‘Competitive’ search predicted for Sayreville football coach
Despite allegations of sexual hazing that derailed the Sayreville War Memorial High School football program last season, there is expected to be no shortage of applicants for the newly-available head coaching position.
The job was posted Thursday morning on the district's web site, effectively ending the 20-year reign of George Najjar as head coach, who lifted the program to become one of the best in the state with a 165-54 regular season record.
Ted D'Alessio, head of the Directors of Athletics Association of New Jersey, said replacing Najjar would "not be an easy task even in the best of circumstances."
"To be fair to the student-athletes of Sayreville and the community at large, I would assume and even recommend that the school district cast a very wide net - even beyond the borders of the state - in their search," D'Alessio said in a statement.
Sayreville's athletic director did not respond to a request for comment on the hiring process. D'Alessio said a normal search/interview committee would consist of several faculty members, including the athletic director and other coaches, as well as present and past student-athletes.
As a former head football coach in Kenilworth and Clark, Bob Taylor said the top spot in Sayreville is a "highly sought after" position.
"I think it would be a very competitive arena for getting some of the top coaches who are looking to really have their big opportunity in high school coaching," Taylor said.
Taylor described the interview process as "detailed" and "very serious," noting the Sayreville job is not just about winning, but bringing student-athletes' talents to the college level.
D'Alessio insisted the questions involved in this specific process address the "elephant in the room," which is team discipline, given allegations of locker room misconduct that resulted in charges for seven players and the cancellation of the 2014 season.
Following Thursday's job posting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Richard Labbe released a statement that hinted at a "comprehensive search to find the next leader of our football program."