Introducing the 2023 NJSIAA-Teachers’ Insurance Plan of NJ Athletics Staff Milestones Honorees
Whenever you invite people to tell you about educators who have had a profound, career impact, be prepared to have your spirits lifted and your heart warmed. And there is no shortage of impressive human beings in the field of education, you can be sure of that. For our 2023 NJSIAA – Teachers’ Insurance Plan Athletics Staff Milestones awards committee, it was indeed an honor and a privilege to pour over the dozens of nominated educators who have devoted themselves to developing the students and athletes in their charge. Please join us in celebrating and being inspired by this year’s honorees (in alphabetical order).
Nominated by: Karen O’neil, Assistant Principal and Athletic and Activities Director, Seneca High School.
Coach Greg Bauer has not only reached impressive milestones; he has built a true wrestling legacy in Seneca. He’s racked up triple digit wins while teaching lessons in discipline, character and dedication to the community. This past season, the Seneca wrestling program, which was started by Coach Bauer in 2003, achieved its 300th win, finished 23-2, and won the district championships.
“He built the program from the ground up over the last 20 years, also helping to build a youth program for the community,” says Karen O’Neil, his colleague and nominator. “Over the last 20 years, the Seneca communities have embraced wrestling, in large part due to the efforts of Coach Bauer.” As to his coaching style, “Coach Bauer runs a very disciplined program that athletes want to be a part of. He holds his athletes to very high standards, but at the same time, he has built a caring and supportive family environment for his wrestlers.”
Coach Bauer also sees athletics as a way to encourage and include students, inviting “students that are struggling academically and behaviorally to come out for the team, even those with no wrestling experience, knowing that the team environment has the ability to help them set and achieve goals.”
O’Neal shares a great story from the 2022-23 season that exemplifies Bauer’s dedication to the program. “Coach Bauer ended up in the hospital with an illness right before Christmas this past season. While in the hospital, Coach Bauer did as much coaching as possible from his hospital bed, doing his best to make sure that his team didn’t miss a beat with the help of his assistant coaches. His doctors had to do their best to confine him to the bed to make sure that he didn’t try to keep coaching!”
Nominated by: Joshua Aronowitz, Athletic Director and Supervisor of Extracurricular Activities, North Arlington High School
North Arlington’s Dan Farinola isn’t just racking up W’s in multiple sports, he’s blazing trails in unified sports that are downright impressive. As Head Bowling Coach, he recently notched his 150th win, but when you add to that the sum of his wins across girls’ soccer and golf, you’re looking at over 350 victories in total. A dedicated PE Teacher as well, Farinola “has been an integral part of starting our Unified PE program here at NAHS.” In addition, Farinola has started two after-school unified sports programs this school year. This winter, the unified students competed in the NJSIAA unified bowling state tournament. On top of it all, he is starting a club bocce ball team this spring.
Nominated by: Todd Smith, Head Baseball Coach, Freehold Township High School
Coach Brian Golub, an FTHS alum, retired as Head Boys Basketball Coach this past season after 28 years at the helm. Golub has left an enormous legacy, both in the classroom and on the court. He is described as no less than an “icon” of the FTHS community. He surpassed the 400 win mark this last season, finishing out at 418 victories. His teams have won 12 Division Championships, 4 Christmas Tournament championships, 1 Shore Conference Tournament Championship, and 1 State Sectional Championship, reaching the sectional championship game 7 times and the group championship game once. Overall Including his 4 years as a player, and his 3 years as an assistant coach, he was part of the program for 35 seasons. “Most of all,” says Smith, “Brian was a dedicated educator in the classroom which translated into his coaching for over 30 years. He is an icon at FTHS and is extremely deserving of this recognition.”
Nominated by: Paul Wolford, Business Administrator and Director of Elementary Education, Haworth Public School
Roger Kotlarz has had no less than a season of a lifetime this past year, guiding his team through both the tragic loss of a teammate to cancer, and the memory-making achievement of an undefeated season. In 2022, Coach K celebrated his 100th win as a coach and Wayne Valley Football’s 400th program win. To cap off the achievement, Kotlarz was awarded Coach of the Year honors for the Super-Football Conference Patriot White Division. Says colleague, Paul Wolford, “Coach Kotlarz is dedicated to the program and its players and deserves to be celebrated for an outstanding season that the boys will never forget.”
Nominated by: Ken Mullen, Director of Athletics and Health and Physical Education, Perth Amboy Public Schools
As anyone in interscholastic athletics will tell you, fielding a team, let alone more than a dozen teams, requires a network of support and contributions from a team of professionals. Our final 2023 honoree, Adrianne Manfre, exemplifies this in spades. A 21-year veteran of Perth Amboy interscholastic athletics, she filled in as Athletic Director for the better part of a year while the district worked to fill the position.
Adrianne handles pretty much every detail of running an athletic office: schedules, busing, physical notices, communication to coaches, trainer needs, purchase orders, eligibility assistance, fundraising, awards ceremonies. Nominator and interim AD, Ken Mullen, says that in his 42 years as an educator and 30 as an AD, he has “never experienced a more thorough and efficient staff member. I can say without a doubt that the staff, students and administration here at Perth Amboy are grateful for all she does to keep the programs up to speed each and every day of a school year.” “Adrienne,” Mullen says “has held down a full athletic department for over 9 months.”
Now, Let’s Celebrate!
In honor of these impressive career milestones and professional achievements, Plymouth Rock’s Teachers’ Insurance Plan of NJ has sent each of the honorees’ athletic departments a $500 gift card to contribute to a celebration honoring their colleague. Please join us in thanking them for their service to our students and our communities and saluting their dedication, skill, and spirit.