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After 12 years as Red Bank Regional's athletic director and nearly 30 as a coach and educator, Louis "Del' DalPra will be retiring effective August 1, the school announced in a press release on Friday.

DalPra has been Red Bank's athletic director since 2008. He was previously the head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Ocean Township High School. Prior to his championship-coaching stint with the Spartans, DalPra was the head baseball coach at Henry Hudson Regional High School as well as Ocean County College. He began his coaching career at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, coaching both baseball and football.

"I can't wait to stand on the other side of the fence and just watch my boys play," said DalPra, who has three sons, the oldest of whom, Will, is set to graduate in June and will continue his education at Flordia State University. "I've had a lot of interesting offers from other Shore Conference schools but the one thing I'm learning from this COVID-19 period is it's time to slow down and get away from it. Working 60-70 hours a week and averaging 330 workdays per year over the past 10 years has gotten to me."

"I made a lot of friends at RBR and am so proud of what we were able to accomplish. The coaches are some of the top professionals in our area and I only wish I could do more for them."

Photo provided by the Red Bank Regional Athletic Department.

As a baseball coach, DalPra first standout season came in 1996 when he guided Henry Hudson to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 sectional championship game. In 1998 he was the head coach at OCC and in 2000 was named the head baseball coach at Ocean. DalPra led the Spartans to four Shore Conference division titles, two Monmouth County Tournament titles, one Shore Conference Tournament championship and two NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 sectional titles. DalPra was also an assistant football coach when Ocean won the Central Jersey Group 3 crown in 2000 and 2005.

In 2008, DalPra was hired as Red Bank's athletic director and tasked with resuscitating a struggling athletic department. That fall season, the football team was 0-10 and the boys and girls soccer, girls tennis and field hockey teams combined for just nine wins.

"That fall was very hard on me," DalPra said. "We didn't have one win in any boys or girls sports at either varsity, JV or freshman level during the month of September. I remember thinking they were going to fire me even before the winter season, which ended up not very good, as well. As that school year moved on, I realized we had to change the entire culture or this job was not going to be easy."

DalPra replaced 22 out of 27 yead coaches during his first two years as Red Bank AD.

"Those times were horrible for me," he said. "We had teams playing on fields and courts that had no upgrades in almost 40 years. Outdated uniforms and equipment had to be replaced with one of the smallest budgets in the Shore Conference. I knew I had to think outside the box because it was not safe for our student-athletes and they deserved better."

A major issue DelPra noticed was the lack of opportunities at the local youth level for the communities that fed into Red Bank Regional (Red Bank, Little Silver and Shrewsbury). He worked with those municipalities' recreation departments to develop feeder programs that have contributed to Red Bank's athletic improvement at the high school level, including the Jr. Bucs Wrestling, Little Silver Lacrosse, Two River Little League, Red Bank AYF, Jersey Shore Thunder Travel Baseball and more.

DalPra founded the Buc Backer Booster Club in 2009, which has helped to fund such projects as lights for the stadium field, new home and away stands, a resurfaced floor, new lights, new bleachers and a new scoreboard in the fieldhouse and a new weight room. Red Bank also hired a full-time strength and conditioning coach.

DalPra was most recently the Tournament Director for the Shore Conference Wrestling Championships, which transitioned from a team event to an individual tournament

“Under his leadership, RBR has achieved many milestones," said Red Bank Regional Superintendant Dr. Louis Moore. "New programs have been introduced and others expanded. During his tenure, RBR has grown to have one of the largest athletic programs in Monmouth County. Not surprisingly, he has been honored multiple times for his contributions to student athletics, both at the county and state levels. I know we are grateful for his work to support our programs, but what we value most about Del is his genuine kindness and commitment to young people. Whether it was a kind word of encouragement, attendance at countless games, or even driving students to practices and events in the "Rec Van", Del has always gone above and beyond to help everyone. Through it all, Del continues to “live the dream” and lead by example. We will miss him but it’s nice to know he won’t be too far from RBR next year.”

 

 

 

Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.