Anthony Melesurgo steered Crusaders through much more than an undefeated season

Please scroll down to the bottom of this post for more coverage on Bound Brook’s 2021 season:

Basketball coaches – the best ones – are often revered by their former players, sometimes even more when they become former players.

That’s because it’s not just what their coaches taught them about Xs and Os, but about life, or even just the idea of perseverance, battling through adversity, lessons that can be used in all walks of life, not just in basketball.

Like all head coaches, life was about more than basketball in 2021, even after last season ended normally for Bound Brook, as it does for so many teams: with a loss, not a COVID shutdown – though that came soon later. Life became about dealing with the pandemic. Throw on that the killing of George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter movement that continued to grow in its wake, and it made for a difficult, scary and unsure path to navigate.

To come through all of that, get through a (shortened) basketball season with no self-inflicted COVID shutdowns – though they had a brief pause due to contact tracing with another team – and go through it undefeated, winning a championship, Bound Brook head coach Anthony Melesurgo has been named the 2021 Central Jersey Sports Radio Boys’ Basketball Coach of the Year.

Click below to hear Anthony Melesurgo talk with CJSR’s Mike Pavlichko:

MORE ON BOUND BROOK:

VIDEO RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS: A look back at Bound Brook’s Championship, and perfect finish

PERFECT! Bound Brook holds off frantic ‘Lata rally to win Skyland Gold Championship, finish 14-0

Bound Brook one of a handful of boys basketball teams still perfect as Crusaders head into finale

Bound Brook boys chasing basketball immortality when Crusaders face ‘Lata for title, perfection Saturday afternoon

Postgame reaction: Bound Brook nets clean sweep of Bernards to remain undefeated, earn berth in Skyland Tournament Gold title game

Bound Brook and Bernards set to meet for third time in two weeks, with trip to the Gold finals on the line

Boys’ regular season wrap-up: Bound Brook heads into Skyland Tourney as lone unbeaten area team, and other notes of interest

Harrell, McLarty, Melesurgo talk No. 9 Bound Brook’s gut-check win over Bernards

Bound Brook’s 4-0 start is best in Skyland, but now it’s time for a break

Bound Brook’s Derevjanik named NFHS girls basketball Coach of the Year in NJ

by Mike Pavlichko

Five sectional titles in a row has to amount for something.

And this week, the recognition came for Bound Brook girls basketball coach Jen Derevjanik: she was named Girls Basketball Coach of the Year in New Jersey by NFHS, the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Derevjanik is about to begin her seventh season as head coach of the Crusaders, who have won the last five Central Jersey Group One championships in a row. They are 136-39 under her tenure.

Not bad for a program that hadn’t had a winning season in more than a decade. That 11-15 record in her first season? Just a stepping stone en route to becoming one of Somerset County’s elite programs.

The Bound Brook girls’ basketball team celebrates its 2020 Central Jersey Group 1 title. The Lady Crusaders took the crown with a 56-41 road win against neighboring Middlesex, on March 10, 2020. (Source: Twitter)

Last year, just a win away from a Group 1 title, Bound Brook’s quest was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, which ended the state tournament just after their 48-32 Group 1 semifinal win over Woodbury. The Lady Crusaders would have faced North 1 champ Cresskill in the semifinals.

The recognition by the NFHS also means recognition by the NJSIAA, which submits nominees to NFHS, according to Bound Brook Athletic Director Jeffrey Steele. He said he was notified of the honor this week, and quickly arranged for the team to help her celebrate.

Bound Brook will be one of the first two girls basketball teams in the area to be broadcast on Central Jersey Sports Radio this coming week, when the Lady Crusaders entertain Manville at 5:30 pm. Click here to listen live.

Derevjanik – who played collegiately at George Mason, and after the playing days was an assistant at Wagner College – has a pro pedigree. She played professionally in Europe for seven seasons, and spent five years in the WNBA: two of them with the Connecticut Sun alongside Olympian Lindsay Whelan, followed by three years in Phoenix, where she won a WNBA Championship as a teammate of Diana Taurasi.

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.