Group of Four to be Inducted into Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame
Two coaches and two inductees from the media will be enshrined in the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame next week at the 37th annual U.S. Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic.
Former Raritan and Middletown South coach Bob Generelli, former Toms River North coach Bob Nani, Shore Sports Network's own Ed Sarluca, and former Asbury Park Press and Ocean County Observer sports editor Joe Adelizzi will be inducted at halftime of the Gridiron Classic, which kicks off at 7 p.m. on July 17 at Brick Township's Keller Memorial Field.
Here are their accomplishments:
The most successful coach in Raritan High School history, “The General” amassed a career record of 110-49-2 and led his teams to a total of nine championships in 15 years combined between stints at Raritan and Middletown South.
Generelli produced three undefeated teams, including the only 12-0 squad in Raritan history. The Rockets won the program’s only NJSIAA sectional title in history in 2004 when they beat Carteret in Central Jersey Group II behind first-team All-State quarterback Andrew Mandeville. Generelli also had two undefeated seasons at Middletown South in 1990 and 1992, which included finishing ranked No. 1 in the state by the Associated Press in 1992.
Generelli is part an illustrious group that includes SFCF Hall of Famers like Vic Kubu, John Amabile, George Conti and Chip LaBarca Sr., who led multiple Shore Conference teams to undefeated seasons. He also coached a pair of future NFL linemen at Middletown South, brothers Christian and Jason Peter, and coached Raritan’s Bennett Jackson, a cornerback who became a captain at Notre Dame and was drafted in the sixth round by the New York Giants this year.
In addition to winning three state titles, Generelli’s teams also reached four other sectional championship games, fashioning an 18-9 record overall in 12 appearances in the state playoffs. He won a combined six division titles, three at Raritan (2004, 2005, 2008) and three straight Class A North crowns with the Eagles from 1990-92. Generelli also coached Monmouth County to victory in the 1992 edition of the Gridiron Classic, which was then known as the All-Shore Classic.
In 2008, he was inducted into the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In 2012, he was inducted into the New Jersey Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Generelli starred as an offensive lineman under Kubu, the late legend whose 10 NJSIAA titles are a Shore Conference record, from 1979-81 at Middletown North. He then went on to play at Montclair State, earning All-New Jersey Athletic Conference honors as an offensive guard in 1985. In 1995, he was inducted into the Middletown North Lion Hall of Fame.
He also coached a combined four years at the collegiate level – two years under current University of Texas coach Mack Brown at the University of North Carolina, and two years under longtime Monmouth University coach Kevin Callahan. He cites the influence of Brown, Kubu, the late Rich Veth, Fred Hill and Rick Giancola as mentors.
Generelli stepped down as coach following the 2009 season to take a vice principal position at Raritan. He lives in Red Bank with his wife of 13 years, Jill, and his children, Robert, 10, and twin daughters Ana and Ava, 8.
Toms River North was a force in the Shore Conference and statewide from 1989-2004 under the direction of Nani, whose teams won three of the five NJSIAA titles in the Mariners’ program history.
Known for explosive offenses and punishing defense, Nani’s teams went 105-55 during his tenure, which also including winning Shore Conference division titles in 1991, 1994, 1995 and 2002. In 1991, the Mariners also won the South Jersey Group IV title, the program’s first state championship since 1979. Nani then led them to a second South Jersey Group IV title in 1994 behind star tailback Aamir Dew to cap a 10-1 season. He entered the rarefied air of Shore Conference coaches with three NJSIAA titles when the Mariners again took home the South Jersey Group IV crown in 1997.
Nani was voted the Shore Conference Coach of the Year three times by local media. Of the 14 state playoff appearances in Toms River North history, nine of them came under Nani, who has been a physical education and health teacher in the Toms River regional schools since 1979. Twice he has served as the head coach for Ocean County in the Gridiron Classic, including a win over Monmouth County in 1996.
Nani starred at Admiral Farragut Academy, a private military school in Toms River that closed in 1994, from 1970-73, serving as a team captain in 1973. He was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Admiral Farragut, which currently maintains a campus in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1997. He went on to play at Bethany College in West Virginia from 1973-77, serving as a captain and earning all-conference honors in 1976 and 1977.
He began his coaching career as an assistant football coach and the head wrestling coach at Admiral Farragut in 1977, then served as the head wrestling coach and football assistant at Bethany College in 1978. In 1979, he joined the staff as an assistant at Toms River North, which included being a part of the program’s first NJSIAA sectional title in history that same year. From 1983-88, he served as the Mariners’ defensive coordinator before taking over as head coach.
Bob lives in Lanoka Harbor with his wife, Rene, and has two children, Ryan, 26, and Rachel, 24. Ryan played for Bob, starring as a defensive lineman at Toms River North in the early 2000s before going on to play at the University of Maine from 2006-10.
A fixture in Shore Conference football for 46 years, Sarluca is one of two inductees from the media because of his contributions to football in this area.
“The Coach” has been a radio broadcaster, sideline reporter and host for the Shore Sports Network since 1997, covering countless championship games and other memorable Shore Conference showdowns. He also has served as the public address announcer numerous times for the state championship games played at Rutgers University.
Sarluca is the regular sideline reporter for the Shore Sports Network’s weekly radio broadcasts of Shore Conference football games on Friday nights during the fall, and he also is one of the hosts of the weekly Thursday Night Football Show. From 1990 to 1996, he worked for the Adelphia Cable Network broadcasting local wrestling, baseball, basketball and football.
Prior to his career in broadcasting, Sarluca was a long-time coach in the Shore Conference. An Irvington High School graduate, he began his career as the defensive coordinator at Keyport, from 1968-73. He then came down to Ocean County, where he was the defensive coordinator at Toms River North from 1974-78 before going across town and serving the same position on the staff at Toms River East from 1979-88. He finished his coaching career as the defensive coordinator at Brick Memorial from 1989-95.
While Sarluca is known as a football guy, he also was the first head baseball coach in Toms River East history from 1979-85. In addition, he has been selected for induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame at his college alma mater, the University of Charleston in West Virginia, for his four-year baseball career there. He was named to West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Decade Team for the 1960s.
Sarluca lives in Brick with his wife of 41 years, Laura, and is a father of two and a grandfather of four. His son, Ed Sarluca Jr., is a teacher at Brick Memorial who has been the Mustangs’ head boys basketball coach for eight seasons and also has been an assistant on the football staff. His daughter, Maria, is also a physical education and health teacher at Brick Memorial.
A fixture on the local football media landscape for nearly 40 years, Adelizzi chronicled some of the legendary players and teams in Shore Conference history as an award-winning reporter and sports editor for both the Ocean County Observer and the Asbury Park Press from 1969 to 2008.
He also helped spearhead the creation of the inaugural Gridiron Classic, then known as the All-Shore Classic, in 1978 with former Asbury Park Press sports editor Dick Brinster. The annual game is now the oldest continuous high school football all-star game in New Jersey.
He began working as a reporter for the Ocean County Observer in December of 1969 and became the sports editor only two years later before being elevated to managing editor of the newspaper in 1973. In 1976, he joined the Asbury Park Press as an assistant sports editor and then became the head sports editor in 1978.
During Adelizzi’s tenure as sports editor from 1978 through 1992, the Asbury Park Press sports section won 11 consecutive awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors as a top 10 section in the nation for newspapers with its circulation. Adelizzi served as a regional chairman for the APSE for three years and also was a speaker at the American Press Institute.
In addition to serving as editor, he also wrote weekly columns and was one of the regular Shore Conference football prognosticators who predicted scores on a weekly basis. He was twice named the New Jersey Sportswriter of the Year and twice won writing awards from the APSE and New Jersey Press Association. In 1992, he went from editor to columnist and eventually became part of the news team at the Asbury Park Press.
Adelizzi graduated from the original Toms River High School, what is now Toms River South, and went on to attend Ocean County College and then St. John’s University before embarking on his journalism career.
Some of Adelizzi’s favorite memories of Shore Conference football include Brick beating Camden 21-20 in Atlantic City to win the South Jersey Group IV title in the first year of the newly-created state playoffs in 1974, and coaches Ron Signorino Sr. and Bob Fiocco squaring off in the old “Civil War” showdowns between Toms River North and Toms River South. Adelizzi also relished watching the late Joe Boyd draw plays in the dirt at Central Regoinal, interviewing the late Vic Kubu as he sat on his couch in the coaches’ room at Manasquan, and watching the late John Amabile prowl the sidelines at Wall as he chased the band off the field.
Adelizzi is now retired and lives with his wife, Lee, in Toms River. His children, Jacqueline, 31, and Joe Jr., 29, are both Toms River South graduates, and Joe Jr. is a former wrestler for the Indians who is now an assistant coach for the wrestling program.