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Shore Coaching ‘Dynamic Duo’ Changes Teams

Dan Curcione led Wall to the 2016 NJSIAA South Jersey Group III championships.
Dan Curcione led Wall to the 2016 NJSIAA South Jersey Group III championships. (Photo by Mark Brown/B51 Photography)

Coaching changes in the NFL or major college football are ones that may generate speculation, debate, controversy, intrigue. You name it.  When a successful head coach leaves one team or program for another it can have a direct impact on both although expectations are not always met.

Even the best coaches need talent to win and will tell you that players make the difference which they do.  However I have always felt that on the high school level coaching is just as important as talent which is why some programs continue to win even when they don’t have a collection of all stars.

I say this after our Shore Sports Network first broke the story yesterday that reigning Coach of the Year Dan Curcione was leaving Wall High School to take over a Donovan Catholic program that went 0-10 last fall.  Not only that but coming with him to the school on Hooper Avenue in Toms River would be assistant coach Chip LaBarca Jr.

The two helped lead Wall to a state sectional championship just two months ago and form a dynamic duo: Curcione runs the defense and LaBarca handles the offense.  The previously worked together at Toms River North with LaBarca the head coach and Curcione his assistant and obviously have built a strong relationship as they take on the challenge of turning around a program that has produced two winless seasons in the last three.

The question most asked yesterday when the news broke was why Curcione would leave Wall after winning a championship in just his third season at one of the better programs in the shore.  You’ll have to ask him yourself but he’s on record as saying he feels this is a good move for his family and he loves the challenge ahead.

Curcione, who teaches at Toms River Intermediate North and lives in Brick replaces Tom Tarver who was the Griffins head coach for just one season.

While not miracle workers Curcione and LaBarca bring instant credibility to a program badly in need of some positive direction.  Now all they have to do is win some games.


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