Rumson-Fair Haven didn't have to look far to select its next football coach.

Jerry Schulte, who had been the Bulldogs' defensive coordinator since 2005, was approved as Rumson's new head coach during Tuesday night's board of education meeting.

Photo by Mark Brown/B51 Photography.

Schulte replaces Bryan Batchler, whom Superintendent Peter Righi stated would not be re-hired for a fourth season. Batchler went 30-6 and won three NJSIAA state sectional championships, and is the only Shore Conference head coach to win state titles in each of his first three seasons. Batchler was placed on paid administrative leave by the district on Dec. 14, but neither Righi or Batchler have commented on the reason why.

Schulte has been a Shore Conference fixture for the better part of three decades. He was the head coach at Mater Dei from 1980 through 1984, and guided Wall for 10 seasons from 1990 through 1999. He was also the offensive coordinator at Monmouth Regional from 2000 through 2004, and has a career record of 59-78-1.

He joined Rumson's staff for the 2005 season under then-head coach Shane Fallon, who is now the athletic director at Holmdel. The Bulldogs' defense has thrived under Schulte, and he has been a part of all four of Rumson's sectional championship teams. Rumson's performances in championship games have become the stuff of legend under Schulte, whose defenses have allowed just nine points in five sectional finals, including a 21-0 shutout over rival Red Bank to win the 2015 Central Jersey Group III title. Rumson's defense was third in the Shore Conference last season in points allowed at 7.8.

Schulte takes over a team that will once again enter the season as a state title contender. The Bulldogs bring back Shore Sports Network first-team All-Shore linebacker Mike Ruane and first-team defensive back Mike Murdock from their outstanding defense, and also return standout quarterback Mike O'Connor and offensive lineman Tim Leonard - both second-team picks - as well as emerging 6-foot-6 wide receiver Elijah McAllister.


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