Football: Donohue Sr. and Ciccotelli Inducted into NJFCA Hall of Fame; Wagner and Martucci Honored for Lifetime Service
Longtime Southern Regional head coach Chuck Donohue Sr. and legendary Keyport head coach Mike Ciccotelli were inducted into the New Jersey Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame during halftime of the 39th annual Phil Simms North-South All-Star Football Classic on Monday night at Kean University’s Alumni Stadium.
Additionally, Point Beach head coach John Wagner was presented with the John F. Bateman Winners for Life Award in recognition of extraordinary service to American youth and the game of football, and former Matawan head coach Joe Martucci was recognized with the Ray McCrann Lifetime Achievement Award.
“This is something I never even thought about and when I heard I was surprised, to tell you the truth,” Donohue said. “The corny answer is the truth: it’s all about the people along the way. I’ve worked for great people, I’ve had loyal, hardworking assistant coaches and great kids who have played as hard as they can play.”
Donohue will begin his 45th season as a head coach in 2017 when he begins his 20th season as Southern’s head coach. Donohue started as an assistant at St. Joseph (Hammonton) in 1971 and became the Wildcats’ head coach in 1974. He coached seven seasons at St. Joe’s, compiling a 44-20-1 record and leading the Wildcats to the 1977 NJSIAA South Jersey Parochial B sectional championship. St. Joe’s also won two Cape Atlantic League titles and reached sectional finals in 1978 and 1980.
Donohue moved into to Haddon Heights from 1981 through 1985 and led the Garnets to the South Jersey Group II title game in 1985. Donohue went 26-20-1 during his tenure at Haddon Heights. Donohue found more success at Buena, where he coached from 1986-1997 and went 69-43-2 with two conference titles and one state sectional championship. The Chiefs went 11-0 and captured the South Jersey Group II title in 1988.
Donohue has been the head coach at Southern since 1998 and has led the Rams to a pair of sectional championship games and the 2011 Class A South division title. His record at Southern is 106-89 and his career record of 245-172-4 puts him ninth on the wins list of active New Jersey coaches. Donohue’s teams have made 18 playoff appearances, reached six sectional finals, won five division titles and two sectional championships during his career. His is a member of the South Jersey Coaches Hall of Fame and the Shore Conference Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame. He remains the only head coach in South Jersey history to lead four different schools to a sectional championship game.
“It’s such an honor,” Donohue said. “There are so many great coaches in this state and so many men that do an awful lot of work and deserve things and don’t get them, so when you’re honored like this it’s an honor for the schools you’ve been at and the kids you’ve coached. Your family is such a huge part of it because of the things they have to sacrifice to let you do the things you need to do to coach a winning program.”
“I’m just so excited about this for all the kids I’ve coached and people I’ve worked with. I hope everybody understands they are part of this.”
Ciccotelli turned Keyport into a small-school powerhouse during his 36 years leading the Red Raiders. He went 229-130-3 in his career and Keyport won all six of the program’s sectional championships with Ciccotelli at the helm. Keyport also won 12 Shore Conference division titles under Ciccotelli and made the playoffs 21 times. Ciccotelli retired from teaching in 2011 but remained as the Red Raiders’ head coach for two more seasons. He is also a member of the SFCF Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Ciccotelli could not be present at the North-South game and his brother Mark accepted his plaque on his behalf.
Wagner was already a NJFCA Hall of Famer and a legendary Middlesex County coach when he came to the Shore Conference in 2011. He spent 25 years as the head coach at his alma mater, Roselle Park, from 1981-2005 and is the school’s all-time winningest coach with a 150-92-2 record. The Panthers had 18 winning seasons, made 14 playoff appearances and were undefeated North Jersey Section 2, Group I champions in 1992 and 1993.
Already retired as a teacher, Wagner took over a struggling Point Beach program in 2011 and immediately led the Garnet Gulls to success. Point Beach went 8-3 in 2011 for its first winning season since 1997 while tying the single-season school wins record. The following season the Garnet Gulls went 10-1 and won the Class B Central division title for their first division championship since 1997. Superstorm Sandy decimated the sending district for Point Pleasant Beach during the 2012 season, and Wagner led his team in community outreach efforts that helped the towns recover.
It all came together in 2013 when Point Beach went 10-2 and defeated Shore Regional, 12-7, in the Central Jersey Group I championship game to give the Garnet Gulls their first NJSIAA sectional title in program history. Wagner is 44-21 in his six seasons at Point Beach and his teams have made the playoffs each year. Wagner is currently the interim athletic director at Point Beach and will begin his seventh season at Point Beach and 32nd season overall in 2017.
Martucci spent 38 years as either an assistant or head coach at Matawan, his alma mater. He became Matawan’s head coach in 1984 and coached the Huskies for 28 seasons, going 197-91-1 with five NJSIAA sectional championships and nine Shore Conference division titles. Among Martucci’s state championship teams was the undefeated Central Jersey Group III championship team in 1988. Martucci is a member of the Hall of Fames for Matawan High School, the NJFCA, the Governor's Bowl and the SFCF.
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