Ever since his playing career concluded Vin Mistretta has had the goal of becoming a head football coach, and on Tuesday night at the Jackson Board of Education meeting he was officially selected to lead the program he holds dearest.

Mistretta was board approved as Jackson Memorial’s head football coach, succeeding Walt Krystopik and becoming the 10th coach in Jaguars history. Krystopik, who led the Jaguars to back-to-back NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV titles in 2014 and 2015, resigned in May after six seasons.

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“It feels great to be back home at the school I went to and coached at for a couple years,” Mistretta said. “We’re going to continue to do the things Jackson has always done. The goal is to keep the tradition going.”

Mistretta has deep roots in Jackson as a player and an assistant coach. He was a wide receiver and defensive back for the Jags from 2002-2005 and was a member of the 2015 team that finished 12-0 and won the Central Jersey Group IV championship with an epic 30-28 victory over Brick Memorial.

Mistretta graduated from Rowan University and began his coaching career at Metuchen as an assistant under his uncle, Sal, who was a longtime coach in Middlesex County, including the head coach at Sayreville in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He came back home in 2013 as a defensive assistant for Jackson and was a part of Jackson’s fourth and fifth sectional championship teams, including the defensive coordinator for the 2015 team.

Mistretta was the defensive backs coach at Sayreville last season and helped the Bombers return to glory by winning the Central Jersey Group IV title with a 41-14 win over Middletown North.

When Krystopik resigned and the head coaching position at Jackson opened up, Mistretta jumped at the opportunity.

“I’ve been running around coach’s offices since I was six years old in Sayreville, North Brunswick and all over the place,” Mistretta said. “It’s been nothing but football from June to December all my life so this was 100 percent something I’ve always wanted. To be back at Jackson as the head coach is great.”

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Jackson went 6-5 last season, losing to eventual champion Allentown in the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals. The Jags lost several key players to graduation, including the program’s all-time leading rusher, Mike Gawlik. A three-time Shore Sports Network first-team All-Shore selection, Gawlik ran for a Shore Conference-best 2,129 yards and scored 24 touchdowns last season. Jackson has proven to be a program that can reload, however, and has a youth program that features several standouts.

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.