The Brick Township school board last week approved longtime Shore Conference assistant Mike Pelkey as the new head boys basketball coach at Brick Memorial.

Pelkey takes over a Mustangs team that went 8-17 last season and 10-36 over the last two years under previous coach Jason Bloom, who inherited an inexperienced team after current Brick Memorial athletic director Ed Sarluca, Jr. stepped down to take his current position.

The new Mustangs new coach is also product of the program, having graduated from Brick Memorial in 1989 before going on to play basketball at Moravian College.

"We are very excited to bring back a former Mustang to head our program," Sarluca, Jr. said. "Mike has a ton of experience with some great coaches and I am looking forward to seeing him run his own program for the first time back at his alma mater."

Brick Memorial head coach Mike Pelkey. (Photo courtesy of Brick Memorial Athletic Department)

Pelkey brings with him nearly 20 years of coaching experience as an assistant around the Shore Conference. He started his coaching career as the head varsity assistant at Brick Memorial in 1998-99 before joining Kurt Fenchel's staff at Manasquan from 2001 to 2008.

For the past six seasons, Pelkey has served as an assistant at Matawan, both under current head coach John Giraldo and former coach Tom Stead. Pelkey sat on the bench with Stead in 2013-14, when Matawan won its first NJSIAA sectional championship in 57 years by capturing the Central Jersey Group II title.

Brick Memorial is set to return most of its lineup from the 2017, led by the senior trio of 6-foot-4 forward Anthony Argondizza, 6-1 forward Vinny Hernandez and 6-0 guard Vinny Vecchione. The trio helped Brick improve by six wins last season and finished tied for fourth out of eight teams in the Shore Conference Class A South divisional standings following the 2-19 campaign in 2015-16.

The only team in Class A South to return a higher percentage of its scoring and playing time to its starting lineup than Brick Memorial is Toms River East, which finished last in the division last season. Three-time defending champion Toms River North returns two starters, but will have to replace its top three players, while second place Central Regional graduated its entire starting five. Brick Township lost three starters, although the Dragons do return versatile 6-3 guard and leading scorer Shane Williams.

Brick Memorial is not far removed from competing in Class A South, which the Mustangs did regularly under Sarluca, Jr. The last time Brick Memorial won the outright Class A South division title was 2008-09.