Longtime Shore Conference Coach and Athletic Director Bill Bruno Passes Away at 68
Bill Bruno, a longtime Shore Conference coach and athletic director and most recently an assistant director at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 68.
Just 10 days ago on June 9, Bruno announced that he was retiring from his post at the NJSIAA due to health concerns. He had taken a leave from the state athletic association in 2020 after undergoing heart surgery but had returned this year. He oversaw cross country, gymnastics, bowling, winter and spring track, and was instrumental in bringing girls wrestling to New Jersey.
A fierce competitor as an athlete, demanding and successful as a coach, and progressive as an administrator, Bruno was as affable as he was knowledgeable. His career in the Shore Conference spanned five decades from his time as a student-athlete at Christian Brothers Academy to his years as an athletic director for the Brick Township School District. If you had a question, there’s a good chance Bill Bruno had the answer.
A 1971 graduate of CBA, Bruno competed for the Colts’ winter and spring track teams for all four years and also played intramural football. He also ran track collegiately at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) before pursuing his master’s degree at Trenton State College (The College of New Jersey). He began his coaching career under legendary cross country/track coach Tom Heath at CBA in 1976 and two years later was hired as a teacher and assistant football coach at Manalapan High School. He coached football at Manalapan and winter and spring track at CBA from 1976 through 1979 before a track & field coaching position opened at Manalapan in 1980.
He became the head track & field coach at CBA in 1983 and led the Colts to the Shore Conference championship. In the 1985 Penn Relays, he coached CBA to a first-place tie in the Championship of America Distance Medley Relay.
Between 1986 and 1989 he coached track & field at Asbury Park High School, coaching the freshmen from 1986-1988, and was then an assistant track coach under Tony Giordano through 1989 before heading down the Garden State Parkway.
Bruno’s coaching legacy was cemented a Pinelands Regional High School between 1990 and 2000 when he turned a Wildcats program not known for its track & field prowess into one that delivered nine straight winning seasons. Pinelands went undefeated and secured the program’s first Class B South title in 1995 and was also undefeated division champions in 1999 and 2000. In 1996, the Wildcats’ boys sprint medley team of Cliff Reynolds, Brad Woods, Luke Facemyer and Scott Clayton finished sixth at the National Scholastic Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Bruno was also Pinelands’ football coach from 1989-1992 and again in 1998 and 1999.
Bruno became an athletic administrator in 2000 when he was hired as the AD at Marlboro High School. He was later the AD at Howell before heading to the Brick School District. Bruno served as an AD in Brick from 2003-2015, for the first nine as the district AD and then as only the Brick Memorial AD from 2012-2015.
In August of 2015, Bruno was appointed as an assistant director at the NJSIAA and was tasked with overseeing the state’s cross country, winter track, and spring track seasons.
Coaching was in Bruno’s DNA. His father, William “Butch” Bruno, is a Shore Conference Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame member for his legendary career as a player and coach at Asbury Park High School. The Asbury Park School District named the football field after him in 2017.
On a personal note, we at the Shore Sports Network had a close relationship with Bill Bruno. He was a friend, both professionally and personally, and someone we admired for his passion and dedication to high school athletics. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife Jeannette, his sons Kyle and Eric, his stepsons Cole and CJ, and all his family and friends. He leaves behind an everlasting legacy. Rest in Peace, Bill. We already miss you.