Coming soon to a football field near you: jersey numbers you can read!

“What number was that?”

You can hear that shout of frustration in the stands, in the press box, and probably also in the coach’s office when he’s watching game film.

Why? Numbers that are virtually impossible to see because they’re a similar color to the jersey itself, or – worse yet – just an outline.

Ask that question no more in 2024, as the National Federation of State High School Associations – the NFHS – has come up with new guidelines aimed at eliminating difficult or impossible-to-see numbers on football jersey across the country.

Of course, high school student-athletes these days want those jerseys that are “fire!” Their enthusiasm will now have to be tempered a bit.

The NFHS adopted the rules last year, and they’ll be going into place in 2024, though a reminder was sent out last Tuesday by the NJSIAA to all member schools.

The official new NFHS rule states: “Effective with the 2024 season, the entire body of the number (the continuous horizontal bars and vertical strokes) shall be a single solid color that clearly contrasts with the body color of the jersey.”

Below are some examples of legal jersey in 2024:

The grey numbers on a “garnet” colored jersey like Phillipsburg wears would be acceptable in 2024 under new jersey guidelines established by the NFHS and adopted by the NJSIAA. (file photo)
North Hunterdon’s blackout jersey with gold numbers would also be allowed under the new NFHS jersey guidelines the NJSIAA will adopt in 2024. (File photo)

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.