Football: Freehold Boro hires Derek Reichenbecher as new head coach
The Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education approved Derek Reichenbecher as the new head football coach at Freehold Boro High School during Thursday night's board meeting.
Reichenbecher succeeds Dave Ellis, who stepped down after the season following a 12-year tenure in which he went 54-72 and led the Colonials to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 championship game in 2017. Freehold had six winning seasons under Ellis, including five straight from 2014 through 2018.
Reichenbecher wasn't initially searching for a head coaching position, but everything changed when the Freehod job opened up.
"I wasn't looking all over the place for a head coaching job, for me it was about Freehold Boro," Reichenbecher said. "We moved here a couple of years ago and I really fell in love with the town. Being at Freehold Township the last several years and now seeing "The Dule" rivalry from the other side of it and getting to know the community, I really think it's a special place."
Reichenbecher was the head coach at Howell for two seasons in 2012 and 2013 and compiled a 5-15 record (1-9 in 2012, 4-6 in 2013). He has been a longtime assistant under current Freehold Township head coach Cory Davies at both Howell and Freehold Township, notably serving as the teams' defensive coordinator during those stints. While an assistant at Howell, Reichenbecher served as both offensive and defensive coordinator at various points. He helped Davies install a record-setting Air Raid offense that took the Shore Conference by storm at a time when a high school team employing a heavy passing attack was not nearly as common as it is today. Reichenbecher was the defensive coordinator on Howell's team that won the 2007 Central Jersey Group 4 championship, which is the Rebels' only sectional title in program history.
At Freehold Township, Reichenbeher held multiple positions, including defensive coordinator, and helped the Patriots win their first two playoff games in program history. He was a defensive assistant last season when Freehold Township went 7-4 and won the second playoff game in program history by upsetting undefeated North Brunswick in the first round of the Group 5 playoffs.
Additionally, Reichenbecher was the first head coach of Howell's varsity boys lacrosse program and coached the Rebels from 2003 through 2012. He was also president of the Shore Conference Lacrosse Coaches Association.
During his playing days, Reichenbecher was a standout offensive and defensive lineman at Howell who earned All-County, All-Shore, and All-State honors. He was inducted into the Howell High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. He played collegiately at the FCS level with Boston University under Dave DGuglielmo, who later won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots as their offensive line coach.
Reichenbecher has been a social studies teacher at Howell High School since 2001.
"You look back at the 100 years of football at Freehold Boro and the success they've had and all the people who have passed through these halls, I was really excited when they offered me the job and I'm honored to be the coach here," Reichenbecher said. "I can't wait to meet the kids and get started."
Following a 6-2 season during the truncated 2020 season, Freehold went 3-7 in 2021, 0-8 in 2022, and then 2-7 last season competing in the Shore Conference's Independence Division with Brick Memorial, Freehold Township, Matawan, Brick, and Barnegat. The new division alignment for the 2024 season has the Colonials in the Class B North division with Freehold Township, Matawan, Middletown North, Ocean, and Red Bank Regional.
Another head coaching position was also filled Thursday night when Brick Township hired former Matawan and Allentown head coach Jay Graber. Additionally, Keyport hired Charlie Marsh as its head coach Wednesday night to succeed Jason Glezman. That leaves Matawan plus Middletown South and Shore Regional with vacant positions after the recent resignations of Hall of Fame coaches Steve Antonucci and Mark Costantino, respectively.