However, last week, when the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders decided to honor Ascolese for becoming only the third football coach in state high school football history to collect 300 coaching victories, he finally became humbled.
"It is very humbling to have something like this," said Ascolese, who achieved the milestone with a 32-14 win over Snyder in October and was finally honored in a ceremony in the freeholders' chambers in Jersey City last week. "I was sitting there and listening to all these people coming up and talking about me. Players, fellow coaches, friends, family. It was really something special and made me realize that I'm very lucky to be me."
Ascolese, who was a member of the Board of Freeholders formore than a decade, sat and watched several elected officials, as well as former players and coaches, come together and give him the very deserving praise.
"I received a plaque that had the Hudson County seal on it that must be two feet by three feet," Ascolese said. "I received resolutions and proclamations. They really did an unbelievable job."
Ascolese received proclamations from Gov. Jim McGreevey, the state Senate (courtesy of North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco), the state Assembly (courtesy of Assembly Speaker Albio Sires), the Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, the Board of Freeholders, and the township of North Bergen.
The North Bergen marching band performed, and there were several guest speakers, including Ed Stinson, the current Hoboken football coach who played for Ascolese when Ascolese started his coaching career in Hoboken in the 1960s.
Ascolese became the head coach at North Bergen in 1974, and during his tenure there, the Bruins have captured six state championships, including earning the distinction as New Jersey's No. 1 team in 1978. They were undefeated state champions in 1997.
"It was actually a little embarrassing to hear all the nice things everyone was saying," Ascolese said. "It actually turned out bigger than I could have ever expected. It was a tremendous night."
Ascolese said that he never really gave it much thought to how big of an accomplishment it was to win 300 games, joining only Warren Wolf of Brick Township High School (who is a native of West New York) and Vic Paternostro of Pope John High School in Sparta as members of the 300-win club.
"People talked about it before and I never paid much attention," Ascolese said. "I just figured I've been around a long time. But to be honest, it really hit home after this ceremony. I think it told me a lot about myself that I've been coaching now through five decades. And in each decade, we won a state championship. Each decade had its special mark, its special place. People don't realize how hard it is to adapt to the changing times and the different kids. I don't think much has changed."
Especially in one important facet.
"Because they still all wear the same uniform," Ascolese said.
Namely the scarlet and gold of North Bergen, colors that Ascolese wants to wear on the sidelines for many years to come.
"I definitely want to keep going," Ascolese said.
Maybe another party is in store when the coach reaches the unprecedented 400th somewhere down the road.