Joe Martucci steps down as St. John Vianney football coach
The first push of the Shore Conference football coaching carousel came Tuesday when Joe Martucci resigned as head coach at St. John Vianney after two seasons.
"Age," Martucci said. "At the end of the season I took a good look at things and talked to my family, and I'm more worn out than I've ever been. I'll be turning 70 soon and I've been coaching for 47 years. It's time to hang up the whistle."
St. John Vianney finished this season with a 4-5 record playing in the high-powered Colonial Division with top-ranked and undefeated Wall, Non-Public Group 3 finalist Mater Dei Prep and Central Jersey Group 4 finalist Jackson Memorial. The Lancers were 5-5 last season in Martucci's first with the Lancers.
Martucci said the rigors of coaching finally caught up with him and he was no longer able to bring the same energy he was accustomed to bringing.
"It's a grind and it just took a toll on me this year," Martucci said. "It's not fair to the kids to not be able to give them the time and energy they need."
Martucci’s departure was first reported by the Asbury Park Press. He met with school officials Tuesday to tender his resignation, according to the report.
Martucci was Matawan’s head coach for 28 years from 1984-2011 and led the Huskies to five NJSIAA state sectional titles with a 197-91-1 record.
The Huskies finished undefeated in 1988 for the first of Martucci’s five titles, which also included 1991, 1992, 2009 and in his final season in 2011. His 1988 and 2009 teams tied the school record with 11 wins.
Martucci began his 40-year high school coaching career as an assistant at St. John Vianney for one season before serving as an assistant and then the head coach at Matawan for the remainder of his tenure. He is the all-time wins leader at Matawan, having passed his old coach, Barry Rizzo, who was inducted into the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame in 2009. In his final season in 2011, the Huskies stunned Rumson-Fair Haven 3-0 to win their second Central Jersey Group II title in three seasons in their third straight appearance in the finals. Martucci’s teams were 5-1 overall in NJSIAA championship games and reached the state playoffs in 18 of his 27 seasons. He also coached several Shore Conference greats, including former NFL players Jay Bellamy and Charlie Rogers. Martucci retired from coaching and teaching following the 2011 season and was the running backs coach at Kean University before taking the job at SJV.
Martucci is a 1968 Matawan graduate who was an all-state linebacker under Rizzo and went on to play linebacker at the University of Connecticut, where he graduated in 1972. He then served as an assistant under Rizzo for 11 seasons before taking over as head coach in 1984. He also is a member of the New Jersey Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
Martucci said he doesn't see himself returning to the coaching ranks in the future, even as an assistant.
"At this point, I don't see that happening," Martucci said. "I have five grandchildren and I want to see them grow up. My wife is the greatest. We've been married 46 years and I've been coaching 47 years, so she's been there for everything. It's time to spend more time with my family and take care of my health."
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