Football: Shore Conference contingent to coach Team Japan at 2020 International Bowl
The sport of football has taken PJ Gibbs to many places. From the Jersey Shore to Florida and Texas, Gibbs has been able to see the game from a different perspective and experience its growing global reach.
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, Gibbs and a group of his colleagues and mentors from the Shore Conference will add coaching a team from the other side of the world to their resumés when they lead the Japanese National Team against the United States U17 National Team during the 2020 International Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
In conjunction with the team’s coaches from Japan, Gibbs will serve as the team’s head coach and will be joined by former longtime Manasquan assistant Rich Read, former Raritan and Middletown South head coach Bob Generelli, former Middletown North head coach Mike Galos and current Lakewood head coach LJ Clark.
Generelli will be the offensive coordinator and also coach the quarterbacks and wide receivers. Clark is the co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach while Read will coach the running backs and Galos the offensive line.
Wednesday’s game will be televised on ESPN3 at 4 p.m. Central time. It can be streamed via the WATCH ESPN mobile app or at ESPN.com/watch.
“I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for them,” Gibbs said. “The experience is incredible and I’m looking to give that to these guys, too. (USA Football) is a first-class organization. It’s awesome to be able to get this group of guys together who have been so influential.”
A former player and coach at Manasquan under legendary head coach Vic Kubu who also served as defensive coordinator at Matawan and Howell, Gibbs moved from Monmouth County to Collier County, Florida in 2016 to become the defensive coordinator at Gulf Coast High Schoo in Naples. In 2018 Gibbs moved to another school in Naples, Palmetto Ridge, where he is currently the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. He teaches world history and advanced placement business at the school of roughly 2,000 students.
Football isn’t known as an international sport, certainly not to the degree of basketball, baseball or hockey and obviously nowhere near soccer, the sport the rest of the world refers to as football. American football is mostly, well, American. Gibbs didn’t know much about the game at the national team level until 2008 when one of his former players, 2001 Manasquan graduate Dan Gant, reached out about working a regional camp at Monroe High School. Gibbs agreed and it became the first of many regional camps he would help coach.
During Gibbs’ first year in Florida, he was asked to participate in his first International Bowl as the defensive backs coach for the U15 National Team. In 2017 he served as the defensive backs coach for the Japanese U17 team. Gibbs was then asked to become the head coach of the U17 select team and held that position in 2018 and 2019. In November, Gibbs was asked to be the head coach for the Japanese U17 team.
“I needed to pick a staff – three guys on offense and three guys on defense – so I made some calls,” Gibbs said.
A Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Famer, Generelli is the most successful coach in Raritan High School history and amassed a 110-49-2 record coaching Raritan and Middletown South. He coached three undefeated teams, including the only 12-0 squad in Raritan history. The Rockets won the program’s first NJSIAA sectional title in 2004 when they beat Carteret in the Central Jersey Group 2 final behind first-team All-State quarterback Andrew Mandeville. “The General” also had two undefeated seasons at Middletown South in 1990 and 1992, which included finishing ranked No. 1 in the state by the Associated Press in 1992. He is currently an assistant principal at Collier High School in Marlboro.
Read served as an assistant coach for many years when Manasquan became a Shore Conference powerhouse under Kubu, including winning a record five straight NJSIAA sectional championships from 1998-2002. He is currently an assistant principal at Manasquan High School.
Galos was the head coach at Middletown North from 12 seasons from 1988 to 1999 and led the Lions to the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title in 1996. His grandson Mike is a senior at Wall and helped the Crimson Knights win the Central Jersey Group 3 championship and finish No. 1 in the Shore this past season.
Clark just completed his ninth season as the head coach at Lakewood, his alma mater. The Piners went 10 years without a winning season and won more than two games in a season just twice before Clark took them to the playoffs in 2012 with a 7-3 record. Lakewood reached sectional semifinals in 2013 and 2017 and tied for the Class B South division title in 2015. Clark has also sent numerous players to FCS and FBS programs, including former stars Tyrice Beverette (Stony Brook), Datrell Reed (Villanova), Chapelle Cook (Temple), Amir Tyler (Temple) and Josh Lezin (Maine).
Together, Gibbs, Generelli, Read, Galos and Clark will guide a group of teenagers from 6,000 miles away against the US team, which also has New Jersey connections with Timber Creek’s Rob Hinson serving as its head coach.
“It’s a great experience,” Gibbs said. “As a high school coach you really get to feel what it’s like to be a college coach in that you’re there to win a football game and that’s it. And to be able to have these guys here who have meant so much to me is awesome.”
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.