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The vacant position of head football coach at Neptune High School is one that has been followed with great anticipation over the past two months. The rumor mill had marquee coaches from both inside and outside of the Shore Conference connected to one of the most coveted jobs in the Shore.

Neptune ended any speculation late Wednesday evening by announcing its new football boss, and it was a name nobody saw coming.

Former Rumson-Fair Haven head coach and current Holmdel athletic director Shane Fallon is the new head coach for the Scarlet Fliers, the school announced on Twitter just before 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Fallon replaces Tarig Holman, who departed after three seasons and is now the head coach at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Iselin. After going 0-10 in 2017, Neptune went 5-5 in 2018 and 6-4 last season.


Fallon has been the athletic director at Holmdel High School since 2015 but is known best for building Rumson into the football powerhouse it is today. Fallon is a 1990 Rumson-Fair Haven graduate where he quarterbacked the Bulldogs from 1987 to 1989, including leading the team to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 2 final in 1989. After graduating from West Chester University, Fallon returned to Rumson’s football program as an assistant coach. Two years later at 25-years old, Fallon took over as the Bulldogs’ head coach.

Rumson had won just eight games in the four previous seasons and finished with a losing record in four of five seasons prior to Fallon taking over as head coach. He immediately turned things around with a 6-4 record in 1998. Rumson slipped to 4-6 in 1999, but that remains the last time the Bulldogs finished a season without a winning record.

Neptune has hired former Rumson-Fair Haven coach Shane Fallon as its new head football coach. (Photo by Mark Brown)

Fallon guided Rumson to an 8-2 record in 2002, the program’s most wins in school history. In 2007, Rumson went 9-3 and reached the Central Jersey Group 2 title game but was denied its first title in a 20-14 loss to Carteret. The Bulldogs won nine games again in 2009 but bowed to Manasquan in the playoff semifinals. Then came 2010, the year that forever changed Rumson football.

Rumson met a juggernaut Matawan squad and its high-octane offense in the 2010 Central Jersey Group 2 final. The Huskies were the overwhelming favorite having defeated Rumson, 48-21, during the regular season but with a defensive performance for the ages, Rumson shocked Matawan, 13-7, to win the first state sectional title in program history.

Rumson reached the final again in 2011, this time losing to Matawan, 3-0, in the title game. Fallon’s 15th and final season at the helm was in 2012 when Rumson went 7-3. He resigned in January of 2013 with a 106-51 record and the knowledge he built his alma mater into a yearly championship contender.

Rumson has since become the flagship public school football program in the Shore Conference and one of the best in New Jersey. The Bulldogs won four straight state titles from 2013 to 2016 – two in Central Jersey Group 2 and two Central Jersey Group 3 – and added another in 2018. They have played in seven straight sectional finals and their six titles are tied for fourth-most in Shore Conference history.

Now, after a handful of years as an administrator, Fallon is returning to the sidelines to lead another program with a rich tradition. Among the oldest schools in the Shore with football going back to 1922, Neptune has four NJSIAA sectional titles (the playoffs began in 1974) to its credit with the last championship coming in 2011.

Neptune went 6-4 and finished second in the Freedom Division last season. Two All-Division selections, quarterback Nino Bua and running back Junior Haughton, both of whom will be seniors for the 2020 season, are the leading returners.

 

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.