2009 SFCF Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame welcomed its first inductee in 2008, which, of course, was legendary former Brick coach Warren Wolf, who is the state’s all-time wins leader with a career record of 361-122-11 in 51 seasons along with 25 division titles and six state championships.

This year, there are four inductees into the Hall of Fame, who will be honored at halftime at the US Army All Shore Gridiron Classic. The latest group of luminaries includes Point Boro’s Al Saner, Asbury Park’s William “Butch’’ Bruno, Matawan’s Barry Rizzo and Long Branch’s Amedeo “Army’’ Ippolito.

Al Saner, who has the field named after him at Point Boro, coached the Panthers from the year of the program’s inception in 1964 until his retirement in 1993 except for a two-year hiatus to coach at Kean University. He finished with a career record of 154-81-9, leading Point Boro to NJSIAA South Jersey Group II titles in 1977 and 1978 as well as 11 division titles.

William “Butch” Bruno  will be posthumously inducted after a career as a legendary athlete and coach at Asbury Park. Bruno’s teams went 114-50-13 during his tenure, which lasted from 1946-66. His 1953 team finished undefeated, and the Blue Bishops were awarded NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV titles in 1948, 1953 and 1954, as the state playoff format was not created until 1974. Bruno, who is the father of current Brick Memorial athletic director Bill Bruno and current Howell athletic director Pete Bruno, also is the only Asbury Park athlete in school history to earn four varsity letters for four years in a row, and he also is a member of the NJSIAA Hall of Fame.

Amedeo “Army” Ippolito  and his Green Wave were a rival of Bruno’s Asbury Park squads in the 1950s and 1960s, and Ippolito led Long Branch to Central Jersey Group III titles from 945, 1951, 1955 and 1956. and the Central Jersey Group IV title in 1961. The new turf field at Long Branch has been named after Ippolito. He finished with a career record of 106-62-9 during his tenure, which lasted from 1944-63

Matawan’s Barry Rizzo coached some of the legendary players in Shore Conference history, including Kenny Mandeville and former Dallas Cowboys great Jim Jeffcoat, during his tenure from 1953 to 1980. Rizzo finished with a career record of 147-61-9 and his teams captured four state titles, including the Central Jersey Group IV title in 1975, which was the second year of the current state playoff system. Rizzo’s teams also were awarded state titles by the NJSIAA in 1953 (Central Jersey Group I); 1958 (CJ Group II) and 1973 (CJ Group III). The Huskies also won eight division titles under Rizzo, and Matawan’s home stadium is named after him.

The Shore Conference Football Coaches Association was created in 1996 by a group of trustees that included Brick’s Warren Wolf, Neptune’s John Amabile, Freehold’s Earl Ownes, Manasquan’s Vic Kubu, Lacey’s Lou Vircillo, Red Bank Catholic’s Lou Montanaro and Matawan’s Joe Martucci. In 2008, the Shore Conference Football Coaches Association created a foundation to continue the tradition of what is now the US Army All Shore Gridiron Classic.

In addition to the creation of the Hall of Fame, the Shore Football Coaches Foundation also conducts an event every year to recognize the All-Shore Scholar-Athlete team, featuring athletes who have achieved on the field and in the classroom. The many coaches of the Shore Conference who labor to bring out the best in young men are proud to offer this program to athletes and their parents as a sign of what is optimum in the scholastic athletic experience.

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