Two local schools made moves on their vacant head football coaching positions recently, with Weehawken securing the services of a local guy and Hudson Catholic reaching past the parameters of the county to get a coach with vast head coaching experience, something the program hadn’t had in their last two head coaches.
Weehawken has named former Secaucus High School and University of Cincinnati grid standout Zach Naszimento has the school’s new football coach and athletic director.
Naszimento has already been appointed as the football coach and will be appointed as the AD, replacing the retiring Rich Terpak, within the coming weeks.
Hudson Catholic has tabbed Colin Eckert as the new head coach. Eckert comes to McGinley Square after a stint as the head coach at Mount Olive in Morris County.
Both coaches bring new, young faces to their respective programs.
Naszimento, who resides once again in Secaucus, has spent the last few years as an assistant coach at places like Queen of Peace in North Arlington and Hackensack. He credits former Hoboken coach Ed Stinson with guiding him over the last few years of his coaching career.
“I spent three years with Coach Stinson and it wasn’t just one thing he showed me, it was everything,” said Naszimento, the son of former Emerson great and long-time coach Bruce Naszimento. “I don’t think there was one aspect of coaching that Coach Stinson didn’t show me. I learned so much from him.”
Naszimento has been a teacher in the Union City school district for the last 10 years, but he will now leave to head to Weehawken and take over the dual role.
“I’m very excited about it,” Naszimento said. “It’s a great opportunity for me. They reached out to me and I was excited about their facilities [Weehawken has to be the only small district in the state with two state-of-the-art FieldTurf facilities] and the new weight room. Right now, there’s a buzz in the school. The kids are excited and they’re hungry. They all want to win. I’m searching out kids in the hallway and bringing them to the weight room.”
Naszimento said that he’s already seen the progress.
“We usually have about 23 kids or so in the weight room daily, but on a good day, we have 40,” said Naszimento, who will bring coaching veterans like his father (who has spent the last decade as Charlie Voorhees’ main right-hand man in Secaucus) and warhorse Gerry Caputo (the former Emerson head coach) to his staff.
“We’re changing the attitude and the culture of the program and building a foundation,” Naszimento said. “They’re letting me do it my way, 100 percent. I’m getting the best of both worlds, being the football coach and the AD.”
Naszimento has football in his blood, so the coaching part is not a problem. But he’s never been an administrator before.
“I’m excited about being the AD,” Naszimento said. “I can’t replace Mr. Terpak. But I’m going to try to learn from him and take what he did. I think everyone wants to see this football program get off the ground and do well. It’s a good situation for me.”
The 31-year-old Eckert spent three years as the head coach at Mount Olive and took last year off, before deciding that he wanted to give coaching at Hudson Catholic a try.
“I think it presents a great opportunity for me,” Eckert said. “It’s a school with a great tradition and a school with high academic standards. They want to create well-rounded individuals.”
Eckert becomes Hudson Catholic’s fourth different head coach in four years, but he wants to provide stability in the position.
“That’s the No. 1 thing I’m trying to sell to the kids, to their parents and the school,” Eckert said. “I’m putting the past in the past. There’s nothing you can do about what happened in the past. We’re moving forward. It’s a new day, with new expectations. I’m going to instill optimism and energy and really try to revamp the culture.”
Eckert knows that he has to have a multiple-set offense, but the main goal is defense.
“We have to be able to stop the run,” Eckert said. “I think the returning players are into it. We’re going to use every piece of motivation possible to keep the spirits high. We have to set short term goals on just trying to be competitive.”
Both programs have not been successful in recent years, so the changes have to do some good…
Duke University is doing a great thing in inducting Jersey City’s Bobby Hurley into their Athletic Hall of Fame, but they should do an even better thing in retiring the No. 34 jersey of another Duke great and Jersey City native, namely Jim Spanarkel.
Spanarkel, the respected sportscaster, was a fine All-American at Duke from 1975 through 1979 and is the only 2,000-point scorer in the school’s history who hasn’t had his jersey hung from the rafters of the Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The time has come to give Spanarkel his proper due…
There have been some impressive high school baseball performances to note that just fell short of Athlete of the Week status. Weehawken’s David Strandberg had five hits and three RBI in one recent game and Union City’s Jose Matias had three hits and five RBI in a recent win over Kearny. That’s production…
And how about the St. Mary-Hoboken game played Wednesday? Those two programs have had some barnburners over the years, but nothing like the 20-19 win for the Ramblers over the Red Wings that took four hours and eight innings to play. That’s the most absurd score ever. There were 23 walks in the game! That’s right, 23.
Brandon Torres won the game for the Ramblers with a homer in the eighth inning.
Both coaches, Pat Laguerre of St. Mary and Buddy Matthews of Hoboken, had to age about 15 years watching that one….
There’s no question that this local baseball season has been one of the most unpredictable, topsy-turvy years in recent memory, maybe ever. And there’s clearly no clear-cut favorite to win the county title. It’s wide open, wider than a country mile.
Hudson Reporter H.S. Baseball Top Five: 1. Union City (9-3). 2. North Bergen (7-3). 3. Hudson Catholic (6-4). 4. Hoboken (5-4). 5. Memorial (5-4).
Hudson Reporter H.S. Softball Top Five: 1. North Bergen (9-0). 2. Union City (6-2). 3. Hoboken (7-2). 4. Secaucus (5-3). 5. St. Dominic Academy (5-4)…
Congrats to the Jersey City RBI program for receiving the first of the $5,000 grants provided by the SNY network in order to purchase equipment for the coming season. League director Joe Napolitano, Jr. threw out the first pitch at CitiField last week and picked up the check from SNY. The kids from the Jersey City RBI program have been featured on commercials regarding the SNY baseball grant program in recent Met telecasts…
In closing, thanks to all of the calls, e-mails and greetings that came flooding in after the passing of Ed “The Faa” Ford last week. It’s safe to say that he never realized just how truly he was loved and that outpouring of love was evident last Saturday at his funeral Mass at St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City, a Mass that was attended by hundreds. It was a fitting farewell to the legendary Jersey City icon. – Jim Hague Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.